PARIS / BERLIN (Reuters) — Car sales in
France and Spain rose for the fifth straight month in January,
suggesting the recovery in Europe's autos market is strengthening
following a six-year slump.
The figures add to broader signs the European economy is emerging
from a protracted period of weakness which weighed heavily on
consumer demand, particularly in the debt-laden southern countries
of the region.
Sales of new cars in Spain, Europe's No. 5 autos market, increased
7.6 percent year on year last month to 53,436 vehicles, car
manufacturers' association Anfac said on Monday, helped by
In France, Europe's third-largest car market, new registrations
edged up 0.5 percent to 125,477 cars, industry association CCFA
said, keeping its forecast for stable to slightly higher car sales
in the country this year.
"The European car market is beginning to slowly head in the right
direction," said Jonathon Poskitt, head of European forecasting for
LMC Automotive, predicting western European sales to grow 3 percent
to 11.85 million vehicles in 2014.
Swedish new car sales surged by 19 percent in January, added Bil
Sweden, whose members represent 99 percent of all new registrations
in the country.
In France, Renault's <RENA.PA> sales rose 12.4 percent to 34,151
cars, helped by its new Captur mini-SUV and no-frills Dacia models.
That lifted the group's share of its home market to 27.22 percent
from 24.35 percent.
Larger French rival Peugeot <PEUP.PA>, which is seeking a tie-up
with China's Dongfeng as its struggles to halt European losses and
expand overseas, recorded a more modest 6 percent rise in sales.