Vehicle production in European Union rose by 15 percent in the first nine months of 2010 compared to the same period in 2009, the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) said Thursday.

Car production increased by 13 percent, reflecting a drop of 5 percent in the third quarter in correlation with the softening momentum in the global economy. Production levels in the segment of vans expanded in all three quarters of 2010, the ACEA said.

The segment of trucks started to show signs of recovery only in the second quarter, when production increased by 57 percent, and continued this trend in the third quarter when new truck registrations also began to be positive again, the industry association said.

Three quarters into 2010, a total of 12.6 million motor vehicles were produced in the EU, which is 15 percent higher over the same period last year. Compared to the pre-crisis level of the first three quarters of 2008, total production was down 14 percent.

Germany remained the largest manufacturing country, both for motor vehicles and passenger cars, the production of which expanded by 15 percent and 14 percent respectively. While 36.4 percent of new cars were produced in Germany, Spain, as well as France, accounted for 12.9 percent, followed by the UK (8.3 percent), the Czech Republic (7.1 percent), Poland (5.7 percent), Italy (3.9 percent) and Slovakia (3.6 percent).