PARIS -- A collapse in new-car sales in France slowed in May after dealerships began to reopen early in the month.
Registrations fell by 50 percent to 96,310 last month, according to industry group CCFA. In April sales were down 89 percent when showrooms were shut under the government's coronavirus lockdown.
Dealerships were allowed to restart sales activities on May 11.
Renault and PSA Group have said that most of the first customers to return to dealerships were those who had ordered vehicles but were been unable to take delivery due to the lockdown.
"I have seen stronger rebounds," Renault Chairman Jean-Dominique Senard said on Sunday in a French television interview, adding that any reversal of the sales slump has been tepid so far.
Some brands fared better than others in May.
BMW Group's Mini recorded an increase of 9.8 percent, the only brand in positive figures.
Among automakers whose registrations declined less than the overall market were Volvo, down 28 percent; Hyundai, down 30 percent; Kia, down 35 percent; and Toyota, down 31 percent.
Volkswagen Group brands also declined less than the market, with VW brand down 46 percent; Audi down 44 percent: Skoda down 37 percent; and Seat falling 43 percent.
Ford sales fell by 48 percent. Nissan sales were down 47 percent.
PSA Group brands fared worse than the market, with Opel down 62 percent; Peugeot down 56 percent; Citroen down 55 percent; and DS down 47 percent.
- Download PDF of French sales in May by automaker and brand here.
Renault was down 50 percent and Dacia fell 51 percent.
Volume brands that lost the most sales were Suzuki, down 71 percent; Fiat, down 71 percent; and Jeep, down 69 percent.
BMW brand's registrations dropped by 52 percent and Mercedes-Benz brand sales fell 50 percent.
By drivetrain, full-electric vehicles accounted for 6.5 percent of sales through May and hybrids 11 percent, of which plug-in hybrids were 2.7 percent. Diesel market share was 32 percent through April, with May figures incomplete.
The fleet CO2 emissions figure was 101 grams per km, as automakers sought to meet the EU-wide target of 95 g/km for the year. May's figure was a slight increase from 98 g/km in April.
Sales of light-commercial vehicles were down 33 percent in May and 40 percent for the year.
The French market is down 49 percent in the first five months.
Looking ahead, French government incentives to boost sales went into effect on Monday.
They include an increase in a bonus for electric vehicles to 7,000 euros ($7,800) for private buyers, 5,000 euros for business customers, and a 2,000 euro bonus for plug-in hybrids that will last until Dec. 31.
In addition, the government is offering up to 5,000 euros for buyers who turn in older, higher-polluting models to buy a new or used electric car, or an internal-combustion car with the latest emissions control technology. That program is expected to cover 200,000 trade-ins.
Bloomberg contributed to this report