French sales plunge 15% in December amid ‘yellow vest’ protests

French registrations fell 15 percent in December, hit by “yellow vest” protests against President Emmanuel Macron’s tough economic policies. Sales of luxury cars were especially hard hit during the month as anti-government unrest spread across the country.

The protests led to a 16 percent decline in retail sales on Saturdays when the demonstrations were held. Auto dealerships were affected because a lot of the country’s suburban dealer clusters are near traffic circles and shopping malls where the protesters have been stopping traffic, leading to potential car buyers staying at home.

Registrations of Porsche vehicles plunged 73 percent in December. Alfa Romeo sales fell 51 percent, Audi sales were down 39 percent, BMW registrations declined by 31 percent and Mercedes-Benz brand was down 22 percent.