Automotive News Europe reports new vehicle sales in the EU have hit a 23-year low after registrations plunged 8.5 percent last month. Ford, Peugeot-Citroën and Toyota all suffered the brunt of that fall, but a few automakers managed to make gains despite the negative trend. Opel, Vauxhall and Kia all saw sales increase, and Volkswagen Group managed to increase its market share by 0.8 percent. That's despite the fact that VW Group sales volume declined by 5.5 percent overall. Fiat sales, meanwhile, dropped by 12 percent, fueled in part by an implosion of the Alfa Romeo brand, which endured a sales decline of 32 percent.

Luxury brands are still weathering the downturn fairly well, however. BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Jaguar-Land Rover all managed to increase their sales in January. Interestingly enough, the UK continues to enjoy strong sales, and last month, the country surpassed France to become the second largest auto market in the EU thanks to a sales increase of 11 percent. Registrations in France fell off by some 15 percent during the same time period.

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