New car sales in Germany, a key gauge of demand in one of the most important sectors of Europe\'s biggest economy, are continuing to defy the crisis and still on the rise, data showed on Tuesday. A total 296,800 new cars were registered last month, 3.0 percent more than in the same month a year ago, and over the first six months, sales rose by 1.0 percent to 1.63 million vehicles, the VDA industry federation said. \"The German auto industry is in better form than the rest of western Europe,\" VDA chief Matthias Wissmann told a news conference here. By comparison, new car sales were down 0.9 percent in France in June, down 12 percent in Spain and down by as much as 24 percent in Italy. Nevertheless, German car exports were feeling the pinch and fell by 1.0 percent over the January-June period, VDA calculated.