Europe's embattled car market has seen its sales figures dwindle in recent years, as the Continent recovered from the global financial crisis. But new figures suggest the worst may be over.
Demand for new cars in Europe rose for the 10th consecutive month in June, industry data showed Thursday, suggesting the struggling European auto sector could finally be emerging from a recent slump.
Compared with the same month last year, new car sales increased 4.5 percent thanks to surges in demand in some of the countries hardest hit by the eurozone debt crisis, the Brussels-based European Automobile Manufacturer's Association (ACEA) said.
Sales were up in every major car market in the European Union except in Germany, where new registrations were down 1.9 percent.
Sales growth in Spain, which logged some of Europe's highest unemployment rates amid the Continent's devastating recession, reached a whopping 23.9 percent. In Portugal it reached 23.5 percent.
Greece, whose foundering economy helped spark the European recession more than four years ago, registered sales growth of 41 percent.
Italy and France, which have also suffered from the bloc's financial woes, saw gains of 3.8 and 2.5 percent respectively.
But the automobile association added that the boost in new car registrations to 1.2 million was still the "second-lowest level reached in a month of June since ACEA began the series in 2003 with the enlarged EU."
A key indicator of the health of an advanced economy, new car sales were up 6.5 percent in Europe over the first six months of the year, ACEA reported.
Lingering worries about car sales volume in Europe have been offset by optimism about booming sales in China, where German carmakers enjoy a high-status reputation and strong demand.
cjc/nz (AFP, dpa)