BERLIN–Growth in new car sales slowed in February in the European Union as demand fell in several big markets and sales of volume brands Volkswagen and Peugeot slumped, the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association said Thursday.
In February, new car registrations, a reflection of sales, rose 2.2% in the 28-nation EU to 1.08 million vehicles, and were up 2.1% to 1.11 million vehicles in the EU and members of the European Free Trade Association, such as Switzerland. February’s growth was the weakest since October, when new car sales declined 0.02%, and contrasts with the strong January gain of 10.2% in the EU.
The association, whose members include Europe’s biggest car makers, said slack demand was in part due to one less working day compared with the previous year.
New car sales fell 2.9% in France, and were down 2.6% in Germany. The U.K., the second-largest European car market by sales, recorded a slight decline of 0.3%.
Italy outperformed the other big western European markets, posting a 6.2% increase in new car sales, while sales in Spain rose 0.2%.
Among the car makers, Jaguar, the sports car brand in the Jaguar Land Rover group, was again the fastest-growing auto maker in Europe. New Jaguar sales surged nearly 52% to 4,047 vehicles in February, outpacing rivals Porsche, Daimler AG’s Mercedes, BMW AG and Audi.
The VW brand of Volkswagen AG, the bloc’s biggest manufacturer, continued losing market share, falling to 10.4% in February from 11.3% the year before. Volkswagen new car sales fell 6.6% to 111,780 vehicles in February. As a result, sales of the larger Volkswagen group, which includes Audi, Porsche, Skoda, and SEAT, fell 1.1% to 247,872 vehicles.
Peugeot, which recently agreed to buy the Opel and Vauxhall businesses of General Motors Co., was the EU’s second-largest auto maker by sales last month, despite a 3.1% decline in new car sales to 115,710 vehicles.
Renault SA and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV reported strong demand last month, with new car sales rising 6.8% and 8.3% respectively. FCA’s sales got a boost from its Alfa Romeo brand, which reported a 21% increase to 6,065 vehicles.
Write to William Boston at William.Boston@wsj.com