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European cars post good sales

BRUSSELS, July 15 – Sales of new cars in Europe rose in June for the first time for 14 months, up by 2.4 percent, trade data showed on Wednesday.

The ACEA European car makers association said that new car registrations "arrived at a modest plus … or 1,461,859 units in June carried by the effects of fleet renewal schemes in more than 10 EU member states".

But the association, which compiles statistics from 28 European nations, said the figures put the brakes on a steep downward trend that started in May 2008.

It noted strong demand in Europe\’s biggest market, Germany — up 40.5 percent — and rises of 12.4 percent in Italy, 7.0 percent in France and 4.0 percent in Austria.

Sales in Spain slumped by 15.9 percent, while those in Britain were down 15.7 percent and would have fallen further were it not for recently introduced support measures, ACEA said.

Several European governments have introduced subsidies for the scrapping of old cars if new ones are bought and these have stimulated demand in the depressed sector, notably for small cars. However, some governments, in France for example, are now wondering how best to phase out such programmes without causing a sudden drop in demand.

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