* See the Top 80 best-selling models by clicking on the title! *
The French new car market is up a shy 3% year-on-year in September to 142,211 registrations, only in positive because this month had one more working day than September 2012. The year-to-date total is still frankly in negative at -8% to 1,309,858 units. Let’s not beat around the bush, the big event this month is the arrival on the podium of the Renault Captur, as I predicted yesterday. This is nothing less than a game-changing performance for the new Renault: the Captur is the first SUV to reach the podium in France, the previous best being the Dacia Duster at #5 in November 2011 and February 2013, and at 4% share thanks to a record 5,736 sales, it even starts to threaten the Peugeot 208 at 4.6%!
Career starts must always be watched with a little bit of caution as there is always a ‘honeymoon’ period with the consumer where the novelty effect pushes sales up. However, contrary to the Renault Modus’ stellar but short-lived early career success back in 2004 which owed a lot to short-term rentals, French Captur buyers are 67% private vs. a 50% average for the overall market. Plus the Captur has had the perfect sales trajectory so far, having now aligned 4 consecutive months inside the Top 5, with its market share consolidating and then steadily improving: from #4 and 2.8% in June, to #5 and 2.7% in July, #4 and 3.3% in August and #3 and 4% in September.
Can the Captur go higher? The fascinating answer to this question is that actually, everything is now possible. This is a segment where French manufacturers were absent until this year, and one that French buyers have already shown they love with the Nissan Qashqai and Juke. And these last two models have progressed in the ranking year after year… To confirm this trend the Peugeot 2008 is back up 7 spots to reach a best-ever #9 with 2,935 sales and 2.1%, its best market share so far also hit in June and July, confirming it was victim of its success in August with not enough units produced.
But wait there are more all-new models atop the ranking! It’s a fertile year indeed in terms of novelties for French carmakers that are starting to feel the heat in the worldwide rankings with disappointing results so far in 2013 for all 3 of them. The Citroen C4 Picasso II confirms it has now brought the nameplate well and truly back inside the Top 10, ranking #8 for the 2nd time running thanks to 3,563 sales and 2.5% share, its highest so far. The Peugeot 308 II is also showing its shining new bonnet, up 6 spots on August to #15 at 2,105 units and 1.5% share, still predominantly demo models as it went on sale midway through the month, so October results will be a better indication of how successful this model is.
Now that Mercedes won the right to register its A, B and CLA Class in the country after the French government stopped them all summer because of their usage of a recently banned air conditioning cooling gas, these models expectedly have a great month in September as it includes the backlog of sales accumulated over 2 months. But actually not that great. After starting September like a rocket, the Mercedes A-Class is up to #26, not its best ranking this year (#24 in January) and the B-Class is up to #30, its best since last December (#28). Other notable performances are delivered by the Renault Twingo up 4 spots on August to #5, Fiat 500 up 10 to #20 and the Opel Mokka up 5 to a best-ever #37.
Previous month (final data): France August 2013: Peugeot 308 II lands at #21
Previous month (temp data): France August 2013: Renault Captur and Dacia Sandero superstars
Full September 2013 Top 80 Ranking Table below.