Car sales down 18.3 percent in September in France image

Car sales in France dropped 18.3 percent in September, a sign that problems are far from over for French carmakers.

PSA Peugeot Citroen and Renault are struggling with slumping demand in Europe and high production costs. According to manufacturers’ organisation CCFA, new car registrations would have dropped 10 percent only if two extra working days in September 2011 were factored in. In the first nine months of the year, new car sales dropped 13 percent, CCFA announced.

French carmakers suffered more than other European car manufacturers in the first three quarters of the year, as their sales declined 18.9 percent against 7.3 percent for the others. Following weak sales in the first nine months, the CCFA also revised its annual forecast, predicting a decline of 12 percent against 8 to 10 percent forecast earlier this year.

However, the new forecast may be revised again, CCFA president Patrick Blain warned. The new figure would only hold if the climate “does not deteriorate in the coming months.” Renault sales dropped by a third in September to 31,929 vehicles, while PSA Peugeot Citroen, the biggest French carmaker and the second-biggest in Europe, posted a sales decline of 5 percent.

Last week, PSA Peugeot Citroen forecast zero growth in 2013 in the European market, which accounts for most of its sales.