PARIS, FRANCE: The French car market sank to its lowest level in 15 years with 1.79m new cars being sold last year and projections are that there will be a slow improvement this year.
Car sales in Europe remain weak as France had its worst sales in 15 years. Image: ideas go free Free Digital Photos
Sales fell by five percent in 2013, figures from CCFA manufacturers association said, adding that ight utility vehicles sales fell by 4.4%, it added.
"The 2013 vintage is to be forgotten," said car market analyst Flavien Neuvy of Cetelem credit company.
According to CCFA, sales were at their worst in the early part of 2013, following the poor sales of 2012 but recovered gradually in the second half of last year.
In December, sales rose 9.4%, perhaps boosted by consumers anticipating a sales tax hike that kicked in on 1 January.
French car companies, PSA Peugeot Citroen and Renault, made up 53% of the French car market last year, with Renault's Clio IV the top selling model.
Renault sales inched up 0.8% over the year, while PSA Peugeot Citroen sold 7.7% fewer vehicles.
The world's biggest car manufacturing group, Volkswagen saw sales in France fall by 8.1% while sales by US group General Motors plummeted by 15.8% and Ford lost 17.3%.
Toyota sales rose 5.5% and Fiat, which completed a merger with Chrysler last week, rose 2.4%.
"We've touched the bottom of the pool and the market will remain stable in 2014," a CCFA spokesman said. Car sales in France ended the year at the same level as in 1997.
Elsewhere in Europe, Spanish car sales increased by 3.3% in 2013 while sales in Italy lost 7.1%. In Germany, new car registrations declined as a total 2.9m new cars were registered, a fall of 4.2% compared with 2012, according to data compiled by the KBA federal automobile agency.
In December, though, the number of new car registrations increased by 5.4% to 215,320 vehicles.
Source: AFP via I-Net Bridge