PARIS: New car sales in Europe accelerated by 6.4 percent in September, with data released on Friday showing the thirteenth month running of increases as a recovery in the market spreads across the continent.
The European Automobile Manufacturers Association said "substantial growth prevailed in all major markets" in the EU in September with nearly 1.24 million new cars sold.
Spain led the pack, with sales jumping by 26.2 percent, thanks mainly to its "cash-for-clunkers" programme, although the country's economy is gradually recovering after six years of crisis.
For the January to September period, sales climbed 6.1 percent to 9.57 million vehicles.
Spain also led the recovery for the nine-month period with a 17.2 percent increase, followed by Britain where sales shot up by 9.1 percent.
Despite anaemic growth in their economies, car sales in Italy still rose by 3.6 percent, by 2.9 percent in Germany and 2.1 percent in France.
Sales volumes are still far from pre-crisis levels, however. The 1.24 million vehicles sold in September 2014 is far off the 1.4 million sold in sold in September 2006.
Volkswagen is extending its lead in European sales, with a 7.9 increase over the nine months to 2.4 million vehicles, expanding its market share to 25.2 percent from 24.8 percent.
France's PSA Group, which manufactures Peugeot and Citroen vehicles, saw its market share slip to 10.9 percent from 11.0 percent despite a 4.8 percent increase in sales to 1.0 million vehicles.
Renault was in third place, expanding its market share to 9.6 percent from 8.8 percent thanks to a 15.9 percent jump in sales to 921,038 vehicles. Sales of its low-cost Dacia lineup jumped by 29.2 percent.
Sales in the GM group were down by 3.3 percent, however, although this was due to the US group deciding to phase out its Chevrolet brand in Europe. Its German unit Opel, beat the average with an 8.2 percent increase to 671,198 vehicles.
Shares in Volkswagen climbed 2.4 percent to 157.80 euros, while shares in Peugeot jumped 4.8 to 9.08 euros, and Renault rose 3.4 percent to 54.15 euros.
Meanwhile shares in Faurecia, a unit of PSA Group, rose 5.5 percent after the car parts maker said its third quarter sales jumped 6.5 percent.
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