MILAN, March 5 (Reuters) - Western European car sales rose 3.5 percent in February, lifted by healthy demand in Germany, France and Spain, according to industry data compiled by LMC Automotive.
Registrations in February came to 1.05 million vehicles, the consulting firm said on Monday. Its numbers are based on national data and estimates for some smaller markets.
Given an exceptionally strong January, the seasonally adjusted annualized rate (SAAR) of Western European sales fell 2.6 percent from January levels to 14.95 million cars but remained still well above post-recession average, LMC said.
Registrations rose 7.4 percent in Germany, 4.3 percent in France and 13 percent in Spain, according to data published in recent days. Luxembourg sales jumped an estimated 29.7 percent and rose more than 10 percent in the Netherlands and Portugal.
By contrast, car registrations fell 1.4 percent in Italy, although this seemed to reflect a strong comparison month last year, and decreased by 2.8 percent in the United Kingdom.
LMC said it continues to forecast a slightly slower growth across Western Europe this year compared to the 2.5 percent increase recorded in 2017.
“The UK will act as a drag on the region, although the fact that the year has started so strongly means that Western Europe should remain firmly in positive growth territory in 2018,” the consulting firm added. (Reporting by Agnieszka Flak; editing by Francesca Landini)