BRUSSELS: New car registrations across Europe in 2007 rose 1.1% to 15.96 million vehicles, versus 15.78m in 2006, reports the Brussels-based European Automobile Manufacturers Association. And rounding off the year in style, December sales rose 1.2% to 1.12m units.

From pole position on the starting grid, Italy's Fiat and BMW of Germany led the pack round the 2007 sales circuit - despite a 9.2% all-models market decline in the latter nation. Despite which it remains Europe's largest national market.

According to EAMA, the German sales slump was driven by "soaring oil prices, changes in [federal government] taxes, shrinking credit availability and purchasing-power restrained buyers' confidence."

Nonetheless, BMW's European sales rose 6.7% to 848,080 units, led by uptake of its Mini marque and the X5 SUV introduced in late 2006.

Fiat's Bravo compact and 500 small car drove-up European registrations by 7.1% year-on-year to 1.25m units, raising its overall share of new car sales to 7.8% from 7.4%.

It was helped by domestic expansion mirroring its own sales - at 2.49m cars the second most buoyant European market.

In the UK registrations advanced 2.5% to 2.4m, closely pursued by France where registrations rose 3.2% to 2.06m cars.

To download detailed EAMA statistics, click here.

Data sourced from (Germany); additional content by WARC staff