Peugeot brand sales rose by 11 percent last month, offsetting a 3.5 percent decline at Citroen. Renault group sales rose 5.8 percent, with Dacia sales up nearly 10 percent and Renault brand posting 5 percent volume increase.
"This is a strong showing by the French carmakers in a positive market,"said Francois Roudier, spokesman for the CCFA industry association.
Volkswagen's group sales fell by nearly 4 percent as all VW brands including Audi, Skoda, Seat and the core VW marque suffered falling volumes.
Hyundai and affiliate Kia posted a combined 5.8 percent increase in French sales, with Toyota not far behind at 5.2 percent. General Motors sales jumped 9 percent thanks to a 31 percent surge by its Chevrolet brand and a 2 percent rise in Opel sales.
The CCFA improved its French market outlook, predicting a 6 percent decline for 2013 - smaller than the 8 percent contraction previously forecast.
"The market is picking up," said Renault's French sales chief Bernard Cambier, adding that the carmaker's domestic order backlog was up 20 percent year-on-year. "It's clear that we have reached the bottom and there are already some signs of recovery," Cambier said, citing a 3.7 percent gain in delivery van sales in October.
French car sales are down 7 percent to 1.48 million for the first 10 months.
Spain, Italy demand low
Car sales in Spain were boosted by a 2,000-euro rebate program - 1,000 coming from the government and 1,000 from the manufacturer - for buyers of new cars who turn in a used car.
Spanish car manufacturers' association Anfac said internal demand in Spain remains low but the subsidy program had revitalized a lackluster market. Company car registrations rose in October for the first time after 20 months of falls, up 7.6 percent, to 18,728 cars. Across all sectors, more than 715,000 new registrations would be completed this year, Anfac forecast.
"We're optimistic not just about the rest of the year but also about a clear improvement in business in 2014," said Jaume Roura, head of car dealers association Faconauto.
October's decline in Italy showed that there is no sign that the country's market may be stabilizing. A weak economy and tight credit conditions are keeping buyers out of showrooms. Fiat's Italian market share was 28.12 percent in October, slightly below the 29.08 percent in October 2012, according to calculations made by Reuters.
Reuters contributed to this report