HAMBURG/BERLIN (Reuters) - New car sales in Germany rose more than 6 percent in January, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters on Tuesday, adding to signs that Europe's auto market may turn a corner in 2014 after a six-year slump.
The third monthly gain in the past four months in Europe's top car market echoes improvements in France, Italy and Spain which all published higher registrations for January on Monday.
But solid growth in Germany was in part attributable to generous price discounts, the person said, reflecting caution among experts and executives that underlying demand in the home market of Volkswagen (VW)
"Incentives are the name of the game," said Ernst-Robert Nouvertne, who runs two VW dealerships near Cologne. "Headline sales are looking good but profit per car is crumbling. The (German) market is still pretty strained."
Still, registrations in Germany may rise for the first time in three years in 2014 to about 3 million cars, from 2.95 million last year, the country's VDA industry association said on December 3, citing a recovery that took hold last summer.
Germany's KBA federal motor authority will publish detailed sales for Europe's largest car market later on Tuesday.
(Reporting by Jan Schwartz Writing by Andreas Cremer; Editing by Martin Zwiebelberg and Mark Potter)