Car sales in the European Union posted an "encouraging" year-on-year increase of 6.2 per cent in January, a trade group reported Tuesday.
Since car sales are seen as a leading indicator of economic health, January's data sends a positive signal about the 28-member EU, amid widespread concerns that its fledgling recovery from recession is faltering.
Some 1.061 million cars were sold across the bloc, according to the Brussels-based European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA), noting that the market had expanded for the 29th consecutive month.
"This result is encouraging for the near future, as the upward market trend remains stable," ACEA said.
The best performances were registered in Italy and Spain, where the market grew by 17.4 per cent and 12.1 per cent respectively. In other large European nations, car sales rose by 3.9 per cent in France, by 3.3 per cent in Germany and by 2.9 per cent in Britain.
Germany's Volkswagen Group - the market leader in the EU, whose reputation has been dented by a scandal for cheating on diesel emission tests - saw sales increase by a below-average 0.8 per cent.
As a result, its market share fell to 24.2 per cent, from 25.5 per cent in January 2015.