New car sales in Europe's 'Big 5' markets saw a healthy increase of 9.3% in August, as market conditions improved following a 2% decline seen in July.

JATO data shows that overall new car registrations for August in the combined German, UK, French, Italian, and Spanish markets totalled 562,046 units. Registrations YTD in those markets totalled 7.33m units, a 7.6% increase on the same period in 2015.

Italy and Spain were particularly strong with Italy seeing its best August results since 2009, increasing car registrations by 20.2%. Spain's market – up 14.3% and running at over a million units a year - was boosted by an outstanding growth on rental car registrations, which were up 48%.

Europe's largest market, Germany, posted an 8.3% increase, compared to the same period last year. This was driven by growth in private registrations which were up 19% on last year due to positive economic development, a healthy level of employment, and two additional working days in August. Both France and the UK posted a modest growth of 6.6% and 3.3% respectively.

JATO's analysis of the 'Big 5' car markets in August also included data on carmakers and brands.

Volkswagen Group remained Europe's largest car maker, posting a 5.8% increase on last year, having registered 143,324 units in August 2016 compared to 135,483 units in August 2015. However overall, the German group lost market share, recording the biggest market share drop of all the car makers analysed, going from 26.3% in August 2015 to 25.5% in 2016 as double digit growth in Germany was offset by falls in the UK and France. In contrast, Renault-Nissan alliance registrations grew by 12.2%, taking its overall market share to 12.7%, compared to 12.4% last year. The group saw strong growth of 27.3% and 32.7% in Italy and the UK respectively, which was particularly boosted by a 33.6% increase posted by Dacia, which outsold Nissan in the ranking. PSA and Ford both lost market share, whilst Opel/Vauxhall dropped by 1% and fell one position in the brand ranking.

JATO said the big winner of the month was Daimler, with Mercedes posting double-digit gains in all of the five markets and becoming the third best-selling brand of the month. FCA increased its market share by 0.78 percentage points due to the double-digit growth of its Fiat, Jeep, Alfa Romeo and Abarth brands, a 173% increase in sales at Maserati. Hyundai-Kia grew by 21.7%.

See also: West European car sales up 8.1% in August