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France 1955: Citroen threatens Renault for #1, first podium for the 2CV, legendary DS 19 lands

The Citroen DS 19 is launched in October 1955.

It’s a second consecutive year of double-digit gains in France in 1955 with new car sales up 20.9% to 554.020 units including commercial vehicles. It is the first time in French history that the annual volume crosses the half-million mark. Imports add up to just 10.812, including 4.843 from the US, 3.316 from Germany and 1.416 from the UK. In the brands ranking, Renault (+7.6%) loses 3.5 points of market share to 28.6% and is again under threat from Citroen (+22.9%) improving to 27.7%, with less than 5.000 sales separating the two manufacturers at year-end. With Simca buying back Ford France’s Poissy factory, all Ford models previously produced in France are now labelled Simca and as a result the brand is up 59.2% to climb on the annual podium with 20.8% share, knocking Peugeot (+22.6%) down to #4. The aforementioned 4 brands hold a suffocating 94.1% of the French market in 1955 (!) and far, far below, Panhard (+49.3%) breaks into the Top 5 with 3% share. Hotchkiss has purchased Delahaye to become Hotchkiss-Delahaye.

Ove in the models ranking, the Renault 4 CV enjoys its 7th consecutive and last year atop the charts, ending the year less than 5.000 units below a symbolic 100.000 tally. The Simca 9 Aronde (+30.2%) continues to progress and reaches a record 13.4% share this year, while the Citroen 2 CV (+55.3%) climbs onto the French podium for the very first time, a full seven years after launch. The Citroen DS 19 makes an incredible splash at its presentation at the Paris Auto Show in October, securing 743 orders in the first 15 minutes of the show, 12.000 in the first day and 80.000 deposits after 10 days, a record that would only be broken 60 years later by the Tesla Model 3 in March 2016… For now Citroen combines sales of the 11 D Traction Avant and the new DS 19, allowing the tandem to already rank 5th over the Full Year 1955. The Simca Vedette (+213.1%) and Renault Fregate (+5.4%) are the only two additional passenger cars in the Top 10.

Previous year: France 1954: Renault 4CV holds onto top spot, Simca 9 Aronde up to #2

Full Year 1955 Top 23 All-brands and Top 120 All-models vs. Full Year 1954 figures below.

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