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UPDATE 1-France, Spain and Italy extend car sales recovery in June
July 1, 2014 / 5:30 PM / 3 years ago

UPDATE 1-France, Spain and Italy extend car sales recovery in June

(Adds Italy figures)

PARIS, July 1 (Reuters) - French, Spanish and Italian car sales rose in June, industry data showed on Tuesday, helped by extra incentives and demand for new models as Europe's vehicle sector steadily recovers from a six-year slump.

French registrations grew 3.2 percent in the month, bringing first-half gains to 2.9 percent, the Paris-based CCFA carmakers' association said, raising its full-year growth forecast to 2 percent from expectations for no change.

"Taking account of the current economic realities, we nonetheless maintain a certain prudence about the passenger car market in 2014," association head Patrick Blain told reporters.

Europe is recovering from a downturn in which demand dropped to a two-decade low, leading to widespread losses for vehicle makers and job cuts as the industry struggled to cover the huge fixed costs of its manufacturing base in the region.

Among individual manufacturers, figures showed France's Renault achieved a 25 percent gain in domestic sales on strong demand for its Captur mini-crossover and no-frills Dacia Duster.

Rival PSA Peugeot Citroen's deliveries fell 2.3 percent, weighed down by an 8.6 percent drop at its Citroen marque. Ford, General Motors, Toyota and Volkswagen also lost ground.

But French demand for luxury cars picked up, with BMW and Daimler recording gains of 25 and 17 percent respectively after declines in previous months.

New car sales in Italy, Europe's fourth-largest car market, rose 3.8 percent from the year before, the country's transport ministry said, supported by double-digit growth in sales of the Dacia, Renault and Peugeot brands.

Sales of Fiat Chrysler's mass-market brand Fiat rose only 4.7 percent, resulting in the parent group's total share of the Italian market dipping to 27.1 percent from 27.5 percent in the same month last year.

Industry groups warned the Italian recovery in the first six months of this year was still fragile and mainly the result of higher demand from the rental sector, while vehicle sales to private customers dropped slightly in the January-June period.

In Spain, new car sales surged 24 percent for a tenth consecutive month of year-on-year gains, as the market rebounded from record lows with 18-percent first-half growth.

Registrations were boosted by the renewal of state-backed sales subsidies for buyers who trade in older vehicles.

Peugeot, Citroen and GM's Opel all fared better in Spain than in France last month, with sales growth outpacing the broader market. Among major brands, Ford, Fiat, VW and Renault led the advance with gains close to 50 percent.

Other major European markets are due to publish June registration data later in the week. (Reporting by Laurence Frost, Gilles Guillaume and Paul Day; Editing by Louise Ireland and David Holmes)

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