FRANKFURT, July 17 (Reuters) - Car sales in Western Europe rose 5.1 percent in June and reached their highest ever level in the European Union as strong sales in Germany, France and Spain helped offset a slump in demand in Britain and Italy, industry data showed on Tuesday.
Passenger car registrations rose to 1.62 million vehicles in the markets of the European Union (EU) and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), the Brussels-based Association of European Carmakers (ACEA) said, up from 1.54 million a year earlier.
Demand rose by 9.2 percent in France, 8 percent in Spain, and by 4.2 percent in Germany, Europe’s largest market. By contrast, sales in the United Kingdom fell 3.5 percent and dropped by 7.3 percent in Italy, the ACEA figures showed.
Sales of Volkswagen branded cars rose by 16.3 percent, helping parent Volkswagen Group’s market share to increase to 24.5 percent in June, compared with 23.4 percent in the year-earlier period.
PSA Group’s Peugeot brand saw sales rise 6.9 percent, outperforming mass market rival Fiat, which saw its vehicle sales drop 9.5 percent in the same period. Fiat’s market share in EU and EFTA markets has fallen to 4.9 percent from 5.5 percent a year earlier.
Among the premium auto brands, Mercedes-Benz was the biggest loser with sales dropping 7.3 percent, while rival BMW saw sales increase 9.9 percent, ACEA data showed. (Reporting by Edward Taylor Editing by Douglas Busvine and Hugh Lawson)