* NOW UPDATED with the Top 35 brands, Top 275 models and Top 20 LCVs – see title *
Under a robust 10.6% year-on-year January increase for France with two extra selling days hides in fact a tiny 0.5% progression when adjusted for daily rates. Worse: as it was the case last year also, the majority of this “gain” comes from tactical channels, up a whopping 26.3% to 44.812 registrations. Private sales on the other hand continue their decline relative to the rest of the market – up 5.9% to 75.010 but down 3.7% when seasonally adjusted – and now representing just 49% of the French market vs. 51.3% a year ago. Business sales are up an even weaker 3.5% or down 5.9% adjusted. Looking into tactical channels in more detail, short-term rentals do the heavy lifting with a gargantuan 51% gain to 19.863 led by Citroen doubling its sales in this channel to 2.329 while Renault is up 78% to 3.000 and Peugeot up 52.6% to 3.709. Demo sales are up 12.5% to 21.224 or 14% of the entire market – a very concerning ratio indeed. The historically high level of tactical sales in the French market illustrate a macro-trend: dealerships are selling more and more of these vehicles at a much lower price as “new used”, finding here a necessary solution to weak private demand.
As we have already observed this month in two other major European markets (Spain and Italy), Renault now heavily loads its end-of-quarter and end-of-year sales with tacticals, and therefore suffers the following month. This situation is, logically, even more blatant at home in France. Like last year, Peugeot (+13%) takes the lead of the overall market with 18.6% share vs. 16.7% over the FY2016 whereas Renault (+17%) is at a weak 17.9% vs. 20.2% in FY2016. However a healthy caveat to these figures for Renault is its stunning progression with private buyers at +24.3% (13.017) where it is back above Peugeot (12.480) up just 10%. It’s worth noting though that both market leaders display private sales ratios that are even lower than the overall market at 47.4% for Renault and 43.7% for Peugeot. Renault is also #1 in the business channel including long-term leasing with a 13.3% gain to 7.872 vs. 7.752 for Peugeot.
In third place, Citroen can finally smile as it returns above the symbolic 10% market share at home (11%) after falling to a lowest-ever 7.5% in December and 9.7% over the FY2016. However these figures have a lot to do with short-term rental sales up 2.2-fold and demo sales up 39% whereas business sales freefall 16% and private sales are up just 2.6%, or down 6.8% seasonally adjusted. Volkswagen starts the year with a 5% decline to just 6.9% share while Dacia sees stable volumes send its market share down to 5.7%. Below, Toyota (+18%), Ford (+41%), Opel (+15%) and Fiat (+24%) comfortably beat the market and all punch above their FY2016 levels. However among these brands only Toyota posts a healthy gain with private sales up 29.2% to 4.337. Ford sees its demo sales up 2-fold to 1.112 and short-term rental sales up 8-fold (!) to 1.553 while Opel sees private sales down 8.1% and only owes its gains to tactical sales. Audi (+3%) reclaims the luxury crown but is slower than BMW (+8%) while Mercedes (-10%) crumbles down 9 spots to #15, the counter-effect of a fleet-strong December. Hyundai (+22%), Kia (+24%), Suzuki (+36%) and Seat (+48%) impress.
Thanks to sales soaring 45% year-on-year to 8.714, the Clio is the only Renault in the Top 7, with Peugeot placing no less than four nameplates in the Top 5, a first. The 208 (+9%) takes the 2nd spot overall while the 2008 (+35%) signs the first ever podium finish of a career now spanning four years (February 2013 launch). But the personal bests don’t stop here for Peugeot: the second generation 3008 climbs to #4 overall with 5.634 sales, equalling the first generation’s pb of #4 reached in March 2013. The Peugeot 308 (-17%) rounds up the Top 5 ahead of the Dacia Sandero (+11%). The Citroen C3 III finally blossoms, jumping 12 spots on December to break into the Top 10 for the first time at #7. The Renault Captur, Scenic IV and Megane IV compose the tail end of the January Top 10 in France.
The foreign model order is turned on its head this month: traditionally dominated by the VW Polo and Golf, these fall to 4th and 5th places respectively among foreigners in January. Instead, the Ford Fiesta is the most popular, boosted up 89% by runout discounts on the outgoing generation at #13 – also meaning the Top 12 best-sellers are all locals. The new generation VW Tiguan continues to take the nameplate to new heights and is #2 foreigner this month at a best-ever #14, beating the #15 it hit last September. The Toyota Yaris (-8%) follows, while the Fiat 500 (+29%) and Opel Corsa (+30%) lurk just below. But this order may be on the verge of being shaken up once again, with the arrival of the Toyota C-HR at a brilliant 25th place this month with 1.1% share, up 40 spots on December and even ranking #16 with private buyers at 1.154 sales vs. 1.304 for the Yaris (-10%). A handful of recent launches also shine: the Audi Q2 is up 27 to #64 and now the brand’s best-selling crossover, the Ford Ka+ is up 30 to #83 and the Suzuki Ignis up 64 to #88 – the latter two nameplates breaking into the Frenh Top 100 for the very first time.
Zooming in on the private sales models ranking, the Dacia Sandero – having lost the title of best-seller for 2016 on the edge – reclaims the top spot in January with 5.7% share. But the #2 model is a surprise: the Citroen C3 up 44% to 5% share and stunningly outselling both the Peugeot 208 (down 5% to 4.8%) and Renault Clio (up 25% to 4.7%)… The Peugeot 2008 (+23%) for its part beats the Renault Captur (-5%) with the Peugeot 3008 shooting up to #7 and 2.388 sales, well ahead of the Renault Scenic (1.661) and Kadjar (936). Over in the LCV rankings, the Renault Kangoo and Clio continue to dominate, but the Citroen Berlingo (6.9%) and Peugeot Partner (5.8%) are now applying pressure. The Top 6 best-sellers are all French, with the Fiat Ducato (#7) the only foreigner in the Top 12. Helped by the new generation, The Peugeot Expert (#9) and Citroen Jumpy (#10) progress.
Full brands and models data will be uploaded to this post when available.
The Peugeot Expert is up to #9 and 4.2% in the LCV ranking vs. #11 and 2.5% in 2016.
Previous month: France December 2016: New generation Renault Scenic up to #6
Full January 2017 Top 35 brands, Top 275 models and Top 20 LCVs below.