Despite the fog obscuring Tower Bridge during the Guinness World Record attempt above, a ray of sunshine fell upon the United Kingdom in 2012 as its car sales rose to their highest level since 2008. According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, British new-car registrations rose to 2.04 million units last year. That represents a jump of 5.3 percent for the UK, which is Europe's second largest market.

The news wasn't nearly as warm for the others in Europe. Data released last week showed that German sales dropped to 3.08 million in 2012, a decline of 2.9 percent. Sales in France were down to 1.9 million vehicles, a decline of 14 percent, while Italy managed to move just 1.4 million units, a drop of 19.9 percent over the previous year. Spain reported just 699,589 sales, its lowest number since the industry began keeping records in 1989.

As we reported last week, sales in the United States are on a strong upswing with 14.49 million light vehicles reported sold, representing an increase of 13 percent over 2011.

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