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European car sales hit pre-crisis volumes

MILAN – European carmakers recorded the highest sales volumes last month since just before the economic crisis bottomed out the market.

The European automakers association ACEA said on Friday that car sales rose 9 per cent in April compared to the previous year, for 1.27 million units. ACEA says that the highest volume since April 2008.

Volkswagen brand sales continued to lag in the wake of the diesel scandal, up just 2.7 per cent. Sales for the VW group, which includes also Audi, Porsche and Skoda, rose 5.4 per cent.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, boosted by Jeep, and Toyota posted double-digit growth, along with premium carmakers BMW and Daimler.

IHS automotive says the Western European market is bolstered by “reasonably strong consumer confidence, robust replacement demand and competitive financing.”