The number of cars sold across the EU increased 16% year-on-year to 1,288,200 in May, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA).

All markets grew in the period, except for Ireland where 6% less cars were sold in May 2016 than in May 2015.

A number of countries posted extremely strong growth. Cypriot car sales jumped 53.9%, while Greek and Lithuanian car sales increased 48.7% and 47.4%, respectively.

Of the so-called Big Five economies, Italian car sales of 187,631 in May 2016 were 27.3% higher than they were in May 2015, while France (+22.3%) and Spain (+20.9) also both grew by over 20%. The German car market increased by 11.9% year-on-year in May, while UK car sales increased by just 2.5% over the period.

Group sales

Almost one in four (309,708, or 24.0%) cars sold in Europe in May was from the VW Group, though this market share was down slightly from 25.5% in May 2015.

Volkswagen, the largest manufacturer, also saw its market share also fall despite sales growing 4.1%, to 143,303.

Renault Group sales grew 28.7% to 137,102, overtaking PSA Group for the month. PSA sales increased 18.7% to 135,442.

FCA Group and BMW Group also both grew at above market rates, at 25.7% and 21.2%, respectively.