Sales of new French cars rose in April, trade data showed on Friday in a further sign that the French market is pulling away from a slump which helped throw Peugeot Citroen into crisis.
Sales rose by 5.8 percent from the level 12 months earlier, both after adjustment for the number of working days and on the basis of raw data, the committee of French carmakers CCFA said.
In March, sales had risen by 8.9 percent.
In April, the French market absorbed 166,968 new cars.
A spokesman for the manufacturers said that the CCFA was holding to its forecast that sales for the whole of this year would rise by 1.0 percent, after adjustment for the number of working days.
But the trade grouping said it was advancing a cautious figure because the volume of sales remained low even though it had risen, and because sales to individual private buyers were slowing down.
Theincrease in overall sales reflected mainly sales to companies, he said.
The figures of slowing sales to personal buyers come aainst a background of public concern about record high unemployment and new measures by the government to contain public spending.
Peugeot Citroen has just opened up to new shareholders in the form of Chinese state-owned group Dongfeng and the French state as part of a strategy to recover from severe financial crisis which a government report blamed largely on undue dependence on the French and European market, and insufficient use of the opportunities of globalisation.
The latest figures sho that the increased sales in April benefited French manufacturers.
Sales by PSA Peugeot Citroen rose by 5.1 percent despite a poor performance by Citroen.
Sales by Renault jumped by 18.4 percent, with an 11.0 percent rise by the Renault brand and a 45.6-percent leap by the low-cost subsidiary based in Romania, Dacia.
Among foreign manufacturers, US groups Ford and General Motors, and Japanese group Nissan which is controlled by Renault, led the pack.
For the first four months of the year, sales of new cars in France showed an increase of 3.7 percent before adjustment for the number of working days in the period.