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February European registrations up 2.6% – J.D. Power-LMC

West European car sales bounced back in February after their 1.8% drop in January, says J.D. Power-LMC. The seasonally-adjusted annualised selling rate topped 14.7 million units after a 2.6% year-on-year increase in registrations to an estimated total, ahead of the mid-month release due from the ACEA, of over 1,050,400 units.

"This result confirms our view that the low figures in January were in fact a result of payback from strong year-end manufacturer incentives in December. The outlook for 2004 remains modestly positive with a small increase in sales still expected," said J.D.Power-LMC's Pete Kelly.

Besides the UK, demand in Spain was strong again in February, though the French market fall was particularly disappointing and the Italian market continues to lag behind last year's levels. The German market improved following a dire result in January but the selling rate remained relatively weak at less than 3.2m units a year.

Overall, Kelly sees the West European market continuing a process of stabilisation after turbulence last year.

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