New car registrations in France, a key indicator of economic health, dropped sharply in May according to new data published on Monday, with Renault and Citroën the worst affected.
A total of 148,554 new cars were registered in France last month, a 10.3-percent drop compared to the same period in 2012, according to statistics published by France's industry group for auto makers, CCFA.
The Renault group plunged by 16.5 percent while Citroën also dropped sharply, by 14.5 percent.
Overall, French models appeared worse hit than foreign makes, with domestic brands down 12.1 percent compared to 8.4 percent for manufacturers with bases outside France.
2013 has not started well for the French car market, with CCFA figures showing a 12-percent decline in new car registrations between January and May on weak European demand.
France, Europe's second-largest economy, slipped into recession in the first quarter of the year, according to national statistics published last month.
In March, the unemployment level hit a 16-year high, reaching 3.2 million or 10.6 percent.
Crippled by a three-year debt crisis, the wider eurozone posted its sixth straight quarter of economic contraction with even powerhouse Germany grinding to a halt.