European car sales return to growth

|By:, SA News Editor

European new-car sales increased at the fastest rate in over two years in September, climbing 5.5% on year to 1.19M vehicles after dropping 4.9% in August.

In January-September, sales fell 3.9% to 9.34M cars.

Last month's figures were boosted by the end of the eurozone recession, price cutting, and a Spanish government-incentive scheme that helped demand jump 29%.

"Car sales in the EU are showing signs of improvement, indicating that the worst is behind us," says Ernst & Young's Peter Fuss. "The sales, however, continue to be artificially boosted by huge discounts and self-registrations by dealers.

Registrations in the U.K. rose 12% and 3.4% in France, but dropped 1.2% in Germany and 2.9% in Italy.

GM's (GM) sales +5.4%, Ford (F) +5%. (PR)

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