PARIS -- New-car registrations in France fell by 14 percent in August compared with the same month last year, according to industry association CCFA, when sales rose by 40 percent as automakers rushed to sell cars ahead of a Sept. 1 deadline for certification under the Worldwide harmonized Light vehicle Testing Procedure, or WLTP.
Many brands recorded deep declines for the month, including a drop of 66 percent at Nissan, 38 percent at Fiat, 33 percent at Renault, 29 percent at Dacia and 22 percent at BMW.
However, sales increased sharply at a number of brands, with Smart sales up 481 percent, though at low volumes; Suzuki up 131 percent; Mitsubishi up 102 percent; and DS up 31 percent.
Click here to download August and 8-month French sales by automaker and brand.
There were 129,259 registrations in August, CCFA said, with 21 selling days in the month, compared with 22 selling days in August 2018. Sales were down by 10 percent for the month on an adjusted basis, the group said.
Sales for the year are down by 3 percent, or 2.5 percent based on a comparable number of selling days. Most analysts have predicted that sales will fall slightly in 2019.
Evercore ISI said on Monday that it forecast a return to growth in September and that annual sales would be down 1 percent to 1.5 percent. However, Cetelem, a financial services group, expects that annual sales will fall by 3.3 percent.
Among French automakers, PSA Group sales fell by 4.9 percent, with Peugeot down 6.3 percent, Citroen losing 5.7 percent and Opel down 4.5 percent. Renault Group sales fell by 31 percent overall.
Volkswagen Group sales were down by 14 percent, with growth at Seat (up 9 percent) unable to offset declines at the Volkswagen brand (13 percent) and Audi (25 percent).
Ford sales were down by 14 percent, mirroring the overall market.
Daimler group sales were up by 68 percent behind a surge from Smart and a 13 percent increase at Mercedes. BMW Group was down by 15 percent, with BMW losing 22 percent and Mini 1.4 percent.
Among Asian automakers, Toyota sales were up 12 percent; and Hyundai Group gained 9.1 percent, with a 19 percent increase at Kia and a small decline at Hyundai.
By powertrain, diesel sales were just 31 percent of the market in August, the lowest figure since the early 1990s. Sales of battery electric vehicles were up 50 percent for the year, with a 1.8 percent market share.
Sales of light-commercial vehicles remained steady for the month and were up 6.1 percent for the year, CCFA said.
Reuters contributed to this report