* UPDATED with the Top 412 All-models, Top 100 LCV and Top 66 All-brands *
Just as Europe bounces back (+5%), the UK gains 10% to 2.5 million sales and in the midst of a non-sensical new policy by the French government to wipe diesel cars out, French new car sales are up a minuscule 0.3% year-on-year to 1.795.913 units. The market is stuck below 1.8 million annual units for the second year in a row – the first time this happens in 30 years (1984-1985). Worse: the small YOY increase is only artificial; pumped by short-term rentals (+7%) and company sales (+6%) while private sales drop 2% to just 939.000 units. This almost 600.000 units (39%) below the 1.53 million private sales hit in 2009, pulling the PS ratio down to an all-time low 52.2%.
The brands ranking displays a rosier outlook for French manufacturers: Renault, Peugeot (both up 5%), Citroen (+2%) and Dacia (+14%) all outperform the market, with the French-Romanian carmaker hitting 6-figure sales for the first time ever at 102,519. The private sales picture is even shinier: Dacia outsells Volkswagen to rank #3 overall with an astounding 9.3% market share. Only new stand-alone DS crashes down 27% for its inaugural year in market. Nissan (+8%), Opel (+3%), Mercedes (+5%), BMW (+2%) and Skoda (+5%) also lodge positive results inside the Top 20 while Hyundai (-33%) disintegrates as it rebuilds its network of dealers.
The Renault Clio IV remains the most popular nameplate in France for the second year running, ranking #1 every month bar January and improving its sales 2% to 105,182 for a 5.9% share. There is no real competition with its ‘rival’ the Peugeot 208, down 7% to 83,965 units. Below the two leaders, there is a lot of movement in the French models ranking in 2014. Already labelled the stars of 2013, the Renault Captur and Peugeot 2008 confirm they may well be the way of the future for the two largest French manufacturers. The Captur lands on the podium for its first full year of sales at 62,985 units, peaking at #2 in June, while the 2008 is up 93% year-on-year to #6 and 54,161 sales, its best ranking for the year being #4 in March.
In a few large European markets like Germany, Spain, Italy or the Netherlands, both the Captur and the 2008 have started outselling their ‘non-crossover’ counterparts the Clio IV and 208, not just as a one-off but repeatedly. What would have been unthinkable just 12 months ago has suddenly become real: at the latest Paris Auto Show, Peugeot PR Manager Marc Bocqué confirmed to me that in a few years, the 2nd generation 2008 outselling the 208 to fight for the overall French pole position is “a true possibility”.
French models being reported by generation gives quite a unique outlook to the local sales charts: the Peugeot 308 II is boosted by its European Car of the Year Title and the success of its station wagon variant up to a fantastic 4th place with 3.4% share for its first full year of sales. It peaked at #3 in May, August and November, which is actually the 308 nameplate’s best ranking at home: the first generation reached it 7 times (June to October 2008, January and June 2009). A #4 finish is the 308 nameplate’s highest annual ranking since 2009, with its all-time best remaining the #3 it reached in 2008.
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Full Year 2014 analysis, Top 412 All-models, Top 100 LCV and Top 66 All-brands vs. Full 2014 figures below.
The analysis continues below.