BRUSSELS (Reuters) -- European car-sales growth is likely to slow to about 2 percent in 2016 after a sharp recovery in southern nations last year, industry association ACEA.
ACEA President Dieter Zetsche, who is also CEO of Daimler, said the market was moving in the right direction after several rocky years following the 2008 financial crisis, but that sales remained below the 2007 pre-crisis peak of 15.5 million cars.
New passenger car registrations in Europe rose 9.3 percent in 2015, with an increase of 21 percent in Spain and 16 percent in Italy and expansion in the UK, France and Germany of between 5 and 7 percent.
"For 2016 we anticipate a much more modest sale increase for both passenger cars and commercial vehicles," Zetsche told a news conference on Thursday. "We expect car sales to go up by around 2 percent, reaching roughly 14 million units."
The ACEA study, conducted by IHS Automotive, sees some weakening in northern Europe, slowing growth in Spain, but still decent rises in France, Germany and Italy.
Zetsche recognized that the industry had been hit by the Volkswagen scandal over vehicle emissions, but said this should not be confused with debate over closing the gap between the performance of cars in the real world and in test conditions.
"It is not the same but I understand there is a big confusion out there. We definitely want to see clear regulation," he said.
The European Parliament last week postponed a planned vote on new car pollution limits until the first week of February.