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European car market speeds up, shows increase in new cars for tenth month

PARIS -- The number of new cars registered in Europe grew for the 10th consecutive month in June, according to industry data published Thursday, adding to evidence the embattled sector is recovering.

Sales of new cars rose by 4.5 percent last month to 1.2 million units, the Association of European Automobile Manufacturers (ACEA) said, as the market continues its battle to shake off a recent slump.

However, the number of new cars remained low, with the association saying the figure represented “the second-lowest level reached in a month of June since ACEA began the series in 2003 with the enlarged EU.”

Auto manufacturing powerhouse Germany was the only major market to shrink last month, with sales down 1.9 percent.

Growth in Spain, which suffered more than most other European countries in the crippling recession caused by the eurozone debt crisis, saw a spectacular gain of 23.9 percent.

Italy and France, also hit hard by the eurozone crisis, saw gains of 3.8 percent and 2.5 percent respectively.

Overall, demand for new cars, a key measure of the health of an advanced economy, rose by 6.5 percent over the first six months of the year.

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