May 17 - Europe's ailing car market returned to growth after 18 straight months of declines with two extra sales day compared to last year and a 15 percent boom in the UK helped new car registrations rise by 1.8 percent in April to 1.08 million. Hayley Platt reports.
1.8 percent is today's daily digit. That's the rise in the number of new car registrations in Europe. Manufactures sold just over a million vehicles last month, the first rise in 19 months. Last year demand for new cars fell to a 17-year low with most weak economies in recession and unemployment hitting record highs. April's rise was partly due to two extra selling days as the Easter holidays fell in March this year. UK sales also helped with a 15% rise, their best figures in five years. Spain surprisingly also had a good month. And car sales in Europe's biggest economy Germany rose too. But Italy suffered the worst decline, falling more than 10 percent. Mass market brands in Italy and France continued to pay a high price for their reliance on the southern European car buyer. In France both PSA's brands lost market share. Sales of Peugeot fell 7.5 percent and Citroen dropped nearly 13 percent. And Italian brands Fiat and Alfa Romeo also suffered declines.