French automakers’ sales halve in May due to coronavirus lockdown

Sales of French car manufacturers halved in May due to the coronavirus lockdown, official data showed on Monday.

In May, new car sales declined by 50.34 percent to 96,310 units, compared with the same period in 2019, the Committee of French Automobile Manufacturers (CCFA) said in a monthly report.

Sales of French brands tumbled by 53.62 percent during the period. The country’s leading auto maker PSA, which makes the Peugeot and Citroen brands, offered 28,552 units, down by 56.07 percent compared to last year’s performance.

Renault reported the same negative trend. It saw sales declining by 50.39 percent, with that of low-cost brand of Dacia reporting a 51.15-percent loss.

Meanwhile, sales of foreign car brands suffered a 45.63 percent drop, the CCFA figures showed.

France entered a nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of novel coronavirus on March 17. Under the confinement, all non-essential businesses have been closed, triggering the country’s worst post-war economic crisis and forcing companies to ask the state’s help to avoid massive lay-offs and bankruptcy.

On May 26, French President Emmanuel Macron unveiled an eight-billion-euro (8.89-billion-U.S. dollar) rescue plan to help the recovery of the domestic auto industry. Enditem (1 euro = 1.11 U.S. dollars)