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France 1961: Citroen #1 brand again, last year at on top for the Renault Dauphine, R4 launches

Renault Dauphine

In 1961, the French new vehicle market is up 4.8% year-on-year to 792,264. Citroen (+5.8%) remains the most popular carmaker with 31.1% share, widening the gap with #2 Renault (-5%) to over 40,000 sales vs. 16,000 a year ago. Simca (+9.7%) ranks third once again with Peugeot (+16.6%) at #4, both aggressively improving their market share to 19% and 17.8% respectively. Panhard (-3.8%) is a distant 5th with just 3% of the market.

Citroen 2CV

In the models charts, the Renault Dauphine (-2.1%) signs a 5th consecutive annual win with 18% of the market, down slightly from the 19.2% it commanded in 1960. This would end up being the last year of reign for the Dauphine. Note the model is particularly successful in export markets, with a total of 267,000 units produced in 1961 vs. “just” 142,000 sales at home. The Citroen 2 CV (-0.4%) is stable to once again rank #2, not having managed to steal the top spot once since its launch 15 years ago. 

Peugeot 404

Launched in 1960, the Peugeot 404 (+161.4%) immediately strikes a chord with the French consumer and climbs to third place overall for its first full year in market. It distances the Simca Etoile (+37.2%) and Citroen ID-DS 19 (+2%). The Panhard PL 17 (-2.7%) is up one spot on last year to #9.

Renault R3

1961 is also the year the legendary Renault R4 lands. Launched in July, The R4 alongside its lesser-known base model the R3 (pictured above) manage 19,542 deliveries, including 14,202 in France and 4,380 in export markets. It would end up being the most successful French model ever, reaching a final production total of 8,135,424 units by the time it finished its life in 1992.

Full Year 1961 Top 15 brands and Top 75 models below.

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