VW, Ford and PSA suffer the most from French car market decline image

As French auto registrations dropped 11% last month, challenging hopes for a swift stabilization of the market for new cars, the hardest hits were taken by Volkswagen, Ford and PSA Peugeot-Citroen.

According to France’s CCFA industry group, car registrations fell to 85,565 in August, but this has been usually a slow holiday month from which it is harder to extrapolate trends. Still, while the Paris-based organization maintained its full-year forecast of an 8% decline, sales for the first eight months of the year were down 10%.

“September and October will be critical,” CCFA spokesman Francois Roudier said. “August is always a thin month, but this year it’s particularly low.”

Volkswagen Group had the biggest monthly sales decline in France with a 24% drop, mainly attributable to weaker sales at its core brand. Ford Motor Co. and PSA/Peugeot-Citroen were among mass automakers that fared poorly, with respective declines of 19% and 17%. Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz brand recorded just 1,927 French August car registrations, down 37% year-on-year.

On the other hand, General Motors’ 16% sales gain defied the slump thanks to the Chevrolet brand, which recorded 2,429 car sales, up 64%. Fiat deliveries also gained 10%, and Renault achieved a 2% rise.