Today I can share with you a Photo Report on the car landscape of the South of France, covering the French Riviera from Cannes to Monaco via Nice but also the hinterland with towns such as Grasse, Gourdon, Cipières, Gréolières, Coursegoules, Escragnolles and Mons. For those of you readers familiar with the area, these names will evoke sounds of cicadas and scents of lavender. For those of you who aren’t, welcome, and this is part of the reason why I’m publishing this Photo Report! I had the privilege to return to this area often over the past few years, and one of the most striking elements as soon as you leave the Riviera and reach the hinterlands is the outstanding performance of low-cost brand Dacia. This year, as it has been the case for many years now, Dacia is extremely well represented in the area as you will see in the photos.
But first things first and to the biggest difference in the car landscape in 2015 compared to 2014: the very high frequency of Renault Captur. The blockbuster crossover from Renault has managed to snap the French #2 spot away from the Peugeot 208 a couple of times already, and observing the car landscape in the South of France it makes total sense. An account of cars zooming past on the highway between Cannes, Nice and Monaco gives the following figures for the current Top 5 best-sellers nationally in France (note some models such as the Renault Mégane appeared more often so this is not an actual ranking):
Frequency of Top 5 best-sellers Cannes-Nice:
|Renault Clio IV||91||Sep-12||36||253|
|Peugeot 308 II||31||Aug-13||25||124|
The total number of cars surveyed was 248 belonging to the Top 5 best-sellers (5.000 cars total) over a period of one month in August 2015. The adjusted frequency is calculated based on the launch date by dividing the gross total of cars by the number of months since launch x 100. At this little game the Renault Captur overtakes the Peugeot 208 to rank 2nd overall, a reflection of my observations here. A couple of explanations: the Captur is particularly popular with private buyers in the region, but also short-term rental companies, as evidenced by cars in circulation here but registered in the 01 and 60 departments which are located at the opposite end of the country but offer more advantageous taxation.
Notice also the particularly low score of the Peugeot 2008, obliterated by the Captur in the South of France, traditionally a Renault-buying region more so than Peugeot, as evidenced by the numerous older Renaults spotted in the hinterlands such as the Renault 4 and 19 pictured below. Other rental successes include the Hyundai i20 – very frequent but 100% rental – the newly launched Renault Kadjar and Espace and the Fiat 500X. Particularly successful with private buyers are the Dacia Duster and, interestingly, Opel Mokka.
A trip to the hinterlands is a trip back in time doubled with a demonstration of force of the entire Dacia range including the lesser sellers Logan and Dokker. Numerous small 4wd sprawl the tiny winding roads, such as the Suzuki Jimny, 1980s Toyota Land Cruiser and Lada Niva and many Land Rover Defender.
An element I hadn’t noticed in my previous visits is the high prevalence of one tonne-pickups, a category otherwise doing rather poorly in the French sales charts. I spotted more than a few Nissan Navara, Mitsubishi L200 and Toyota Hilux of various generations. An observation that has to be linked to the potential success in these regions of…
…the Renault Alaskan…
… or even more aptly a Dacia variant of the Renault Duster Oroch for now dedicated to South America. Given the stunning popularity of the Duster in the French Riviera hinterlands, a pickup variant could only be met with tremendous success.
The Full Photo Report (25 pictures) continues below.