* French car sales down 11 pct at 85,565 in August
* CCFA industry body maintains 2013 forecast
* Spanish sales down 18.3 percent at 38,872
* Italy sales down 6.56 percent
* GM, Fiat, Renault gains buck decline
PARIS/MADRID, Sept 2 French, Italian and Spanish
auto registrations dropped sharply last month, dimming prospects
for a stabilisation in demand which has been hammered by
In France, registrations fell 11 percent to 85,565 vehicles
in August, a slow holiday month from which it is hard to
extrapolate trends, France's CCFA industry group said on Monday.
The decline was led by falling sales for mass-market brands
Volkswagen, Ford and Peugeot.
Sales for the first eight months of the year were down 10
percent and the Paris-based organisation maintained its
full-year forecast of an 8 percent decline.
"September and October will be critical," CCFA spokesman
Francois Roudier said. "August is always a thin month, but this
year it's particularly low."
In Italy, Europe's fourth-largest market, car sales fell
6.56 percent in August to 52,997 from a year ago, the Transport
Ministry said, bringing the drop so far this year to 9.2
Car dealers' association Federauto said August's poor
performance was a sign Italy's economy was not yet showing signs
In Spain, sales dropped 18.3 percent year-on-year after
rising by almost 15 percent in July, car manufacturers'
association Anfac said.
August's figures were affected by a jump in sales in the
same month last year, ahead of a 3 percentage point rise in
value-added tax in September and due to calendar effects, Anfac
Some 38,872 cars were sold in August and the association
said a Spanish government subsidy scheme for the purchase of new
vehicles would mean a probable rise in September.
"Projections suggest the full year will close with about
700,000 sales, close to last year's figure," Spanish dealer
association president Juan Antonio Sanchez Torres said.
European car industry leaders will update investors on their
outlook for regional demand when they gather in Germany next
week for the Frankfurt auto show, which opens on Sept. 10 for a
media preview and to the public two days later.
The monthly sales figures showed Europe's No.1 carmaker
Volkswagen led the decline in France with a 24
percent plunge, mainly attributable to weaker sales at its
Ford and PSA Peugeot Citroen were among
other mass automakers that fared poorly in France, with
respective declines of 19 percent and 17 percent.
But General Motors' 16 percent sales gain defied the
slump thanks to the Chevrolet brand, which recorded 2,429 car
sales, up 64 percent. Fiat deliveries also gained 9.9
percent and Renault achieved a 1.7 percent rise.
Combined with its Alfa Romeo and Lancia divisions, Fiat
advanced 19 percent in Spain and 9.9 percent in France.
Renault, helped by its new Clio subcompact, gained between
1 and 2 percent in both countries and also benefited from
Spanish demand for its low-cost Dacia brand.
"We're in line with our market forecasts," Renault sales
chief Bernard Cambier said in an interview. Excluding calendar
effects, he said, August registrations suggested the French
market remained on track for an 8 percent decline this year.
Daimler's Mercedes-Benz division recorded just
1,927 French August car registrations, down 37 percent
year-on-year, reflecting a French sales ban imposed on several
Mercedes models in a dispute over air-conditioning refrigerants,
lifted by a court injunction last week.