French car industry reports worst sales since 1997
France's car industry is experiencing its worst year in sales for 15 years, it has been revealed.
According to the Daily Telegraph, car sales in the country are down 28 per cent in November compared to the same month last year. Citroen reported sales had fallen by 26 per cent, while sales for the state-owned marque Renault were down 33 per cent.
Markit's purchasing managers' index (PMI) for French manufacturing remained in a slump through November at 44.5 – anything below 50 denotes contraction – and is now the second weakest only to Greece in the Eurozone.
Reasons behind the slump are difficult to fully identify, but the focus on the home market rather than global sales have been attributed to be on of key factors.
Despite the UK being part of the Eurozone, French manufacturers have seen mixed results over the last 12 months.
Both Citroen and Peugeot posted year-on-year sales increases at 7.82 per cent and 4.61 per cent respectively in October. Meanwhile rival firm Renault posted a drop in sales of 43.65 per cent, which could largely be down to the manufacturer axing five models from the range and closing a third of its UK dealer network.
French firms' sales performances are in stark contrast to neighbouring Germany. Here brands such as the VW Group have marques such as Skoda who have seen their fortunes change and brand perceptions rise.
In markets like China, where well-built German cars export well, French cars are being left behind, marked as "unsuitable" for the market, according to the International Monetary Fund.
The organisation said in the Daily Telegraph France is too reliant on "low to medium tech products that face competition from emerging economies." Brands like Kia and Hyundai have moved into segments once dominated by French marques.