* European car sales rise 4.3 pct in June to 1.23 mln
* Jan-June sales rise 6.2 pct to 6.85 mln autos
* Rise in sales boosted by new products, incentives
(Adds details, quotes)
By Agnieszka Flak
MILAN, July 17 New car sales in Europe rose 4.3
percent in June, industry data showed on Thursday, as an
economic recovery in southern Europe, new product launches and
retail incentives boosted demand for mass-market brands.
New passenger car registrations in the European Union and
European Free Trade Association trading block rose for the tenth
consecutive month to 1.23 million vehicles in June from 1.18
million in the same month last year, according to data from the
Association of European Carmakers (ACEA).
Europe's car industry endured a six-year slump, with sales
falling to their lowest level in two decades as austerity-hit
consumers cut back on expensive purchases, but the market has
gradually returned to growth.
In the first six months of this year sales across the region
rose 6.2 percent to 6.85 million vehicles, ACEA added.
However, the June rise comes from a low base and was spread
unevenly across the region. Analysts also said that heavy
discounting and other incentives were distorting the true level
Retail incentives across Europe's top five markets increased
10 percent year on year to a record 2,748 euros ($3,700) per
vehicle, according to data from a major independent market
"As we move into the second half, consumers are likely to
replace ageing vehicles, driven by a recovery in western
Europe's labour market and positive consumer sentiment due to an
improving economic scenario," said Ernst & Young senior
automotive partner Peter Fuss, adding that he expects the car
sales growth momentum to continue for the rest of the year.
"We anticipate discounts and self-registrations to decline
gradually as economic fundamentals improve and the replacement
cycle returns to normal."
At a brand level, mass-market manufacturers including
Renault's eponymous brand and its no-frills Dacia
marque, Volkswagen's Skoda and Seat and General
Motors' Opel all posted stronger growth in June than
premium marques BMW and VW's Audi.
DACIA SALES LEAP
Sales jumped 32.2 percent at Dacia, 20.6 percent for the
Renault brand and 11.7 percent at Opel. Sales at Volkswagen's
Spanish carmaker Seat rose 13.2 percent and 12.6 percent at its
Czech division Skoda.
Deliveries for the world's two largest luxury carmakers BMW
and Audi rose 7.6 percent and 1.4 percent, respectively, while
sales at Daimler dipped 0.7 percent, held back by a
19.1 percent plunge in deliveries of the Smart city car.
Daimler hopes that a cooperation tie-up with Renault and the
launch of new Smart models will make the brand
Registration of VW's namesake brand, the carmaker's biggest
division by sales and deliveries, fell 2.8 percent in June. VW
said it would seek to cut costs at the brand as it struggles to
match the earnings power of global rival Toyota.
June registrations underperformed the regional trend in
Europe's second-biggest car market France and Italy, the
fourth-largest, by rising 2.5 percent and 3.8 percent
respectively, while falling nearly 2 percent in top market
Germany, where sales were held back by fewer working days than a
However, they grew in double digits in some states most hit
by the financial crisis - increasing by 23.9 percent in Spain
and 23.6 percent in Portugal - showing that the region's fragile
recovery was gaining momentum.
($1 = 0.7394 Euros)
(Editing by David Goodman)