Approximately 15'600 new cars were registered during the first fortnight of January, a 15.4% increase on the same period last year according to data from the Institute of Automotive Studies (IEA) published yesterday.

The automotive market is showing the first signs of growth after 16 months of negative figures.
Private sales
If the country were to finish January with an increase, it would be the first sign of market growth for well over a year.
The latest data shows that private sales reached 9'377 during the first two weeks of the year, up 1.4% on the same period last year, and the first upward move in 17 months.

Sales to car hire companies shot up by an astounding 221.1% with 2'174 cars being bought, thanks to a combination of contract renewals and promising tourism statistics.

Company sales also increased by 35.7% to 6'419 cars so far already this year.
Balearics up
Despite this upturn, statisticians expect fewer than 800'000 new cars to be registered in 2012, taking the market back to where it was in the early 1990s.

Region by region car sales went up in nine of the 17 autonomous communities, headed up by Madrid with a 49.3% rise, the Canary Islands (+44.4%), La Rioja (+29.5%), Asturias (+18.6%) and the Balearics (+14.6%).

There were similarly positive figures in the Basque Country (+12.4%), in Catalunya (+11.1%), in Murcia (+9.3%) and in Aragón (+6.7%).
At the other end of the scale, the biggest declines in car sales were seen in Cantabria, where they dropped 23.6%. Sales also dipped in Andalusia (-4.9%), Castilla-La Mancha (-13.6%), Castilla y León (-0.9%), the Valencian Community (-2%), Extremadura (-19'4%), Galicia (-4'7%) and Navarre (-0'6%).

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