Analytical firm LMC Automotive originally projected a 2.7-percent increase over 2013 back in January, but has adjusted its expectations to the new figure.
"Following a weaker seasonally adjusted annualized rate in January - itself a consequence of the strong finish to 2013 - the February selling rate headed in the right direction once again, climbing to 11.9 million units a year," said Jonathon Poskitt, the firm's head of European sales forecasting.
The improved forecast can be attributed to noticeable year-over-year increases in a number of western European countries. Germany, for example saw a 7.2-percent hike in January sales and a 4.3-percent increase in February. Italy's sales were up 8.6 percent in February (although that is being blamed on the abysmally low sales in the beginning of 2013) and Spain saw a huge 17.8-percent improvement last month. Spanish sales also jumped 7.6 percent in the first month of 2014 and are forecasted to end the year up 7.8 percent, which is big news in one of the continent's most troubled economies.
The market that is raising the most eyebrows, though, is France, which was the sole country to see a YOY decline in February sales. Still, the news that Italy and Spain, two of Europe's more troubled markets, are seeing improvements alongside powerhouses like Germany is an encouraging sign for automakers. Let's hope this progress keeps up.