French car sales dip 1.2 percent in June: trade data

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French car sales dipped 1.2 percent in June on a 12-month comparision, trade data showed on Thursday, with foreign brands outperforming French marques.

The data was published just as a scrapping bonus introduced to help the sector through the downturn was cut back further.

However, after allowance for the number of working days in the two periods, the fall was 5.7 percent. A total of 240,587 cars was sold in June, the trade data showed.

Sales by French brands fell overall by 7.9 percent in June but sales by foreign manufacturers rose by 7.8 percent, leaving French companies with 53.7 percent of the market.

Sales by PSA Peugeot Citroen fell by 5.6 percent and sales by Renault by 1.0 percent.

Sales of new cars had fallen by 11.5 percent in May following a reduction of the bonus at the beginning of the year. On Thursday it was cut another stage from 700 euros (855 dollars) for a car scrapped and a new one purchased to 500 euros.

The spokesman for the French auto makers federation, the CCFA, Francois Roudier, said the market was now "quite balanced."

He said the removal of the bonus schemes was progressive and therefore the fall of sales was progressive.

In the first half of the year, sales of new cars showed a rise of 5.4 percent, without allowing for the number of working days, or by 3.7 percent after this factor was taken into account.

The number of cars sold totalled 1,212,492.

Roudier said: "We are coming back to a market of two million cars which we saw in France for almost 10 years up to 2008," after record sales of 2.27 million in 2009.

© 2010 AFP

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