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The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Europe claws way out of industry slump with 5th straight month of growth

MILAN - European automakers continue to claw their way out of the industry's longest slump ever, posting the fifth straight month of growth in January.

The European carmakers' association said Tuesday that car sales rose 5.5 per cent in January to 935,640 units. Still, the industry's six years of contraction set the bar low: sales were the second lowest for January in a decade.

All major markets saw growth: Britain, Spain and Germany all posted more than 7-per cent increases and Italy, which is just shaking off recession, saw car sales grow 3.2 per cent, the second straight month of gains.

Carlos Da Silva of IHS Automotive says that despite the low volumes, the trend "is now pointing to future growth," and automakers can switch their focus from survival to revival.

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