WARSAW (Reuters) - Poland's new car sales rose 4.3 percent from a year earlier, with Japan's Toyota aggressively grabbing market share.
Auto market research agency Samar said on Thursday that 29,450 new cars were sold last month. But that was the lowest level in four months. In the January-July period, 203,160 vehicles were sold, up 11.9 percent against the same period of last year.
Toyota leaped past Renault, GM's Adam Opel and Peugeot, part of PSE Peugeot Citroen, into third place with 3,481 cars sold in July, up 68 percent year-over-year. Only Fiat and VW's Skoda sold more in July.
Toyota has sold 21,490 vehicles this year, up 51 percent from the same period in 2002, with sales of its smallest Yaris model up 64 percent and compact Corrolla up 44 percent.
"Toyota is benefiting from the good reputation of its new products -- chiefly its Corrolla and Avensis models -- as well as its huge advertising campaign," Drzewiecki said.
Poland's car market -- Europe's eighth-largest in terms of new car registrations -- shrank by more than half in 1999-2002 due to the country's worst economic slowdown in a decade.
This year, it has recovered some, aided by accelerating economic growth and a long series of interest rate cuts, which have put the central bank's main rate at an all-time low of 5.25 percent. But nearly 18 percent unemployment and weak consumer confidence continue to dent demand for new cars.