German new car registrations jumped in May, in a sign that auto manufacturers might be recovering from a months-long slump

New car registrations in Germany jumped sharply in May, official data showed Tuesday, suggesting the powerhouse sector for Europe's top economy was recovering from a months-long bout of the blues.

A total of 332,962 cars hit the road for the first time last month, 9.1 percent more than in May 2018, the KBA transport authority said in a statement.

Between January and May, sales gained 1.7 percent to a little more than 1.5 million vehicles.

Registrations slumped in the second half of 2018 as carmakers struggled with new EU emissions tests, known as the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP), that took effect in September.

Manufacturers have repeatedly vowed to get to grips with the tougher procedure, introduced after Volkswagen admitted in 2015 to cheating regulatory tests on 11 million worldwide.

A break-down of the manufacturers' results showed that sales of VW's own-brand cars fell 4.6 percent in May, but still made up almost one in five new registrations with 60,906 vehicles.

High-end BMW added 41.9 percent, at 26,995 cars, and rival Mercedes-Benz 9.5 percent, with 29,793.

VW subsidiary Porsche enjoyed slower growth, at 3.9 percent, while stablemate Audi shed 4.3 percent.

At 33.3 percent of new sales, diesel-fuelled cars remained well below the market share they enjoyed before VW's "dieselgate" scandal.

Just 1.4 percent of registrations were for electric cars and 5.8 percent for hybrids, the KBA said.

Ministers agreed last week to extend a subsidy for battery-powered vehicles to the end of 2020, hoping to give the technology a boost with drivers.