MILAN – European auto sales surged 15 per cent in June, the biggest month-on-month increase in more than five years, the European carmakers’ association reported Thursday. Still, analysts remained cautious amid economic uncertainty caused by the Greek financial crisis.
The region posted its 22nd month of growth with sales of 1.36 million units, boosting half-year sales by 8 per cent to 7.1 million, ACEA said.
IHS Automotive analyst Carlos da Silva said the stronger-than-expected growth was due to two extra calendar days of sales in June compared with May, as well as the impact of end-of-quarter accounting, when many automakers offer incentives to reach targets. He noted strong response from individual buyers in Germany and France, where sales rose 13 per cent and 15 per cent respectively.
Despite the acceleration in registrations, IHS remained cautious for the year, forecasting growth of just 4 per cent to 13.1 million units.
“The market’s recovery is still fragile, even more so as a result of the ongoing turmoil in Greece,” da Silva said, noting also that private demand is “close to saturation point.”
All major markets posted double-digit gains, according to ACEA. Beyond France and Germany, ACEA said registrations were up 23 per cent in Spain, 14 per cent in Italy and 13 per cent in Britain.
The major mass-market carmakers showed double-digit sales gains, except France’s Renault with just a 4.5 per cent increase. There were no major shifts in market share.