French carmakers lead domestic orders rebound

PARIS, April 10 Thu Apr 10, 2014 10:51am EDT

PARIS, April 10 (Reuters) - French car orders rose 10 percent in March, led by domestic manufacturers Renault and PSA Peugeot Citroen, as new models spurred demand for a fourth consecutive month, according to a survey published on Thursday.

Orders for new cars, which prefigure delivery trends, rose 31 percent for Renault, 20 percent for Peugeot and 7 percent for sister brand Citroen, trade publication AutoK7 reported in its monthly poll of more than 30 retail groups.

Renault's new Clio subcompact and Captur small sport utility vehicle (SUV) powered the brand's sales gain, the survey showed.

German luxury carmakers BMW and Mercedes-Benz also recorded a sharp increase in French orders, up 25 percent and 59 percent respectively.

While General Motors' Opel division posted an 8 percent increase in orders, Chevrolet saw the biggest decline, with business plunging 82 percent as the U.S. carmaker prepares for the brand's withdrawal from Europe, which has prompted legal action from French dealers.

Volkswagen, Europe's biggest carmaker by sales, also saw its namesake VW brand's French orders fall 3.5 percent. (Reporting by Laurence Frost; Editing by James Regan)