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Europe car sales post first gain in 19 months

European car sales rose for the first time in 19 months, on gains in the U.K. and a rebound in Germany, amid signs that governments may take measures to stem a contraction in the economy of the countries using the euro.

Registrations in April increased 1.8 percent to 1.08 million vehicles from 1.06 million cars a year earlier, the Brussels-based European Automobile Manufacturers Association, or ACEA, said today in a statement. Four-month sales fell 7 percent to 4.18 million vehicles.

European policy makers have expressed a willingness to take steps to revive the region’s ailing economies. Gross domestic product in the 17-nation euro zone fell 0.2 percent the first quarter.

At the same time, exports rose in the period and consumer confidence gained in April. Auto sales in Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, increased 3.8 percent, ending five months of drops.

Regional deliveries were helped by the Easter holiday shifting to March this year from April in 2012.