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French car sales rallied in October: data

AFP – French car sales rallied in October with a gain of 2.6 percent from the level a year ago, trade data showed on Monday.

The French auto market has been through a long, weak patch which has hit particularly the struggling auto-maker PSA Peugeot Citroen.

The latest data, excluding adjustment for seasonal factors, came from the French committee of auto manufacturers, the CCFA, and the figures led it to revise upwards its target for sales for the whole of 2013.

The French car sector is important to the French economy.

PSA, the biggest French group and the second-biggest in Europe after the German VW group, is in the midst of deep restructuring, with a plant closure, job cuts and is expected to find new shareholders.

However, Peugeot and the other main French group Renault, which face strong competition from foreign brands on their home market, benefited most from the upturn in October.

Sales by PSA Peugeot Citroen rose by 4.1 percent, in a switch from a fall of 6.8 percent in September.

The Renault group, which owns the low-cost Dacia brand, raised sales by 5.8 percent in October after a surge of 18.1 percent in September.

A spokesman for the CCFA, said of the latest overall data: “This figure is very good news and it is mainly the new models which are selling.”

In the first 10 months of the year, registrations of new cars showed a fall of 7.4 percent from the equivalent figure last year, unadjusted for seasonal factors, and by 6.9 percent after adjustment for the number of working days.

However, the CCFA was more optimistic about the outlook for the rest of the year, saying that it now expected sales for the year to show a fall of about 6.0 percent, on the basis of an equivalent number of working days, instead of a fall of 8.0 percent expected previously.

The spokesman said that a reduction next year of a government subsidy for the purchase of low-emission cars should accelerate sales.

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