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Car sales in Europe edge up to near pre-crisis levels

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Sales were down by 3 percent at France's PSA Group as it buys the General Motors European company Opel, which posted a 2 percent dip in registrations. Pictured: Carlos Tavares, chairman of the Managing Board of PSA, and Mary T. Barra, GM chairman and chief executive officer. (Image courtesy of General Motors)

European car sales grew 2.2 percent in February to over 1 million vehicles — close to the level in 2008, just before the economic crisis slid the industry into a prolonged downturn.

Data released Thursday by the European car makers' association, ACEA, showed that the three top markets, France, German and Britain, all suffered modest declines, but demand increased in Italy by 6.2 percent and Spain by 0.2 percent.

Sales were down by 3 percent at France's PSA Group as it buys the General Motors European company Opel, which posted a 2 percent dip in registrations. Volkswagen, still recovering from a diesel emissions scandal, saw sales down 6.6 percent while Fiat Chrysler registrations grew by 8 percent.

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