French car makers increased worldwide production 2.2% in the first half of this year thanks to stronger demand than anticipated in some key European markets.

There was also continued sales growth in emerging regions, according to latest industry data released by the car manufacturers’ association.

Combined production in France of PSA Peugeot-Citroen and Renault rose 3.7% in the first six months, boosted by a 9.2% increase in the second quarter.

The companies increased output early in the year to meet an increase in orders at the end of 2010 as buyers rushed to take advantage of government scrapping incentives phased out in France at the end of December.

PSA boosted its car production in France 14% in the second quarter and 6.9% over the first half although Renault’s French production fell 2.8% in the April-June period and was down 4.2% over the first half.

Renault has said its production of diesel cars was disrupted in the second half by short supply of critical electronic components from Japan needed for engine management systems.

Production of the two companies outside France rose 1.5% over the first six months and 1.3% in the second quarter alone. PSA’s foreign output was flat over the first six months while Renault was up 3.5%.