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[BERLIN] European car sales jumped the most this year in May, industry data showed on Thursday, helped by an extra selling day in a number of markets, with volume and premium brands alike posting double-digit percentage growth.
Registrations of new passenger cars in the European Union and the European Free Trade Association increased 16 per cent last month to 1.33 million vehicles, the Brussels-based Association of European Carmakers (Acea) said.
"Looking ahead, it is expected that the market will maintain its positive momentum," Acea said in a statement published two weeks after the group more than doubled its forecast for growth in European auto sales to 5 per cent from 2 per cent.
Five-month deliveries in Europe were up 9.7 per cent to 6.58 million vehicles.
Four of Europe's five biggest markets recorded double-digit sales gains, led by Italy and France where registrations surged 27 per cent and 22 per cent while the region's No 1 market Germany posted 12 per cent growth.
Last month's expansion was driven by mass market manufacturers Renault and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA)'s Fiat brand, jumping 34 per cent and 27 per cent respectively, Acea said.
But Germany's luxury nameplates Daimler, BMW and Volkswagen's Audi also fared well, with the core Mercedes, BMW and Audi brands jumping 15 per cent, 22 per cent and 20 per cent respectively.
Battling to move beyond its diesel emissions test-rigging scandal, Volkswagen's (VW) deliveries in its core European market recovered further in May.
VW group sales including the troubled namesake brand, premium flagships Audi and Porsche and Czech division Skoda rose 8.8 per cent, the highest monthly gain in the nine months since the manipulation came to light last September, Acea data showed.
Registrations from the Opel Group, the European division of General Motors, rose 12 per cent, while Ford was up 7.8 per cent, Acea added.