Trade-ins help German car sales
German car sales soared 40% in March compared with the same time a year ago, with a spate of buying encouraged by a trade-in plan to scrap old cars.
The VDA automobile federation said sales in March hit 401,000 vehicles.
In Germany, drivers get 2,500 euros (£2,220; $3,170) for trading in a car more than nine years old. The scheme will be phased out by the end of 2009.
The figures come a day after the US auto industry's monthly sales were 45% down on this time last year.
And South African new vehicle sales plunged by 30.1% in the year to March, industry figures there showed on Thursday.Applications soar
In Germany, the rise - which was also put down to there being a greater number of business days in the month this year - was the biggest since 1992.
Sales figures had also been depressed in 2008 as the economic downturn hit spending and an increase in German VAT had also started to bite.
More than 900,000 motorists in Germany have signed up for the car scrapping scheme, which was originally planned to be limited to 600,000 applicants.
It had an immediate effect with sales jumping 21.5% in February. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/7979208.stm