May 17, 2018 / 6:07 AM / a year ago

Toyota, Hyundai, Ford lead 9.6 percent European car sales gain

FILE PHOTO: The Toyota logo is shown at the Los Angeles Auto Show in Los Angeles, California, U.S., November 30, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo

PARIS (Reuters) - European car sales rose 9.6 percent in April, led by Toyota (7203.T), Hyundai (005380.KS) and Ford (F.N), and boosted by an increase in the number of business days, according to industry data published on Thursday.

Registrations in EU and European Free Trade Area countries advanced to 1.349 million cars last month from 1.231 million a year earlier, Brussels-based industry association ACEA said.

Thanks to the timing of this year’s Easter holiday, European showrooms were open for business on more days last month than in April 2017, helping the year-on-year progression.

Toyota and Hyundai posted sales increases of 20.3 and 15.3 percent respectively, while Ford’s registrations were up 14 percent and Volkswagen Group’s (VOWG_p.DE) up 13.1 percent.

Renault (RENA.PA) sales advanced 10 percent, while the Peugeot brand jumped 15.3 percent and PSA Group (PEUP.PA) stablemate Citroen posted a 6.9 percent increase.

However Fiat Chrysler (FCHA.MI) lost ground as its sales edged just 2.3 percent higher, underperforming the market thanks to a 4.5 percent decline at the core Fiat brand.

Reporting by Laurence Frost; Editing by Richard Balmforth

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