BUSINESS

Recovery in Spanish car sales continues apace

Purchases in February up 18 percent from a year earlier

The recovery in the Spanish automobile market picked up pace in February when growth in sales of new cars accelerated 17.8 percent to 68,763 units. Purchases have now increased for six months in a row, largely as a result of the prolongation of the government’s direct-subsidy PIVE scheme.

“The PIVE plans have substantially improved the efficiency of the market,” the industry associations Anfac, Ganvam and Faconauto said in a statement. The scheme, which involves subsidies of up to 2,000 euros for scrapping an older vehicle and replacing it with a new environmentally friendly one, has helped the sector recover from a situation in which 2012 saw its worst performance since 1986.

Sales in the first two months of the year were up 13.1 percent from the same period a year earlier at 122,199, “the best start to a year since 2010,” spokesman for the car and truck manufacturers’ association Anfac, David Barrientos, said.

Sales of passenger cars to individuals in February climbed 33.5 percent from a month earlier to 36,008 units, while sales to companies were up 9.3 percent at 15,680 after falling in the first month of the year. Purchases by car-hire firms rose by 0.1 percent to 17,075 units.

The industry associations said the “strong increase” in the period January-February was “significant” as it allows for the comparison of two periods in which the PIVE plan was in operation.

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