New car sales in the European Union were up 6.9 per cent year-on-year in June, an industry group said Friday, meaning sales had almost reached the pre-crisis sales levels of June 2007.
Nearly 1.46 million vehicles were sold last month, representing the 34th straight month of growth for the market, the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) said in a statement.
It also recorded a 9.4-per-cent increase in new car sales during the first half of 2016, totalling 7.8 million vehicles.
Among major EU nations, vehicle sales increased by 11.9 per cent in Italy, 11.2 per cent in Spain and 8.3 per cent in Germany, the bloc's biggest market. French sales remained almost equal to June 2015 levels.
Demand in Britain fell slightly in June, when consumers faced uncertainty about that month's referendum on EU membership. It is unclear what impact the June 23 decision to leave the bloc will have on Britain and the EU's interwoven car industries.
Germany's Volkswagen Group, which suffered a slump in recent months following the diesel emissions scandal, remained the EU market leader, despite its share falling to 23 per cent, compared to 24.2 per cent in June 2015.
Renault remained the second-biggest seller, with 12.2 per cent of the EU market, ahead of fellow French car group PSA, which stood at 10.1 per cent. BMW rose to fourth place with a 7-per-cent market share.
Fiat-Chrysler slipped two ranks to come in sixth, with 6.7 per cent of the market, behind Ford and Opel which both held a share of 6.9 per cent in June.
Last month, ACEA President and head of German carmaker Daimler Dieter Zetsche raised 2016 annual growth estimates for the EU car market from 2 per cent to 5 per cent, expecting more than 14 million vehicles to be sold this year.
New car sales are a closely watched indicator of economic health. In the EU, they fell sharply following the 2008 global financial crash, but have been rising steadily since September 2013.