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French November sales fall 27% as prior deliveries lessen lockdown losses

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PARIS — New-car registrations in France fell by 27 percent in November compared with the same month in 2019, with deliveries of previously ordered vehicles helping to offset the closing of showrooms due to lockdowns imposed to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

There were 126,048 registrations for the month, industry group CCFA said, with 20 selling days — although showrooms were open to the public only for the final three days of November.  

For the year, the market is down by 27 percent, with most of the sales lost during COVID-19 lockdowns in March, April and part of May. 

“This time, losses were relatively limited by the possibility of delivering cars already ordered and by the extension of government incentives,” the information company AAA Data said. Some analysts had forecast that sales could fall by 70 percent.

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A spokesman for CCFA said sales for the year were still expected to fall 25 percent to 30 percent, but likely at the lower end of that range. “There are still some uncertainties around December,” he told Reuters. “But the catastrophic scenario of a 30 percent fall is no longer on the table.”

Only three brands managed positive results in November: Smart’s registrations were up 30 percent, although at a very low volume; Land Rover rose by 15 percent; and Mini was up 1 percent.

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