COPENHAGEN -- New passenger car sales in Denmark posted their biggest rise in 15 months in January, in what analysts said was a sign economic recovery was well underway.
Helped by lower interests rates, total car sales rose 14 percent year-on-year to 7,619 units from 6,685 units in January 2003, the Automobile Importers' Association said on Tuesday. It is the biggest rise October 2002.
Danes bought 9,368 units in December, when auto sales generally peak for tax reasons.
"The historically low interest rates and remortgaging activity has most likely boosted sales of new cars, which especially reflects the larger increase of sales to private persons," the association's Chief Executive Bent Mikkelsen said in a statement.
Denmark's economy was in recession in the third quarter of last year, but at Danske Bank, the news of the automobile sales was welcomed as another sign of recovery.
"The rise in automobile sales is another indication that the economic upswing is well underway," Danske Bank Economist Steen Bocian told Reuters.
"Consumers have benefited from the lasting effect of low interest rates. This has given them the confidence to take on larger purchases."
The Peugeot 206 and Peugeot 307 models faired best in January, accounting for 5.4 percent and 5.8 percent of total car sales respectively. Skoda Fabia and Ford Mondeo came in as third and fourth, taking 4.1 percent and 3.3 percent of the market share.
New registrations of vans rose 18.0 percent in January to 2,766 units, while lorry sales increased 14.4 percent to 412 units.