MUNICH -- Car registrations in Germany rose by 2 percent in July as new models helped automakers such as Opel and Mercedes-Benz to achieve sales gains while Volkswagen brand saw demand for its vehicles decline.
Germany, Europe's biggest market, joined France and Spain in posting sales increases in their new-car markets last month, fueling hopes that the region's slump may be bottoming out.
July registrations in Germany were 253,146 vehicles, the country's federal transport authority (KBA) said today. Seven-month sales are down 7 percent to 1.76 million units.
The July increase was helped by an extra working day compared with the same month last year. Heavy discounting by automakers also appears to be bringing customers back into showrooms. Germany's car importers association, the VDIK, said July's improvement was helped by a 5 percent gain in registrations of private cars.
VDIK President Volker Lange said sales are stabilizing after a very weak start to the year and optimistic signals from economic organizations may even lead to stronger demand in the coming months.
Matthias Wissmann, president of Germany's automotive industry association VDA, said: "The German car market is not out of the woods yet, but July is a good start for the stabilization we expect in the second half."