French car market showing signs of life after dismal 2013 | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 02.01.2014
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French car market showing signs of life after dismal 2013

French carmakers look back at their worst year in well over a decade, citing reduced purchasing power for consumers in 2013. But there is light at the end of the tunnel, the industry’s lobby group says.

In 2013, fewer cars were sold in France than in any of the previous 15 years, the French Carmakers' Association CCFA said Thursday.

Sales to the tune of 1.79 million cars marked a decline of 5.7 percent compared with the previous year of 2012, CCFA figures showed. The French car market had suffered from the eurozone debt crisis in general and weak domestic growth with high unemployment in particular.

In the current car slump, carmaker Renault had suffered less than its bigger national rival PSA Peugeot Citroen, as well as foreign auto manufacturers, the industrial lobby group added.

Volkswagen, the best-selling non-French brand, sold 8.1-percent fewer units than in 2012, while US companies General Motors and Ford lost even more ground. Toyota (up 5.5-percent) and Fiat (up 2.4-percent) were able to buck the year-on-year trend.

For 2014, however, CCFA said it was expecting the outlook for the French car market to brighten.

“We've seen the bottom of the sales crisis and expect the market to at least stabilize in 2014,” a CCFA spokesperson told a news conference in Paris.

December figures for the French car industry appear to signal an upward trend for sales. The number of new cars registered in the month grew by 9.4 percent to about 175,300 vehicles, according to CCFA figures.

Renault and PSA benefitted the most from rising December sales with increases by 37.9 and 10.6 percent respectively. Germany's car major Volkswagen came in second with about 10 percent more cars sold in the French market.

uhe/msh (AFP, Reuters)

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