Renault SA, which said in July it expected Europe's car market to contract by 7 to 9 percent in 2010, now expects a decline closer to 7 percent, as the end of subsidies have hit sales less than feared, a senior executive said on Thursday.

Carmakers that benefited from scrapping incentive schemes introduced in many markets last year to spur demand for cars have voiced concern about a difficult second half of 2010.

We said between 7 percent and 9 percent lower for the full year. We're closer to a 7 percent drop today, Chief Operating Officer Patrick Pelata told reporters at an event to mark 100 years of Renault's presence on the Champs Elysees in Paris.

We see less uncertainty about the end of the year than we saw in July ... so things are getting back to normal more gently than we feared, he said. But the fall in the European market is nonetheless there.

Most European scrapping incentive schemes have run out but France's scrapping bonus will stay in place, albeit at a reduced level, until the end of the year.

Renault, whose alliance partner is Japan's Nissan Motor Co Ltd, raised its full-year market forecasts in July, saying consumer demand had proved to be more robust in some markets than it had expected.

It had previously expected demand to fall 10 percent.

European car manufacturers' association ACEA said earlier on Thursday that car sales fell in the summer months in the European Union.

(Reporting by Gilles Guillaume; Editing by Ted Kerr)