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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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 carmagazine.co.ukCitroen 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 largus.fr 

* 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 largus.fr

* 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 largus.fr

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 autoactu.com. 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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