France Auto Sales Down 5.2% in April image

Auto sales in France dropped only 5.2% in April, a slight hope that auto demand might stabilize.

Last month new vehicle registrations dropped to 157,859 units from 166,552 units in April 2012, according to CCFA industry association. Sales from January to April dipped 12.3%, after a 16.4% fall in March.

“The plunge seems to be halting after the double-digit declines of previous months,” CCFA spokesman Francois Roudier said.

PSA Peugeot Citroen reported a 12% fall in April, while Renault dropped only 3% helped by its Dacia brand which increased 19%, managing to offset the 7.5% fall in Renault brand sales. VW’s sales were up 4%, while Hyundai and Kia increased 17%. Ford reported a fall of 17%, GM dropped 19%, with Opel down 2% and Chevrolet down 48%. Van deliveries slid 4% and the light vehicle registrations dropped 5%, according to CCFA.

“When do we bottom? Not this month,” Credit Suisse analyst David Arnold said in a note to investors. An additional day of French sales in April masked a bigger underlying slump, he said. “Adjusting for selling days, the decline is more severe.”