Renault, Japanese partner Nissan and rival automaker Fiat Chrysler led European car sales higher in May, according to industry data. But as Hayley Platt reports the overall pace of the market recovery has slowed.
New car sales moved down a gear in May. Registrations grew between January and April 1.4 percent year-on-year to 1.15 million, according to the Association of European Carmakers. That was well short of the market's hoped for 8.1 percent. But Brenda Kelly of London Capital Group isn't too concerned. SOUNDBITE: Brenda Kelly, Head Analyst, London Capital Group, saying (English): "I think one month's data could be put down to seasonal and of course the amount of bank holidays that we've had in the particular month so I wouldn't necessarily use one month's data as a reflection of the euro zone economy as a whole." Nissan led the way with an almost 14 percent rise in sales, largely thanks to the popular Qashqai SUV. While French rival PSA Peugeot Citroen suffered a 5.2 percent slump, punished by an ageing Citroen lineup. And it could finally be time to invest in electric vehicles. Improvements in battery technology and pressure on governments to meet emission targets may make them a more attractive option. SOUNDBITE: Brenda Kelly, Head Analyst, London Capital Group, saying (English): "We have seen a huge amount of moves towards climate control within the G7 and of course we've got the meeting later on this month which is intended to bring other people in to the same sort of area in terms of bringing down carbon by 40-70 percent by 2019. I think it's definitely worth looking at." Angela Merkel has voiced her support for electric vehicles - vowing to bring one million of them to Germany's roads by the end of the decade. Other European countries such as Norway and the Netherlands are doing their bit by creating incentives to try and encourage sales.