FRANKFURT -- Car registrations in Germany rose 3 percent in April as the country continued to buck the downward sales trend in major European markets.
Registrations increased to 274,066 last month, compared with 266,251 in April 2011, according to the federal transport authority (KBA).
New-car registrations rose 2 percent to 1.05 million in the first four months, thanks partly to German consumers slowly returning to dealership showrooms to buy new models such as BMW's revamped 1 series.
"After the private [new-car] market recovered in March and contributed to growth, I expect that private car buyers also will help overall demand recover in April and May," said Volker Lange, head of the the German Association of Motor Vehicle Importers (VDIK), in a statement on Thursday.
France, Italy, Spain
Sales in France, Italy and Spain all declined last month, as most of Europe continued to suffer the effects of an economic downturn that kept buyers out of showrooms.
French light-vehicle registrations dropped 1 percent to 200,806, a slowdown compared with the 22 percent plunge in March. Italian sales fell 18 percent to 129,633, while in Spain, new-car sales declined 22 percent to 56,250.
Reuters contributed to this report