BRUSSELS - The sharp rise in first-half car sales took the industry by surprise, but analysts expect a much weaker second half.
Sales rose 8 percent to 7.5 million in the first six months, according to ACEA, the European carmakers' association. That defied predictions of a flat market. June sales grew 11.1 percent to 1.35 million.
Sales are expected to fall off in the second half, though still finish at a record level.
Arthur Maher of J.D. Power-LMC predicted full-year sales of 14.8 million units, up from 14.3 million last year. Colin Couchman of Standard & Poors DRI expects 14.5 million.
Analysts say sales rose due to heavy incentives in key markets and stronger-than-expected European growth. But demand is slowing as prices increase. Moreover, second sales are usually weaker.
Adam Opel Chairman Robert Hendry predicted the market will grow by only 2 to 3 percent this year.