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French Car Market Advances for First Time in Almost Two Years

Aug. 1 (Bloomberg) -- French car sales rose in July, the first increase in almost two years, as new models and dealer discounts attracted customers.

Light-vehicle registrations advanced 1.2 percent last month from the same period a year earlier to 181,576 units, the French carmakers’ association CCFA said in an e-mailed statement today. It’s the first rise since October 2011.

Sales of new light vehicles fell 9.4 percent to 1,301,444 units over the first seven months of the year.

“The decline is ending,” said Francois Roudier, a spokesman for Paris-based CCFA, in a telephone interview. “People who have the means are buying new cars. But we still forecast an 8 percent decline in the market in 2013, which would be the worst year since 1997.”

The French economy is showing signs of stabilizing, as household sentiment increased in July, national statistics office Insee said on July 26. Youth unemployment has fallen for two consecutive months. PSA Peugeot Citroen and Renault SA, the country’s two largest automakers, reported increased sales in July, according to CCFA figures.

Peugeot, which reported yesterday a 65 million-euro ($86 million) operating loss for the first six months of the year, sold 0.9 percent more passenger cars in France in July from the same period a year earlier to 46,973 units.

Renault’s sales of new passenger cars advanced 4.7 percent last month to 34,850 units, led by a 6.1 percent rise of its low-cost Dacia brand, according to CCFA data.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mathieu Rosemain in Paris at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chad Thomas at

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