Europe new car sales rose 3% year on year in February to 974,346 units, although that was 15% behind February 2008, just before the economic crisis hit, carmakers’ association ACEA said on Tuesday.

The figures are in line with predictions by industry chiefs that the market will fall 10% this year as scrapping incentives expire across the continent.

The incentives were introduced across Europe last year to give a boost to new vehicle sales. In Germany, where scrappage ended last autumn, sales fell 29.8% last month. In France, which still has a scheme running, sales were up 18.2%.

Other countries where scrappage schemes remain include Italy (+20.6%), the UK (+26.4%) and Spain (+47.0%).

However, Romania, Hungary and Poland saw February registrations decrease by 63.0%, 57.9% and 19.2%, respectively.

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