ROBUST SALES in France and Germany during September more than compensated for a weak Italian car market.
West European sales in the month rose an estimated 7.5 percent. In the first eight months of 1998, sales were up by 6.9 percent to 10,010,435 units.
Better availability of Volkswagen's Golf and Passat and the Opel Astra boosted German sales.
Sales in France rose 33 percent. Peugeot brand soared 50.1 percent and Renault was up 36.4 percent, compared with September 1997. Industry analysts credited the launch of Peugeot's 206, improved availability of the new Renault Clio, and aggressive Renault Twingo pricing.
Italian sales have held up better than expected following the end of scapping incentives in July. Sales were supported by better supplies of Volkswagen models and price cuts.
The UK market ended strong in September after a disappointing August.