French car orders down 8.5 percent in August, survey finds image

Car and delivery-truck orders fell 8.5 last month in France, according to a dealership survey.

This signals a worsening outlook for mid-range automakers such as PSA Peugeot Citroen. Light vehicle orders posted their fourth straight monthly decline as less consumers from Europe’s second-biggest auto market have the courage to invest in a car.

“The drop in August was worse than expected. It confirms the downward trend of the past few months and deepens the price war in all categories,” said trade publication La Lettre VN quoted by Reuters. Peugeot orders fell 9 percent, while orders at sister brand Citroen recorded a 5.3 percent decline, according to La Lettre VN’s monthly survey of 34 auto distribution groups.

Renault orders fell even more abruptly by 20 percent at its namesake brand. However, orders at Renault’s low-cost brand Dacia rose 28 percent, helping to offset the decline. Fiat and Toyota also witnessed a big drop in orders, by 24 percent each, with Ford and Volkswagen orders dropping 16 percent and 5 percent respectively.

Fleet sales were also weaker in August in France, amid concern that stricter emissions regulations may undermine residual values of diesel cars. Last week, French ecologist party EELV proposed tighter diesel restrictions in town centers, leading to an eventual ban.