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After the Cannes hinterland, today I can share with you a little photo report of the streets of Paris where I have been lucky enough to spend the last week. In fact, I spent most of my time in the CCFA offices so this is only the result of a few walkarounds, as always to take with a grain of salt as these are just observations based on no official data (I now have French models data by region by the way – coming up soon!).
This was the opportunity for me to observe a trend I described in my article “Will the European market ever grow again?” which went through the potential decline of the car as the primary means of transportation in Western Europe and especially France. Well the first striking observation of the streets of Paris has got everything to do with this trend: the electric Bollore Bluecar, specially manufactured for the ‘autolib’ car share program, has become in just about a year a very common sight. Clearly, Parisian drivers have embraced this system which is based on the very successful ‘Velib’ bike share program.
The second observation is the colour of cars in circulation. Probably as much as 3 in 4 cars I saw in the streets is either grey or black! Something I didn’t notice in the South of France, that could also be biased by the fact that a large part of cars in circulation in the capital as taxis (including quite a lot of Peugeot 508), as you know if you are a regular reader of BSCB, 57% of Parisian households don’t own a car vs. 19% nationally…
Third, the composition of the Parisian car landscape, very skewed towards Light Commercial Vehicles again for the same reason that business owners are just about the only category that still desperately need a vehicle in the capital. It was therefore a good opportunity to test my knowledge of the most obscure LCV badge-engineerings (yes Nissan * Renault Trafic! * Primastar I am talking about you!)… As expected, lots of Renault Kangoo of all generations and a few oddities like a splendid VW Transporter pick-up.
As far as the most common passenger cars I encountered, I have one word for you: Smart Fortwo. Ranking quite low nationally, the diminutive model is literally at every street corner in Paris. Other successful minis include the Fiat 500, Mini (all models) and Renault Twingo. I even saw one Renault Twizy…
Regarding new models, if in the Cannes hinterland the Peugeot 208 was clearly winning its battle with the Renault Clio IV, in Paris it’s the opposite: very few 208 but droves of Clio IV, including the station wagon. And yes, Parisians love Dacia as well, with a few Lodgy noticed both as Passenger Cars and taxis. More info will be added shortly.
Full article with 20 photos below.