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French car orders drop in July-August -survey

PARIS (Reuters) - French new car orders fell back an estimated 2.5 percent in July-August, according to a dealership survey published on Thursday, as the market shows signs of stabilising at a low level of demand.

Among mass-market brands, the decline was sharpest in the General Motors (NYS:GM) Opel sales network, where orders fell 19 percent, trade publication AutoK7 reported in its monthly poll of more than 30 dealership groups, prefiguring delivery trends.

In June, orders had turned positive for the first time in eight months, according to the same survey.

Ford (NYS:F) orders dropped 14 percent and Toyota <7203.T> 13 percent compared with the year-earlier period, while the Citroen and Peugeot (PAR:UG) brands slid 8 percent and 7 percent respectively. Renault (PAR:RNO) fell a more modest 1 percent.

Europe's debt crisis and austerity measures are propelling the region's car sales towards a sixth straight annual decline in 2013. Registrations in France, the region's third-biggest market, were down 9.8 percent in January-August.

(Reporting by Gilles Guillaume; Editing by Christian Plumb)