PARIS -- The broken European car market picked up speed in January for the fifth month running, with a 5.5% increase in sales, trade data showed today.
Stricken French carmaker Peugeot Citroen (IW 1000/55), expected to announce today the arrival of Chinese state group Dongfeng and the French state as shareholders, raised its sales in January by 7.4%.
French car makers improved their positions in Europe on a 12-month comparison, but the French market was almost flat in the month.
The Peugeot group, second-biggest in Europe after German VW (IW 1000/7), raised its share of the market slightly from 11.5% to 11.7%.
The auto market in the European Union is still suffering from multiple blows from the financial crisis, the eurozone debt crisis, and deep structural reforms in several countries, the latest figures from the European Automobile Manufacturer's Association showed.
In January the total number of new cars registered fell short of a million at 935,640.
That was the second-lowest level for a month of January since this series of statistics began in 2003.
In December, sales had risen by 13.3% to total 906,294, after increases of 1.2% in November, 4.7% in October and 5.4% in September.
The improvement in January was broadly based. The biggest increases of 7.6% were in Britain, where 154,562 cars were sold, and in Spain with 53,436 sales.
In Germany, which is the biggest car market in Europe, registrations rose by 7.2% to 205,996, followed by a 3.2% rise in Italy to 117,802.
France lagged behind. The market rose by only 0.5% to total 125,454 vehicles.
But the two big French carmakers, PSA Peugeot Citroen and Renault (IW 1000/80), increased their sales sharply and also their market share across the European Union.
Peugeot Citroen raised sales by 7.4% to 109,257.
Renault, which also builds the Dacia range of cheap cars, boosted sales by 13.4% to 86,452.
Renault raised its market share from 8.6% in January 2013 to 9.2% last month.
Dacia again pulled the Renault group, with a rise of 38.9% in sales, raising its market share from 2.3% to 3.0% over 12 months.
By far the biggest sales in Europe were achieved by the VW Group, spanning the Volkswagen, Audi, Seat and Skoda brands, and totalling 237,538 sales.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2014