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UPDATE 1-Global chip shortage, COVID-19 pandemic weigh on French car market rebound

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PARIS, Aug 1 (Reuters) - The global chip shortage and a new surge in COVID-19 infections are weighing on the prospects for a strong rebound by the French car market, the carmakers’ lobby CCFA-PFA said on Sunday.

The French association was until now betting on car sales growth in the range of 9-10%, but that could be toned down, a spokesperson for CCFA said.

“We think it might be difficult to achieve 1.8 million of sales this year,” the spokesperson said.

Last year, new French passenger car registrations fell to 1.65 million from 2.21 million in 2019 as the coronavirus pandemic brought car factories to a halt.

A lack of crucial semiconductors and uncertainty surrounding the novel coronavirus pandemic are affecting most automakers, including French carmaker Renault and its Franco-Italian arch-rival Stellantis.

New car registrations in France plummeted by about 35% in July from the same period a year ago, according to data issued by CCFA-PFA late on Saturday.

Registrations of new passenger vehicles totalled 115,713 last month, CCFA said. The French car market is up by about 16% over the first seven months of the year compared with the same period in 2020, the association said. (Reporting by Gilles Guillaume; Writing by Mathieu Rosemain; Editing by Louise Heavens and Toby Chopra)

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