By Muhammed Ali Gurtas
The European Union's demand for passenger cars in the first half of this year rose 2.9 percent year-on-year, the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association (ACEA) reported on Tuesday.
"The strong performance of the new EU member states is worth highlighting, as registrations increased by 11.4 percent so far this year," the ACEA said in its monthly report.
New car registrations in the EU totaled 8,449,247 units over the first half of 2018, according to the association.
"Looking at the major markets, demand went up in Spain (up 10.1 percent), France (up 4.7 percent) and Germany (up 2.9 percent)," the ACEA said, noting that sales contracted in the U.K. and Italy and went down 6.3 and 1.4 percent, respectively.
During the six-month period, the biggest share -- with 24.6 percent in passenger car sales in the 28-member EU bloc -- was held by the VW Group, of which major brands are Volkswagen, Audi, Skoda, Seat and Porsche -- an 8-percent annual hike in sales.
The PSA Group -- which owns the Peugeot, Citroen, and Opel brands -- and the Renault Group followed with 16.3 percent and 10.7 percent of car sales, respectively.
In 2017, over 15 million new passenger cars were sold in the EU, up 3.4 percent from the previous year.
The EU is the main automotive export market for Turkey, where the world’s prominent automotive manufacturers including Fiat, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Renault and Toyota have operations.
Last year, nearly 80 percent of Turkey's total automotive exports were made to EU countries amounting to $22 billion, marking a 17 percent rise, year-on-year.