At first sight the European car market slipped badly in February, falling 3.7% to 1,101,548 from 1,144,300, according to provisional figures just released by ACEA. That had the effect of dragging the sector into the red after two months trading, with sales down by 1.7% to 2,362,920 from 2,404,002. That represents a dip of 41,082 units, but that does include a massive artificial dip of 143,306 units in the UK. The change in registration practise in the UK has so distorted the figures that no true realisation of what is currently the demand will be possible until at least the end of March, and possibly not with certainty until September.