Sales of new French cars slumped by 15.4% in August from the equivalent figure last year to 103,084, the French car manufacturers organisation CCFA said on Monday, according to Agence France Presse (AFP).

This was the biggest such monthly fall for 12 months. Vehicle manufacturing in France is a main component of industrial activity and is seen as an indicator of the overall health of the economy.

After allowance for fewer working days in August this year, the fall was 11.1%.

The CCFA, noting that the August holiday period usually showed the lowest sales, said that signs of a slight recovery in June had not held up.

In the first eight months of the year, sales fell by 8.1% on an unadjusted basis from the equivalent figure last year and by 7% after adjustment, to 1.359 million cars.

In August the share of the market held by French manufacturers fell by 3.2% to 53.8%.

Sales by PSA Peugeot Citroen fell by 20.9% owing to a fall of 27.2% by Peugeot and of 8.8% by Citroen. The group's market share fell by 2.3 points to 32.3%.

Sales by Renault fell by 18.8% and its market share by 0.9 points to 21.5%.

Sales by most foreign manufacturers fell, although BMW increased its sales by 20.8%. Toyota also increased its sales by 15.6%, Hyundai by 18.7% and Nissan by 4.9%.

Volkswagen, the dominant foreign car company on the French market, saw sales fall by 10.5%.

Sales by Fiat, including Lancia and Alfa Romeo, fell by 39.8%. Sales by Ford, including the Ford, Jaguar, Land Rover and Volvo brands, fell by 22.8% and sales by General Motors, which owns Opel and Saab, fell by 15.1%, AFP said.