New car registrations in France hit a 15-year low point in 2012 and business in 2013 looks like being just as difficult, data from the French automobile manufacturers' association CCFA showed on Wednesday.
Sales in 2012 fell by 13.9 percent from the level the previous year to 1.899 million units, a CCFA statement said.
The drop was compounded by the end of government-funded buying schemes that had boosted sales between 2009 and early 2011.
The worst hit were French automakers Peugeot Citroen, where sales shrank by 17.5 percent, and Renault, down by 22 percent.
Foreign builders saw an overall drop of 6.7 percent, but sales by German luxury car companies Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz actually grew.
"All the multi-range car companies shrank, while higher end carmakers held on," a spokesman at CCFA said.
"The drop in sales of light utility vehicles and trucks is very worrying as it signals a slowdown in the economy," the spokesman added.
A notable exception to the poor results was South Korea's Hyundai-KIA which saw sales skyrocket 28.2 percent to take a 2.19 percent market share.
"We are waiting for a 2013 market to be at best like that of 2012. We'll look for the trend in the first quarter," the spokesman.
© 2013 AFP
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