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February 1, 2011

FRANCE: Car market gets scrappage ‘spillover’ boost in January

The French car market grew by 8.2% year-on-year in January as sales received a final boost from the government's scrappage incentive that expired at the end of 2010.

By David Leggett

The French car market grew by 8.2% year-on-year in January as sales received a final boost from the government’s scrappage incentive that expired at the end of 2010.

Data released by the French motor trade association CCFA shows that car sales were up to 185,603 units as buyers who purchased cars at the end of December registered them in January. Cars bought with the bonus before December 31 can be registered until March.

The French government’s scrapping initiative offered consumers EUR500 when they scrapped vehicles at least eight years old; it ended on December 31. The scheme was introduced to help lift the market after the international financial crisis hit in late 2008 and it boosted sales through 2009 and 2010.

The upsurge in demand in the final month of last year took the seasonally adjusted annualised rate of sales (SAAR) in France up to 2.53m units, with the 2010 market reaching 2.25m units, down 2.2% on 2009. Analysts say that buoyant sales in France are also indicative of heavy discounting and that a tougher year is in prospect for the French market now that its scrappage scheme has ended.

Domestic makes – Renault and PSA – accounted for 103,942 units, some 56% of the car market versus 57.2% in January 2010. The biggest foreign Group in terms of share was VW Group, with a 10.1% share (18,743 units; up 9.2% on last year, share no change). There were notable volume and share gains for Opel (8,016 units, up 40%; share 4.3%), Hyundai (4,247 units, up 49.7%; share 2.3%) and Kia (2,337 units, up 49.9%; share 1.3%).

Car sales       Jan 2011      %ch yoy

Citroen          28,079          +8.4Peugeot         34,733         +13.7Renault          41,120         -1.4

Dom makes     103,942        +5.9

Total market   185,603        +8.2

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