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

* See the Top 15 best-selling brands and Top 100 models by clicking on the title *

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 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 “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, the Renault Kadjar (#16), Megane IV (#31), Espace (#40) and Talisman (#59) retreat vs. last month but are still strong, the Hyundai Tucson breaks into the Top 50 at #38, the Opel Karl is up 25 ranks to #75, the Suzuki Vitara is up to #79 and the new Mini Clubman cracks the Top 100.

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 15 brands and Top 100 models below.


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

Peugeot 308 GTi Europe November 2015. Picture courtesy whatcar.comThe Peugeot 308 overtakes the Renault Captur to rank third at home in 2015.

* Now updated with the Top 60 All-brands and Top 430 All-models *

* Check out over 120 years’ worth of French Historical Data here *

On paper, the French new car market displays very encouraging growth in 2015 at +7% (121.000 additional sales) to 1.917.230 registrations, the highest annual score since 2011, but still below its pre-recession average level of 2.1 million units. However the reality of the market is a lot different and France is undergoing some significant structural changes that continue to unfold in the coming years. Firstly sales to private buyers are at an all-time low: from 66.4% of the market in 2009, the private ratio has dived to 50.2% this year vs. 52.3 in 2014, due to sales up just 2.5% to 962.879 registrations. Reversely, tactical sales (short-term rentals, demo/dealer sales, manufacturer sales) are up a whopping 13% to now represent one quarter of the entire market (24.7%) at 494.035 units.

Renault Clio France 2015The Renault Clio resists a facelifted Peugeot 208 to finish 2015 in pole position.

“Tactical” is a politically correct labelling for what is in fact fake self-registrations by manufacturers to meet sales targets. Lastly, sales to businesses including long-term leasing are up 10% to 428.651 units and 22.3% share. However the depressed economic context in France this year is at odds with such dynamic growth, and it is estimated that it is in fact more self-registrations by manufacturers that are responsible for this gain, in other words a tacticalisation of business sales and leasing.

LOA France 2015. Picture courtesy Auto PlusNow spreading into leasing, tactical sales represent almost 1 in 3 sales in France in 2015.

This evolution means the French market has been mostly lifted by the eagerness of manufacturers to meet sales targets, with particularly high volumes of tactical sales at period-end months (March, June, September and December). This is a very unhealthy way to increase volumes and creates cascading and gaping market distortions. The vehicles registered tactically to meet sales targets are then sold as used by the dealers but do not match the used cars demand which traditionally follows private sales. The most popular used nameplates by and large derive from the most popular privately bought nameplates and a very high level of tactical sales puts many “unwanted” nameplates on the used car market, impacting their pricing – and ultimately the brand image – negatively.

Citroen C4 Cactus France 2015. Picture courtesy loses market share to 10.5%.

Renault (+8%) and Peugeot (+7%) both progress slightly faster than the market to gain minimal market share, reaching their highest score in over 5 years at 20% and 17.1% respectively. Citroen (+0.8%) drops to 10.5% but is back above 200.000 annual units, while Volkswagen is timid at +3%, handicapped by sinking sales during the last quarter in the aftermath of its emissions scandal. Low-cost manufacturer Dacia is one of only two declining brands in the Top 20 with DS (both at -5%), both being handicapped by a lack of new models in 2015, and in the case of Dacia a artificially high base in early 2014 when most new generation Duster were delivered. However Dacia remains the 4th brand in France with private buyers, frankly outselling Volkswagen at 81.987 sales vs. 78.856.

Dacia France 2015. Picture courtesy autobild.esDacia is down 5% but remains the #4 brand in France with private buyers.

The only ranking change in the Top 15 is Fiat gaining one spot to #12 thanks to sales up 19%. Audi (+4%) remains the most popular luxury marque in France but both Mercedes (+13%) and BMW (+12%) are catching up fast and have outsold the VAG brand a handful of times this year. Mini (+23%), Lexus (+28%), Land Rover (+30%), Mazda (+39%), Hyundai (+40%), Porsche (+43%), Smart (+95%) and Jeep (+208%) deliver the largest year-on-year gains in the Top 30. Jaguar (+114%) and Tesla (+116%) also impress.

Peugeot 2008 Renault Captur France 2015. Picture courtesy of LargusStill climbing: the Renault Captur and Peugeot 2008.

Model-wise, the Renault Clio IV (+3%) resists a facelifted Peugeot 208 (+8%) that took the lead three times this year (July-September-November) vs. just once in 2014, marking five consecutive years of Clio reign in France and 17 years in the past 25, the first one being in 1991. Much more successful in its 2nd generation robe, the Peugeot 308 (+25%) gains one spot on 2014 to rank on the podium at #3. Revelations of the past couple of years, the Renault Captur (+15%) and Peugeot 2008 (+17%) show that amazingly, their sales potential is not exhausted yet. The Captur lodges its first five-digit month in June (11.286 sales and 5%) when it outsold the 208 to rank #2. It is the first annual Top 5 ranking for the 2008 that hit #4 four times this year vs. just once in 2014.

As an aside it is interesting to note than when only taking into account private sales, the Peugeot best-sellers fare significantly better. The Clio has a 32% fleet/business share vs. 44% private sales (48.000) whereas private buyers account for 52% of its total sales at 47.000 units this year. Similarly the Peugeot 2008 actually edges past the Captur with 39.363 private sales vs. 39.355.

Renault Espace France 2015. Picture courtesy largus.frThe Renault Espace shoots up to #40 at home thanks to the new model.

Further down, the Renault Twingo III finishes its first full year of sales at home at #8, the Renault Megane is dislodged from the Top 10 at #12 (-8%) while the VW Polo, Golf, Toyota Yaris and Nissan Qashqai lead in the foreign aisle. Breaking into the Top 10 in both November and December, the Renault Kadjar is by far the most popular all-new model of 2015, landing at #22 and followed by the Fiat 500X (#38), Suzuki Vitara (#107) and Hyundai Tucson (#109). The Renault Espace (#40) is up 3-fold on 2014 thanks to the new generation, the BMW 2 Series is up 4-fold to #42 thanks to its MPV variants, the Nissan X-Trail is up 146% to #57 and the Jeep Renegade lands at #62 for its first full year in market.

Previous post: France December 2015: Sandero and Kadjar kick all foreigners outside Top 10

Previous year: France Full Year 2014: Renault Captur on podium

Two years ago: France Full Year 2013: Renault Clio IV marks 15 years of Clio at #1

Full Year 2015 Top 60 All-brands and Top 430 All-models vs. Full Year 2014 figures below.

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France December 2015: Renault and Dacia tank up on sales

Renault Megane IV France December 2015. Picture courtesy largus.frFirst appearance of the Renault Mégane IV in French sales charts. Picture 

* Now updated with the Top 48 All-brands and Top 310 All-models *

The French new car market ends the year on a high with total registrations up 12% or 20.000 units year-on-year to  183.724, lifting the Full Year 2015 total up 7% to 1.917.230. Renault is up a flamboyant 26% to 23% share, almost 9 percentage points of share above archenemy Peugeot up just 2% to 14.2%. Dacia for its part is finally up 28% on December last year to 10.452 and 5.7% share. Similarly to last June, the Renault Group seems to have fallen back to an old habit we described in STRATEGY: Renault champion of “fake” registrations.

Dacia Sandero France December 2015The Dacia Sandero is up 49% year-on-year in December. 

Citroen is up 10% to a weak 8.9% share vs. 10.5% over the full year, while Volkswagen continues to be seriously handicapped by the aftermath of dieselgate  with volumes down 15% to just 6.6% share (7.5% in 2015). Dacia finally lodges a frankly positive month with sales 28% on December last year to 10.452 and 5.7% share. Mercedes is up a spectacular 33% year-on-year and 7 spots on November to #6 and 4.5% share vs. 2.9% in 2015, clearly outselling BMW (5.880) and Audi (5.414). Fiat (+37%), Hyundai (+48%) and, at last, DS (+55%) deliver very solid gains.

Renault Kadjar France December 2015. Picture courtesy largus.frThe Renault Kadjar hits a record 9th place at home this month.

Model-wise, the Renault Clio is back to a clear pole position at 11.025 units and 7.3% share despite sales down 1% year-on-year, distancing the Peugeot 208 stable at 7.405 sales and 4.9%. The Renault Captur overtakes the Peugeot 308 to #3, the Dacia Sandero is up 49% to #5 and the Renault Kadjar up to a record-breaking 9th place with 4.301 deliveries and 2.3% share, kicking all foreigners outside the French Top 10: the VW Polo is #11, the Toyota Yaris #14 and VW Golf #15. Demo pre-sales shoot the new Renault Mégane  VI to #20. The ‘real’ sales will start in 2016 and will be fascinating to follow. Renault also places the Espace at #25 (+3%) and the Talisman at #52 (+31). Notice also the Fiat 500X is up to #35 and the Hyundai Tucson up 10 spots on November to #51.

Previous month: France November 2015: Peugeot 208 on top in market artificially up 11%

One year ago: France December 2014: BMW and Mercedes finish on a high

Full December 2015 Top 48 All-brands and Top 310 All-models below.

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France LCV Full Year 2015: Renault outpaces market to hold 33% share

Renault Trafic France 2015. Picture courtesy largus.frThe Trafic is one of four Renaults in the 2015 Top 6. Picture

* See the Top 15 best-selling brands and Top 100 models by clicking on the title *

France is the largest Light Commercial Vehicle market in Europe, and remains so in 2015 with sales up 2% year-on-year to 379.424 units. Note the definition of an LCV in France is linked to its purchase as a business vehicle which incurs a reduced purchase tax rate, note the nature of the vehicle itself. A Porsche Cayenne can therefore pass as an LCV as long as it has been bought by a business as a company vehicle. The difference between an LCV and a fleet PC vehicle is indeed rather blurry in France. In this context, Renault keeps the lead of the brands ranking by a large margin, selling double the amount than any other manufacturer at 124.636 sales and 32.8%, a one percentage point share improvement over 2014. Peugeot (15.7%) bypasses sister brand Citroen (15.6%) to hit #2 while Fiat (8.5%) and Ford (5.9%) hold onto their respective rankings.

Renault Kangoo France 201518 consecutive years as LCV best-seller: the Renault Kangoo. Picture

Model-wise, the Top 8 best-sellers are unchanged on 2014: the Renault Kangoo posts its 18th consecutive year in pole position at 35.320 sales and 9.3% share vs. 9% in 2014, but the Renault Clio IV is catching up at +18% to 31.583 units and 8.3%. The Master (+4%) completes a podium 100% Renault while the Trafic (+10%) makes it four Renaults in the Top 6. The Fiat Ducato (#5) is one of only three foreigners inside the Top 15 along the Mercedes Sprinter (#9) and Ford Transit 2T (#15). Notice the Fiat Doblo (+44%), Mitsubishi L200 (+45%), Opel Vivaro (+66%) and Land Rover Defender (+77%) all posting spectacular gains, while the VW Transporter VI lands directly isnd

Previous year: France Full Year 2014: Renault Captur on podium

Two years ago: France LCV Full Year 2013: Renault Kangoo and Master on top

Full Year 2015 Top 15 brands and Top 100 models vs. Full Year 2014 figures below.

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France November 2015: Peugeot 208 on top in market artificially up 11%

Peugeot 208 France November 2015The Peugeot 208 outsells the Renault Clio to #1 in France this month.

* UPDATED with the Top 50 All-brands and Top 312 All-models *

After hitting its weakest November in 40 years last year, the French new car market rebounds by 11% in 2015 thanks to 150.339 registrations. This dynamic result doesn’t resists a more thorough examination though: firstly, this month benefited from one more working day, reducing the real growth rate to 6%, in line with the rest of the year so far. Secondly, the bulk of the year-on-year gains are coming from companies (including long-term rentals) up 21% vs. +9% so far this year, hitting 36.387 registrations or 24% of the market, while sales to short-term rental companies are up a whopping 39.5% to 15.521 units or 10.3% share, gaining two percentage point of market share. Reversely, sales to private buyers are up just 5% which, if you take into account the additional working day, actually means real sales are down on a year ago which was a historical low in the past 40 years. The private sales ratio to market is stuck at 50.9%, three percentage points down on a year ago but in line with 2015 so far (50.1%).

Peugeot 2008 France November 2015The Peugeot 2008 also outpaces its archenemy the Renault Captur in November.

Brand-wise, Renault holds off Peugeot thanks to sales up 21% year-on-year but at 19% share they remain slightly below their year-to-date level (19.6%). It’s not the case for Peugeot, also outpacing the market at +17% to 17.7% share vs. 17.4% year-to-date. However when looking at private sales Peugeot overtakes Renault to take the lead at 13.897 sales (+22%) vs. 12.417. Once again Citroen can’t follow the market at just +8%, managing to remain above 10% market share by the skin of its teeth (10.2%). Volkswagen (+4%) is by-and-large unaffected by its emission crisis, posting “encouraging results showing no collapse of our business” according to Volkswagen France President Jacques Rivoal speaking with our colleagues at Put under the microscope of private sales, Volkswagen is down however (-1%) whereas all other main brands in the Group – displaying similar gains in the overall market – shoot up when only private sales are taken into account: Audi is up 14%, Seat up 11% and Skoda up 35%.

Mitsubishi Outlander France November 2015Mitsubishi France sales are up 76% year-on-year in November.

Ford (+16%), Nissan (+12%), Toyota (-2%) and Opel (+13%) all benefit from a particularly weak result at Dacia (-33%), while BMW (+18%), Fiat (+27%) and Mercedes (+14%) continue to impress while further down Jeep (+37%), Suzuki (+39%), Mazda (+63%), Land Rover, Mitsubishi (+76%) and Smart (+186%) all post spectacular gains. Luxury brands are still in great shape: Porsche is up 20%, Maserati up 37%, Ferrari up 43%, Lotus up 57%, Infiniti up 89%, Tesla up 109% and Jaguar up 115%.

Renault Kadjar France November 2015. Picture courtesy largus.frThe Renault Kadjar breaks into the French Top 10 for the first time this month.

Model-wise, the Peugeot 208 manages to outsell the Renault Clio at 7.661 sales (+19%) vs. 7.518 (+6%) to slip back into pole position for the second time since the end of summer (it also ranked #1 in September). The 208 is also the most popular new vehicle with private buyers for the 4th consecutive month. In fact, with the Peugeot 308 clearly outpacing the VW Golf and Renault Megane and the Peugeot 2008 (+45%) above the Renault Captur (+17%), Peugeot wins the three main segments in the market this month. The VW Polo is the only foreigner in the Top 10 and the Renault Kadjar gains a further three spots on October to break into its home Top 10 for the first time at #10 with 2.918 deliveries, frankly distancing the Nissan Qashqai (2.281) and Dacia Duster (2.034).

Renault Talisman France November 2015The Renault Talisman is now inside the Top 100 at home.

Further down, the Peugeot 508 is up 56% year-on-year to #22 and the Renault Espace is up two more ranks to #28 with volumes up 10-fold on the previous generation at the same time last year. Among recent launches, the Hyundai Tucson recedes 20 spots to #61, the Mercedes GLC is up 52 to #62, the Suzuki Vitara up 8 to #64, while both the Renault Talisman and Opel Karl break into the French Top 100 for the first time. The Mini Clubman, Mazda CX-3, Mercedes GLE also progress, and the Audi Q7 is up 6-fold on November 2014 thanks to the new model.

Previous month: France October 2015: Market up 1%, Renault Kadjar hits 2% share

One year ago: France November 2014: Worst November score in 40 years

Full November 2015 Top 50 All-brands and Top 312 All-models below.

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France October 2015: Market up 1%, Renault Kadjar hits 2% share

Renault Kadjar France October 2015. Picture courtesy automobile-magazine.frThe Renault Kadjar is up to #13 this month at home.

* NOW UPDATED with the Top 50 All-brands and Top 323 All-models *

French new car sales are up a very timid 0.6% year-on-year in October to 161.030 registrations, bringing the year-to-date total to 1.582.465 units, up 6% on 2014. The Top 3 local manufacturers are all very close to their year-to-date market shares, yet this means very different year-on-year evolutions: Renault is up 5% to 19.7%, Peugeot is down 3% to 17.4% and Citroen down a harsh 12% to 10.9%. Volkswagen seems to start to suffer from Dieselgate, but only ever so slightly at -3% to 11.058 sales and 6.9%. Dacia continues to hit the pause button at -5% to 4,6% share vs. 5.2% year-to-date. Toyota (+7%) is back above Nissan (-18%), Audi reclaims its traditional luxury pole position at #8 (+4%) above BMW a #12 (+17%) and Mercedes at #13 (+10%).

Skoda Fabia France October 2015French Skoda sales are up 28% year-on-year in October.

New brand DS stabilises (-1%), Hyundai and Mini both gain a stunning 19%, Suzuki is up 32% thanks to the Vitara while other members of the Volkswagen Group stable are totally unaffected by Dieselgate: Seat is up 11%, Skoda up 28% and Porsche up 50%. Mazda (+61%), Jeep (+124%), Jaguar (+152%) and Smart (+213%) are among the most impressive carmakers in the ranking, while Chinese BYD sells its very first two e6 taxis in France this month.

BYD e6 France October 2015The first two French BYD e6 have been registered (Chinese models pictured).

In the models ranking, the Top 6 best-sellers re-order themselves to exactly reflect the year-to-date ranking: a rare moment of stability in the French sales charts. The Renault Clio reclaims the pole position the Peugeot 208 snapped off last month despite sales down 2% year-on-year to 8.764 vs. 8.310 (+17%) for the 208. The Peugeot 308 is up one spot on September to round up the podium at 4% of the market above the Renault Captur (+12%), Peugeot 2008 (+5%) and Citroen C3 (-23%). The Citroen C4 Picasso (#7) outsells its archenemy the Renault Scénic (#9) while the VW Polo (#8) and Toyota Yaris (#15) are the only foreign nameplates in a decidedly French Top 15.

Renault Talisman France October 2015Demo sales lift the Renault Talisman inside the Top 200 ahead of its December launch.

The Renault Kadjar crosses the 2% market share milestone for the first time ever, up one spot on last month to a best-ever #13, the Mini is up 31% to #26, the Renault Espace is up 3-fold on September 2014 thanks to the new model to #30, as is the VW Passat up 207% to #33, while the Renault Zoe is up 48% to #39 and the all-new Hyundai Tucson breaks into the French Top 50 for the first time, up 26 spots on September to #41. Further down, notice the Suzuki Vitara up to #72, the Mercedes GLC and Mazda CX-3 getting closer to the Top 100, the Mini Clubman shooting up 80 ranks on last month thanks to the new gen and the Renault Talisman breaking into the Top 200.

Previous month: France September 2015: Peugeot 208 #1, Renault Kadjar leads segment

One year ago: France October 2014: Peugeot places 3 models in Top 5

One year ago (full data): France October 2014: Now with Top 300 models and All-brands

Full October 2015 Top 50 All-brands and Top 323 All-models below.

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France September 2015: Peugeot 208 #1, Renault Kadjar leads segment

Renault Kadjar France September 2015. Picture courtesy largus.frThe Renault Kadjar leads its segment at home for the first time.

* NOW UPDATED with the Top 50 All-brands and Top 330 All-models – see title *

Good news coming from the French market: sales are up 9% year-on-year in September to 164.774 units, the best September score since 2011 and well above the scores of the past 3 years. This is historically a very solid month of September with only the years boosted by scrappage schemes doing significantly better. An encouraging “back to school” result in France, lifting the year-to-date total up 6% to 1.421.440 deliveries. Reassuringly, all channels display virtually the same growth with private sales up 8.9% – still at a historical low of 50% of the overall market – sales to companies up 9.3% and tactical sales up 9%, boosted by short-term rentals up 33%. The three main domestic manufacturers Renault (+4%), Peugeot (+6%) and Citroen (+2%) all gain less ground than their home market but locate themselves at various levels vs. their year-to-date share: Renault is above (20.8% vs. 19.7%), Peugeot is level (17.3%) and Citroen is below (10.2% vs. 10.7%).

Skoda Fabia France September 2015. Picture courtesy Fabia lifts Skoda up 28% in France in September.

The Volkswagen brands are not handicapped by the diesel scandal for now: Volkswagen is up 12%, Skoda up 28% thanks to the Octavia and Fabia and Seat up 22% thanks to the Leon and Ibiza, while Audi is up 6% but relegated to #3 luxury brand at #13 overall below BMW up 20% to #9 and Mercedes up 2% to #10. Dacia gains 11% but remains below its YTD level but Nissan is up 20% year-on-year and two spots on August to #6, Ford is up 18% and Toyota up 19%. Notice also Fiat (+23%), Suzuki (+26%), Mazda, Honda (+45%), Porsche (+105%), Jeep (+148%) and Smart (+170%) and all posting spectacular gains. Among smaller manufacturers, Infiniti (+171%), Jaguar (+290%) and Tesla (+326%) impress.

Peugeot 208 France September 2015. Picture courtesy largus.frThe Peugeot 208 is the best-selling vehicle in France in September.

In the models ranking, the Peugeot 208 gains a splendid 23% thanks to its mid-life refresh and overtakes the Renault Clio for the second time in the past three months at 5.5% share vs. 5.3%. The Renault Captur (+13%) is back above the Peugeot 308 (+7%) at #3 but remains 4th year-to-date while the Peugeot 2008 (+6%) is back inside the Top 5 like in the year-to-date ranking, the Renault Scenic back up 9 spots on August to #7, the Renault Twingo up to #8 and the VW Polo (+25%) is the only foreigner in the Top 10 at #9 followed by the Golf (-29%) at #15.

Renault Espace France September 2015. Picture courtesy largus.frRenault Espace

The Renault Kadjar is up four spots to lead its category at #14 with 2.766 sales vs. 2.609 (+20%) for the Dacia Duster at #16 and 2.355 (+25%) for the Nissan Qashqai at #17 – that’s considering the fact that the Peugeot 3008 isn’t a true SUV. Notice also the Toyota Yaris up 25%, the Nissan Juke up 23%, Mini hatch up 48%, the Toyota Auris up 57% thanks to its facelift, the VW Tiguan in runout mode up 32%, VW Passat up 154%, Skoda Fabia up 56% and Nissan X-Trail up 61%. Among recent newcomers, the Renault Espace is up 18 ranks on August to a fantastic #31 spot, while the Fiat 500X is up 7 to #34 and the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer holds itself within the Top 50 at #49.

Skoda Superb France September 2015. Picture courtesy largus.frThe new models pushes Skoda Superb sales up 3-fold year-on-year.

Further down, the Hyundai Tucson breaks into the Top 70, the Skoda Superb is up 3-fold year-on-year to thanks to the new model, the Opel Karl, Mercedes GLC, GLE and Mazda CX-3 are all getting closer to a Top 100 ranking, the Honda HR-V and Jaguar XE are now around the Top 150 and the Ssangyong Tivoli breaks into the Top 100. Finally, we welcome into the French charts the all-new Renault Talisman at #233.

Previous post: Photo Report: The cars of the South of France

Previous month: France August 2015: Renault and Clio reclaim control

One year ago: France September 2014: Renault Twingo III up to 8th place

Full September 2015 Top 50 All-brands and Top 330 All-models below.

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Photo Report: The cars of the South of France

1. Citroen 2CV Renault Captur France 2015Citroen 2CV and Renault Captur in Cannes, France.

Today I can share with you a Photo Report on the car landscape of the South of France, covering the French Riviera from Cannes to Monaco via Nice but also the hinterland with towns such as Grasse, Gourdon, Cipières, Gréolières, Coursegoules, Escragnolles and Mons. For those of you readers familiar with the area, these names will evoke sounds of cicadas and scents of lavender. For those of you who aren’t, welcome, and this is part of the reason why I’m publishing this Photo Report! I had the privilege to return to this area often over the past few years, and one of the most striking elements as soon as you leave the Riviera and reach the hinterlands is the outstanding performance of low-cost brand Dacia. This year, as it has been the case for many years now, Dacia is extremely well represented in the area as you will see in the photos.

2. Renault Clio France 2015Renault Clio in Coursegoules, France.

But first things first and to the biggest difference in the car landscape in 2015 compared to 2014: the very high frequency of Renault Captur. The blockbuster crossover from Renault has managed to snap the French #2 spot away from the Peugeot 208 a couple of times already, and observing the car landscape in the South of France it makes total sense. An account of cars zooming past on the highway between Cannes, Nice and Monaco gives the following figures for the current Top 5 best-sellers nationally in France (note some models such as the Renault Mégane appeared more often so this is not an actual ranking):

Frequency of Top 5 best-sellers Cannes-Nice:

Model Total Launch Months Adjusted
Renault Clio IV 91 Sep-12 36 253
Renault Captur 51 Mar-13 30 170
Peugeot 208 62 Mar-12 42 148
Peugeot 308 II 31 Aug-13 25 124
Peugeot 2008 13 May-13 28 46

The total number of cars surveyed was 248 belonging to the Top 5 best-sellers (5.000 cars total) over a period of one month in August 2015. The adjusted frequency is calculated based on the launch date by dividing the gross total of cars by the number of months since launch x 100. At this little game the Renault Captur overtakes the Peugeot 208 to rank 2nd overall, a reflection of my observations here. A couple of explanations: the Captur is particularly popular with private buyers in the region, but also short-term rental companies, as evidenced by cars in circulation here but registered in the 01 and 60 departments which are located at the opposite end of the country but offer more advantageous taxation.

3. Dacia Sandero Renault Twingo France 2015Dacia Sandero Stepway and Renault Twingo in Gréolières, France.

Notice also the particularly low score of the Peugeot 2008, obliterated by the Captur in the South of France, traditionally a Renault-buying region more so than Peugeot, as evidenced by the numerous older Renaults spotted in the hinterlands such as the Renault 4 and 19 pictured below. Other rental successes include the Hyundai i20 – very frequent but 100% rental – the newly launched Renault Kadjar and Espace and the Fiat 500X. Particularly successful with private buyers are the Dacia Duster and, interestingly, Opel Mokka.

4. Renault Kadjar France 2015Renault Kadjar in Gourdon, France.

5. Bentley Continental France 2015Bentley Continental in Monaco.

6. Renault Kangoo France 2015Renault Kangoo and Mini in Gréolières, France.

A trip to the hinterlands is a trip back in time doubled with a demonstration of force of the entire Dacia range including the lesser sellers Logan and Dokker. Numerous small 4wd sprawl the tiny winding roads, such as the Suzuki Jimny, 1980s Toyota Land Cruiser and Lada Niva and many Land Rover Defender.

7. Toyota Hilux France 2015Toyota Hilux in Escragnolles, France.

An element I hadn’t noticed in my previous visits is the high prevalence of one tonne-pickups, a category otherwise doing rather poorly in the French sales charts. I spotted more than a few Nissan Navara, Mitsubishi L200 and Toyota Hilux of various generations. An observation that has to be linked to the potential success in these regions of…

8. Renault Alaskan France 2015

the Renault Alaskan

9. Dacia Duster Oroch France 2015

or even more aptly a Dacia variant of the Renault Duster Oroch for now dedicated to South America. Given the stunning popularity of the Duster in the French Riviera hinterlands, a pickup variant could only be met with tremendous success.

10.Renault 4 France 2015Renault 4 in Escragnolles, France.

11. Renault 19 France 2015Renault 19 in Escragnolles, France.

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France August 2015: Renault and Clio reclaim control

Renault Clio France August 2015. Picture courtesy largus.frThe Renault Clio is back to pole position at home in France.

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Thanks to one additional selling day vs. August 2014, the French new car market is up 10% year-on-year this month to 92.052 registrations, lifting the year-to-date total to 1.256.670 units, up 6% on 2014. It is however prudent to remember that we are remaining at historically low level in France, this August score being the third weakest month in the past 15 years below just August 2013 (85.565) and August 2014 (83.340). Overtaken by Peugeot in July, Renault reclaims the brands pole position this month, but just: at 15.611 deliveries (+11%), its advantage is only 372 units vs. Peugeot at 15.239 (+14%). Renault’s share is frankly lower than its year-to-date level (17% vs. 19.6%), but Peugeot is closer (16.6% vs. 17.3%).

Citroen C3 France August 2015. Picture courtesy of L'ArgusThe Citroen C3 is up 53% to 4th place.

Citroen is up 18% to 10.083 and 11% to lift its year-to-date total into positive territory at 134.898 units (+2%). Following are Volkswagen (+13%), Dacia struggling at -16% and Toyota, down 13% but remaining on high ground at #6 and 4.4% share. Below Nissan (+18%), Audi surges 19% to 3.8% share, followed closely by BMW up a spectacular 29% to #10 and 3.5%. This score enables the Bavarian manufacturer to overtake Mercedes in the year-to-date ranking at 32.968 units (+15%) vs. 32.886 (+10%).

VW Polo France August 2015. Picture courtesy autobild.deAt #6, the VW Polo hadn’t ranked that high in 2015.

Overstepped by the Peugeot 208 last month in a rare event, the Renault Clio IV is back to the models pole position thanks to sales up 14% year-on-year to 5.200 while the Peugeot 208 is up 12% to 4.746. With the Peugeot 308 up 29%, the Citroen C3 up 53%, Renault Captur up 25% and VW Polo up 14%, the entire Top 6 gains more ground than the market in August, resulting in a slight consolidation at the top of the ranking (Top 5 = 21% vs. 19.8% and Top 10 = 33% vs. 32.6%.).

VW Passat France August 2015. Picture courtesy of largus.frThe VW Passat is up 73% to #30.

At #6, this is the VW Polo’s best monthly ranking so far in 2015 while at #7 it is the VW Golf ‘s first Top 10 ranking in France since September 2014 and best ranking since it hit a record 5th place exactly a year ago in August 2014. The Renault Twingo is back up 15 spots on a particularly weak July score, back inside the Top 10 at #10. The Toyota Yaris is up 3 ranks to an excellent 12th place, albeit not reiterating its record-breaking August 2014 score (#6). The Renault Kadjar gains one spot to #18, the Opel Mokka is up 25% to #22, Citroen C3 Picasso up 57% to #23, Mini up 39% to #26, VW Passat is up 73% to #30 and the BMW 1 Series up 34% to #33.

BMW 2 Series Active Tourer France August 2015. Picture courtesy of largus.frThe BMW 2 Series Active Tourer shoots up to #36 in France this month.

Excellent performance of the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer, up 18 spots on July to smash its French record ranking at #36 with 705 sales and 0.8% share vs. #74 and 0.3% year-to-date. The Fiat 500X has stabilised around the #40 mark, the Nissan X-Trail is up a further two ranks to #45, the Skoda Fabia up 12 to #46 and the Renault Espace is down 14 but remains inside the Top 50 at #49 with sales up 220% on the previous model a year ago. Further down, notice the Suzuki Vitara up 10 spots to #85, the Mercedes GLE up 56 to #120, the Ford Mustang up 92 to #142, the Opel Karl up 14 to #153 and the Jaguar XE down 24 to #166. We welcome the Honda HR-V at #242 with 9 units.

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Previous month: France July 2015: Renault down to historically low 14.7% share

One year ago:France August 2014: Toyota Yaris hits highest ever Nippon ranking in worst month in 38 years

Full August 2015 Top 40 brands and Top 309 All-models below.

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France 1-14 August 2015: Toyota Yaris up 29% in lifeless month

Toyota Yaris France August 2015. Picture courtesy automobile-magazine.frThe Toyota Yaris is produced in France.

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

Right in the middle of summer holidays, August is traditionally the slowest month of the year in France by far. The past three years went further though: August 2012 was the first time in 15  years the market fell below the symbolic 100,000 monthly sales (96,511), August 2013 was the weakest overall month in 37 years (85.565) and August 2014 was the third worst month in the past 40 years and lowest since August 1976 at 83.340 deliveries. Even though sales figures are stable mid-way through the month, the market is predicted to increase slightly this year thanks to one additional selling day… Certainly not the vigorous recovery we are witnessing in the rest of Europe.

Audi Q7 France July 2015. Picture courtesy sales in France are up 17% year-on-year so far in August.

Being a lot slower than all other months of the year, August is often the theatre of unusual moves. For example last year the Toyota Yaris broke the record of the highest ever monthly ranking for a Japanese model in France, surging to 6th place thanks to 2.170 deliveries including 899 demo sales. The Yaris is even better positioned as of the 14th August with sales up 29% year-on-year to #9. The Peugeot 208 (-7%) and 308 (+15%) dominate the temporary ranking but should be both outpaced by the Renault Clio (-7%) by the time August comes to an end given the strong back-loading the French manufacturer has been culprit of in recent years. Notice also the Citroen C3 (+28%), VW Golf (+12%) and Peugeot 2008 (+13%) while over in the brands ranking Audi up 17% to 6th place and BMW up a spectacular 32% to #9 both impress.

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Previous post (data): France July 2015: Renault down to historically low 14.7% share

One year ago: France 1-20 August 2015: Volkswagen up 35%, Nissan up 29%

One year ago (monthly): France August 2014: Toyota Yaris hits highest ever Nippon ranking in worst month in 38 years

Full 1-14 August 2015 Top 10 brands and models below.

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