By on June 16, 2009

European car sales are not out of the woods yet. But they are on the rutted logging road to recovery. That’s the bottom line of the May sales report of the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association ACEA.

Five months into the year, the European market contracted by 13.9 percent. The May number was relatively benign; just 4.9 percent fewer new units recorded than in the same month in the previous year. The European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) reports that owners registered 1,270,195 new cars in all of Europe in May.

Put in graphic terms, the European car market as a whole appears to slowly catch up with previous year’s volumes. Country by country, it’s a mixed bag.

In Western Europe, May registrations totaled 1,197,292. Austria (+4.8 percent), Greece (+5.1 percent), France (+11.8 percent) and Germany (+39.7 percent) helped cushion the drop to -3.2 percent.

All of these markets have differing flavors of Euros for clunkers. A new scrappage scheme in Italy limited its downturn to -8.6 percent. In the UK (-24.8 percent) and Spain (-38.7 percent), the announcement of incentive schemes could revitalize the horrid registration figures yet.

Serious bleeding in the new EU member states.

The East is in the reds to the sad tune of -26 percent in May. The downturn ranged from -3.1 percent in Poland to -80.4 percent in Latvia. Only the Czech Republic (+20.5 percent) and Slovakia (+46.4 percent) are posting growth.

As far as market share goes, the big and unassailable winner in Europe is Volkswagen with 21.7 percent (up from 20 percent in ’08) followed, a lap behind, by PSA (13.3 percent), Ford (9.9 percent), GM (9.4 percent), and Fiat (9.3 percent). All except VW and Fiat lost market share.

Click here if you want the facts, and nothing but, by country, by brand, graphed and tabulated. For your inner spreadsheet-artist, here are the numbers in Excel.

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