FRANKFURT -- Car sales in western Europe are expected to have risen 4.5 percent in June to 1.47 million units, the best June performance ever, despite high fuel prices, the German car industry association VDA said on Monday.
That would bring first-half sales to 7.81 million, down 0.3 percent from a year earlier, it said in a statement giving preliminary calculations.
European figures for new car registrations compiled by the ACEA car industry association are due on Wednesday.
The VDA last week raised its forecast for 2005 new car registrations in Germany to 3.3 million units from 3.25 million after registrations in Europe's biggest car market rose 8 percent in June.
In the first half of the year, around 1.7 million new cars were registered in Germany, an increase of 2.4 percent from the year-ago period. That helped snap five years of stagnant sales.
Other major car markets such as France and Spain have also generated more sales this year, but Italy and Britain have declined.
VDA said the share of the western Europe car market represented by cars with diesel engines rose three percentage points from January to May to 49.4 percent.