World Bulletin / News Desk
The European car market clocked up robust growth in May, with new car registrations returning almost to pre-crisis levels, the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association ACEA said on Friday.
"In volume terms, this result comes close to May 2007 levels, just before the economic crisis hit the auto industry," the carmakers said.
With the exception of Britain, where new car registrations declined by 8.5 percent, Europe's biggest markets performed well last month.
Sales sped ahead by 12.9 percent in Germany last month and by 11.2 percent in Spain, followed by France with growth of 8.9 percent and Italy with 8.2 percent.
Taking the five months from January to May, demand for passenger cars also grew throughout the EU, with new registrations up 5.3 percent at 6.719 million units.
Here again, Italy Spain, Germany and France all saw their markets grow over the first five months of the year, while Britain registered a slight decline, ACEA said.
German car giant Volkswagen remained Europe's biggest manufacturer, with registrations of its VW, Audi, Skoda, SEAT and Porsche brands rising by 3.2 percent in the five-month period. It commands a 23.3-percent share of the market.
French maker PSA Peugeot Citroen saw its sales rise by 1.9 percent in the period from January to May, while new registrations of Renault raced ahead by 8.1 percent.
Each has a market share of 10.1 percent.
New registrations of Opel and Vauxhall, the European arms of US giant General Motors currently being taken over by PSA, slipped by 1.3 percent.
By contrast, US rival Ford saw its sales in European rise by 4.9 percent, new registrations of Fiat Chrysler were up 10.7 percent, Daimler sales grew by 7.8 percent and BMW sales were up 3.2 percent.
Japanese maker, Toyota, the world's number two, also performed well, with registrations rising by 24.4 percent, while rival Nissan booked an increase of 6.0 percent.
The European market for new cars expanded by 6.8 percent to 14.64 million units in 2016, almost the level seen in 2008 when the economic crisis began.
It fell as low as 11.8 million units in 2013.
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