LONDON (Reuters) -- Western European car sales rose 1 percent in November compared with a year earlier as strong demand in the UK and Spain helped to offset falls in Germany and France.
Registrations last month rose to 919,509 cars from 910,236 a year earlier, based on data compiled by the consulting firm LMC Automotive, the slowest year-on-year increase since last November.
That meant the November annualized selling rate fell to 12.3 million cars, a 3 percent decrease from October's rate on a seasonally adjusted basis.
Overall this year, demand for cars has picked up across the region after a six-year slump with 2014 total sales expected to end the year nearly 5 percent higher than 2013 at just over 12.1 million, according to LMC.
However, the level remains well short of the roughly 14.5 million sales before the financial crisis and the recovery has been patchy from country to country.
LMC analyst Jonathon Poskitt told Reuters that automakers had found the UK to be a bright spot as other markets continue to perform sluggishly.
"The UK has been a driving force for the recovery we are now seeing in western Europe car sales, it accounted for well over a third of regional growth in 2014," he said.
The UK, which saw an 8 percent rise in cars sales in November, its 33rd consecutive rise, is on course for its strongest sales in a decade, boosted by cheap credit due to rock-bottom interest rates and a broader economic recovery.
In France, however, Europe's third-biggest market, sales fell by 2 percent compared with the same month last year, pushed lower by weakening consumer confidence.
Europe's biggest market, Germany, saw sales fall 2 percent in November. In Italy, registrations were up 5 percent, while Spanish sales jumped 17 percent.
The UK was the only major market to see its seasonally adjusted sales rate rise compared to last month, with levels up 2 percent, whereas the figure fell 5 percent in Germany, 2 percent in Italy, 0.5 percent in France and 7 percent in Spain.