Renault SA  (RNSDF) and Peugeot SA  (PEUGF) led the European autos sector higher Thursday after data from France's CCFA Automobile Association showed car registrations rising strongly during May.

CCFA said that passenger car registrations rose by 8.9% during May, when compared with the same period one year ago, while year to date deliveries were up by 3.3% on 2016.

Renault shares pulled ahead of its European counterparts during early trading, gaining 1.8% to change hands at €84.46 before paring gains to around €84.13 by 08:45 BST, double the 0.58% advance for the Stoxx Europe Automobiles & Parts index. Peugeot added around 0.5% to change hands at 17.63.

Renault said Wednesday that it has renewed its partnership with the Ellen MacArthur foundation which, apart from seeking to promote sustainable practices in industry, has helped the French firm to add 500 million to its top line annually through the recycling of materials.

Peugeot said Tuesday that it has merged its two French auto finance companies, Societe Commerciale Automotive and of Societe Commerciale Citroen, under the name PSA Retail.

The move comes as part of an effort to unify the various assets it has acquired recently, along with the support functions that sit behind its brands.

European auto stocks saw a turbulent month in May with Fiat Chrysler (FCAU) finding itself the subject of a DoJ lawsuit in the states while German carmakers came under the cosh last week following a renewed attack on the industry and US-Germany trade imbalance. 

Fiat Chrysler stock was higher by around 1% during early trading Thursday while most German auto stocks were also buoyant, with Daimler (DDAIF) gaining 0.44% and BMW (BMWYY) adding 0.26%.

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