Overall in 2019, new-car registrations increased by 1.2% across the European Union, reaching more than 15.3 million units in total and marking the sixth consecutive year of growth. The year started on weak footing due to the lasting impact of the introduction of the WLTP test in September 2018. Yet, the final quarter of 2019, and December in particular, pushed the full-year performance of the EU market into positive territory, the European Automobile Manufacturers Association said.

In December 2019, EU passenger car demand grew for the fourth month in a row (+21.7%), marking the highest December total on record to date. This was partially the result of a low base of comparison, as registrations fell by 8.4% in December 2018. However, specific market changes also contributed to this exceptional growth, the sector association reported.

Throughout the year, Volkswagen has consolidated its place at the top of car sales in the EU, with an increase of 3.1%. The group includes brands such as Audi, Porsche and Skoda.

The French automaker, which owns Peugeot, Citroen, Opel, Vauxhall, ranked second although it reports a 1.1% decline.

Its French rival Renault, ranked third with a 1.1% year-over-year increase, data show.