Europe's new car market is improving after being hit by one of its worst periods in recent memory, according to figures released by JATO Dynamics. Sales rose by 4.9 per cent last month, with 48,202 more cars sold by the month, year-on-year. Although the market remains below performance, down 5.2 per cent year-to-date, these are encouraging signs after such a difficult period. 'Strong business and consumer confidence in July saw the new car market continue to rise, posting double-digit growth in the month,î said SMMT interim Chief Executive Officer Mike Baunton. 'We've seen a range of economic indicators point to improving conditions and our raised sales forecast emphasizes how positively we view the rest of 2013.î New car sales have been falling steadily this year, consistent across France, Italy and even Germany; only one million cars were registered across Europe in May, the lowest total since 1993. With rising unemployment and poor job security, European car buyers have been delaying their spending on new vehicles; several manufacturers have now postponed the release of new models and announced factory closures. Peugeot have been one of the hardest affected, cutting 8,000 jobs and closing a factory in France, with sales falling 9.3 per cent in June. However, things appear to be picking up; in July, Italy was the only 'Big Five' country to experience a sales decrease, dropping 1.8 per cent. Great Britain continues to lead the way in the car market, being the only nation to record an increase for 2012 vs 2013 on year-to-date figures, with 124,287 more new cars sold, representing a 10.3 per cent uplift. Much of this dominance is due to good economic performance, record low interest rates and easy access to new car finance. Across the Eurozone, year-to-date figures are still low, with France's new car sales down 9.7 per cent, Germany's 6.7 per cent and Italy's 9.3 per cent. Spain were surprise improvers, registering almost 11,000 more units last month year-on-year, a 16.5 per cent improvement. 'The positive July result ƒ is a good start for the stabilisation we expect in the second half,î said Matthias Wissmann, the VDA's president. 'The emerging economic recovery in western Europe appears to be reflected in the development of car demand,î he added.