New car sales in France nudged up 0.9% in July, prompting industry association CCFA to suggest that the collapse in sales was nearing an end. It was the first monthly increase since October 2011.

Car registrations rose to 150,248 cars last month with PSA Peugeot Citroën up 0.9% and Renault up 4.7% helped by a gain of 6.1% for its Dacia brand.

"We clearly sense that the sales plunge is reaching an end," CCFA spokesman François Roudier said. "A series of recent model launches has helped a lot."

Despite the positive news, CCFA forecasts that full year sales will decline 8%.

Including vans, sales of which were up 2.7%, light-vehicle registrations rose 1.2% from the same period a year earlier to 181,576.