Western European passenger car market opened its account for 2016 the same way it ended 2015 by recording gains, according to IHS Automotive forecasts.
Registrations during January grew 6.1% year on year (y/y) to 1,012,194 units, despite one less working day in many markets compared to January 2015.
The growth placed the seasonally adjusted annual rate for the region at 13.6 million units.
On a market basis, the German market remains the largest as it enjoyed a stable and solid start to 2016 with a 3.3% y/y increase in sales to 218,365 units.
The fleet market still accounted for the vast majority of registrations in the market, rising from around 66% to 69% in January, with private customers accounting for 31% of sales.
In France, the passenger car market rose more moderately, but was still up by 3.5% y/y to 137,788 units.
The Spanish market continued to record double-digit percentage gains during January, after a strong performance in 2015. Registrations of passenger cars increased by 12.1% y/y to 76,395 units.
Italy was in a similar situation as Spain; registrations increased by 18.1% y/y to 155,157 units.
Finally, after a record-breaking performance during 2015, passenger car registration growth appears to be continuing unabated.
The passenger car market was up by 2.9% y/y to 169,678 units. The increase this month has driven by demand from private customers as fleet sales dipped.