June brought a sharp reversal to the downward trend in Western Europe car sales, according to LMC-JD Power. Sales of 1,324,072 in the month were some 2.4% higher than a year ago (1,292,436) and, even more significantly, the seasonally adjusted selling rate, which has averaged just under 14 million units a year in the first five months, leapt to 14.9 million.

For only the second month this year, June sales exceeded the year-earlier month but, while the March gain owed much to calendar effects (the timing of Easter), calendar effects were not mainly responsible for the June result.

The strong outcome owed a great deal to two countries in particular: the UK (241,174 vs 212,330) and France (204,964 vs 200,835). The West European total would have shown another year-on-year decline, had it not been for the increase in the UK. The 2.1% gain in France was small compared to the previous year, but it came after a period of persistent weakness in the rest of the first half of this year.

By contrast, the outcomes for Germany (299,000 vs 308,448) and Italy (179,900 vs 184,575) were relatively surprise-free. The selling rate in Germany (3,229,029 vs 3,151,471) continues its gradual improvement, while in Italy the aftermath of incentives made for another rather weak month. The Spanish (145,133 vs 132,213) and Dutch (50,388 vs 46,894) markets also made a significant contribution to the positive outcome in June.

More Western Europe June sales analysis: West European car sales soared in June