Looks like Germany came out of the gate fast this new year, but Britain on the other hand has been struggling. The former, thanks to an extra selling day, managed to come up with 11 percent more new car sales than during the month of January of last year (but about on par with the past 5 years).

The end of diesel tax breaks, however, doled out a 13-percent loss for the Brits -- much like the pull-ahead sales the United States saw with employee pricing, Britons rushed out to buy diesels before the tax break expired at the end of 2005. Patchy consumer confidence in Europe might also explain the disparity throughout the continent.

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