STOCKHOLM -- Swedish new car sales ended last year on a strong note, with registrations sharply higher in December compared with a year earlier, government and industry data showed on Monday.
Statistics agency SCB said registered sales of new cars in Sweden, home to Volvo and Saab, rose 17.6 percent year-on-year in December to 28,039 units while industry body Bil Sweden said registrations rose 21 percent to 25,389.
Full year 2004 figures showed a slight increase in the number of new cars sold, boosted by surging sales in the last couple of months of the year, partly due to more working days compared to the previous year.
"After a weak start the year ended on a very strong note," Bil Sweden said. "The improvement in the overall economy finally reached new car sales."
The SCB and Bil Sweden figures differ slightly due to different methods of collecting data, but the trend is the same.
For the whole of 2004, Bil Sweden said new car sales rose 1.2 percent to 264,212 units, while the statistics office put the figure at 1.5 percent.
"There is reason to view car sales in 2005 with some optimism in light of the continued economic upturn," Bil Sweden added.
This year registered sales of new cars could rise to 270,000 units due to firmer demand amid improvements in the Swedish economy, it said.