Central European new-car sales rose 6.1 percent to 228,674 units in the third quarter, eliminating most of the slump in the nine markets in the first half.
The eight central European new members of the European Union have been slow to work off a surge in suddenly legal used-car imports after they joined the EU. But booming sales in Romania, due to join the EU in 2007, are helping to make up for that. So far this year, the region's total sales of 725,776 are down 1.1 percent from a year earlier.
Sales are volatile, with seven of the top 10 auto groups posting double-digit gains or losses so far this year. Leader Volkswagen group is the most stable of the group, off 1.1 percent (See table).