MILAN -- Volkswagen AG and BMW AG led Europe's strongest car-sales recovery in 14 months in May, as new models attracted buyers in Germany and France. Registrations rose 7.6 percent from a year earlier to 1.25 million vehicles, industry association ACEA said today in a statement. Five-month sales decreased 0.4 percent.
Demand in Germany and France, Europe's two biggest car markets, expanded 22 percent and 6.1 percent, respectively. European car deliveries have declined every month except two since April 2010, after an end to government-funded car scrapping incentive programs curtailed demand.
"The European market shows signs of recovery," said Fiat S.p.A. head of sales Andrea Formica. "It's still a two-speed market. Germany and France are growing, while Italy, Spain and Greece are still facing difficulties," Formica told reporters at a Fiat model presentation June 14.
Volkswagen, Europe's biggest carmaker, benefited from the sales rebound in its German home market as Europe's largest economy grows. The VW Group recorded a 16 percent sales increase last month to 299,841 vehicles. Its European market share rose to 23.9 percent in May.
BMW sales advanced 22 percent to 77,784 cars. European sales at General Motors Co. rose 16 percent to 110,157 vehicles. Sales for Ford Motor Co. rose 9.7 percent last month. Toyota Motor Corp. and Renault SA recorded declines of 9.5 percent and 8 percent.
Fiat, which also runs Chrysler Group LLC, continued to lose market share last month, falling to 7.3 percent from 7.8 percent, while sales rose 0.2 percent led by a surge in Alfa Romeo deliveries. CEO Sergio Marchionne expects to recover share in the second half of the year with new models such as the subcompact Lancia Ypsilon and the Fiat Freemont, a European version of the Dodge Journey.
Overall new-car sales have declined in the region for the last three years, dropping to 13.8 million vehicles in 2010 from 16 million in 2007, the last year deliveries gained, according to ACEA figures.