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France March 2015: Renault, Peugeot & Mercedes lift market up 9%

April 24th, 2015 No comments

Renault Mégane France March 2015. Picture by largus.frThe Renault Mégane is back up to #6 overall this month.

* Now updated with the Top 250 best-selling models and Top 40 brands *

French new car sales are finally getting a significant boost this month: up 9.5% year-on-year in March to 196,572 registrations, partly thanks to one more opening day without which the market would be up just 4%. Year-to-date sales are now up 7% to 477,326 deliveries. Caveating this performance is the exceptional strength of tactical sales (+15%), including demo sales (+14%) and short-term rentals (+21%), while private sales are up 2% after -3.5% in February and +0.3% in January. On the plus side, orders taken by dealers in March are up 11%, on the negative side, the surge in short-term rentals seems to be the result of purchases brought forward in anticipation of the summer holiday season rather than a real activity growth and this means short-term rentals in the coming month will suffer, potentially pulling the market down with them.

Mercedes C-Class France March 2015. Picture courtesy of largus,frMercedes overtakes Audi to become the #1 premium brand in France in March.

The 2 main manufacturers in the country, Renault (+13%) and Peugeot (+12%) both outperform the market to 21.4% and 17.2% share respectively while Citroen is up just 5% to 10% and its premium brand DS is down 15% to 1.5%. The rest of the brands ranking confirms trends are turned on their head this year: Dacia, usually displaying staggering year-on-year gains, is down 10%, Ford is up 19%, Toyota up 16%, Kia up 23% and Hyundai up 44%. Mercedes spectacularly takes charge of premium brands thanks to sales up 40% (and private sales up 61%) to 5,705 units at #10 vs. 5,437 (+5%) for Audi and 5,355 (+14%) for BMW. Also impressive is Mini (+61%) thanks to the new 5-door hatch, while Jeep is in a category of its own: multiplying its sales by 10 vs. March 2014 to 845 thanks to the Renegade (#69 with 681 units).

Fiat 500X France March 2015. Picture courtesy autobild.deThe Fiat 500X breaks into the French Top 50 for the first time in March.

In the models ranking, all Top 7 nameplates gain more ground than the market, resulting in a trend-bucking de-fragmentation. The Peugeot 308 at #4 (+63%), Renault Captur at #3 (+41%) and Renault Clio IV at #1 (+27%) are the biggest gainers, with the Renault Mégane at #6 (+18%) also back in shape. The Peugeot 2008 (#5) is up 15% while the Peugeot 208 (#2) is up 11% and the Citroen C3 (#7) up 10%. The Renault Twingo III is down 4 spots on February to #9 and the Top 10 is 100% French for the 2nd straight month with the VW Polo at #12, VW Golf at #14 (both down a harsh 17%) and Ford Fiesta at #15 (+10%) the most popular foreigners.

Audi TT France March 2015. Picture courtesy largus.frThe new model lifts Audi TT sales 4-fold on a year ago in France.

Further down, the Peugeot 508 is up 49% at #19, the Citroen C4 Cactus maintains itself above the C4 at #21, the Opel Mokka is up 41% to #25, the VW Passat up a spectacular 86% to #37, the Toyota Aygo II (#42) and Fiat 500X (#43) both break into the monthly French Top 50 for the first time, the Nissan X-Trail is up 9 ranks on February to #58 and the Ford Ecosport up 24 to #65. Outside the Top 100, notice the Ford Mondeo up 123% year-on-year, the Nissan Leaf up 120%, Mazda6 up 135%, Audi TT up 331%, the Land Rover Discovery up 1144% thanks to the new Sport model, the BMW X6 up 245% and the Kia Sorento up 326%.

Previous post: France 1-16 March 2015: Renault Mégane back in shape

Previous month: France February 2015: Renault Twingo III breaks into Top 5

One year ago: France March 2014: Renault Captur and Peugeot 2008 both in Top 4 for the first time

Full March 2015 Top 250 models and Top 40 brands below.

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Categories: France

France 1 to 16 March 2015: Renault Mégane back in shape

March 29th, 2015 No comments

Renault Mégane vs Peugeot 308 France March 2015. Picture courtesy largus.frBoth the Renault Mégane and Peugeot 308 are inside the French Top 8 so far.

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

Is this good news? The French new car market is up by an extremely shy 0.2% year-on-year in March after 16 days. Positive territory, granted, but on a slow base in 2014. Peugeot keeps the lead of the brands ranking for now despite sales down 3%, with Renault (+13%) and Citroen (+4%) behind. Toyota and Ford, both up 14%, also shine in the Top 10. Model-wise, the Renault Clio IV already holds its traditional top spot despite Renault always backloading its monthly sales and thanks to deliveries up a fantastic 38% year-on-year, the Peugeot 308 is up 36% to #3, the Renault Captur up 14% to #7 and the Renault Mégane is back in shape at #8 and +35%.

Previous post: France 1-9 March 2015: Nissan Qashqai in Top 10

Previous month: France February 2015: Renault Twingo III breaks into Top 5

One year ago: France 1-19 March 2014: Peugeot 308 holds onto podium spot

Full 1-16 March 2015 Top 10 models and brands below.

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Categories: France

France 1-9 March 2015: Nissan Qashqai in Top 10

March 22nd, 2015 No comments

Nissan Qashqai France March 2015. Picture courtesy of largus.frThe Nissan Qashqai is up to #9 in France so far in March.

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

March is traditionally the second biggest month for new car sales in France below June, so it is a critical time to shine for car manufacturers. Renault, traditionally backloading its sales across the month, comes third after 9 days into March with sales up an impressive 16% below Peugeot (-1%) and Citroen (+7%). Note French carmakers have been particularly helped by sales to rental companies, accounting for 22% of Renault totals so far this month and 26% at Peugeot… Toyota (+17%), BMW (+19%) and Ford (+8%) impress, whereas Dacia is down a harsh 35% year-on-year to #7 with 1,388 sales.

BMW X3 France March 2015. Picture courtesy autobild.deFrench BMW sales are up 19% year-on-year so far this month, earning it a #9 spot.

Model-wise, the Peugeot 208 temporarily holds the pole position but is down 20% on the same period a year ago whereas the Peugeot 308 is up 37% to #2 and the Renault Clio up an even more impressive (and surprising given the model’s career stage) 41% to 1,455 units. Notice also the solid performances of the Citroen C4 Picasso at #5 (+14%), Peugeot 2008 at #6 (+13%) and Renault Captur at #10 (+31%). Finally, March seems to be the Nissan Qashqai’s favourite month in France: in 2013 it broke into the Top 10 for the first time over a full month and over the same period last year it made its reappearance among the country’s 10 most popular nameplates. It does so again in 2015 at #9 with sales up 14% to 720 units in 9 days.

Previous post: France February 2015: Renault Twingo III breaks into Top 5

One year ago: France 1-12 March 2014: Peugeot 308 up to #2, Nissan Qashqai in Top 10

Full 1-9 March 2015 Top 10 brands and models below.

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Categories: France

France February 2015: Renault Twingo III breaks into Top 5

March 4th, 2015 No comments

Renault Twingo III France February 2015. Picture courtesy largus.frRenault Twingo III

* See the Top 20 best-selling brands and Top 100 models by clicking on the title *

On paper the French market is trending up: +4% in February to 147,130 registrations and +5% year-to-date at 280,300 deliveries. However the reality of the market is much more depressing: like in January, the February growth is solely due to tactical sales (carmakers’ own registrations, demo vehicles and short term rentals). These are up 6,925 units on February 2014 whereas private sales are down 2,593 units or 3.5%, showing a negative trend whereas they were stable in January. As a result, private sales fall to a historical low in France in February at 48.5% of overall sales vs. 52% a year ago. Renault is up 12% to 20.2% share above Peugeot at 17.3% (+5%) and Citroen at 10.7% (-3%).

VW Passat France February 2015. Picture courtesy of largus.frThe VW Passat is up 93% year-on-year in February in France.

Below Volkswagen (+2%) and thanks to a tripling of its short term rental sales, Ford (+35%) ranks 5th and passes Dacia, down 27% on an exceptionally high February 2014. Nissan and Fiat (+7%) outperform the market at #7 and #11 while further down BMW (+23%), Mercedes (+11%) run a tight race and benefit from very strong private sales (+30% and +28% respectively) Hyundai (+55%), Mini (+52%), Smart (+145%) thanks to the Forfour above the Fortwo at #88 vs. #96 and of course Jeep (+653%) thanks to the Renegade at #75, also impress.

Mercedes C-Class France February 2015. Picture courtesy of largus.frMercedes private sales are up 28% year-on-year in February.

The Renault Clio IV remains the most popular nameplate at home thanks to sales up 4% to 5.5% share, above the Peugeot 208 at 4.8% (-2%), the Renault Captur at 4.1% (+32%) and the Peugeot 308 at #4 (+42%). The latter remains third year-to-date for now. The third generation Renault Twingo is starting to make itself noticed atop the French models ranking: it breaks into the monthly Top 5 at home for the very first time thanks to sales 2.5 times that of the previous generation a year ago at 5,387 units and 3.7%. Tellingly, the Twingo also outsells 2.2 to 1 the Peugeot 108/Citroen C1 combo (2.472).

Renault Zoe France February 2015. Picture courtesy largus.frA good month for the Renault Zoe in France.

With the Peugeot 2008 at #6 (+16%) followed by the Citroen C3, Renault Scénic, Citroen C4 Picasso II and Renault Mégane, the Top 10 is 100% French this month. The VW Polo is the best-selling foreigner at #11 above the VW Golf VII (#13), Ford Fiesta up 45% to #14 and Fiat 500 in excellent shape despite its age, also up 45% to #17. Illustrating the brand’s February drop, the Dacia Sandero (-29%) and Duster (-23%) are down significantly this month, whereas the Peugeot 508 is up an encouraging 30% to #19 and the Citroen C4 Cactus is now above the C4 year-to-date.

Nissan Pulsar France February 2015Nissan Pulsar

Further down, let’s salute the excellent performance of the VW Passat up 93% to #33 thanks to the new model, the Mini III up to #34, the Mercedes C-Class up 371% on a year ago to #46, the Renault Zoe up 259% to #47, the nameplate’s 4th best finish at home after March 2013 (#40), September 2014 (#37) and December 2014 (#32), the Hyundai i20 up 180% to #49, the BMW 2 Series lifted up to #56 by the Active Tourer MPV variant and the Ford Mondeo boosted up to #81 by the new model. Among recent launches, notice the Nissan Pulsar up 11 spots on January to #70, the Fiat 500X up 15 to #79 and the Ford Ecosport up 3 to #89.

Previous month: France January 2015: Market pulled up 6% by foreign carmakers

One year ago: France February 2014: Citroen C4 Picasso II at best-ever #4

Full February 2015 Top 20 brands and Top 100 models below.

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Categories: France

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

February 4th, 2015 No comments

Hyundai i20 France January 2015. Picture courtesy largus.frThe i20 enables Hyundai to double its sales year-on-year in France.

* See the Top 20 best-selling brands and Top 100 models by clicking on the title *

The French new car market halts a streak of three consecutive months of year-on-year declines in January by improving 6% on a catastrophic month in January 2014 to 132,824 registrations. The gain mainly benefits foreign manufacturers who increase their sales by 14% to see their market share take off from 40.7% a year ago to 44.1% this month. Renault (-3%) only keeps the brands pole position off Peugeot (+11%) by 270 sales and Citroen disappoints at -5%. Volkswagen (+11%) extends its advantage over Dacia (-4%) for the 4th position overall while Nissan (+27%), Ford (+18%), Opel (+35%), Mercedes (+61%), Hyundai (+103%) and Mini (+65%) all lodge very dynamic results as opposed to DS in free fall at -20%.

Renault Koleos France January 2015. Picture courtesy largus.frSwan song for the Renault Koleos?

After being dominated by Peugeot for a large part of the month (see France 1-19 January 2015: Podium 100% Peugeot), the French models ranking returns to normal just in time for the end of January, with the Renault Clio IV in the lead (+11%) above the Peugeot 208 (-14%), Peugeot 308 (+96%), Renault Captur (+17%) and Peugeot 2008 (+41%), all confirming their long-term evolution witnessed across 2014. The Dacia Sandero is back inside the Top 10 at #7, the Citroen C4 Picasso (#8) beats its archenemy the Renault Scénic (#11), the Renault Twingo III lodges a 2nd consecutive month inside the Top 10 and the Renault Mégane crashes down 19% to rank below the VW Golf…

Jeep Renegade France January 2015The Renegade lifts Jeep French sales up 1364% year-on-year!

Lots of movement further down: helped by reduced tariffs in the wake of the unveiling of the Renault Kadjar – which will not replace it but will put a significant dent in its sales, the Renault Koleos flies up to #30, quite simply and frankly its best-ever ranking at home (previous best: #50 in January and February 2014). Boosted by a new generation much more adapted to French customers’ taste, the Hyundai i20 jumps 239% year-on-year to #37, the nameplate’s first-ever Top 50 ranking (previous best: #53 in February 2013). Notice also the Toyota RAV4 up 10 spots on December to #39, the Nissan Micra up 46 to #40 and Nissan X-Trail up 17 to #59. Now each armed with a Stepway variant, the Dacia Lodgy (+38%) and Dokker (+105%) climb back the ladder.

Fiat 500X France January 2015. Picture courtesy largus.frFirst Top 100 ranking for the Fiat 500X in France.

Among recent launches, let’s salute the Jeep Renegade up a further 12 spots on December to #61 and single-handedly lifting Jeep sales up… 1361% on January 2014, the Nissan Pulsar up 23 ranks to #81 and the Fiat 500X taking off: up from #381 in December to #94 with 281 units sold in January, its first-ever Top 100 ranking in France. In the Light Commercial Vehicle ranking, the Renault Kangoo is faithful to its traditional pole position, followed this month by the Renault Master III and Clio IV, with the Citroen Berlingo and Renault Trafic rounding out the Top 5.

Previous post: France 1-19 January 2015: Podium 100% Peugeot

Full Year 2014 post: France Full Year 2014: Renault Captur on podium

Previous month: France December 2014: BMW and Mercedes finish on a high

One year ago: France January 2014: Peugeot 208 #1 for the first time since May 2013

Full January 2015 Top 20 brands and Top 100 models below.

Full January 2014 Top 12 LCV brands and Top 100 LCV models below.

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Categories: France

France 1-19 January 2015: Podium 100% Peugeot

January 31st, 2015 No comments

Peugeot 2008 France January 2015. Picture courtesy largus.frPeugeot 2008

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

Over the first 19 days of January, new car sales in France are up a very encouraging 16% on – granted – a catastrophic month of January 2013. Peugeot keeps the lead by far with sales up 28% to 11,000 units, Citroen is only in positive (+2%) thanks to its separation from the premium brand DS (-20%!), Volkswagen is up 25% and stil two units above Renault: that’s never been seen before so late in a month. Nissan is up 23%, Opel up 72% and Mercedes up 75%.

Peugeot 308 France January 2015Can the Peugeot 308 finish the month in pole position in France?

For the first time since BSCB has been following the French market weekly (over a decade), Peugeot manages to monopolises the models sales charts podium with the 308 in pole position (+101%) above the 208 (-5%) and the 2008 (+52%). With the Renault Clio IV taking a lot more time than usual to extricate itself from the depths of the ranking (#6 below the VW Polo and Dacia Sandero), we could be in for an surprise by the time January comes to an end: the Peugeot 308 has a real chance to finish the month at #1, while the 208 (last #1 at home a year ago in January 2014) could also be outsold for the first time by the 2008 given the small crossover’s progression over the past two weeks. Final results are in on Tuesday.

Previous post: France 1-15 January 2015: Peugeot 308 leads the way

Previous month: France December 2014: BMW and Mercedes finish on a high

One year ago: France 1-15 January 2014: Market plunges by 18% year-on-year

Full 1-19 January 2015 Top 10 models and brands Ranking Tables below.

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Categories: France

France Full Year 2014: Renault Captur on podium

January 29th, 2015 1 comment

Renault Captur France 2014. Picture courtesy of largus.frThe Renault Captur peaked at a fantastic 2nd place at home in June.

* UPDATED with the Top 412 All-models, Top 100 LCV and Top 66 All-brands *

Just as Europe bounces back (+5%), the UK gains 10% to 2.5 million sales and in the midst of a non-sensical new policy by the French government to wipe diesel cars out, French new car sales are up a minuscule 0.3% year-on-year to 1.795.913 units. The market is stuck below 1.8 million annual units for the second year in a row – the first time this happens in 30 years (1984-1985). Worse: the small YOY increase is only artificial; pumped by short-term rentals (+7%) and company sales (+6%) while private sales drop 2% to just 939.000 units. This almost 600.000 units (39%) below the 1.53 million private sales hit in 2009, pulling the PS ratio down to an all-time low 52.2%.

Renault Clio IV France 2014. Picture courtesy of largus.frThe brands ranking displays a rosier outlook for French manufacturers: Renault, Peugeot (both up 5%), Citroen (+2%) and Dacia (+14%) all outperform the market, with the French-Romanian carmaker hitting 6-figure sales for the first time ever at 102,519. The private sales picture is even shinier: Dacia outsells Volkswagen to rank #3 overall with an astounding 9.3% market share. Only new stand-alone DS crashes down 27% for its inaugural year in market. Nissan (+8%), Opel (+3%), Mercedes (+5%), BMW (+2%) and Skoda (+5%) also lodge positive results inside the Top 20 while Hyundai (-33%) disintegrates as it rebuilds its network of dealers.

The Renault Clio IV remains the most popular nameplate in France for the second year running, ranking #1 every month bar January and improving its sales 2% to 105,182 for a 5.9% share. There is no real competition with its ‘rival’ the Peugeot 208, down 7% to 83,965 units. Below the two leaders, there is a lot of movement in the French models ranking in 2014. Already labelled the stars of 2013, the Renault Captur and Peugeot 2008 confirm they may well be the way of the future for the two largest French manufacturers. The Captur lands on the podium for its first full year of sales at 62,985 units, peaking at #2 in June, while the 2008 is up 93% year-on-year to #6 and 54,161 sales, its best ranking for the year being #4 in March.

Peugeot 2008 France 2014. Picture courtesy of largus.frThe Peugeot 2008 confirms it is now a sales blockbuster in France.

In a few large European markets like Germany, Spain, Italy or the Netherlands, both the Captur and the 2008 have started outselling their ‘non-crossover’ counterparts the Clio IV and 208, not just as a one-off but repeatedly. What would have been unthinkable just 12 months ago has suddenly become real: at the latest Paris Auto Show, Peugeot PR Manager Marc Bocqué confirmed to me that in a few years, the 2nd generation 2008 outselling the 208 to fight for the overall French pole position is “a true possibility”.

Peugeot 308 France March 2014. Picture courtesy of largus.frBest year since 2009 for the Peugeot 308 nameplate at home.

French models being reported by generation gives quite a unique outlook to the local sales charts: the Peugeot 308 II is boosted by its European Car of the Year Title and the success of its station wagon variant up to a fantastic 4th place with 3.4% share for its first full year of sales. It peaked at #3 in May, August and November, which is actually the 308 nameplate’s best ranking at home: the first generation reached it 7 times (June to October 2008January and June 2009). A #4 finish is the 308 nameplate’s highest annual ranking since 2009, with its all-time best remaining the #3 it reached in 2008.

Previous post: France December 2014: BMW and Mercedes finish on a high

Previous year: France Full Year 2013: Renault Clio IV marks 15 years of Clio at #1

Two years ago: France Full Year 2012: No car above 100,000 sales for the first time since 1952

Full Year 2014 analysis, Top 412 All-models, Top 100 LCV and Top 66 All-brands vs. Full 2014 figures below.

The analysis continues below.

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Categories: France

France December 2014: BMW and Mercedes finish on a high

January 29th, 2015 No comments

MINI CooperThe third generation Mini hits a best-ever #26 in France this month.

* UPDATED – see the Top 350 All-models and Top 50 All-brands by clicking on the title *

December is here to remind the French market it is well and truly stuck in hell: down a horrendous 7% to 163,382 deliveries just as the rest of Europe is slowly shaking off 7 years of recession, which means the final 2014 total is marginally higher than 2013 (+0.3%). December sales figures are always biased by last-minute promotions favouring specific manufacturers and this year is no exception: Volkswagen (8.8% of the market vs. 7.8% in 2014) places the Polo at #6 and the Golf VII at #13, the only two foreign models inside the Top 15, BMW jumps 5 spots on November to an outstanding 6th place with 4.1% share vs. 2.7% over 2014 while Mercedes is up 4 to #8 and 3.8% vs. 2.7%.

Pressdrive Mercedes GLA 2014 Malaga-GranadaThe Mercedes GLA also breaks its French monthly ranking record in December.

Citroen has chosen a very bad timing to separate sales of its DS premium brand: appearing for the first time in the ranking at #18 with 1,950 sales compared to over 3,000 a year ago, an abysmal 36% drop to be compared to -27% over the Full Year 2014… Citroen itself (-21%), Dacia (-18%), Ford, Toyota (both at -22%) and Kia (-27%) also experienced a nightmarish December.

Renault Zoe France December 2014The Renault Zoe lodges its 2nd-ever month above 1,000 sales at home at a record 1,182.

Model-wise, the Renault Clio IV is more dominant than ever at 11,111 sales and 6.8% share, a massive 2.3 percentage points share above its rival the Peugeot 208 (4.5%), threatened for 2nd place by the Renault Captur (4.2%) very regular at the highest levels at home. The Peugeot 308 II continues to satisfy at #4, the Renault Twingo III makes its 2nd-ever appearance in the monthly Top 10 after last September at #10, while the Citroen C4 Cactus (#18), Mini III (#26), Mercedes GLA (#31), Renault ZOE (#32) and VW Golf Sportsvan (#34) all break their monthly ranking records this month. Notice also the Mercedes A-Class and C-Class strong at #25 and #47 respectively.

Lexus NX300h France December 2014. Picture courtesy of largus.frThe Lexus NX300h already knocks at the French Top 100’s door.

Just outside the Top 50, the Toyota Aygo II also breaks its monthly ranking record in France at #51, as does the BMW 2 Series at #60 thanks to the arrival of the Active Tourer, the Jeep Renegade breaks into the monthly French Top 100 for the first time at #73, the Nissan X-Trail does a good job at replacing the Nissan Qashqai+2 at #76, the BMW X4 is up to #88, the Ford Ecosport at #93, Nissan Pulsar up to #104, Lexus NX300h up to #118 and the Smart Forfour up to #130.

Previous month: France November 2014: Worst November score in 40 years

One year ago: France December 2013: Citroen C3 above Peugeot 208 for the first time

Full December 2014 Top 350 All-models and Top 50 All-brands below.

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Categories: France

France 1-15 January 2015: Peugeot 308 leads the way

January 29th, 2015 No comments

Peugeot 308 France January 2015. Picture courtesy of largus.frThe Peugeot 308 is the best-selling nameplate in France so far this year.

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

After a couple of months hiatus, the weekly updates on the French market are back on BSCB with an encouraging 14% overall year-on-year gain over the first half of January. As a reminder these intermediate figures are always to be taken with a grain of salt as heavily biased by manufacturers policies of either front-loading (Volkswagen) or back-loading (Renault) a month of sales, as well as promotions. In January needs to be added manufacturers that have particularly pushed sales at the end of 2014 and find themselves in a limping mode at the start of the year. In this context, Peugeot leads the manufacturers ranking with sales up 18% year-on-year above Citroen (-11%) while Volkswagen (+34%) stunningly overtakes traditional leader Renault (-6%), very temporarily for sure. Nissan (+7%), Audi (+17%), Mercedes (+95%) and Opel (+79%) are also up.

VW Polo France January 2015. Picture courtesy of largus.frThe VW Polo is up 64% year-on-year to climb on the French podium.

The Peugeot 308 is the best-selling nameplate in the country for now, seeing its sales more than double year-on-year thanks to the addition of the station wagon version and the hatchback now cruising at top speed. It is followed by the Peugeot 208 (-12%) while the VW Polo (+64%) and Golf (+32%) both fit inside the Top 4 best-sellers! The Citroen C4 Picasso is up 9% to #5 and the Peugeot 2008 up 32% to #6.

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

Previous month: France December 2014: BMW and Mercedes finish on a high

Full 1-15 January 2015 Top 10 models and brands Ranking Tables below.

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Categories: France

France November 2014: Worst November score in 40 years

December 2nd, 2014 No comments

Citroën C4 Cactus France November 2014. Picture courtesy of largus.frSecond incursion inside the Top 20 for the Citroen C4 Cactus – but the sky is grey in France.

* See the Top 60 best-selling models and Top 18 brands by clicking on the title *

No sign of improvement for the French new car market: down 2% year-on-year in November to just 135.070 registrations, which in itself is not such a worrying decline, except for two things: according to my records, this is the worst November tally in France since 1974 (110.106 registrations) and just below 1996 (135.090). Secondly, the engine that keeps French new car sales afloat is – and that is the most worrying aspect – tactical sales. Short term rentals are up 18% and demo sales to dealerships are up 17%, in effect lifting the market up completely artificially, while private sales are down a horrid 9% or 7,000 units year-on-year and company sales are stable, as French consumers delay whatever big item purchase they can in the wait for better economic times. The 2014 total in France should not grow by more than 1% on 2013 to around 1.815 million units, the third weakest total in the past 20 years below 1997 (1.713.030) and 2013 (1.790.473) and the 5th worst in the past 30 years (add 1993 at 1.721.222 and 1985 at 1.766.328).

Manuel VallsFrench Prime Minister Manuel Valls

This comes just as the French government made another nonsensical announcement, saying it wants to gradually phase out the use of diesel fuel for private passenger transport (keeping in mind 80% of French motorists drive diesel-powered cars). Prime Minister Manuel Valls said the government will launch a car identification system that will rank vehicles by the amount of pollution they emit, making it possible for local authorities to limit city access for the dirtiest cars. The latter is good, but does not connect to the former. Anyone even remotely interested in cars will know this, it’s not what goes in that counts in terms of pollution, it’s what comes out. Diesel does not equal dirty anymore, as stringent European emissions standards have already forced French manufacturers to design low-emission diesel engines that pollute less than most petrol engines. Targeting diesel will handicap French manufacturers in one of the only areas they are really good at, and will force French drivers onto less fuel-efficient petrol vehicles… (if the government think French consumers will flock to buy electric cars as a result of this measure it is sorely mistaken) So on behalf of French carmakers and drivers, thank you for nothing Michel Valls!

DS3 Racing France November 2014. Picture courtesy of largus.frDS sales are down a worrying 22% in France, just as it becomes a full-blown brand.

Brand-wise, Renault leads but is two full percentage points below its YTD market share at 17.4% vs. 19.6%, with Peugeot just below at 16.9% vs. 17.1% YTD. Citroen is hit hard at -16% to 12% share, its lowest so far this year. It will get worse, as the DS series, a full-blown brand since June this year, will be counted separately in official rankings from next January onwards. Isolated, DS is down a harsh 22% to 2,055 sales and 1.5% share – equivalent to a #15 ranking and leaving Citroen with just 10.5% share, low enough to start feeling Volkswagen’s breath on its neck (8.5% in November). Dacia pauses at only +2% this month (+18% YOY) but the growth should resume once the Lodgy and Dokker Stepway kick in. Toyota is up two spots on October to rank #6 and #2 foreigner below Volkswagen, Nissan is up 29% due solely to demo sales up 3-fold while private sales are down 1%, Opel up 14%, BMW up 31%, Mercedes up 25% and Seat up 17%.

Peugeot 208 France November 2014. Picture courtesy of largus.frThe Peugeot 208 is #1 with private buyers in France this month.

The Renault Clio IV retains its crown this month but drops 5% YOY to 7,063 sales and 5.2% while the Peugeot 208 is up 1% to 6,442 and 4.8% and, most importantly, tops the overall private sales charts, outselling both the Clio IV and Dacia Sandero. The Peugeot 308 is up a mammoth 78% YOY thanks to the new generation and its station wagon variant to climb back on the French podium for the third time in the past 7 months at #3 with 5,649 sales and 4.2%, this generation’s best market share so far and the 308 nameplate’s best since June 2009. The Renault Captur is back up two spots on October to reclaim the small SUV lead over the Peugeot 2008 with 4,481 sales vs. 3,851 while the Dacia Duster is up 4 to #8, its best ranking since last April. The VW Polo (#7) and Golf VII (#13) are the only two foreign models inside the French Top 15 this month (12 in the Top 30).

Mercedes Benz; C-Klasse T-Modell Fahrvorstellung, Frankfurt/Deidesheim, C-250 Brillintblau met. AvantgardeMercedes sales are up 25% this month in France.

Further down, the Renault Twingo III is up 6 ranks on last month to #14, the Citroen C4 Cactus breaks into the Top 20 at home for the 2nd time after last July, the Opel Mokka is up 3 spots to a record #21, the brand’s best-seller by far, the VW Tiguan is up 6 to #22, the Audi A3 up a further two to #24, the Peugeot 108 down two to #25 and Citroen C1 II up 4 to #26. The Mini III is stable at an excellent 32nd place vs. #60 year-to-date, the Ford Kuga is up 5 to #36 vs. #54, the Mercedes C-Class up 8 to #37 vs. #59 and the VW Golf Sportsvan is solid at #41 vs. #87 YTD.

Previous post: France 1-19 November 2014: Peugeot 308 keeps Clio at bay

Previous month: France October 2014: Peugeot places 3 models in Top 5

One year ago: France November 2013: Peugeot 2008 confirms #4 spot above Renault Captur

Full November 2014 Top 18 brands and Top 60 models Ranking Tables below.

Full November 2014 Top 12 LCV brands and Top 80 LCV models Ranking Tables below.

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Categories: France