New car sales in Europe increased strongly in June to reach levels close to those seen before the start of the recession.
Registrations in June increased by 6.9% compared to June 2015, reaching 1,459,508 units, close to the 1.5m market achieved in June 2007 before sales slumped.
During H1 2016 passenger car registrations increased by 9.4% in the EU, totalling 7,842,965 units, with all major markets posting growth, including the UK, despite a 0.8% fall during June amid uncertainty in advance of its vote to leave the EU.
Portugal posted some of the biggest gains. Sales grew 17.9% during H1 as the economy recovered strongly, particularly in the first quarter when buyers rushed to acquire vehicles before higher taxes were introduced.
Italy’s 19.2% H1 growth was driven by the economy returning to health and growing consumer confidence, although concerns remain about the impact of a banking sector crisis on demand in H2. Poland and Hungary also recorded high percentage growth which was driven by improving economies.
One of the only markets to register a fall during H1 was the Netherlands where demand cooled after strong growth last year when car buyers brought forward purchases to take advantage of grants for low emission vehicles which were withdrawn at the end of the year.
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