MUNICH -- Thanks to scrapping incentives, five out of Europe's six biggest automaking groups finished 2009 on a high.
Volkswagen AG, PSA/Peugeot-Citroen SA, Ford Motor Co., Renault SA and Fiat S.p.A. either had flat sales or made a single-digit percentage gain last year compared with 2008, according to new-car registrations data from European automakers association ACEA.
The only group in the top six to decline was General Motors Co. Its three-brands (Opel, Chevrolet and Saab) were down a combined 9 percent to 1.4 million units in 2009. (Click on chart, right)
Meanwhile, France was Europe's sales leader in December with a volume of 228,392 registrations. The 49 percent increase is attributed to car buyers in France taking advantage the government's 1,000-euro incentive before the subsidy was reduced to 700 euros on Jan. 1.
Germany was second in sales with a volume of 215,564 units, a 5 percent decline on December 2008. (Click on chart, above right)