New-car sales in France dropped 2 percent in November to 135,070 registrations as consumer confidence in the country continues to drop, according to the CCFA industry association. This marks a second straight month of drop, after new-car sales in October also dipped 4 percent. The growth in new-car sales in France is in contrast with the recovery in auto demand in Europe.
In fact, French car sales for the first 11 months of 2014 surged just 1 percent to 1.63 million vehicles. According to CCFA president Patrick Blain, auto demand in the country would still be weak in 2015, with no reason to expect the vehicle market to pick up next year.
Blain expects full-year sales growth this year to be "in the lower end" of CCFA’s 1-2 percent guidance range. The association recently ditched an earlier 2-percent growth forecast as it seemed unattainable.
With two consecutive quarters of zero economic growth, local companies and consumers are delaying or putting off spending, raising worries that Europe could succumb to another deflationary spiral.
Local carmakers Renault and PSA/Peugeot-Citroen posted sales declines of 5 percent and 9 percent in November, respectively. On the hand, Volkswagen Group saw its registrations in the month jump 3 percent.
Low-cost models remained on demand in November, with Volkswagen Group’s Skoda brand gaining 6 percent in sales while Renault’s Dacia brand growing 2 percent.
US carmakers Ford Motor and General Motors were not so fortunate in France, seeing their sales drop 3 percent and 12 percent, respectively. GM is feeling the effect of its decision to pull out the Chevrolet brand in Europe, and 14-percent leap at Opel failed to offset the fall.