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France September 2016: Artificial 2.5% gain, VW Tiguan hits record

VW Tiguan France September 2016. Picture courtesy largus.frThe VW Tiguan smashes its ranking record in France this month to #15.

* NOW UPDATED with the Top 45 All-brands and Top 275 All-models – see title *

The September French new car market gives us another false sense of security: on paper, sales are up 2.5% year-on-year to 168.827 units, leading to a year-to-date tally up 6% to 1.502.457, but this in fact hides a much more depressed picture. Private sales are down 5% to 79.731 units and 47.2% share vs. 50.7% a year ago, now nudging up just 0.8% year-to-date to 712.000 and 47.4% share. According to Renault France Commercial Director Philippe Buros interviewed by local publication autoactu.com, this trend is likely to continue for the foreseeable future: “the period preceding French presidential elections is traditionally weak for new car sales”. Company sales are also slowing down this month at just +3% to 40.058 units vs. +11% and 339.727 year-to-date. In fact, and as it has been the case for most of 2015 and this year, the sole channels responsible for the overall market’s growth are artificial: demo sales gain 20.5% to 33.543, hitting 20% share vs. just 17% a year ago. Similarly, long term rentals are up 12% and account for 6% of the overall market in September.

Renault Megane France September 2016. Picture courtesy largus.fThe Renault Mégane IV is getting closer to the Peugeot 308 in September.

Brand-wise, market leader Renault outpaces the market with deliveries up 7% to 36.777 for a strong 21.8% share vs. 20.2% so far this year, largely due to demo sales up 83% to 7.925 with the arrival of the new generation Scénic. Archenemy Peugeot on the other hand drops 2% to 27.840 sales and 16.5% share, slightly below the 17% it commands year-to-date. Citroen continues to suffer greatly at -13.5% to a historically low 8.6% share vs. 9.9% in 2016, but the brand’s drop is a lot worse with private buyers at -34.5% due in large part to the generation changeover of the brand’s best-seller the C3 (private sales at -31%) which has been handicapped by an absence of end-of-life rebates. After a difficult summer (-22% in July and -19% in August), Volkswagen is on the mend with sales up a robust 10% and the Top 3 best-selling foreigners: the Polo at #10, the Golf at #13 and the Tiguan up a spectacular 86% thanks to the new generation to hit a record-breaking #15 (previous best: #19 in July, November and December 2012).

peugeot-2008-france-september-2016-picture-courtesy-largus-frThe Peugeot 2008 is up 17% thanks to its facelift.

Dacia once again deliveries the largest year-on-year gain in the Top 10 at +13% to 5.1% share, with private sales (+13%) accounting for 85% of its total just as Renault and Peugeot both drop 8% with this clientele. The Sandero, up another 33% in September, is overtaken by the Peugeot 208 in the private sales model ranking at 4.316 sales vs. 4.652 after 5 consecutive months of reign. Nissan is back up 6 spots on August to #6 overall but loses 7% of its September 2015 score, followed closely by Toyota (+9%), Ford (-10%) and Opel (+10%). Mercedes takes the lead of the luxury race this month thanks to deliveries up a solid 9% to 5.613, edging past BMW at 5.296 (-1%) and YTD leader Audi at 5.259 (+14%), Kia (+14%), Hyundai (+17%) and Suzuki (+19%) are the other double-digit gainers in the Top 20. Further down, impressive performers include Maserati (+33%), Jeep (+37%), Alfa Romeo (+40%), Infiniti (+45%), Land Rover (+48%), Jaguar (+79%) and Tesla (+112%).

renault-scenic-france-september-2016-picture-courtesy-largus-frNot yet launched to the public, the Renault Scenic IV ranks #32 based solely on demo sales.

The Renault Clio reclaims the top of the models ranking, following the market at +3% to 9.024 vs. 8.728 (-4%) for the Peugeot 208. The Renault Captur (-2%) edges past the Peugeot 308 (-4%) while the Peugeot 2008 surges 17% to #5 thanks to its facelift. The Renault Mégane IV steps up to #6 only 717 sales below the 308 but the Renault Talisman (#22) has taken a frank advantage over the Peugeot 508 (#29) now that the station wagon has well and truly hit dealerships. A handful of French new gen blockbusters are flexing their muscles with demo sales this month: the Renault Scénic lands at #32, the Peugeot 3008 ranks at #58, the Citroen C3 at #159 and the Peugeot 5008 at #265. Among recent launches (<12 months), let’s notice the Mercedes GLC at #66, the Fiat Tipo at #69, the Seat Ateca up 59 spots on August to #117, the Citroen C-Elysee up 9 to #119, the Alfa Romeo Giulia up 68 to #124 and the Jaguar F-Pace up 26 to #131. We also welcome the Volvo V90 at #202 and the Hyundai Ioniq at #255.

Previous month: France August 2016: Dacia, Mercedes, tactical sales lift market up 7%

One year ago: France September 2015: Peugeot 208 #1, Renault Kadjar leads segment

Full September 2016 Top 45 All-brands and Top 275 models below.

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