Nov car sales fall 2% in France

French car registrations fell 2 percent in November amid a continued weakening of consumer confidence, the country’s CCFA industry association said today. New-car sales declined to 135,070 vehicles last month, a second successive monthly drop after registrations fell 4 percent in October.

France has trailed Europe’s fragile auto market recovery following a brutal six-year slump that ended in 2013. French car sales for the first 11 months of this year rose just 1 percent to 1.63 million vehicles.

CCFA president Patrick Blain also cautioned that French auto demand would remain weak in 2015.

The industry group “sees no reason to expect the market to pick up” next year, Blain told reporters in Paris.

Blain said he expected full-year 2014 car sales growth to be “in the lower end” of the association’s 1-2 percent guidance range. The CCFA abandoned an earlier 2 percent forecast last week – when it already looked unattainable.

After two consecutive quarters of zero economic growth, French companies and consumers alike are holding back on spending where they can, increasing concerns that Europe could fall into a deflationary spiral.

Domestic automakers Renault and PSA/Peugeot-Citroen, both saw respective sales declines of 5 and 9 percent in November, while registrations at European market leader Volkswagen Group rose 3 percent.

Thanks to strong demand for low-cost models, sales of Volkswagen Group’s Skoda brand jumped 6 percent last month, while Renault’s Dacia brand rose 2 percent.

Ford’s deliveries dropped 3 percent, while the withdrawal of the Chevrolet brand from Europe hit General Motors with a 12 percent sales decline despite a robust 14 percent gain at the carmaker’s Opel unit.

Delivery van sales were down 1 percent in November, with light vehicles overall showing a 2 percent decline for the month and a 1 percent gain for 11-month registrations.