MADRID - Spain is on course to pass one million passenger car registrations this year. Sales are up 10.3 percent in the first nine months. Steady growth continued in September as sales rose 9.1 percent compared with 1996.
Most of the growth has been in sales to individual buyers, rather than to fleet operators. This has improved profit margins.
Demand has also been boosted by a national scrapping incentive that applied to 78,000 out of 752,026 sales in the nine-month period.
The best-selling model through nine months was the Seat Ibiza, with 44,427 registrations. Renault's Megane was second, with 43,290. Its success helped Renault maintain its status as Spain's best-selling brand.
PSA/Peugeot-Citroen remained the top-selling group, with 21.8 percent of registrations. Volkswagen Group was close behind, with 21.3 percent.
PSA's performance was helped by strong sales of Citroen's diesel-powered ZX, which led the diesel market. Diesels account for 39.7 percent of total sales in Spain. One third of diesel cars sold were PSA models.
Hyundai achieved the biggest rise of any carmaker. Its sales were up 81.8 percent to 17,770 units. Nissan was up 62.7 percent.
The sport-utility segment kept pace with the market overall, increasing 9.5 percent to 39,016 units.