January 1, 2017 / 11:35 AM / 8 months ago

French auto market ends second rebound year with December gain

PARIS, Jan 1 (Reuters) - French car sales rose 5.8 percent in December, according to industry data published on Sunday, closing a second consecutive year of strong growth in Europe's third-biggest auto market.

Registrations rose to 194,388 cars last month from 183,720 a year earlier, the CCFA industry association said. The full-year total topped 2 million, a 5.1 percent increase from 2015.

Renault gained on competitors in its domestic market last year, with an 8 percent sales increase led by its no-frills Dacia brand. Rival PSA, maker of Peugeot, Citroen and DS cars, lost market share as sales stagnated.

In December, both French carmakers underperformed the market expansion, with Renault registrations increasing a modest 0.6 percent and PSA down 3.5 percent.

The French auto market, which ranks behind Germany and Britain by volume, has been in recovery since 2015, when car sales rose 6.8 percent. That followed four straight years of decline and an almost flat 2014.

Delivery van registrations rose 3.2 percent in December and 8.1 percent over the year, the CCFA also said. Light vehicle sales, which combine vans and cars, rose 5.6 percent in 2016. (Reporting by Laurence Frost and Gilles Guillaume; editing by David Clarke)

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