European Union new car sales were up in May, and one-time General Motors partner Fiat came out of the month as the big winner, with market share rising from 5.5 percent to 7.8 percent.

As always, Fiat's best results were in the Italian domestic market, but it recorded strong sales in other key European markets, with its popular new Grand Punto (at right) helping to drive sales for the Fiat brand, while Fiat Group's Alfa Romeo and Lancia brands enjoyed similar success.

Investors were pleased, with Fiat shares up nearly 5 percent in mid-day trading Thursday.

Among other manufacturers, most Asian brands did well, Renault and Nissan were down, while Volkswagen enjoyed an excellent month for the VW brand but disappointing results for its Audi, Seat and Skoda brands. DaimlerChrysler posted strong results, with the exception of the struggling Smart brand. Both General Motors and Ford increased sales but lost market share.

[Source: Reuters]

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