PARIS -- French new-car orders declined 10 percent in May after two months of relative stability, according to a dealership survey, casting further doubt on hopes for a market recovery in the second half of the year.
The results contrasted with April, when orders rose 6 percent in year-on-year figures and March, when they fell 1 percent, trade publication La Lettre VN reported on Monday, based on its monthly poll of 34 auto-distribution groups.
Delivery truck orders fell an estimated 28 percent.
The Renault and Peugeot brands were the hardest hit last month, with French car orders falling more than a quarter, according to the survey. Citroen fared slightly better with a 15 percent drop, softening the blow for PSA/Peugeot-Citroen.
The decline was accentuated by calendar effects that led to a smaller number of sales days than in May 2011, the online newsletter said.
Renault's no-frills Dacia badge bucked the downward trend with a 52 percent gain, helped by new models such as the Lodgy minivan.
While Volkswagen's core brand also put up strong resistance with a 1 percent slide, Italy's Fiat saw car orders drop 17 percent.
Renault Chief Operating Officer Carlos Tavares called last week for the reintroduction of government sales subsidies to support French demand amid sagging consumer confidence. Such measures are under consideration, Industry Minister Arnaud Montebourg said.
Tavares said the automaker would wait until next month before reviewing its sales outlook after a "particularly worrying" start to the year.
The company had last predicted a second-half improvement in the French light-vehicle market to end the full year just 6 percent lower - compared with a 16 percent plunge since January.
"We'll re-examine that question when we announce our first-half results in July," Tavares told reporters on June 12.
Earlier this month, CCFA, France's auto industry association, said sales of light-vehicle in the country fell 17 percent in May to 197,671 cars and light delivery trucks from 238,873 in May 2011.
Sources: Reuters and Automotive News Europe