BRUSSELS (dpa-AFX) - Car manufacturers in the European Union suffered a setback in May. The number of newly registered cars fell by three percent compared to the same month last year to almost 912,000 units, as the industry association Acea announced in Brussels on Thursday. In the previous month, manufacturers had been able to achieve an increase thanks to additional sales days. This means that growth since the beginning of the year has fallen to 4.6 percent: between January and the end of May, almost 4.6 million cars were handed over to customers.

In three out of four key markets, car manufacturers were unable to really convince customers in May: sales in Italy, Germany and France fell significantly. In Spain, however, the number of newly registered vehicles rose.

Meanwhile, the combined market share of diesel and gasoline vehicles dwindled to 48.5 percent. In contrast, the number of newly registered hybrids increased to just under 30 percent./ngu/jsl/jha/