From Automotive News Europe
Frankfurt -- New-car registrations in Germany rose by 19.4 percent to nearly 380 000 units in April as motorists continued to cash in on a government incentive to scrap old cars and buy new ones.
The increase brought new-car sales in the first four months of the year to the best level since the record year of 1999, data from the VDIK car importers association showed on Tuesday.
The rise follows an increase of 40 percent in March and contrasts with falling sales in other European countries.
Spanish car sales fell 45.6 percent in April compared with the same month last year, while Italian sales were down 7.5 percent and French sales declined by 7 percent.
The German government's subsidy pays motorists Euro 2500 ($3310) to scrap cars at least nine years old if they buy a new model . The scheme was launched in February.
The scheme has been so popular that the government has agreed to increase it to Euro 5000 million from the 1500 million first envisaged. It runs until the end of this year.
The incentive has fuelled sales of small cars, but has drawn complaints from German retailers that it is sucking demand away from other businesses.
The VDIK said orders on hand showed the German market was set to keep growing briskly in the months ahead.
After Spain's April car sales fell for the 12th month in a row to 67 215, the country's auto association ANFAC repeated its call for the Spanish government to implement scrapping incentives to boost demand.
In Italy, the small April decline to 188 406 was seen as a positive sign that government incentives to buy new, less-polluting cars including a scrappage bonus are reinvigorating demand.
French passenger-car sales fell to 184 706 units in April. Car sales had risen 8.1 percent in France in March, helped by the government's scrapping bonus and environmental taxes aimed at promoting sales of fuel-efficient cars.