PARIS -- French new-car registrations rose 22 percent to 175,834 in May, benefiting from three extra selling days compared with the same month last year.
The country's domestic brands, along with Asian automakers and Fiat, enjoyed strong growth.
Renault Group sales rose 34 percent, boosted by a 33 percent leap at the automaker's namesake brand, and a 39 percent rise at the budget Dacia unit.
Sales at rival PSA Group increased 26 percent as Citroen deliveries jumped 30 percent and volume at the Peugeot brand rose 23 percent. Registrations of DS vehicles were up 26 percent.
Volkswagen Group sales rose 11 percent, but were outpaced by the overall market rise. Brand sales were up 7.6 percent, while Audi deliveries increased by 22 percent.
Ford brand sales slipped 1.3 percent last month, while Opel deliveries increased by 2.2 percent.
Among other winners in May were Hyundai brand, whose volume jumped 48 percent, the Fiat brand with a 40 percent rise and Toyota, which sold 25 percent more cars than the year before.
• Download PDF, above right, for French sales for May by automaker and brand.
Five-month sales increased by 11 percent to 875,079, the CCFA industry association said.
Based on the May numbers, financial analysts Evercore ISI calculated annualized sales at 2 million, up 7 percent on 2015.
IHS Automotive said the extra selling days and a low base of comparison compared with May 2015 helped the sales surge last month. "Nevertheless registration growth remains on an upward trend, albeit weaker than in some earlier months," it said.
IHS forecasts annual passenger car sales to increase by almost 6 percent to nearly 2.03 million and LCV demand to grow by about 7 percent to 405,500, bringing the market closer to pre-Lehman crisis levels.
Automotive News Europe contributed to this report