Passenger car registrations across the European Union grew 2.9% year-on-year in the first half of 2018, reaching 8.4m vehicles, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA).

The half-year of growth was brought to a 5.2% increase in registrations in June, to 1.5m units.

Growth over the previous six months was driven by increases of over 10% in Spain, Poland and the Netherlands, as well as France as Germany, with registrations up 4.7% and 2.9% respectively.

Among major markets, Italy saw registrations shrink by 1.4%, and the UK continued to be the notable exception in the European market, with numbers down 6.3% – the biggest fall in the bloc. Ireland also saw a 4.7% fall in registrations, to 87,000 vehicles.

In terms of market share, the PSA Group was the biggest winner in the first half of the year, with market share jumping from 10.2% to 16.2% thanks to its acquisition of Opel/Vauxhall. The extra 480,000 registrations brought in by the two brands pushed PSA to second-biggest carmaker in Europe, leapfrogging the Renault Group’s 10.7% share of the market.

The VW group maintained its top spot as the continent’s biggest brand, increasing its share 1.1 percentage points to 24.4%. Other carmakers all saw stagnating or shrinking share, with Daimler, Ford and the Fiat Chrysler group recording notable falls.