France August 2016: Dacia, Mercedes, tactical sales lift market up 7%

Dacia Sandero France August 2016. Picture courtesy of largus.frThe Dacia Sandero outsells the Renault Clio 2 to 1 with private buyers in August.

* NOW UPDATED with the Top 50 All-brands, Top 270 models and Top 10 private sales *

After dropping 10% in July, the French new car market is back in positive territory in August at +7% to 98.217 registrations, in fact a seasonally adjusted 1.9% increase (daily rate). Year-to-date, deliveries are up 6% to 1.333.636 units. If the first half of the year was characterised by a rather artificial growth triggered by tactical sales, the summer months haven’t been truly positive either. August’s small increase – when dealing with the same number of working days – has once again nothing to do with private sales, up just 3.5% but down 1.2% seasonally adjusted, and accounting for 50% of the total market in August, their lowest ever ratio for the month. Company sales remain the main engine of growth in France, at +8% to 24.133 or 24.5% share in August. Local publication autoactu.com notes: “This accelerating transfer from private to company sales isn’t the result of a misattribution of long-term lease to companies. If the end-buyer of the car is a private person, the sale is counted as private even if the financing is a long-term lease with or without purchase option (LOA or LLD in French).

Citroen C3 France August 2016. Picture courtesy Copyright William Crozes @ Continental ProdutionsCitroen private sales are down a harsh 20% in August – waiting for the new C3? 

Another resilient unhealthy aspect of the French market is the sharp increase of stock registrations – or self-registrations, the practice of registering a car to the manufacturer or dealer to then sell it as a “zero km” used car. Demo dealer sales are up 17% to 14.062 and manufacturer sales are up 12% to 3.578. Combined, this channel is the one gaining the most ground in August at +16%, accounting for an astounding 18% of the total market. The main culprits of this type of practice this month are Citroen (+54%) – meaning its overall paltry performance (see below) would have been disastrous without self-registrations, Peugeot (+30%), Opel (+56%), Kia (+40%) and Fiat (+61%). Jacques Rivoal, Volkswagen Group France president quoted by Autoactu.com, summarises the situation rather well: “The market is uncertain. After an uncharacteristically good first half, July and August were disappointing and sales remain very tactical – this is definitely not a frank restart.”

Peugeot 2008 France August 2016. Picture courtesy largus.frThe Peugeot 2008 is boosted up 46% by its facelift and ends August above the Renault Captur.

Renault (+6.6%) is back to the brands pole position it holds year-to-date with 16.642 sales, edging past Peugeot (+6.7%) at 16.261. Very sensitive to quarter ends when it fills its data sheet with tactical sales to meet targets, Renault however retains a 40.000 unit-advantage so far in 2016 at 266.862 sales and 20% vs. 226.842 and 17% for Peugeot. Citroen is once again in difficulty at -6% and remains below the symbolic 10% market share barrier for the third consecutive month at 9.6% after 9.9% in June and July. Tactical sales up 54% have failed to compensate freefalling private sales down 20% year-on-year. The new generation C3 – landing in the August charts at #125 thanks to demo sales – couldn’t come quickly enough. Volkswagen for its part is tumbling down 19% on a very high August 2015 score (9.2% share) to 6.875 and 7%.

VW is now threatened by Dacia for the overall 4th spot: the low-cost access brand continues to build an implacable success in France. Its sales surge another 38% this month to 6.399 and 6.5% share of the overall market, its highest so far in 2016. In the private sales channel, Dacia has taken a considerable advantage over Citroen, holding a stunning 11.5% share this month vs. just 8.75% for Citroen, even starting to nudge market leaders Renault (14.1%) and Peugeot (13.7%). This feat enables Dacia to overtake Citroen in the YTD ranking also to rank #3 at 10.21% share vs. 10.14% while Renault (17.45%) and Peugeot (15.26%) remain leaders.

Mercedes A Class France August 2016. Picture courtesy largus.frMercedes sales are up 43% year-on-year to rank #1 premium above Audi and BMW.

Further down in the overall ranking, Toyota impresses at +12% in 6th place while Mercedes soars 43% to overtake Audi in the premium race at 3.723 sales vs. 3.703 (+7%), BMW arriving third at 3.501 (+9%). Opel (+6%) is kept outside the Top 10 by the three German premium brands, Nissan and DS implode (both at -20%) but Fiat (+18%), Kia (+16%), Mini (+24%) and Hyundai (+28%) all outpace the market. Further down, Jeep (+82%), Smart (+33%), Land Rover (+60%), Jaguar (+127%), Infiniti (+163%) and Maserati (+264%) all lodge spectacular scores.

Model-wise, the Peugeot 208 and Clio have now been #1 each for 6 out of the past 12 months. The 208 indeeds leads the way for the 2nd time in a row thanks to sales up 11% vs. a paltry -22% for the Clio in the midst of a changeover with the facelifted model. The 208 is boosted by a long-term lease promotion at 149€/month incl. maintenance on the Style trim accounting for 20-25% of the nameplate’s volume for the month. However a 2016 top spot for 208 still seems out of reach as it trails the Clio 65.999 vs. 71.760 so far. The Dacia Sandero is the gift that keeps giving, posting none other than the largest gain in the Top 30 at +65% to 3.627 units and 3.7% share, and stopping just 8 sales short off the Peugeot 308 (-2%) for a podium ranking. It also ranks #1 in the private sales channels as we detail further down.

Maserati Levante France August 2016The Levante pushes Maserati sales up 264% year-on-year in August. 

The Peugeot 2008 also signs an impressive month at +46% to 3.132 thanks to its facelift, overstepping its archenemy the Renault Captur at 2.917 (+7%). The Renault Mégane IV is still far off the segment leader the Peugeot 308 at 2% share vs. 3.7% in August, while the Renault Scénic III is discounted up 23% to #10 just as the 4th generation arrives in dealerships. The VW Polo (-20%), Toyota Yaris (-1%) and VW Golf (-26%) are the only foreigners in the Top 15, the Ford Fiesta is up 24% to #17, the Citroen C4 Cactus up 7 spots on July to #19, the Renault Talisman is up 6 to #28 and the BMW X1 is up 22 to #33 with 765 sales vs. just 11 for the previous generation a year ago. Other great performers include the Toyota RAV4 up 84% to #38, the Mercedes C-Class up 63% to #43 and the Dacia Lodgy up 70% to #53.

peugeot-3008-france-august-2016-picture-courtesy-autoplus-frThe new gen Peugeot 3008 has been spotted all across France over summer. It ranks #58 in August.

The new generation Peugeot 3008 makes its first appearance in the ranking at #58 with 460 demo sales, the new SUV has been spotted by numerous Auto Plus readers all throughout summer and these are the cars people spotted. The new gen Citroen C3 also appears at #125 with 140 demos. These two nameplates will launch in the coming months to the public. Further down, we welcome another three new nameplates: the Fiat Talento at #233, the Volvo S90 at #237 and the Tesla Model X at #261. Among other recent launches, the Fiat Tipo is up 8 spots on last month to #56, the Mercedes GLC up 3 to #63, the Citroen C-Elysée up 23 to #128, the Kia Niro up 8 to #131, the Fiat 124 Spider up 53 to #187 and the Maserati Levante up to #224 but the Jaguar F-Pace is down 15, the Seat Ateca down 47, the Infiniti Q30 down 92, Alfa Romeo Giulia down 34 and Citroen E-Mehari down 35.

Dacia Logo France August 2016Only Renault and Peugeot outsell Dacia with French private buyers so far in 2016. 

France Private sales 

Less than a month before its facelift is unveiled at the Paris Auto Show, the Dacia Sandero has taken an insurmountable advantage in the private sales models ranking with sales up 67% year-on-year to 3.331 units and 6.8% share in August vs. 2.609 and 5.34% for the Peugeot 208 (+18%) and just 1.467 and 3% for the Renault Clio (-18%). Yes you have read right, this month the Sandero outsells the Clio 2.27 to 1 with private buyers. The Clio is also outsold by the Renault Captur (+12%) and Peugeot 2008 (+43%), while the Dacia Duster lurks less than 100 private sales below in 6th place… The Toyota Yaris (#9) and Renault Twingo (#10) dislodge the Peugeot 308 and VW Golf from the Top 10.

Previous month: France July 2016: Peugeot #1, Dacia and Mercedes shine, market at -10%

One year ago: France August 2015: Renault and Clio reclaim control

Full August 2016 Top 50 All-brands, Top 270 models & Top 10 private sales below.

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France July 2016: Peugeot #1, Dacia & Mercedes shine, market at -10%

Peugeot 208 France July 2016The Peugeot 208 is the best-selling car in France in July. 

* See the Top 45 best-selling brands and Top 270 models by clicking on the title *

With two less selling days than in July 2015, the French new car market stumbles down 10% to 132.999 registrations, meaning a 0.6% dip in daily sale rate. Whichever way you look at it, the market is down though. More bad news, according to the CCFA barometer of orders, these are down 17.5% in July which doesnt bode well for the coming months. The last unhealthy element of the French market is the continuing fall of private sales, down 15% year-on-year in July to 66.291 for a 49.8% market share vs. 53% a year ago. Fleet sales including long-term rentals, the main engine of growth in France so far in 2016, are also down in July at -1% to 33.855. Artificial channels on the other hand display insolent growth: self-registrations (aka manufacturer supply registrations) are up 10% to 3.159 and short-term rentals up 16% to 7.985, meaning that the “true” drop of the overall French market is in fact more substantial. Over the first 7 months of 2016 though, French sales are up 6% to 1.235 million units. Here too the weakening of private sales is clearly visible, falling below 50% for the very first time at 49.84% vs. 59% in 2013, 54% in 2014 and 51% in 2015.

Dacia Sandero Autocar.co.ukDacia goes against the negative grain once again and holds 11% of the private sales market.

Because Renault jam-packs June sales with demo vehicles and fleet to meet H1 targets, since 2012 Peugeot has been the best-selling carmaker at home in July and 2015 is no exception, despite deliveries down 12% to 23.573 and 17.7% share vs. 20.399 and 15.3% (-6%) for Renault. Citroen is in great difficulty at -26% to 13.175 sales, plunging below the symbolic 10% market share barrier, as is Volkswagen down 22% to 7% share. Dacia on the other hand dips just 1% to 8.234 and 6.2% share, the brand’s third time above 6% this year along January (6.3%) and April (6.2%). Dacia even hits 11% share with private buyers at 7.295 sales, well above Citroen at 9.5% (6.329) and threatening parent brand Renault at 13.5% (8.395). Year-to-date, Dacia is now teasing Citroen at 10.1% vs. 10.3%. Mercedes gains 10% to stop 100 units short off Audi, BMW is up 7% to #11, Hyundai up 21% to #14, Mini up 17% to #16, Jeep up 3%, Alfa Romeo up 7% thanks to the Giulia, Mazda up 25%, Lexus up 36%, Honda up 42%, Land Rover up 53%, Jaguar up 64% and Infiniti up 192%.

Seat Ateca France July 2016. Picture courtesy autobild.deThe Seat Ateca lands at #129 in France this month.

The Peugeot 208 is the best-selling car in France for the 5th time in the past 12 months thanks to sales up 1% to 6.656 and 5% share, distancing the year-to-date leader the Renault Clio down 16% to 5.500 and 4.1%. In fact, there is only one other vehicle gaining ground in the Top 10: the Dacia Sandero, going against the grain once again at +6% to 4.262 sales in 5th place. The Peugeot 308 (-19%) and 2008 (-1%) make it three Peugeots in the Top 4, the VW Polo is the only foreigner in the Top 10 at #10, the Renault Kadjar is up 16% to #12, the Megane IV falls back down 9 spots on June to #14 and the Renault Twingo is up 35% to #17.

Further down, the Fiat 500X is up 19% to #24, the Audi A4 is up 92% to #29 thanks to the new model and the VW Touran is up 63% to #30. Among recent launches, the Fiat Tipo is up 22 ranks to #64, the Mercedes GLC is up 32 to #66, the Suzuki Vitara up 14 to #77 and the Infiniti Q30 is up 26 spots on last month to break into the French Top 100 for the very first time at #91. The Kia Niro is up 74 to #139, the Alfa Romeo Giulia is up 28 to #158, the Citroen e-Mehari up 18 to #180. Finally, we welcome the Seat Ateca directly at #129 with 182 sales.

Previous post (1): France 1-11 July 2016: Luxury brands shine in market down 7.5%

Previous post (2): France First Half 2016: Dacia Sandero triumphs with private buyers

Previous month: France June 2016: Renault’s half-year run pulls market up 0.8%

One year ago: France July 2015: Renault down to historically low 14.7% share

Full July 2016 Top 45 brands and Top 270 models below.

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France 1-11 July 2016: Luxury brands shine in market down 7.5%

Citroen C3 France July 2016. Picture courtesy autoplus.frThe unveiling of the new gen Citroen C3 isn’t hurting the current gen yet. Picture Auto Plus 

* See the Top 10 best-selling brands and models by clicking on the title *

Courtesy of French magazine Auto Plus, we can share with you a little summer treat: the Top 10 most popular brands and models in France over the first 11 days of July. Keep in mind these rankings are always heavily biased by various sales strategy, notably by Renault – a company that always does most of its monthly volume during the last week of the month. Over the period, the market is worryingly down 7.5% year-on-year, a situation that may get worse as the month comes to an end, given July 2015 had two additional selling days as this month. Peugeot dominates the brands ranking above Citroen and Renault, with Audi (-4%), BMW (+32%) and Mercedes (+15%) faring particularly well. The Peugeot 208 is in the lead above the 308 and the Citroen C3, the VW Polo (#6), Golf (#9) and Toyota Yaris (#10) the only foreigners in the Top 10.

Previous post: France First Half 2016: Dacia Sandero triumphs with private buyers

One year ago: France 1-7 July 2015: Peugeot 308 leads, Fiat 500 in Top 10

Full 1-11 July 2016 Top 10 brands and models below.

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France First Half 2016: Dacia Sandero triumphs with private buyers

Dacia Sandero France June 2016For the first time ever, the Dacia Sandero is the favourite car of the French people. 

* See the Top 45 brands and Top 365 models by clicking on the title *

The French new car market is showing a very healthy outlook halfway through 2016 with sales up 8% to 1.102.442 registrations in six months. Although stuck at their lowest ratio ever (47%), private sales roughly follow the market which seems to have found a balance this year between company sales (22%), tactical sales – short term rentals, self-registrations and demo sales (29%) and ‘real’ – read private – sales this year. Local association CCFA predicts a Full Year 2016 up 5% to return above 2 million units for the first time since 2011. Market leader Renault outpaces the market with volumes up 10% or over 20.000 units on the same period last year to 229.830 and 20.8% share, whereas followers Peugeot (+6%), Citroen (+5%) and Volkswagen (-0.4%) all lose market share.

Renault Clio France June 2016The Renault Clio remains #1 when adding company and tactical sales.

Renault-owned low-cost brand Dacia continues its wild galloping to the top with sales up 14% to 61.925 units, breaking its 6-month record of 61.281 dating back to 2011 and reducing the gap with #3 Volkswagen to just 1.4 percentage point vs. 2.3 a year ago. Dacia even routinely ranks third overall below just Renault and Peugeot and above Citroen and Volkswagen with private buyers and the Sandero is the best-selling privately-bought vehicle in France this year – more on this further down. Below Ford stable at 4.1% share, Toyota (+8%) and Opel (+10%) overtake Nissan (-4%), along with VW the only declining marque in the Top 30. Fiat (+18%) returns to the Top 10 thanks to the success of the 500X and the refreshed 500.

Peugeot 208 France June 2016The Peugeot 208 is up 16% but can’t topple the Clio for overall pole position. 

Audi (+13%) remains the most popular luxury brand in France, improving its market share to 3%, but BMW is catching up at +22% to 2.8% while Mercedes is distanced at +7%. Skoda (+14%), Volvo (+16%), Mini (+17%), Hyundai (+18%), Kia (+19%) and Land Rover (+19%) all post robust gains among larger brands, but Smart (+26%), Honda (+41%) and Mazda (+45%) are even stronger. The best smaller performers are Infiniti (+223%) thanks to the Q30 and Jaguar (+264%) thanks to the XE and F-Pace.

Peugeot 308 Renault Megane France June 2016. Picture courtesy largus.frThe Renault Mégane IV will be challenging the Peugeot 308 in H2. 

In the models ranking, the Renault Clio seems to be headed towards a 6th consecutive year on top despite a slim 3% increase to 62.206, yet keeping a safe distance away from the Peugeot 208 at 54.056 (+16%). The Peugeot 308 (+9%) increases the gap with the Renault Captur (+3%) and Peugeot 2008 (+5%), both still on the up 3 years after launch, but is now threatened in its segment by the Renault Megane IV, the most successful new launch over the period at #12 and 21.801 sales but #5 in June. There’s only two other all-new nameplates in the Top 50: the Renault Talisman (#38) and Hyundai Tucson (#39), and one more in the Top 100: the Mercedes GLC (#96).

Renault Kadjar Nissan Qashqai France June 2016. Picture courtesy largus.frVery solid first year of sales for the Renault Kadjar, eclipsing the Nissan Qashqai.

In 6th place overall, the Dacia Sandero gains 26% to 31.407 but the big news in France for this nameplate are to be found in the private sales ranking where something historical is happening. Thanks to a pole position in April, May and June the Dacia Sandero is the best-selling privately-bought vehicle in France so far in 2016 with 26.492 vehicles sold to private buyers or 5.2% share, distancing for the very first time the Peugeot 208 (26.070) and Renault Clio (24.905). The Sandero is up 25%, the 208 up 15% and the Clio down 11%. Dacia also places the Duster at #7. An exclusive Top 10 private sales models ranking is available below the jump.

Citroën C4 Cactus France June 2016. Picture courtesy largus.frCitroen C4 Cactus sales are still growing. 

The Renault Kadjar is brilliantly finding its way towards the French Top 10, stopping just 122 units short over the First Half at #11 and 22.322 sales and becoming the best-selling compact SUV in the country above the Dacia Duster (20.640), Peugeot 3008 (17.685) and the Nissan Qashqai (13.366) hurting at -12%. The VW Polo (#10) and Golf (#15) are the only two foreigners in the Top 15, the Citroen C4 Cactus is finding its audience at +13% to #20 and the Renault Espace more than double its sales year-on-year thanks to the new generation at #31. Other great progressions include the Renault Zoe (+32%), VW Touran (+39%), Fiat 500X (+54%), Nissan X-Trail (+57%), Audi A4 (+81%) and Opel Astra (+114%).

Mercedes Sprinter France June 2016The Mercedes Sprinter ranks #9 best-selling LCV in France so far in 2016.

The French Light Commercial Vehicle market (LCV) – the largest in Europe – is up 12% year-on-year to 216.019 units, dominated by Renault at 31.9% share (+14%), Peugeot at 16% (+15%), Citroen at 14.9% (+8%) and Fiat at 10% (+14%). Mercedes (+23%), Iveco (+23%) and Nissan (+32%) shine but Toyota (-16%) and Dacia (-49%) struggle. The Renault Kangoo is once again the most popular LCV in France, outpacing the market at +20% to 20.138 deliveries. The Renault Master (+16%), Peugeot Partner (+22%), Mercedes Sprinter (+20%) and Peugeot Boxer (+20%) also impress in the Top 10. The Ford Ranger (+42%) is the best-selling 1 tonne pickup with 2.431 sales, well above the Nissan Navara (1.087), Isuzu D-Max (961) and Toyota Hilux (957) just as the Fiat Fullback enters at #78 and 179 sales. The all-new Renault Alaskan should reshuffle this order shortly.

Previous post: France June 2016: Renault’s half-year run pulls market up 0.8%

One year ago: France First Half 2015: Shaky recovery lifts market above 1 million units

Full H1 2016 Top 45 brands, Top 365 models, Top 10 private sales, Top 15 LCV brands and Top 100 LCV models vs. Full H1 2015 figures below.

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France June 2016: Renault’s half year run pulls market up 0.8%

Renault Megane France June 2016. Picture courtesy largus.frThe Renault Mégane IV breaks into its home Top 5 for the first time in June.

* Now updated with the Top 45 brands and Top 275 models – click on title to see *

After surging 22% in May, the French new car market returns to greyer improvement rates at just +0.8% in June to 227.366 registrations while the year-to-date total halfway through the year is still up by a vigorous 8% to 1.102.442 units. Worryingly, private sales freefall down 8% in June to 100.502, now accounting for a record-low 44% of the market. French new car sales owe their positive stance in June solely to long-term rentals (i.e. leasing) up 15% to 19.652 with business sales up 4% to 28.276 and short-term rentals up 3% to 26.704. As it has become customary, Renault loads up its score sheet to the brim with demo and garage sales before the end of the half-year mark, even outpacing the market at +7% to 57.121 units, including 12.379 demo cars (+35%). According to Renault France’s Philippe Buros, quoted by Autoactu.com, Renault posts its biggest month since 1999 when including LCV sales.

Hyundai i20 France June 2016. Picture courtesy largus.frHyundai is up 33% in June in France.

At 25.1% share in the passenger car market, Renault is almost ten percentage points above archenemy Peugeot, in difficulty at -4% to 15.9% share, as is sister-brand Citroen down 7% to 9.9% and Volkswagen down a harsh 14% to 6.3%. However PSA Peugeot-Citroen announced on July 1 that a computer glitch has delayed the processing of 2.000 new car sales in June into July, denting the group’s performance this year. Dacia for its part also shows implacable shine with volumes up 8% to 12.519 and 5.5% share. The rest of the Top 10 sees declines by Ford, Toyota, Opel and Nissan whereas Fiat gains 10% to #8. BMW takes the lead of the luxury race thanks to deliveries up 10% to 6.289, overtaking Audi at 5.924 (-7%) and Mercedes at 5.440 (+9%). Kia (+18%), Hyundai (+33%) and Mini (+21%) all take off.

Renault Clio France June 2016. Picture-courtesy-largus.frThe Renault Clio posts the largest month for any nameplate in France since September 2011.

Model-wise, it’s a proper Renault tsunami in the ranking. In pole position, the Clio is up 7% to 14.841 sales and 6.5% share. This is the Clio IV’s biggest month ever and the largest monthly volume of any nameplate in France in almost 5 years, since September 2011 when the Clio III sold 15.707 units. This month, the Clio is over two percentage points of market share above any other nameplate sold on the market, increasing its year-to-date advantage over the Peugeot 208 to 8.150 units at 62.206 (+3%) vs. 54.056 (+16%). Despite declining sales (-14%), the Captur manages to snap the #2 spot for only the third time ever after June 2014 and June 2015.

Renault Talisman France May 2016. Picture courtesy largus.frThe Renault Talisman leads its segment in May above the Peugeot 508 and VW Passat. 

The Renault Mégane IV breaks into the Top 5 for the first time at #5 and 7.724 sales, now challenging the Peugeot 308 (8.125) for the compact segment leadership. Thanks to sales up 69% on June 2015 – when it was still gearing up – to a record 5.877 and 2.6% share, the Renault Kadjar returns inside the Top 10 (#9) for the 4th time in the past 8 months. Finally, the Talisman is up 10 spots on May to land at a best-ever #25 with 1.975 sales, for the first time topping its segment above its main competitor at home: the Peugeot 508 (1.938). In other models news, the Dacia Sandero is up 11% to #7 but manages a third consecutive month at #1 with private buyers, earning the H1 2016 pole position for the first time as we will detail in a separate update. The VW Polo is down 24% to #14 and the only foreigner in the Top 15 and the VW Tiguan is up to #31 thanks to the new generation.

Maserati Levante France June 2016The Maserati Levante makes its first appearance in the French charts in June. 

Further down, the Infiniti Q30 is up 48 spots on May to #117 with 351 sales, the Jaguar F-Pace is up 11 to #142, the Citroen C-Elysée up 22 to #153, the Fiat 124 Spider soars to #164 with 149 units sold, the Alfa Romeo Giulia is up 62 ranks to #186 with 107 sales and the Kia Niro is up 55 to #213. We welcome four new nameplates in the French charts in June: the Ford Edge at #158, Infiniti QX30 at #237, Maserati Levante at #251 and Ssangyong XLV at #269.

Previous month: France May 2016: Market up 22%, Dacia #3 brand with private buyers

One year ago: France June 2015: Renault Kadjar, Captur and Espace fuel up

Full June 2016 Top 45 brands and Top 275 models below.

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France May 2016: Market up 22%, Dacia #3 brand with private buyers

Renault Clio Dacia Sandero France May 2016. Picture courtesy svetmotoru.auto.czIf the Renault Clio is #1 overall, the Dacia Sandero is #1 with private buyers for the 2nd month.

* Now updated with the Top 50 brands and Top 310 models – click on title to see *

Private and fleet sales details  can be found at end of article

French new car sales soar 22% year-on-year in May to a fantastic 175.834 registrations, however when brought back to the same amount of opening days the increase is only 4%. Year-to-date, the market is now up a very solid 10.5% to 875.079 or +7.3% with same opening days. French groups outpace their home market at +29% to 95.706 and 54.4% market share vs. 51.5% a year ago whereas foreign manufacturers are up 15% to 45.6% share vs. 48.5% a year ago. Renault leads the pack with an outstanding 33% improvement to 19.5% share ahead of Peugeot also growing faster than the market at +24% to 17.6% as well as Citroen up 30% to 10.5%.

Renault Megane France May 2016. Picture courtesy largus.frThe new gen Renault Mégane breaks into he Top 10 and outsells the VW Golf.

Volkswagen loses share (7.2%) with sales up just 8%, but more worryingly it only owes its growth to demo sales (+38%) and short-term rental sals (+38%) whereas private sales are actually down 6% – equivalent to a 20% freefall in daily sales rates. Renault-owned Dacia shines at +39% (more on this below). As a result, the Top 5 best-selling brand account for 60.3% of the French market in May vs. 58.3% a year ago. Below, Fiat (+39%), Kia (+41%) and Hyundai (+58%) also post spectacular results while Toyota does particularly well with private buyers (+22%) who account for 68% of its total sales for the month vs. 46% for the market. In the premium aisle, Audi (5.758) is up 22% to increase the gap with Mercedes (5.030) up 12% while BMW (4.983) ranks third but is the most dynamic at +29%. Year-to-date, it’s Audi again in the lead (+19%) ahead of BMW (+25%) while Mercedes lags behind at just +6%.

Citroen C4 Cactus France May 2016. Picture courtesy carmagazine.co.ukThe C4 Cactus (+72%) helps Citroen up 30% in May. 

Model-wise, the Renault Clio (9.684) reclaims the top spot off the Peugeot 208 (8.192) but gains less ground at +28% vs. +36%. The Peugot 308 (7.871) remains on the podium while the Peugeot 2008 (6.850) wins the small crossover battle over the Renault Captur (5.936) despite improving by ‘just’ 24% vs. 41% for the Renault, and owing its victory to a high amount of demo sales of the facelifted model in anticipation of its June launch. The low-cost Dacia Sandero delivers another stunning performance with sales up 62% to 5.043, overtaking the Citroen C3 to now rank 6th year-to-date vs. 9th over the Full Year 2015 – the Sandero is even #1 with private buyers (see further down) The Citroen C4 Picasso (#7) wins the MPV segment just as the Renault Scenic IV is about to enter the scene.

PEUGEOT 2008 1.6 BlueHDIThe Peugeot 2008 wins the small crossover race in May. The facelift has just landed. 

First Top 10 ranking for the Renault Mégane IV (3.566), outselling the VW Golf (3.221). The Renault Kadjar is segment leader at #13 (3.225) above the Dacia Duster (3.105) while the Nissan Qashqai is hit down 21% (1.946) and the Hyundai Tucson remains very strong at #31 (1.315). Market-beating performances of the Citroen C4 Cactus (+70%) and C3 Picasso (+56%) help maintain Citroen above 10% share at home. The Renault Talisman (#35), Renault Espace (+65%), Kia Sportage (+110%), Audi A4 (+114%), Peugeot Partner (+186%), BMW X1 (+217%) and Renault Trafic (+246%) also shine.

Porsche 718 Boxster France May 2016. Picture courtesy largus.frPorsche 718 Boxster

Among recent launches, the Fiat Tipo steps up 66 spots and 187% on April to #82, the Jaguar F-Pace is up 90 ranks and 126% to #153, the Citroen C-Elysée is up 37 spots and 154% to #175 but the e-Mehari is down 15 ranks and 37% to #192. We welcome three new nameplates in the French ranking this month: the Porsche 718 Boxster lands at #238, the Kia Niro arrives at #268 and the Toyota Mirai steps in at #310.

Dacia is the #3 brand in France with private buyers, above Citroen and Volkswagen. 

Special French Private Sales

Once again, looking at private sales gives a completely different picture of the French new car market. The majority of the sales gain for May comes from ‘artificial’ channels such as carmakers’ self registrations (+64%), Short-term rental sales (+27%), demo sales (+23%) and business fleets (+30%). Private sales are the weakest with a 16% gain which translates into a 1% decrease in daily sales rates (4.013 vs. 4.057 in May 2015), resulting in an all-time low market share of 45.6%. Renault does well with private buyers this month (+35%) in contrast with Peugeot up just 6% – or down 10% in daily rates.

Dacia Sandero France May 2016. Picture courtesy largus.frThe Dacia Sandero is the #1 model in France with private buyers above the 208 and Clio…

But the big surprise in the brands private sales ranking is the third position of Dacia, overtaking both Citroen and Volkswagen compared to the general market and managing that feat for only the 2nd time in its history after last month. In April, Dacia held 11.2% of the French private market vs. 10.2% for Citroen and this month Dacia is at 10.1% with 8.105 registrations vs. 9.5% for Citroen (7.614) and 7.4% for Volkswagen (5.962). 86% of Dacia sales are to private buyers in France which is a result of the low-cost strategy that virtually removes the brand from the business and rental fleet markets and ensures the optimal profit for the Renault Group. Year-to-date, Citroen remains above Dacia for now at 10.5% share vs. 10% for Dacia.

Dacia Duster France May 2016. Picture courtesy of autobild.de…while the Dacia Duster threatens the Peugeot 2008 for the SUV crown. 

Fittingly, the Dacia Sandero is the #1 vehicle in the country outright with private buyers, achieving this feat for the 2nd straight month – and ever – thanks to sales up a stunning 72% to 4.412 units, distancing the Peugeot 208 at 4.102 (+38%) and the Renault Clio at 3.901 (+11%). This is all the more impressive as it happens four years after the current generation Sandero was launched and just as a facelift is announced for the Paris Auto Show in September. The Dacia Duster for its part is up 36% to 2.486 units – almost snatching the SUV crown off the Peugeot 2008 – despite being overdue for a renewal. The business fleet models ranking is vastly different, crowing the Renault Clio (2.813) just above the Peugeot 308 (2.668), as is the short-term rental sales ranking, here too preferring the Renault Clio up 91% to 2.117 above the Peugeot 308 up 46% to 1.455 and the Peugeot 208 up 44% to 1.374.

Previous month: France April 2016: Dacia Sandero overall best-seller with private buyers

One year ago: France April 2015: Peugeot 308 and 2008 overtake Renault Captur

Full May 2016 Top 50 brands and Top 310 models below.

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France April 2016: Dacia Sandero overall best-seller with private buyers

Dacia Sandero France April 2016. Picture courtesy largus.frThe Dacia Sandero is the favourite nameplate with French private buyers this month. 

* NOW UPDATED with the Top 50 All-brands and Top 300 All-models – see title *

The French new car market posts another robust month – at least on paper – with sales up 6.5% year-on-year to hit 181.830 units, the best April tally since 2010 (190.986). This improvement relies once again on company sales (+10%) now accounting for 21% of the total and most strikingly short-term rental sales up 12% to 17% share at 30.693 units. Private sales are up a more reserved 4% to drop to a lowest-ever market share of 48% at just 86.749 deliveries. More worryingly, the booking orders remain frankly below the actual market growth, indicating low-profit bargain sales from manufacturers. Booking orders were at +1.3% in April vs. +1.1% in March (market at +7.5%) and +1.8% in February (market at +13%).

Peugeot 208 France March 2016. Picture courtesy largus.frThe Peugeot 208 is up 22% at home to snap the pole position off the Renault Clio.

Renault leads the brands charts thanks to sales up 8% to 35.721 and 19.6% share, handicapped by the 11% drop of the Renault Clio – overtaken for pole position by the Peugeot 208 (+22%), as well as the Scenic (-27%) and Twingo (-16%) both losing significant ground. The brand’s recent launches, the Megane IV (#12), Kadjar (#13), Espace (#29) and Talisman (#39 above the VW Passat) are all either at or above their year-to-date levels. Traditionally used to “healthy” gains, Peugeot’s growth this month (+7% to 17.1% share) is only due to short-term rental sales (+59%) while private sales are down 3.5%. The 308 is also up 5% to #3 but the 2008 is down 6% to #6, awaiting its facelift for H2. Although weak (+1.4%), Citroen’s gain is satisfyingly built on private sales (+9%) whereas short-term rental sales are down 19%. Volkswagen is stable in 5th place (+0.2%) but sees the Golf (+21%) and Polo (+18%) deliver strong gains – they are the only two foreign nameplates in the French Top 16 in April.

Renault Talisman France April 2016. Picture courtesy largus.frThe Renault Talisman remains above the VW Passat but below the Peugeot 508. 

Although Dacia’s performance appears very shy (+0.6%), its April 2015 score was extraordinarily high due to late 2014 deliveries and as a consequence Renault’s low-cost brand hits a very strong 6.2% market share this month, placing the Sandero at #5 and the Duster at #10. The big event in April is the Sandero’s frank pole position in the private sales segment: with 5.288 deliveries and 5.9% share, it distance the Peugeot 208 at 4.095, the Renault Captur at 4.041 and the Renault Clio at 3.594 (-25%). Year-to-date, the Sandero is now threatening the Peugeot 208 for the overall top spot at 5% share (+20%) vs. 5.2% for the Peugeot (+13%). Reversely the Clio is down 11% to #3 and 4.9% share. French publication autoactu.com notes that the volumes gained by the Sandero with private buyers this year correspond to those lost by the Clio. Note the Sandero had never topped the monthly private sales ranking in France before, let alone the annual charts.

The Renegade is the first Jeep to rank inside the French Top 50 since 1990. 

Back to the brands ranking where Audi (+9%) leads the luxury segment once again but BMW (+29%) and Mercedes (+23%) are catching up fast. Fiat (+16%), Hyundai (+39% thanks to the Tucson at #28) and Mini (+17%) also post strong gains in the Top 20. Below, Jeep is pushed up 23% by the Renegade breaking into the French Top 50 for the first time (#50). Note also spectacular gains from Mazda (+68% thanks to the CX-3 at #137 and the MX-5 at #168), Honda (+75% thanks to the HR-V at #116), Smart (+41%), Porsche (+35%) and Ssangyong (+147% thanks to the Tivoli).

Infiniti Q30 France April 2016. Picture courtesy largus.frThe Infiniti Q30 is headed towards the Top 100 which would be a first for the brand in France.

The Infiniti Q30 takes the brand to never-seen-before heights in France and has definitely hit a nerve with local consumers: it is up to #113 in April with 322 sales, boosting Infiniti up 279%. It goes the same for Jaguar whose XE (#165) and F-Pace (#193) are unlocking untapped potential, boosting the brand up 295%. Other recent launches making themselves noticed include the Fiat Tipo up 30 spots to #148, the Suzuki Baleno up 88 to #159 and the Citroen e-Mehari up 29 to #177.

Citroen C-Elysee France April 2016Citroen would rather you don’t know the C-Elysee is now available in France. So we’re telling you. 

Finally, faced with competition from the Fiat Tipo adding to the longstanding success of the Dacia Logan, Citroen has decided to officially launch in France the C-Elysee, present since 2012 in markets such as Portugal, Turkey, Russia, Maghreb or China. But the manufacturer is ashamed of this launch and hasn’t advertised it at all, as if it was a sin to dabble in the low-cost segment. It’s actually a rather smart move that is coming way too late. So we’ll take it upon ourselves to shine a spotlight on this new arrival – albeit present in the ranking for a while due to demo sales headed to other parts of Europe. The C-Elysee ranks #212 this month with 41 units sold. Still a long way to go to match the success of the Logan (#80) or even Tipo.

Previous month: France March 2016: Renault impresses in healthy market up 7.5%

One year ago: France April 2015: Peugeot 308 and 2008 overtake Renault Captur

One year ago (Q1): France 1st Quarter 2015: Artificial recovery?

Full April 2016 Top 50 All-brands and Top 300 All-models below.

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France March 2016: Renault impresses in healthy market up 7.5%

Renault Kadjar France March 2016. Picture courtesy cbg.ieThe Renault Kadjar is the 9th best-selling nameplate in France. Irish model pictured. 

* Now updated with the Top 53 All-brands and Top 322 All-models – see title *

For the first time this year, the French new car market posts a healthy gain in March with registrations up 7.5% to 211.264 registrations, the first time since 2012 March is above 200.000 monthly units but still far from the 2011 record of 257.600 units. Healthy, because unlike in January and February, the French market growth is matched by private sales: up 7% to 102.900 units yet still only accounting for less than half the total registrations for the month (49%). Fleet sales (including leasing) are up 15.5% and to 44.900 units and short-term rental sales show a trend reversal at -6% but remain up 12% so far in 2016. The March progress could however be short-lived as orders for the month are flat (+0.1%) according to CCFA, indicating a clear slowdown of the up-trend for the coming months. All-in-all, the first quarter total is up by a dynamic 8% to 516.392 units.

Dacia Sandero France March 2016Dacia Sandero sals are up 30% year-on-year in March. 

Brand-wise, Renault posts a very solid 11% gain to hit 22.5% share vs. 19.9% so far this year, a markedly better performance than Peugeot (+3%) and Citroen (+1%) both losing share, as does Volkswagen (+3%) in 4th place despite a 9% increase in private sales. Dacia on the contrary is up 20% despite no real news in its lineup, an exceptional performance in itself. Opel (+19%), Fiat (+15%), Audi, BMW (both at +12%), Mini (+19%) and Skoda (+25%) also post double-digit year-on-year gains inside the Top 20. DS also (+13%), however its gain is solely due to demo sales (+69%) whereas private sales worryingly skid down 20%.

Peugeot 308 Renault Megane France March 2016. Picture courtesy largus.frThe Peugeot 308 outsold the new Renault Megane IV 2-to-1 in March.

The Renault Clio reclaims the year-to-date lead off the Peugeot 208 despite sales down 1% to 13.080 vs. 10.669 (+14%) for its rival. The Renault Captur (-3%) is back on the podium, knocking down the Peugeot 308 up 4% to 8.017 sales, double the Renault Megane IV gearing up at #11 and 4.078 units. The Peugeot 2008 is still on the up (+13%) even though its facelift is coming in H2. The Dacia Sandero (+30%) shows outstanding strength in 7th place in the absence of real news, indicating it is in the process of getting adopted by the French population and has the potential to climb much higher once the new generation is in dealerships in a few years from now.

Renault Talisman France March 2016. Picture courtesy largus.frRenault Talisman. Picture courtesy largus.fr 

The Renault Kadjar breaks into the Top 10 for the second time in the past four months (#9) with a very solid 4.714 units delivered, placing it atop the compact SUV segment above the Dacia Duster (3.786), Nissan Qashqai (2.974) and Peugeot 3008 (2.859). If the Qashqai (-2%) and 3008 (-4%) are affected, the Duster (+9%) isn’t, confirming once again the Renault-Dacia segmentation is a success as the two brands don’t speak to the same clientele at all. Among recent launches, notice also the Renault Espace (#29) up almost 4-fold on the previous generation a year ago, the Renault Talisman up 15 spots on February to #35 – still below the Peugeot 508 (#24) but above the VW Passat (#45) – and the Hyundai Tucson solid at #48, already and by far the brand’s best-seller in France. This month we welcome the Citroen e-Mehari (#206), the Suzuki Baleno (#247), Jaguar F-Pace (#279) and Bentley Bentayga (#322) in the French charts.

Previous month: France February 2016: Dacia and Opel shine in market up 13%

One year ago: France March 2015: Renault, Peugeot and Mercedes lift market up 9%

Full March 2016 Top 53 All-brands and Top 322 All-models below.

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France February 2016: Dacia and Opel shine in market up 13%

Renault Talisman France February 2016. Picture courtesy automobile-magazine.frThe Renault Talisman breaks into the French Top 50 for the first time.

* See the Top 50 All-brands and Top 316 All-models by clicking on the title *

The French new car market accelerates its artificial growth – because not driven by private sales – at +13% in February to 166.739 registrations, lifting the year-to-date total up 9% to 305.139 units. The rankings are back to bit of normality, with Renault back in the lead with 19.6% share above Peugeot at 16.9% and Citroen at 10.3%. The everlasting effects of the emissions scandal are clearly visible on Volkswagen sales this month in France: it is the only brand losing ground (-2%) in the Top 25… Particularly strong performers include (in order of ranking) Dacia (+34%), Opel (+26%), Fiat (+25%), Audi (+20%), BMW (+26%), Kia (+41%), Skoda (+46%), Land Rover (+82%), Mazda (+56%), Jaguar (+436%), Infiniti (+159%) and Ssangyong (+441%).

Dacia Sandero France February 2016. Picture courtesy largus.frDacia Sandero sales are up 49% year-on-year in France in February. 

In the models ranking, the Renault Clio (+14%) reclaims the top spot at 9.261 sales but the Peugeot 208 (8.404) remains #1 year-to-date for now at 16.092 units (+23%) vs. 15.257 (-1%). The Peugeot 308 (+22%) is regular in third place above the Renault Captur (-2%) and Peugeot 2008 (+5%). Excellent performance of the Dacia Sandero remaining in 7th position thanks to sales surging 49% year-on-year to 4.307 units. The VW Polo (#8) is the only foreigner in the Top 14 but one of six in the Top 20 with the Toyota Yaris (#15) and Nissan Qashqai (#17) performing the best at +21% both. The Renault Kadjar resumes its march to the top at #12, only outperformed in its segment by the Dacia Duster (+22%).

The Fiat Tipo is back in France. Picture courtesy largus.fr 

Among recent launches, the 4th generation Renault Mégane gains 9 spots on January to land at #22, the all-new Renault Espace is up 12 ranks to #28, the Opel Astra is up 165% to #30 thanks to the new model, the Renault Talisman breaks into the Top 50 for the first time, the Honda HR-V is up 21 to #128, the Fiat Tipo reappears in the French sales charts for the first time in 20 years at #142 with 148 units sold, the Infiniti Q30 is up 66 spots on last month to #174 and the Ssangyong Tivoli is up 26 to #188.

DR Motor dealership La Turbie France February 2016DR Zero in La Turbie, France. Picture courtesy Maxime Poujade

Finally, let’s notice DR Motor, the Italian assembler of Chery models, selling 3 additional units of its Zero, creeping up to #280 overall. Thanks to Maxime Poujade, a BSCB reader, we now have a little more information about the arrival of DR Zero in France. It turns out an Isuzu dealer in La Turbie (06) near Monaco and – fittingly – only 20 km from the Italian border, has become the official importer of DR Motor for France and Monaco, offering a two-model lineup composed of the Zero and the DR5 SUV (a Chery Tiggo). A dozen Zero and a couple of DR5 were stocked on premises as of early March. Even if you live in France, it may be the first time you hear about this deal, as it has gone completely unnoticed in the specialised media. You’re welcome!

Previous month: France January 2016: Peugeot 208 and 308 lead market biased by tactics

One year ago: France February 2015: Renault Twingo III breaks into Top 5

Full February 2016 Top 50 All-brands and Top 316 All-models below.

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France January 2016: Peugeot 208 & 308 lead market biased by tactics

Peugeot 308 France January 2016. Picture courtesy largus.frThe Peugeot 308 ranks #2 at home in January. Picture largus.fr

* Now updated with the Top 50 All-brands and Top 317 All-models: click on title to see *

At +3.5% year-on-year in January to 137.788 registrations, we should be celebrating the apparent long term return to good health of the French market. Alas, the market is only up due to an ever growing reliance on tactical sales: sales to short-term rentals are up 22% while long-term rentals are up 27%. Private sales are sable (+0.1%) at 69.140 units or just 50.1% of total registrations. Sales to companies even decline by 2%. Local website Autoactu.com quotes Jacques Rivoal, Volkswagen Group France president: “private buyers are not purchasing new cars that much, rather they tend to want recent used cars” – meaning cars that are sold to rental companies or self-registered as new by dealers themselves and sold a few months later as used to private consumers at a much lower price. A politically correct way of saying: our dealers are slashing their margins but we are doing fine – keep in mind manufacturers sell their new cars to dealers. The brands ranking in January also reflects the fact that a few manufacturers that tanked up on “fake” (read tactical) sales in December to meet annual targets are tanking now, notably Renault, #2 at just 17% share vs. 23% in December and Mercedes at 1.7% vs. an extravagant 4.5% last month.

VW Polo France January 2016. Picture courtesy autobild.deVolkswagen’s short-term rental sales are up 741% year-on-year in January.

This way, Peugeot is crowned best-selling brand at home – the first time this happens in January – with sales up 3% to 24.943 for a 18.1% share. Peugeot places the 208 at #1 with 5.5% share (+26%) and the 308 at #2 and 4.4% (+6%), while the Renault Clio is down to #3 (-18%) and the Captur to #4 (-5%). Despite sales down 6%, Peugeot is also market leader with private buyers at 15.9% share vs. 15.1% for Renault, but is also culprit of loading up on tactical sales this month: short-term rentals are up 48% to 2.383. Citroen is up 2% to 15.204 and Volkswagen up 6% to 11.026. Here too, the German carmaker owes its gain solely to tactical sales: while private deliveries are down an abysmal 21%, short-term rental sales surge from just 230 a year ago to 1.934 this month (+741%!). Jacques Rivoal again quoted by Autoactu.com: “We have decided to be more reactive by taking our share in this channel early in the year rather than wait for others to gain. There is a real demand for recent used cars and we have no issue absorbing these vehicles in our network. ” In other words, everyone is doing it, so why shouldn’t we. The mark of a very unhealthy market.

Hyundai Tucson France JanuaryThe Tucson is up to #38 but Hyundai sales are down 20%.

Dacia manages to stay strong despite no news at #5 and 6.3% share and places two nameplates inside the French Top 10: the Sandero at #7 and the Duster at #9. Audi is up a sharp 40%, BMW up 36%, Mini up 26%, Volvo up 23%, Kia and Skoda up 21%, Opel up 19%, Fiat up 13% and Toyota up 12%. On the other hand, Nissan is down 24% and Hyundai down 20%. In other model news, the Citroen C3 (+13%) shines in 5th place, the Toyota Yaris is up 15% to #12, and the Renault Kadjar (#16), Megane IV (#31), Espace (#40) and Talisman (#60) retreat vs. last month but are still strong.

DR Zero France January 2016DR Motor makes its first appearance in the French sales charts with the Zero.

The Hyundai Tucson breaks into the Top 50 at #38, the Opel Karl is up 24 ranks to #76, the Suzuki Vitara remains at #81, the new Mini Clubman is just outside the Top 100 at #102, as is the Land Rover Discovery Sport (#107). Finally, we welcome two new entrants in the French sales charts this month: the Infiniti Q30 lands at #240 with 12 sales and the DR Zero arrives at #296 with one lonely unit sold. DR Motor has been assembling Chinese Chery models and speccing them up for a decade in Italy. Is it finally launching in France? It would certainly help its bottom line. The Zero is a “poshed-up” 2013 Chery QQ.

Previous post: France Full Year 2015: Fleet and rental sales push market up 7%

Previous month: France December 2015: Renault and Dacia tank up on sales

One year ago: France January 2015: Market pulled up 6% by foreign carmakers

Full January 2016 Top 50 All-brands and Top 317 All-models below.

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