September 19, 2012 / 10:59 AM / 6 years ago

French vehicle order drop shows worse to come

Cars are lined up on a parking lot of French car maker PSA Peugeot-Citroen, Europe's No. 2 automaker by volume, in Markolsheim, near Colmar, eastern France, September 7, 2012. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler

PARIS (Reuters) - French car and delivery-truck orders extended their slump last month, according to a dealership survey, falling 8.5 percent in a sign of a worsening outlook for mid-range automakers such as PSA Peugeot Citroen (PEUP.PA).

Light vehicle orders, which prefigure delivery trends, posted their fourth straight monthly decline amid weakening consumer sentiment in Europe’s second-biggest auto market, a trade publication reported on Wednesday.

“The drop in August was worse than expected,” La Lettre VN said. “It confirms the downward trend of the past few months and deepens the price war in all categories.”

Peugeot orders fell 9 percent, with sister brand Citroen recording a 5.3 percent decline, according to the publication’s monthly survey of 34 auto distribution groups.

Renault (RENA.PA) saw orders fall 20 percent at its namesake marque, although a 28 percent gain for the smaller no-frills Dacia brand helped to offset the decline.

Fiat FIA.MI and Toyota (7203.T) orders were down 24 percent, Ford (F.N) 16 percent and Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) 5 percent.

Fleet managers also held off purchases amid concern that tighter emissions regulations may undermine residual values of diesel cars, according to the publication’s monthly survey of 34 auto distribution groups.

Jean-Vincent Place, a senator with the ecologist EELV party that sits on France’s Socialist-led government, called last week for tighter diesel restrictions in town centers, leading to an eventual ban.

Reporting by Laurence Frost; Editing by Christian Plumb

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