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France September 2013 – Cannes / Nice hinterland Photo Report: One Dacia in every tiny village!

Dacia Sandero France September 2013Dacia Sandero in Gourdon, France – September 2013.

* See the Full Photo Report by clicking on the title! NOW UPDATED with the Top 60 best-sellers overall (Passenger Cars + LCV – a better way to relate what can be seen on French roads)

One year ago I published a Photo Report from my visit of the Nice hinterland in France, and my main learning was that Dacia was the king of the countryside. This year I returned to this area, but decided to visit more remote villages, to see whether last year’s observations were still valid and whether I could find more interesting particularities in the car landscape of a very quiet part of France. For those of you who know the area, my day-trip took me to places like Gréolières, Roquesteron, Coursegoules and Gourdon, even crossing a river called Le Loup (The Wolf)… Love it!

Peugeot 208 France September 2013Peugeot 208 in Coursegoules, France – September 2013.

The answer is yes: Dacia models are even more present in the countryside than they were last year, more diverse and absolutely everywhere. It’s simple: there was at least one Dacia in every single tiny village I crossed. And some places had no more than a dozen visible vehicles, so you can measure the achievement of a brand that was unknown to French consumers only 7 years ago… The Duster is omnipresent, but the new Sandero is catching up, and you can clearly tell the new generation has been lingering inside the French Top 10 for the best part of this year. I also saw a couple of Lodgy but no Dokker, which is a mystery I touch on here.

Mitsubishi Pajero France September 2013Mitsubishi Pajero in Coursegoules, France – September 2013.

Lada Niva France September 2013Remnant of the past: Lada Niva in Coursegoules, France – September 2013.

Enough about Dacia. What were the other particularities of the area? Something that became really clear the tinier the villages became is the presence of many Mitsubishi Pajero and Lada Niva straight from the eighties! These two models used to rule the 4WD sales charts in France at the time but it was very interesting to see them all still in activity, the last remnants of a period now well forgotten in France. It’s also fascinating to see that many Mitsubishis grouped together (there were also a lot of 1990s L200 pick-ups), a brand much less popular nowadays here.

Renault Kangoo France Septembe 20132 x Renault Kangoo in Roquesteron, France – September 2013.

As far as new models are concerned, like last year the Renault Kangoo is fighting Dacia for countryside supremacy. Around 1 in every 4 vehicles in each village I passed was a Kangoo, and it helped that the nameplate has now been around for over 15 years, because all generations were represented. One explanation for this frequency may also be the prevalence of small businesses like restaurants and artisanal activities in the area, which require that type of LCV.

Citroen C3 Picasso France September 2013Citroen C3 Picasso

I also noticed a significant amount of new generation Citroen C4, C3 Picasso and VW Polo, while the C3 II, in market for a solid 4 years now, has well and truly blended into the French car landscape. It has already supplanted the first generation in spite of the latter’s particularly long 8 year-career. Finally, possibly the most striking element was the abundance of Peugeot 208 and the absence of Renault Clio IV, contrary to what can be seen on the Coast (aka the French Riviera)…

Dacia Lodgy France September 2013Dacia Lodgy in Cannes, France – September 2013.

Enough of the countryside, what about on the Coast?

Which brings me nicely to the 2nd part of this regional visit: the Coast, more precisely Cannes. I wanted to share with you two very different sides of the French car landscape, none of them truly representative of the market as a whole but with fascinating particularities… Actually, one similarity first. Cannes and its hinterland agree on one point: they love Dacia! I even saw a Duster parked in front of the Palais des Festivals, home of the world famous Film Festival…

Peugeot 2008 Cannes September 2013aPeugeot 2008 in Cannes, France – September 2013.

More new models on the Coast, with the Peugeot 208/Renault Clio IV duel for the #1 spot there for all to see, both models already an integral part of the landscape with already many Clio IV station wagons. A surprising amount of Peugeot 2008 as well, but not as many Renault Captur, which goes against their rankings so far. I noticed a couple of new generation Citroen C4 Picasso which confirms its 8th position in August.

Mercedes S Class Cannes September 2013New gen Mercedes S-Class in Cannes, France – September 2013.

Probably slightly biased by the proximity of Italy (the same way the Ventimiglia car landscape was biased towards the French), a surprising prevalence of the new Fiat 500L can be noticed in Cannes. Seemingly designed specifically for this market, the new gen Mercedes A-Class, Audi Q5, VW Tiguan and Nissan Juke are over-represented here as well, I even saw two new gen Range Rovers and a new gen Mercedes S-Class in front of the Carlton hotel…

Last year’s photo report: France August 2012: Dacia, King of the countryside

Previous post: France August 2013: Renault Captur and Dacia Sandero superstars in worst month in 37 years

Full Photo Report below! Now with August Top 60 best-sellers overall.

France August 2013 (Passenger Cars + LCV):

1Renault Clio 45,6265.4%77,3335.5%1
2Peugeot 2085,0114.8%74,2185.3%2
3Dacia Sandero2,9772.9%28,1622.0%7
4Renault Scénic2,8512.8%34,0022.4%4
5Renault Captur2,8322.7%18,1991.3%20
6Renault Kangoo2,5582.5%27,2061.9%8
7Citroen C32,4792.4%37,6312.7%3
8Renault Mégane2,1892.1%33,7602.4%5
9Citroen Berlingo2,0492.0%21,3041.5%14
10Renault Twingo1,8421.8%26,7571.9%10
11VW Golf VII1,7641.7%23,8211.7%13
12Citroen C4 II Picasso1,7491.7%7,6950.5%47
13Peugeot 30081,7091.6%26,9701.9%9
14Peugeot 3081,6871.6%24,7101.8%12
15Citroen C41,6541.6%28,2872.0%6
16Dacia Duster1,4411.4%18,4961.3%19
17VW Polo1,4201.4%26,0441.9%11
18Toyota Yaris1,3801.3%19,1301.4%17
19Peugeot 20081,2961.3%10,8590.8%35
20Peugeot Partner1,2271.2%17,6381.3%22
21Peugeot 207+1,1741.1%19,0211.4%18
22Citroen C3 Picasso1,1671.1%16,7811.2%24
23Nissan Qashqai1,0491.0%20,4311.5%15
24Renault Master1,0351.0%16,1411.1%27
25Nissan Juke1,0161.0%14,5451.0%30
26Ford Fiesta9540.9%18,0091.3%21
27Opel Corsa9460.9%14,6061.0%29
28Renault Trafic9210.9%13,6261.0%31
29Peugeot 50088770.8%13,3771.0%32
30Peugeot 5088510.8%15,0491.1%28
31BMW Serie 18430.8%8,2450.6%43
32Citroen DS38350.8%16,5861.2%25
33Renault Clio Collection8010.8%19,8381.4%16
34Audi A37930.8%8,9000.6%36
35Fiat 5007710.7%11,6160.8%34
36VW Tiguan7440.7%12,4630.9%33
37Fiat Ducato7220.7%16,8361.2%23
38Toyota Auris7200.7%7,7660.6%45
39Chevrolet Spark7180.7%5,1530.4%70
40BMW Serie 37150.7%8,3830.6%42
41Dacia Lodgy7050.7%8,4060.6%41
42Mercedes Sprinter6620.6%6,3810.5%56
43Seat Ibiza6390.6%7,2440.5%51
44Audi A16370.6%8,0970.6%44
45Toyota RAV46230.6%4,5240.3%80
46Citroen C16060.6%8,5440.6%38
47Suzuki Swift5650.5%5,5080.4%68
48Opel Mokka5340.5%4,9670.4%72
49Kia Sportage5170.5%5,6560.4%66
50Peugeot 1074980.5%6,9070.5%53
51Nissan Micra4840.5%3,9190.3%93
52Dacia Dokker4620.4%5,7400.4%64
53Audi Q34510.4%5,6530.4%67
54Citroen Jumpy4470.4%6,2590.4%59
55Toyota Verso4460.4%4,6610.3%77
56Peugeot Boxer4400.4%6,5730.5%55
58Opel Astra4350.4%5,3730.4%69
59Citroen Jumper4220.4%5,7230.4%65
60Hyundai i204210.4%4,4830.3%82

Adding the LCV into the ranking gives a much closer perspective on what can be seen on French roads nowadays. The Renault Kangoo is up to a fantastic 6th place in August with 2.5% of the overall market, while the Citroen Berlingo is up to #9 and the Peugeot Partner up to #20. As a result the ranking is even more biased towards French models, with only 3 foreigners among the Top 22 best-sellers! Notice also the Fiat Ducato at #37 and the Dacia Dokker knocking on the Top 50’s door at #52.

Back to the photo report!

Ferrari FF Cannes Septemb er 2013Ferrari FF in Cannes, France – September 2013.

Fiat 500L Cannes September 2013Fiat 500L and Lamborghini Gallardo in Cannes, France – September 2013.

Mercedes A Class Cannes September 2013Mercedes A-Class in Cannes, France – September 2013.

Renault Clio IV Cannes September 2013A Chic Renault Clio IV in… well, you know.

Peugeot 208 Cannes September 2013Peugeot 208 in Cannes, France – September 2013.

Citroen C4 II Picasso France September 2013Citroen C4 II Picasso in Grasse, France – September 2013.

And now, back to the hinterland!

Citroen C4 France September 2013Citroen C4

VW Polo France September 2013VW Polo

Renault Kangoo I France September 2013First generation Renault Kangoo (1997)

Renault Estafette France September 2013Renault Estafette (1959-1980)

Dacia Logan MCV France September 2013Dacia Logan MCV

Dacia Logan Pick-up France September 2013Dacia Logan Pick-up in Bouyon, France – September 2013.

Dacia Duster France September 2013Dacia Duster

This Post Has 12 Comments
  1. Maybe the high number of 208 vs Clio IV in the countryside is a result of Renault slashing it’s dealer count vs Peugeot still keeping all those small rural dealerships.

  2. Salut Matt,

    Habitant Nice, ça me fait très plaisir de voir des voitures immatriculées 06 sur ton formidable blog !

    Pour commencer, je confirme qu’il reste beaucoup de Lada Niva dans l’arrière-pays et même dans les grandes villes (je connais un modèle 1979 à Nice !). Il n’a pas son pareil pour grimper aux arbres… Dans le même esprit, on croise aussi régulièrement des Pajero (tu l’as remarqué), des Patrol, des Land Cruiser, ou un peu plus rarement des Classe G et des Hilux (je parle uniquement des versions des années 1980-1995). N’oublions pas non plus le pick-up Peugeot 504.

    Le Captur a déjà sensiblement envahi les routes : j’en vois plusieurs par jour (ce qui n’est pas encore le cas du 2008). Le nouveau C4 Picasso semble également avoir bien démarré sa carrière.

    Quant aux Dacia, tout ce que tu dis est vrai… Les Duster et Sandero II sont partout. A l’inverse, le Dokker fourgon ne fait pas la moindre ombre au tout-puissant Renault Kangoo, et je n’ai dû voir qu’une seule version particulière depuis son lancement !

    Je confirme également le succès de la Classe A, du Juke, mais aussi du Tiguan (ce qui m’attriste beaucoup, tant ce modèle est ennuyeux).

    La Fiat 500L se vend bien, mais je soupçonne les sociétés de location de gonfler “artificiellement” sa population sur les routes (c’est probablement le cas de celle que tu nous présentes ici, si j’en crois le département dont elle porte le numéro sur sa plaque).

    Enfin, en tant que passionné de voitures anciennes (je passe mon temps libre à prendre en photo celles que je croise), j’aimerais bien savoir dans quel village as-tu croisé l’Estafette ? De même qu’il semble y avoir quelque chose d’intéressant derrière la Logan pick-up de Bouyon…



  3. Maybe they where immigrants from Turkey or other balkan countries.
    There are many Greeks living in Germany and every summer they come here driving only luxury german sedans or SUVs, of caurse with german plates, but if greeks where living in France they would buy definetly German luxury brands..

  4. @matgasnier
    In my case French cars take more attention than German cars. And all those VWs, Audis and BMWs dont stand out so much becuse half of cars in Slovenia are second hand cars imported from Germany. Sure there was some French cars that grabed my attention like new generation Citroen C4 Picasso. I could agree with your first reason but i do not know about the second. This will be true here in Slovenia and all way down to south but i didn`t know people in France think the same. After all i think i saw more French cars with German registration than French with French registration ( sure there were much more cars with German registration to be seen).

    Matt, thank you for your answer, keep up the good work, your blog is amazing

  5. Great photos! Expecially, one with Lada Niva, so retro. These photo session reminds me on my teenage period when I liked to make pictures of cars during holidays!

  6. @butin
    Could be, i do not know. Or they do not have money to go with a plane becuse they spent it on the car 😛 ?
    And i meant SEA, not see. Those early hours :P.

  7. Interesting. But I have one question. I live in Slovenia, country with see and even more is transit country for those who go on see to Croatia. So this Summer i saw lots of cars with french registration and wich brand were those cars ? You would problably say this cars was mostly Renault, Peugots and Citroens but you would be wrong. Most of cars were german. There were lots of Golfs (V), Tourans, BMW 3 and Audis A4. So why is that , can anyone explain this to me ?

    1. Hi Blaz,
      Thanks for your question. Keeping in mind you may notice these German models more because they stand out/are surprising, while there may still be a flow of French cars driving around that may not have captured your attention, I would say there may be two explanations for your observations:
      1. French people that are willing to travel through Europe by car (and not campervan) have to be relatively well-off financially as this type of travel has become more expensive than the train or plane (petrol, highway tolls, etc).
      2. Then they may choose German models over other brands because it’s a safe bet when it comes to comfort while driving for full days on. But that’s not peculiar to French consumers, many other European consumers would have the same train of thought. I am not saying French cars cannot do the job, just that German manufacturers tend to be the default option if you are into that kind of travel.
      Hope this helped.

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