French car group Citroen said on Jan. 5 its sales leapt by nearly 30% in France in December due to a government measure to stimulate demand. "Our orders in December are up 29% compared with December 2007," the group's top sales executive for France, Alain Favey said. "We've gone from a situation where it was 20% lower in November to 30% higher in December."
He attributed the increase to a government bonus of 1,000 euros for car owners who scrap their old vehicle to buy an energy-efficient new one.
Earlier this month, French President Nicolas Sarkozy unveiled a 26-billion-euro (US$ 36 billion) economic stimulus plan that provided for billions in aid for the struggling car and construction industries.
A 300-million-euro restructuring fund for the car industry, notably car parts suppliers, was announced along with the bonus system.
Facing a collapse in car sales, Renault, PSA Peugeot Citroen and their suppliers have dramatically cut production, and industry leaders warn prospects for the coming year or two are bleak.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009