PARIS - Demand for new cars in Europe rose for the third month running in November, according to trade figures published on Tuesday, bolstering hopes of a moderate eurozone recovery next year.
A total of 938,021 new passenger cars were registered in November, data from the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association showed, a 1.2-percent gain on sales the previous month.
The gain was powered by demand in Britain, which was up 7.0 percent and Spain (+15.1 percent). Registrations were down by 2.0 percent however in Germany, Europe's top economy, and in struggling France (-4.0 percent).
"The overall situation is truly improving: month after month, more and more European markets are returning into the black," said Carlos da Silva, analyst at IHS Automotive.
Nevertheless, registrations were down by 2.7 percent overall in the EU over the first 11 months of the year, with a decline of 7.7 percent in Italy and da Silva sounded a note of caution.
"Does this mean that the crisis is behind us and we can start thinking about Christmas? I'm not so sure," he said.
Future growth would be "slow and staggered" he predicted.
The figures for car registrations -- seen as a good indicator of wider demand in the economy -- come on the back of positive signals from the eurozone, gradually getting back on its feet after a long and crippling crisis.
Earlier on Tuesday, investment sentiment in Germany hit a seven-and-a-half year high on optimism over the economic prospects for next year.
Further afield, auto sales in the United States powered a 1.1-percent surge in industrial output in November, the Federal Reserve reported Monday.