Spain Auto Sales Soar 61% in March

Sharpest increase in the history of the market

On the back of a government incentive program, new car sales soared by a record 63.1% in Spain in March from the same month last year.

A total of 124,756 new cars were registered during the month, up from 76,501 in March 2009 and from 124,302 in March 2008, the Spanish car manufacturers' association ANFAC said.

It was "the sharpest increase ... in the history of the market" in Spain, Anfac said.

It was also the seventh straight monthly rise.

Anfac attributed the increase to the government's subsidy of up to 2,000 euros (US$2,700) for new car purchases that came into effect last May.

The Spanish economy, the fifth largest in Europe, has been mired in recession since the end of 2008 as the global financial crisis hastened a correction that was already underway in its once-buoyant property sector.

Spain posted a 17.9% decline in new car registrations last year, following a record drop of 28% in 2008 as the country's worst recession in decades caused consumers to curb spending, especially on big ticket items.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010

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