* Now updated with the Top 53 All-brands and Top 322 All-models – see title *
For the first time this year, the French new car market posts a healthy gain in March with registrations up 7.5% to 211.264 registrations, the first time since 2012 March is above 200.000 monthly units but still far from the 2011 record of 257.600 units. Healthy, because unlike in January and February, the French market growth is matched by private sales: up 7% to 102.900 units yet still only accounting for less than half the total registrations for the month (49%). Fleet sales (including leasing) are up 15.5% and to 44.900 units and short-term rental sales show a trend reversal at -6% but remain up 12% so far in 2016. The March progress could however be short-lived as orders for the month are flat (+0.1%) according to CCFA, indicating a clear slowdown of the up-trend for the coming months. All-in-all, the first quarter total is up by a dynamic 8% to 516.392 units.
Brand-wise, Renault posts a very solid 11% gain to hit 22.5% share vs. 19.9% so far this year, a markedly better performance than Peugeot (+3%) and Citroen (+1%) both losing share, as does Volkswagen (+3%) in 4th place despite a 9% increase in private sales. Dacia on the contrary is up 20% despite no real news in its lineup, an exceptional performance in itself. Opel (+19%), Fiat (+15%), Audi, BMW (both at +12%), Mini (+19%) and Skoda (+25%) also post double-digit year-on-year gains inside the Top 20. DS also (+13%), however its gain is solely due to demo sales (+69%) whereas private sales worryingly skid down 20%.
The Renault Clio reclaims the year-to-date lead off the Peugeot 208 despite sales down 1% to 13.080 vs. 10.669 (+14%) for its rival. The Renault Captur (-3%) is back on the podium, knocking down the Peugeot 308 up 4% to 8.017 sales, double the Renault Megane IV gearing up at #11 and 4.078 units. The Peugeot 2008 is still on the up (+13%) even though its facelift is coming in H2. The Dacia Sandero (+30%) shows outstanding strength in 7th place in the absence of real news, indicating it is in the process of getting adopted by the French population and has the potential to climb much higher once the new generation is in dealerships in a few years from now.
The Renault Kadjar breaks into the Top 10 for the second time in the past four months (#9) with a very solid 4.714 units delivered, placing it atop the compact SUV segment above the Dacia Duster (3.786), Nissan Qashqai (2.974) and Peugeot 3008 (2.859). If the Qashqai (-2%) and 3008 (-4%) are affected, the Duster (+9%) isn’t, confirming once again the Renault-Dacia segmentation is a success as the two brands don’t speak to the same clientele at all. Among recent launches, notice also the Renault Espace (#29) up almost 4-fold on the previous generation a year ago, the Renault Talisman up 15 spots on February to #35 – still below the Peugeot 508 (#24) but above the VW Passat (#45) – and the Hyundai Tucson solid at #48, already and by far the brand’s best-seller in France. This month we welcome the Citroen e-Mehari (#206), the Suzuki Baleno (#247), Jaguar F-Pace (#279) and Bentley Bentayga (#322) in the French charts.
Previous month: France February 2016: Dacia and Opel shine in market up 13%
Full March 2016 Top 53 All-brands and Top 322 All-models below.