New passenger car sales in Romania rose 9.4% year on year in the first four months of 2016 to 28,000 units. But local car production went down 6.4% on lower domestic sales and exports, according to the Automotive Manufacturers and Importers Association (APIA).

Website said domestic car sales, which include Dacia and the Ford B-Max, fell by almost 20% in the first four months, to 7,132 units. Imported car sales increased 25% year-on-year, to 20,861 units.

Local producer Dacia maintained its leader position although it sold 17% fewer cars compared to January-April 2015. Dacia's sales totaled 7,752 units and represented 28% of the total.

Volkswagen was the best-selling import brand, with 3,059 units, up by a third (32.3%) compared to the same period of 2015. Skoda came next with 2,941 cars sold and a16.6% increase. Ford's sales stagnated at 1,870 units and Renault's sales went up by 17.6%, to 1,787 units.

Premium car brands Mercedes-Benz and BMW saw the highest sale increases in the top 10. Mercedes-Benz sold almost 950 units, 49% more than in the first four months of 2015, while BMW increased its sales by 55%, to 764 units, making it to the top 10.

Sales of hybrid and electric cars more than doubled in the first four months to 192 units. The increase may accelerate due to the government's support programme for electric car purchases.

Diesel car sales went up by only 1.2% while petrol car sales surged 21%. This reflected higher diesel prices compared to petrol, but may also be due to the VW diesel emissions scandal.

Total sales of motor vehicles went up by 14.4% in Romania in the first four months of the year, reaching 36,000 units. Commercial vehicle and bus sales totaled 8,060 units, up by 36%.