France and Spain extend car sales recovery in June

PARIS, July 1 Tue Jul 1, 2014 9:00am EDT

PARIS, July 1 (Reuters) - French and Spanish car sales rose in June, according to industry data published on Tuesday, helped by extra incentives and new models as Europe's vehicle sector recovery picks up steadily.

French registrations were up 3.2 percent last month, bringing first half gains to 2.9 percent, the Paris-based CCFA carmakers' association said, raising its full-year growth forecast to 2 percent from expectations for no change.

"Taking account of the current economic realities we nonetheless maintain a certain prudence about the passenger car market in 2014," association head Patrick Blain told reporters.

Europe is recovering from a six-year auto market slump that took demand to a two-decade low and led to widespread losses for vehicle makers and job cuts, as the industry struggled to cover the huge fixed costs of its manufacturing base in the region.

France's Renault posted a 25-percent gain in domestic sales last month on the strength of demand for its Captur mini-crossover and no-frills Dacia Duster.

Rival PSA Peugeot Citroen's deliveries fell 2.3 percent, weighed down by an 8.6 percent decline at Citroen. Ford , General Motors, Toyota and Volkswagen also lost ground.

But French demand for luxury cars picked up, with BMW and Daimler recording gains of 25 and 17 percent respectively in June after declines in previous months.

In Spain, new car sales surged 24 percent for a tenth consecutive month of year-on-year gains as the market rebounds from record lows with 18-percent first-half growth.

Registrations were boosted by the renewal of state-backed sales subsidies for buyers who trade in older vehicles.

Peugeot, Citroen and GM's Opel all fared better in Spain than in France last month, with sales growth outpacing the broader market. Among major brands, Ford, Fiat, VW and Renault led the advance with gains close to 50 percent.

Other major European markets are due to publish June registrations data later in the week. (Reporting by Laurence Frost, Gilles Guillaume and Paul Day; Editing by Louise Ireland)