PARIS -- New-car sales in France fell by 1.8 percent in July, but a number of brands recorded strong gains, led by Mini, Suzuki, Skoda and Hyundai, industry group CCFA said.
There were 172,228 registrations in July, according to the CCFA, although there was one more selling day in the month compared with 2018. Adjusted for an equal 23 selling days, sales fell by 6.1 percent.
Sales are down by 1.8 percent for the year through July. Sales in June, July and August 2018 were bolstered by automakers' efforts to sell cars that were not yet certified under the Worldwide harmonized Light vehicle Test Procedure, or WLTP.
Most automakers and analysts are expecting the French market to fall slightly this year.
Among French automakers, PSA Group sales rose by 4.1 percent, led by a continued strong performance from Citroen, where sales jumped 13 percent behind the brand's two recently introduced SUVs, the C3 Aircross and C5 Aircross. Peugeot, Opel and DS sales were stable.
Sales at Renault Group slumped by 9.8 percent, with a gain of 1.5 percent at Dacia unable to offset a decline of 15 percent at Renault, which is awaiting the introduction of new versions of its two best-selling models, the subcompact Clio hatchback and Captur SUV.
Daimler sales rose 19 percent, with Smart sales up 68 percent -- although volumes were low -- and Mercedes up 14 percent.
BMW Group sales rose 14 percent, driven by a 37 percent gain for Mini. BMW brand sales rose by 3.9 percent.
Volkswagen Group sales rose by 2.5 percent, with an increase of 24 percent at Skoda and 9.1 percent at Seat offsetting a slight decline for the Volkswagen brand.
Hyundai Group led Asian brands, with an increase of 14 percent overall. Hyundai was up 18 percent and Kia up 10 percent.
Suzuki was up 22 percent; Toyota recorded an 11 percent increase; and Nissan continued to lose sales, down 55 percent for the month.
Light-commercial vehicle sales rose by 15 percent in July, and are up 6.7 percent for the year. However, LCVs will need to be WLTP compliant by Sept. 1 of this year, so manufacturers are clearing inventories of non-compliant vehicles, similar to passenger cars last year.
Diesel sales held steady at 34 percent for the month and year to date, five percentage points below last year's mark. Battery-electric vehicle sales were up by 50 percent for the year, and now make up 1.8 percent of the market. Sales of hybrids and plug-in hybrids recorded no gains, although both PSA Group and Renault are preparing to launch a range of such models starting at the beginning of next year.