PARIS -- New-car sales in France fell by 2.3 percent in March to 225,818, with Skoda, Hyundai, Dacia and Seat recording double-digit increases. Sales declined at France's two best-selling brands, Renault and Peugeot.
There were 21 selling days in March, compared with 22 in March 2018. On an adjusted basis, sales were up by 2.4 percent, industry association CCFA reported on Monday.
Skoda bucked the market drop with its sales increasing by 16 percent. Hyundai and Dacia each saw a 14 percent increase, and Seat sales were up by 10 percent.
Citroen sales were up 9.7 percent, continuing a strong growth trend with the introduction of the C3 Aircross and C5 Aircross SUV models. Opel sales rose by 8.5 percent, but fell at PSA Group's other two brands, as Peugeot was down 8.1 percent and DS dropped by 22 percent. Overall, PSA sales were down by 1.5 percent for the month.
Dacia's strong performance was offset by a 6.6 percent decline at Renault, and group sales fell 1.7 percent.
Volkswagen brand sales rose 8.3 percent, and Audi inched up by 0.2 percent. VW Group sales were up 7.1 percent for the month.
BMW sales fell by 15 percent, and Mercedes lost 4.4 percent. Ford lost 9.8 percent.
Among Asian brands, Kia sales fell by 0.3 percent, Toyota gained 0.2 percent and Nissan's decline continued, with sales down by 33 percent.
Click here to download March and 3-month French sales by automaker and brand.
Light-commercial vehicle sales fell by 0.7 percent in March, but are up 4 percent for the year.
Diesel's market share was 34 percent in March, down by 2 percentage points from February. Diesel share was 40 percent in March 2018 and 47 percent in March 2017. Diesel share for the first quarter were 35 percent, compared with 39 percent for all of 2018, and 64 percent in 2014.
Through March, toal market sales are down slightly by 0.6 percent, although adjusted for the same number of selling days they increased by 0.9 percent.
Most analysts and automaker are predicting a flat market in France this year. Sales of electric vehicles rose 45 percent in the first quarter, from 1.31 percent of the market to 1.91 percent.
French sales rose slightly in February after five months of declines that were largely due to issues related to the new WLTP certification tests and the Yellow Vest protests in November, December and January.