European car sales grew in April for the first time since September 2011. The rise in new registrations raises hopes for an end to Europe's car crisis.
In April, 1.038 million new cars were registered in the European Union – a rise by 1.7 percent compared with sales in the same month a year ago, according to figures released by the European Automobile Manufacturers Association, ACEA, on Friday.
However, ACEA also said that the number of new registrations remained at rock bottom as April 2012 sales had been at a historic low and those in the last month had been the third lowest ever recorded for the month.
Nevertheless, solid gains were made in some key markets, ACEA added, boosting hopes for a recovery in European car sales this year.
In Germany, which is the continent's biggest car market, sales rebounded 3.8 percent - the equivalent of slightly more than 10,000 vehicles - after slumping 13 percent in March. Stronger demand was also reported in Spain where 10.8 percent -or about 6,000 more cars - were sold than in April last year.
The British car market continued to boom as in previous months, boosting sales by more than 21,000 vehicles to a 14.8-percent increase in April.
However, the rebound was dampened by another round of big falls in France and Italy, posting declines of 5.3 percent and 10.8 percent, respectively.
Carmakers from those two countries were the ones to suffer most from the ongoing sales crisis. France's PSA Peugeot Citroen group sold 10.1 percent fewer cars in April, while Italy's FIAT group sales dropped 10 percent.
The biggest gains by percent were reported by Jaguar Land Rover - up 16.4 percent - and Mitsubishi which sold 13.1 percent more cars, according to the ACEA data.
uhe/kms (AP, AFP, dpa)