W.European auto recovery gathers pace - LMC Automotive

PARIS Wed Aug 6, 2014 6:49am EDT

PARIS Aug 6 (Reuters) - The pace of Western Europe's auto recovery increased to 5 percent in July, according to industry data compiled by LMC Automotive, building hopes that 2014 will lay the groundwork for a sustained market rebound.

Registrations advanced to 1,002,226 cars in July, the consulting firm said on Wednesday, for an 11th straight monthly increase. June's year-on-year gain had been 3.9 percent.

The market is "on course for a solid full-year expansion of about 5 percent", LMC forecasting chief Jonathon Poskitt said.

"Germany, Spain and the UK continued to set the pace with the UK seeing market levels this year back to pre-financial crisis levels."

European demand for new cars is gradually returning after a prolonged slump to two-decade lows. But the recovery remains patchy, some carmakers warned in recent days as they published interim results.

Southern Europe's rebound continued without France. July sales rose 11 percent in Spain, 31 percent in Portugal and 5 percent in Italy but fell 4.3 percent in France.

Western European sales so far this year represent an annualized rate of 11.97 million cars, based on LMC's seasonal adjustments, 3.7 percent above last year's 11.55 million total. (Reporting by Laurence Frost; Editing by James Regan)