After surging by 17% in 1936, the French new vehicle market returns into negative 1937, mainly due to a wave of labour disputes, strikes, and worker unrest that spread throughout the French automobile industry and affected sales. The market as a whole is down 3% to 184,998 units, that includes 163,967 private cars and 21,031 trucks, both also down 3% on 1936. The market share of foreign cars drops even further, to a minuscule 4% of private cars and 7% of trucks. Based on data from French colonies, Citroen, Renault and Peugeot should be dominating the brands ranking this year but it is difficult to estimate which one is on top.
After a few wobbly years affected by the Great Depression (no frank growth since 1930), the French new car market is in great shape in 1936 at +17% to 190,167 registrations, also the highest annual volume since 1930. This includes 168,429 private cars (+19%) and 21,738 trucks (+3%). Still no brand data, but if I had to bet I would on Citroen and its Traction Avant which I see take 25% of the private car market at around 42,000 sales.
1935 is the first year French newspaper L’Argus covers with detailed car sales statistics. It would keep on doing so every single year (except during World War II) up to this day. Unfortunately 1935 is not a great year for new car sales in France, with private cars down 7% to 141,312 registrations and trucks down an even tougher 12% to 21,065 units, bringing the total market to 162,377 sales, down 8% on 1935. Imports are still very limited in France at the time: only 8% of new private cars sold in the country in 1934 are foreign, and 10% of trucks.
There is no brands not models data available but Citroen should be leading the sales charts with is very successful Traction Avant launched the year before in 1934, and sold 20,000 units between its presentation in April and the Paris Auto Show in October that year, so it should find itself around 40,000 units over the Full Year 1935, a huge 28% of the private car market and an almost assured pole position.
* See the 1930-1934 annual sales volume by clicking on the title! *
1930 is the date of the oldest official annual new car sales figures for France made available by L’Argus. At the time a total of 285,461 new vehicles found a buyer, including 239,530 private cars, which should be a record. However the great depression cut one third of the market in 1931, down 34% to 188,402 units, before losing another 13% in 1932 and stabilising around 177,000 units in 1933 and 1934. No brand data is available for the period, but Citroen should be the dominant manufacturer judging by sales data around the same time for French colonies. The French manufacturer launched two very important models during this time: in 1933 the Rosalie, the first private car with a diesel engine in the world, and in 1934 the legendary Traction Avant…
Full Year 1930 to 1934 annual volumes below.
For the first time in the history of BSCB and thanks to the CCFA in Paris I am able to share with you official stats for the 19th century! At that time the only data available is the number of cars in circulation in the country. In France, there were only 200 cars on the roads in 1894. A figure that would climb to 2,897 in 1900, then passing the 10,000 mark in 1903, the 20,000 in 1906, 30,000 in 1907 and 50,000 in 1910.
There is a steady increase of the number of vehicles in circulation in France of around 20% per year up until World War I which sees the car population skid from 107,535 in 1914 (the first year above 100,000), to 93,338 in 1919. But 1920 sees an incredible increase of 150% to a record 233,065 and in the twenties the progression is astounding, reaching 602,338 vehicles in circulation in 1924 and passing the symbolic million in 1928. By 1930, there are over 1.5 million vehicles on French roads and by 1935 over 2 million…
Cars in circulation in France for each year between 1894 and 1934 below.
* See more info about the Ford Model A by clicking on the title! *
While looking for pictures online today I came across production figures for the Ford Model A, the successor to the Model T. And they are phenomenal, to a point where it is safe to say that the Ford Model A should be the best-selling model in the USA and potentially the world over the period. The Model A started production in October 1927 and stopped in March 1932, that’s 53 months of life, a very short time indeed.
In that timeframe, a staggering 4,849,340 units were produced, that around 1 million per year on average. However after hitting its first million on 4 February 1929, it only needed 170 days to get to 2 millions (on 24 July 1929) and 230 days to hit 3 millions (in March 1930)! At this rate, the Model A’s production figure for 1929, the year the Great Depression started, should be around 1.9 million which would come very close to the Ford Model T’s best years (2 million produced in 1923 and 1.9 million produced in 1924 and 1925).
Something to keep in mind though is that at the time, each brand only had one model with a lot of different body styles. For example, in 1930 the Model A had 9 body style available. Prices for the Model A ranged from US$385 for a roadster to $1400 for the top-of-the-line Town Car. A rear view mirror was optional…
Previous post: USA 1908-1927: Ford Model T makes the automobile popular
See the original Ford Model A article below, as well as numerous vintage elements.
* See the Top 6 best-selling manufacturers by clicking on the title! Many thanks to Bill *
Yesterday Bill offered me a little present for BSCB’s 2nd Anniversary: the best-selling manufacturers in Greece in… 1932! This makes Greece the only country with the USA to feature pre-World War II car sales info. If you do have any info about any car market before 1940, please make sure to get in touch by either commenting on this post or clicking on the ‘Contact us’ tab and filling your details.
While over the first 6 months of 1929, 548 new passenger cars found a buyer in Greece (351 of them taxis), the Great Depression that followed brought the market down to just 273 units over the Full Year 1932. US carmakers are frankly dominant, with Ford in the lead at 60 sales and 22% market share, followed by Chevrolet at #2 and 12.5% while Buick ranks #5 at 6.2% and Plymouth #6 at 4%.
Full Year 1932 Top 6 Ranking Table below.
A site like BestSellingCars would not exist were it not for the Ford Model T. Tin Lizzie, as it was fondly known, is the first car in the automobile history to be mass-produced, making the automobile affordable and defining the direction of the automobile industry as we know it today.
The Model T set 1908 as the historic year that the automobile became popular. It’s the car that opened travel to the common middle-class American and to the world. Streamlined production techniques meant the car could be produced 8 times faster than any other car – 93 minutes in 1914 – all the while using less manpower.
At launch in 1908 it was twice cheaper than any other car, at $850 (equivalent to $20,700 today). In 1913, the price dropped to $550 ($12,200 today), and $260 in 1924 ($2,900 today) because of increasing efficiencies of assembly line technique and volume.
Its success defied reason even by today’s standards. Starting slow (10,660 units in 1909), production took off in 1916 at 501,462 units before literally exploding and passing the million annual units in 1922 at 1,301,067…
1923 was the Model T’s best year and is still today the highest annual production figure ever achieved by a single model with 2,011,125 units produced in a single year! That’s more than twice nowadays’ Toyota Corolla figure in a good year… By then Ford was churning out Model T’s at a rate of up to 10,000 cars a day!
The two following years weren’t too bad either with 1,922,048 units produced in 1924 and 1,911,706 units produced in 1925…
The Ford Model T was also the first car to be built by various countries simultaneously, at one stage assembled in the US, Canada, England, Germany, Argentina, Australia, France, Spain, Ireland, Denmark, Norway, Belgium, Brazil, Mexico and Japan. The first global car indeed…
By the end of its life on 26 May 1927, 15 million units of the Model T had been produced, a figure only later eclipsed by the VW Beetle. More info on the Ford Model T here.
For yearly production figures see below.