* See ‘Read more’ at end of post for the France 1950 Top 15 best-selling models – thanks STAC for the tip! *
In 1950, the French market is rebooted: it is 5 years since the end of World War II, sale of petrol is not controlled anymore and raw materials are more widely available. Consumers are buying new cars again: 174,305 exactly that year, making France the largest car market in Europe by far, 3 times the volume of the UK, the 2nd biggest. Three models hold 2/3 of the market:
The Renault 4CV is king with 50,291 sales and 28.9% share. Presented at the 1946 Paris Motor Show, its production started in August 1947 and 37,000 units had been sold by mid-1949, making it the most popular car in France. It was nicknamed “La motte de beurre” (the lump of butter) due to its shape and colour: early deliveries used surplus paint from the German Afrika Korps Army vehicles which were a sand-yellow color.
In 2nd place the Peugeot 203 sells 34,012 units for a 19.6% market share. The 203 launched in 1948, was the first model Peugeot launched after the War and the only model it produced up until 1954 when the larger 403 debuted.
Citroen Traction Avant
The legendary Citroen Traction Avant takes the 3rd spot with 30,180 units sold in 1950 and 17.3% share in spite of its much higher price. Launched in 1934 it is the oldest model in the ranking.
Two more cars sell upwards of 10,000 units this year: the Simca 8 (10.2%) and Ford Vedette (7.5%). At that time Ford had a French branch and produced cars in the country. Notice the Panhard Dyna at #6 with 6,825 sales and the all-new Citroen 2CV at #7 and 6.177 units, up from 876 in 1949 which was its launch year.
Full Year 1950 Top 15 best-selling models below.