New vehicle registrations in France jumped 143pc to 233,818 units in June from the prior month, according to the statistics published Comité des Constructeurs Français d’Automobiles (CCFA) on July 1.

 

New car sales are likely to have returned to “more normal” levels as easing lockdown measures released pent up demand, with buyers also taking advantage of a government-backed vehicle purchase subsidy introduced on June 1.

 

Under the scheme buyers, who trade in older, more polluting vehicles and purchase new or near-new used vehicles, are entitled to incentives, which also include increased subsidies for hybrid and electric vehicles.

 

That said, President of La Plateforme Automobile (PFA), Luc Chatel, lamented that the scheme’s initial quota of 200,000 vehicle purchases will likely be used up by next month and that it may need to be extended to avoid a “stop-start” effect on purchases.

 

CCFA spokesman Francois Roudier noted “an increase in sales of electric and hybrid vehicles” with “the best sellers…entry-level models”, likely an indication that subsidies were helping those with more modest incomes who had previously been unable to afford hybrid or electric vehicles.

 

While headline new car sales figures showed a 1.2pc increase compared with the same month last year, proof of sustainable recovery is likely to be far off given that pent up demand and incentives will be skewing the picture of real demand.

 

Nevertheless, auto-scrapping schemes will likely have a larger impact on scrap availability as opposed to new car production and steel consumption, given that producers will wait for signs of a sustainable recovery before increasing capacity utilization and replenishing depleted stocks.

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