BERLIN (Reuters) - Sales of new cars in Germany jumped the most in almost a year in March on two extra selling days, an industry source said, echoing signs of strong growth in other European auto markets.
Registrations of new passenger cars in Europe's largest vehicle market increased about 11 percent last month to around 360,000 autos, the source told Reuters on Tuesday on condition he not be identified because official sales data has not been published yet.
First-quarter sales in Germany were up about 6 to 7 percent to around 845,000 vehicles from about 791,000 a year ago, the source said, helped by a total of three additional selling days.
Besides the statistical effect, sales in the three months through March were helped by an increase of about 9 percent in private demand, the source said.
But registrations in April look set to shrink again as the long Easter weekend will reduce the number of selling days, he added.
Strong sales in Germany chime with double-digit gains in March already reported in Italy and Spain, Europe's fourth and fifth biggest markets in 2016.
Official German car sales data is expected to be published by Germany's VDA auto industry association later on Tuesday.
Reporting by Andreas Cremer; Editing by Maria Sheahan