Car sales in the EU rose for the ninth successive month in May according to data released by ACEA. The Brussels-based trade association said that car sales in May were up 4.5% to 1,093,448 units.

While the rising sales trend will be welcomed by the beleaguered European auto industry, ACEA also pointed out that the May result was the second lowest result to date for a month of May since ACEA began the series in 2003.

Five months into the year, new passenger car registrations increased by 6.9%, totalling 5,431,921 units.

In May 2014, Italy was the only major market to face a downturn (-3.8%). All other significant markets contributed positively to the overall 4.5% expansion, with growth ranging from +0.3% in France, +5.2% in Germany, +7.7% in the UK to +16.9% in Spain.

From January to May, all major markets posted growth, contributing to the overall 6.9% upturn of the EU market. The increase in passenger car registrations in this period ranged from 3.0% in France, 3.2% in Italy, 3.4% in Germany to 11.6% in the UK and 16.3% in Spain.

LMC Automotive forecasts that the West European car market will reach 12m units for the 2014 full year as economic growth and consumer confidence continue to head in the right direction.

"May's figures confirm that the weak recovery to Europe's car market continues," said LMC analyst Jonathon Poskitt. "But given the state of economic fundamentals in the region, the road to recovery remains a potentially bumpy one."