European car sales jumped in October, although not enough to reverse a decline since the start of the year as demand wanes in key markets.
Registrations rose 8.6% to 1.21m vehicles, the European Automobile Manufacturers Association said.
The increase was due to a low comparison with a year earlier when sales suffered from new emissions tests.
The latest monthly figure means registrations are down 0.7% to 13.3m vehicles since the start of the year, according to the group, putting 2019 on a path for a full-year decline.
Carmakers from Volkswagen to Daimler as well as parts suppliers like Continental have lowered their expectations in recent weeks on weakening demand in some regions and the threat of trade war tariffs.
A shrinking of the Chinese market has also deepened the gloom, with October car sales marking the 16th decline in the past 17 months.
The UK was the only major European market to have registered a sales contraction in October as uncertainty stemming from Brexit continues to hit the market.
Modest growth in October might continue in the final two months of the year, but the market is unlikely to fare better than 2018 say LMC Automotive.
The forecaster said no progress is expected next year due to economic headwinds.
The maker of Peugeot and Citroen cars, that also controls the Opel and Vauxhall brands, said its sales fell due to the changeover of the popular Peugeot 208 and 2008 models, but its order book has increased.
Volkswagen shares rose as it saw registrations surge 31% in October.