European car sales growth accelerated in August as an expanding economy encouraged purchases and French manufacturers PSA Group and Renault SA won buyers with new SUVs and hatchbacks.
Registrations jumped 5.5 percent to 903,143 vehicles from 855,689 a year earlier, the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association, or ACEA, said Thursday in a statement. That was faster than the 2.1 percent increase posted in June and 2.6 percent in July. Eight-month sales increased 4.4 percent to 10.6 million autos.
Gross domestic product in the countries sharing the euro grew 0.6 percent in the second quarter, with gains spreading across the 19-nation region and the employment market improving across Europe. Car sales are set to rise further this year as manufacturers offer incentives to trade in older diesel cars for models meeting tighter pollution standards amid German government pressure stemming from Volkswagen AG’s emissions-cheating scandal.
Renault, which upgraded its Megane hatchback and Koleos sport utility vehicle in the past two years, sold 13 percent more vehicles in Europe last month. Paris-based PSA’s Peugeot brand, maker of the 3008 and 5008 SUVs, reported an 11 percent gain and its Citroen nameplate, which rolled out the C3 hatchback last year, posted a 5.8 percent increase. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV’s European group registrations jumped 9.8 percent as demand surged 41 percent at the Alfa Romeo division, helped by the new Stelvio SUV.
The ACEA compiles numbers from the European Union’s 28 member countries, excluding Malta, plus Switzerland, Norway and Iceland.