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Car sales in euro zone periphery drive auto recovery

Europe's auto industry was given another lift in January, as car sales rose for the fifth consecutive month, with 5.5 percent more new cars registered in the European Union January.

Euro zone peripheral nations Ireland, which recently exited its bailout program, and Portugal, led the recovery in the auto market, with car sales rising 32.8 percent and 31.8 respectively from a year ago.

(Read more: European car sales in sixth consecutive year of decline)

Most EU markets posted growth, as did all the major ones, from 7.6 percent in the UK and Spain, to 7.2 percent in Germany, 3.2 percent in Italy and 0.5 percent in France," said the Association of European Carmakers (ACEA).

While the increase in registrations comes after six years of declining sales, the industry body said it was the second-lowest number of cars sold in the month of January since the group began collecting EU-wide data in 2003.

(Read more: Car sales in UK back to pre-recession figures)

Volkswagen models, which include car brands Audi, Seat, and Skoda continued to maintain market share, selling over 25 percent of all new EU vehicles in January this year with sales up 8.9 percent in the last year.

By CNBC's Jenny Cosgrave: Follow her on Twitter @jenny_cosgrave

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