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After a six-year downturn in European new car sales, the sector has returned to annual growth thanks to growing demand boosted by improvement in consumer confidence, retail incentives and new models.
According to the Association of European Carmakers (ACEA), new passenger car registrations in the European Union and European Free Trade Association increased to 1.3 million vehicles in April 2016, up 9% year-on-year, with nearly all automotive manufacturers recording sales increases, even Volkswagen despite its diesel emissions scandal.
"The EU passenger car market posted strong results again, marking the 32nd consecutive month of growth. This is the highest result in volume terms since April 2008, just before the economic crisis hit the automotive industry”, said ACEA in a statement.
April’s growth was mainly driven by German carmakers Daimler and BMW, +21.6% and 11.7%, respectively. FCA’s Registrations increased 13.6%, boosted by strong sales of Jeeps (+21.8%).
Overall group sales at Volkswagen, Europe's biggest carmaker, increased 5.3% percent in April and demand for its core brand rose 2.6% after dropping 1.6% the previous month.
New registrations for France's PSA Peugeot Citroen and Renault were up 5.6% and 5.3%, respectively. Sales for American Ford and Opel Group, the European division of General Motors, were up 4% an 6.6%, respectively.
According to the ACEA, European registrations increased 8.3% to 5.25 million vehicles in the first four months of 2016. All five major national markets in Europe recorded sales increase in April 2016, led by Spain (+21.2) and Italy (+11.5%).