By Kari Williamson

For the whole year 2011, demand for new cars decreased by 1.7%, bringing the total number of units registered to 13,111,209. Full-year registrations decreased for the fourth consecutive year.

In December, Germany was the largest market in number of cars with 244,501 new car registrations and the only major one to post growth (+6.1%). Spain (-3.6%) and the UK (-3.7%) recorded single-digit drops, while Italy (-15.3%) and France (-17.7%) faced a double-digit downturn.

In 2011, most of the significant car markets declined, from -2.1% in France to -4.4% in the UK, -10.9% in Italy and -17.7% in Spain.

Germany was the exception as demand for new cars grew by 8.8% over 12 months. It remained the largest market with a total of 3,173,634 new car registrations, followed by France (2,251,669 units) and the UK (1,941,253 units).