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January passenger car registrations in the European Union fell by 84,060 this year to 885,159.
Germany saw the largest number of cars registered, but the figure for January still fell by 18,105 to 192,090.
Spain’s total of 49,671 registrations in the month was down by 5,290 compared with January 2012, which saw its ranking fall from fifth to sixth.
Belgium moved up into fifth place, with car registrations up by 5,952 to 50,684.
Car registrations also improved in the UK in January, up by 14,790 year-on-year to 143,643.
New car registrations in Europe are at their lowest monthly level since records began in 1990, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers Assn (Acea).