Yesterday the Bundesbank said that gross domestic product expansion this year in Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, may be higher than it forecast in December.

European car-sales increased considerably last month as price cuts and economic-growth prospects encouraged consumers to buy new models. Popular models such as Renault’s Clio and a station wagon variant of Volkswagen’s Golf led registrations to increase 6.2 percent in January from a year earlier to 1.03 million vehicles, the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association reports. That compares with increases of 4.9 percent in December and 5.4 percent for all of 2014, the first year of growth after a six-year drop. Ireland, Portugal and Cyprus, which all received European Union-led bailouts from 2010 to 2013, were among smaller markets in the region where car sales jumped the most last month. All five of Europe’s largest auto markets expanded last month, with increases of 28 percent in Spain, 11 percent in Italy, 6.7 percent in the U.K., 6.2 percent in France and 2.6 percent in Germany.

Renault, after offering a particularly attractive range of models lately, sold 10 percent more cars in Europe in January. Registrations jumped 11 percent at the namesake brand and 7.4 percent at the no-frills Dacia nameplate. Sport-utility vehicles such as Renault’s Captur crossover and Dacia’s Duster also propelled demand.

European sales by Volkswagen rose 6.6 percent, with the VW brand delivering 8.3 percent more autos. The Seat marque, benefiting from a revamped Leon car lineup, posted a 13 percent jump and the luxury Porsche brand, which introduced the Macan compact SUV last year, reported a 46 percent surge.

Daimler AG’s European sales rose 15 percent as a new version of the two-seat Smart city car and a four-seat variant pushed a 35 percent jump at the brand. Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz premium nameplate, which has benefited from surging sales of the top-of-the-line S-Class sedan, delivered 13 percent more vehicles.

The ACEA’s figures comprise statistics from the 28 European Union countries, excluding Malta, as well as Switzerland, Norway and Iceland. January marked the 17th consecutive month of sales increases, the longest stretch of gains since the association began compiling registration figures in 1990.

PSA Peugeot Citroen, the region’s second-biggest carmaker, and General Motors Co. were the only sellers among Europe’s top 10 to post group-wide declines last month. The GM drop was caused by the U.S. company’s withdrawal of the Chevrolet brand from Europe. Demand at GM’s twin Opel and Vauxhall nameplates jumped 15 percent.

Other Market News

European markets shaved off 1% from its recent highs after discussions in Brussels ended abruptly yesterday, with Greece rejecting as “unacceptable” a euro-area proposal that the nation extend its existing bailout. Without a deal, the government of Alexis Tsipras could run out of money by the end of March and be forced to choose between breaking election promises or sticking with the euro. Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures declined 0.5 percent, signaling the U.S. gauge may slide from a record after a holiday yesterday. The Shanghai Composite Index advanced before a weeklong holiday begins Wednesday. Japanese bonds rallied after a debt auction. Brent crude added 1.1 percent to $62.09 a barrel. Wheat climbed after Russian shipments tumbled 97 percent due to a new tax.

Partly adapted from Bloomberg by Mathieu Rosemain ”European Car Sales Rise 6.2% as Economy Helps Renault, VW Demand”