PARIS -- New-car registrations in France rose by 9.2 percent in June, led by Seat, Fiat, DS Automobiles and Kia, which all reported monthly sales gains of more than 30 percent compared with the previous year.
Monthly sales were 252,222, industry group CCFA reported Monday. There were 21 selling days in June, the same as in 2017.
Many analysts and automakers were expecting only modest gains in 2018, and some warn that the second half could be slower because of certification issues with the new WLTP testing procedure.
The introduction of new SUVs and crossovers helped a number of automakers achieve big sales increases. Seat sales rose 50 percent with the recent introduction of the Arona and Ateca SUVs.
Fiat sales were up 42 percent, and PSA's upscale brand, DS, increased sales 38 percent behind the new DS 7 Crossback. Kia's new Stonic helped the Korean brand gain 30 percent.
PSA Group sales rose 19 percent with the inclusion of Opel sales in monthly statistics. Citroen sales rebounded from a slump in May with an increase of 11 percent in June, and Peugeot sales increased by 4.6 percent. Opel sales were up 6.4 percent compared to 2017 under GM ownership.
Renault Group sales were up 16 percent after being flat in May. Dacia sales rose 28 percent and Renault increased by 12 percent after several months of flat or declining sales.
Led by the Fiat brand, Fiat Chrysler saw a monthly increase of 31 percent. Jeep sales increased by 11 percent, although Alfa Romeo declined by 17 percent.
VW Group sales increased by 15 percent, with Czech brand Skoda up 23 percent and the core VW marque increasing 20 percent after a decline in May. Audi sales decreased by 4.5 percent.
After a strong few months, sales at Daimler fell by 17 percent, with Mercedes-Benz down 20 percent. Smart sales increased by 9.4 percent. BMW Group sales decreased 6.5 percent, including a decline of 12 percent at BMW brand, although Mini sales increased by 6.5 percent.
• Download PDF, above right, for June sales by automaker and brand.
In addition to strong sales at Kia, Hyundai group benefited from an 11 percent increase by Hyundai that drove group sales up 21 percent. Toyota sales rose 16 percent. Nissan's slump continued, with a decrease of 15 percent in June after a 13 percent fall in May.
The slide in diesel powertrains seems to have been slowed, with market share at 40 percent for the fourth consecutive month.
By body style, SUVs and crossovers made up 36 percent of the market, an increase of six percentage points over last year.
Light commercial vehicle sales rose a modest 3.7 percent in June, and were up 5.9 percent for the first six months of the year.
Overall, sales in France rose 4.7 percent in the first six months of the year. Adjusted for the same number of selling days (125 in 2018, compared with 124 in 2017), sales rose 5.5 in the same period, CCFA reported.