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France February 2015: Renault Twingo III breaks into Top 5

Renault Twingo III France February 2015. Picture courtesy largus.frRenault Twingo III

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On paper the French market is trending up: +4% in February to 147,130 registrations and +5% year-to-date at 280,300 deliveries. However the reality of the market is much more depressing: like in January, the February growth is solely due to tactical sales (carmakers’ own registrations, demo vehicles and short term rentals). These are up 6,925 units on February 2014 whereas private sales are down 2,593 units or 3.5%, showing a negative trend whereas they were stable in January. As a result, private sales fall to a historical low in France in February at 48.5% of overall sales vs. 52% a year ago. Renault is up 12% to 20.2% share above Peugeot at 17.3% (+5%) and Citroen at 10.7% (-3%).

VW Passat France February 2015. Picture courtesy of largus.frThe VW Passat is up 93% year-on-year in February in France.

Below Volkswagen (+2%) and thanks to a tripling of its short term rental sales, Ford (+35%) ranks 5th and passes Dacia, down 27% on an exceptionally high February 2014. Nissan and Fiat (+7%) outperform the market at #7 and #11 while further down BMW (+23%), Mercedes (+11%) run a tight race and benefit from very strong private sales (+30% and +28% respectively) Hyundai (+55%), Mini (+52%), Smart (+145%) thanks to the Forfour above the Fortwo at #88 vs. #96 and of course Jeep (+653%) thanks to the Renegade at #75, also impress.

Mercedes C-Class France February 2015. Picture courtesy of largus.frMercedes private sales are up 28% year-on-year in February.

The Renault Clio IV remains the most popular nameplate at home thanks to sales up 4% to 5.5% share, above the Peugeot 208 at 4.8% (-2%), the Renault Captur at 4.1% (+32%) and the Peugeot 308 at #4 (+42%). The latter remains third year-to-date for now. The third generation Renault Twingo is starting to make itself noticed atop the French models ranking: it breaks into the monthly Top 5 at home for the very first time thanks to sales 2.5 times that of the previous generation a year ago at 5,387 units and 3.7%. Tellingly, the Twingo also outsells 2.2 to 1 the Peugeot 108/Citroen C1 combo (2.472).

Renault Zoe France February 2015. Picture courtesy largus.frA good month for the Renault Zoe in France.

With the Peugeot 2008 at #6 (+16%) followed by the Citroen C3, Renault Scénic, Citroen C4 Picasso II and Renault Mégane, the Top 10 is 100% French this month. The VW Polo is the best-selling foreigner at #11 above the VW Golf VII (#13), Ford Fiesta up 45% to #14 and Fiat 500 in excellent shape despite its age, also up 45% to #17. Illustrating the brand’s February drop, the Dacia Sandero (-29%) and Duster (-23%) are down significantly this month, whereas the Peugeot 508 is up an encouraging 30% to #19 and the Citroen C4 Cactus is now above the C4 year-to-date.

Nissan Pulsar France February 2015Nissan Pulsar

Further down, let’s salute the excellent performance of the VW Passat up 93% to #33 thanks to the new model, the Mini III up to #34, the Mercedes C-Class up 371% on a year ago to #46, the Renault Zoe up 259% to #47, the nameplate’s 4th best finish at home after March 2013 (#40), September 2014 (#37) and December 2014 (#32), the Hyundai i20 up 180% to #49, the BMW 2 Series lifted up to #56 by the Active Tourer MPV variant and the Ford Mondeo boosted up to #81 by the new model. Among recent launches, notice the Nissan Pulsar up 11 spots on January to #70, the Fiat 500X up 15 to #79 and the Ford Ecosport up 3 to #89.

Previous month: France January 2015: Market pulled up 6% by foreign carmakers

One year ago: France February 2014: Citroen C4 Picasso II at best-ever #4

Full February 2015 Top 20 brands and Top 100 models below.

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