VW and U.S. automakers lead French sales decline

PARIS Fri Feb 1, 2013 3:03am EST

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PARIS Feb 1 (Reuters) - French car sales dropped 15 percent in January, the country's main automakers' association said on Friday, with Volkswagen and U.S. carmakers suffering the worst declines.

Registrations in France fell to 124,952 cars last month from 147,046 a year earlier, the Paris-based CCFA said in a statement.

Sales of delivery vans also fell 13.9 percent, leading to a 9.1 percent drop for light vehicle registrations overall.

PSA Peugeot Citroen recorded a 16.7 percent domestic car sales decline, the CCFA said. Smaller domestic rival Renault saw its registrations tumble a more modest 7.4 percent - softened by a 9.9 percent gain at its low-cost Dacia brand.

Sales by Volkswagen, Europe's biggest carmaker, plunged 23.9 percent to 16,846 cars, while combined sales by General Motors' Chevrolet and Opel/Vauxhall brands dropped 21.2 percent. Ford registrations dropped 35.3 percent.

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