MUNICH -- Mazda is "guardedly optimistic" about its prospects in 2009 after achieving record European sales in 2008.
The Japanese carmaker increased its 2008 unit sales by 9.8 percent to 342,800 in Europe, including Russia and Turkey.
The company achieved year on year increases in 20 markets, including Russia where sales rose 47 percent to 73,700 units to make the country Mazda's biggest European market.
Mazda sales dipped in Germany and the UK, the company's second and third biggest biggest markets. German sales fell 14.3 percent to 56,277 while in the UK they declined by 2 percent to 50,402 units.
Philip Waring, Mazda Europe's chief operating officer, said he was satisfied with the performance, particularly because 2008 was a difficult trading year.
He said: "These last two months were a challenge, and the current economic downturn makes predictions difficult. But following our success in 2008 we can move into 2009 with a guarded degree of optimism."