* Now updated with the Top 50 brands and Top 310 models – click on title to see *
Private and fleet sales details can be found at end of article
French new car sales soar 22% year-on-year in May to a fantastic 175.834 registrations, however when brought back to the same amount of opening days the increase is only 4%. Year-to-date, the market is now up a very solid 10.5% to 875.079 or +7.3% with same opening days. French groups outpace their home market at +29% to 95.706 and 54.4% market share vs. 51.5% a year ago whereas foreign manufacturers are up 15% to 45.6% share vs. 48.5% a year ago. Renault leads the pack with an outstanding 33% improvement to 19.5% share ahead of Peugeot also growing faster than the market at +24% to 17.6% as well as Citroen up 30% to 10.5%.
Volkswagen loses share (7.2%) with sales up just 8%, but more worryingly it only owes its growth to demo sales (+38%) and short-term rental sals (+38%) whereas private sales are actually down 6% – equivalent to a 20% freefall in daily sales rates. Renault-owned Dacia shines at +39% (more on this below). As a result, the Top 5 best-selling brand account for 60.3% of the French market in May vs. 58.3% a year ago. Below, Fiat (+39%), Kia (+41%) and Hyundai (+58%) also post spectacular results while Toyota does particularly well with private buyers (+22%) who account for 68% of its total sales for the month vs. 46% for the market. In the premium aisle, Audi (5.758) is up 22% to increase the gap with Mercedes (5.030) up 12% while BMW (4.983) ranks third but is the most dynamic at +29%. Year-to-date, it’s Audi again in the lead (+19%) ahead of BMW (+25%) while Mercedes lags behind at just +6%.
Model-wise, the Renault Clio (9.684) reclaims the top spot off the Peugeot 208 (8.192) but gains less ground at +28% vs. +36%. The Peugot 308 (7.871) remains on the podium while the Peugeot 2008 (6.850) wins the small crossover battle over the Renault Captur (5.936) despite improving by ‘just’ 24% vs. 41% for the Renault, and owing its victory to a high amount of demo sales of the facelifted model in anticipation of its June launch. The low-cost Dacia Sandero delivers another stunning performance with sales up 62% to 5.043, overtaking the Citroen C3 to now rank 6th year-to-date vs. 9th over the Full Year 2015 – the Sandero is even #1 with private buyers (see further down) The Citroen C4 Picasso (#7) wins the MPV segment just as the Renault Scenic IV is about to enter the scene.
First Top 10 ranking for the Renault Mégane IV (3.566), outselling the VW Golf (3.221). The Renault Kadjar is segment leader at #13 (3.225) above the Dacia Duster (3.105) while the Nissan Qashqai is hit down 21% (1.946) and the Hyundai Tucson remains very strong at #31 (1.315). Market-beating performances of the Citroen C4 Cactus (+70%) and C3 Picasso (+56%) help maintain Citroen above 10% share at home. The Renault Talisman (#35), Renault Espace (+65%), Kia Sportage (+110%), Audi A4 (+114%), Peugeot Partner (+186%), BMW X1 (+217%) and Renault Trafic (+246%) also shine.
Among recent launches, the Fiat Tipo steps up 66 spots and 187% on April to #82, the Jaguar F-Pace is up 90 ranks and 126% to #153, the Citroen C-Elysée is up 37 spots and 154% to #175 but the e-Mehari is down 15 ranks and 37% to #192. We welcome three new nameplates in the French ranking this month: the Porsche 718 Boxster lands at #238, the Kia Niro arrives at #268 and the Toyota Mirai steps in at #310.
Special French Private Sales
Once again, looking at private sales gives a completely different picture of the French new car market. The majority of the sales gain for May comes from ‘artificial’ channels such as carmakers’ self registrations (+64%), Short-term rental sales (+27%), demo sales (+23%) and business fleets (+30%). Private sales are the weakest with a 16% gain which translates into a 1% decrease in daily sales rates (4.013 vs. 4.057 in May 2015), resulting in an all-time low market share of 45.6%. Renault does well with private buyers this month (+35%) in contrast with Peugeot up just 6% – or down 10% in daily rates.
But the big surprise in the brands private sales ranking is the third position of Dacia, overtaking both Citroen and Volkswagen compared to the general market and managing that feat for only the 2nd time in its history after last month. In April, Dacia held 11.2% of the French private market vs. 10.2% for Citroen and this month Dacia is at 10.1% with 8.105 registrations vs. 9.5% for Citroen (7.614) and 7.4% for Volkswagen (5.962). 86% of Dacia sales are to private buyers in France which is a result of the low-cost strategy that virtually removes the brand from the business and rental fleet markets and ensures the optimal profit for the Renault Group. Year-to-date, Citroen remains above Dacia for now at 10.5% share vs. 10% for Dacia.
Fittingly, the Dacia Sandero is the #1 vehicle in the country outright with private buyers, achieving this feat for the 2nd straight month – and ever – thanks to sales up a stunning 72% to 4.412 units, distancing the Peugeot 208 at 4.102 (+38%) and the Renault Clio at 3.901 (+11%). This is all the more impressive as it happens four years after the current generation Sandero was launched and just as a facelift is announced for the Paris Auto Show in September. The Dacia Duster for its part is up 36% to 2.486 units – almost snatching the SUV crown off the Peugeot 2008 – despite being overdue for a renewal. The business fleet models ranking is vastly different, crowing the Renault Clio (2.813) just above the Peugeot 308 (2.668), as is the short-term rental sales ranking, here too preferring the Renault Clio up 91% to 2.117 above the Peugeot 308 up 46% to 1.455 and the Peugeot 208 up 44% to 1.374.
Full May 2016 Top 50 brands and Top 310 models below.