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by Matt Brogan

French industry minister, Mr Christian Estrosi, said he expects 2009 to be the country’s best year for car sales since 2001 in an interview this weekend with French newspaper, Les Echos.

Mr Estrosi said the strong sales figures come as French drivers take advantage of various government incentive schemes with new car registrations expected to reach 2.27 million units, up over 10 per cent from 2008.

French brands benefited the most from increased sales, rising 12 per cent, or double the rate of imported rivals. However the French car market as a whole remains driven by models built in low-cost countries.

“Only flat note: if Renault’s and Peugeot’s factories are running more than at the end of 2008, the market remains driven by models constructed in low-cost countries,” Les Echos published, meaning that car-scrapping schemes benefited manufacturers but gave less of a boost to employment in France.

Car sales rose 48.4 per cent in November in France and 7.6 per cent in the first 11 months of 2009, car manufacturers’ association, the CCFA, said this month.




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