BRUSSELS (dpa-AFX) - Car sales in the European Union are not really making progress. A good one million cars were registered in March, 5.2 percent fewer than a year earlier, according to the industry association Acea in Brussels on Thursday. For the first quarter, this represents an increase of only 4.4 percent to just under 2.8 million cars. Sales of purely electric cars even fell by 11.3 percent in March. In the first three months of the year, it still increased by 3.8 percent to around 333,000 vehicles.

In March, the market share of all-electric vehicles was 13 percent. A year earlier, it had been 13.9 percent. While sales of such cars in Belgium and France increased by double-digit percentages year-on-year, they plummeted by almost 29 percent in Germany.

The Volkswagen Group (VW, Skoda, Audi, Seat, Cupra, Porsche) remained the market leader in the EU. However, its new registrations across the Group fell by nine percent to just over 251,000 vehicles in March, following a ten percent increase in February.

Stellantis (Fiat, Peugeot, Citroen, Opel) in second place recorded a decline of 12.6 percent. Renault, the third-largest supplier, saw a much smaller drop of 2.1 percent, while number four Toyota increased its new registrations by as much as 18.4 percent./stw/nas/he