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France February 2017: Citroen C3 and Toyota C-HR impress

Citroen C3 – a first WRC win in Mexico coincides with a 2nd place in the French private sales charts. 

* See the Top 50 brands, Top 275 models, Top 10 private sales and Top 20 LCVs by clicking on the title *

1. Passenger cars market – brands

In January, French new car sales were up 10.6%, but just 0.5% once adjusted for daily rates. In February we witness the opposite: sales are down 2.9% but with one less selling day than in February 2016, this drop actually equates to a 2% annually adjusted gain. Renault fell to 2nd place in the brands ranking in January due to a now routine “start of period fatigue” after loading up on tacticals in December as per every quarter end. In February, Renault reclaims the brands top spot despite a 6% year-on-year drop, followed by Peugeot (-8%), Citroen (-3%) and Volkswagen (-9%), plunging the entire Top 4 best-sellers into negative territory.

The new generation Nissan Micra makes its landing in France.

In fact, Dacia (+6%) Fiat (+7%) and Toyota (+26%) are the only carmakers posting year-on-year gains in the Top 10, with Nissan (-19%) suffering the most. BMW snaps the luxury crown despite sales down 6%, ahead of Mercedes (+7%) and Audi (-13%). Further down, notice Kia up 12%, Suzuki up 22%, Seat up 27%, Volvo up 28% but DS down 34%. Among smaller brands, Infiniti (+28%), Jaguar (+30%), Maserati (+33%), Aston Martin (+133%), Tesla (+148%) and Lamborghini (+200%) all impress.

The Toyota C-HR ranks at #25 in France this month, up two spots on January. 

2. Passenger cars market – models

The Renault Clio remains sovereign in the models ranking despite deliveries down 7% to 8.656. The Peugeot 208 (-12%) stays in 2nd place while the Peugeot 308 (-19%) climbs back onto the podium above the Peugeot 2008 (+4%) – that’s three Peugeots in the Top 4 vs. three in the Top 8 for Renault (Captur at #5 and Mégane IV at #8). The third generation Citroen C3 nudges up one spot to #6 with 5.002 sales, but its performance comes to light after a further study of the sales figures: adding the second generation’s sales brings the C3 February total to 6.537 and allows the nameplate a third place overall behind the Clio and 208, a ranking the C3 nameplate had not held since October 2014. The C3 does even better with private buyers, as we detail further down.

The third generation Citroen C3 breaks into the Top 5 and ranks #2 with private buyers. 

Looking into a couple of long running rivalries among French nameplates shows dominance of the PSA Group: Renault Mégane IV – although up 114% year-on-year to #8 – remains well below its rival the Peugeot 308 at 4.052 sales vs. 5.465, the Peugeot 3008 II (3.976) dominates the Dacia Duster (2.959) and Renault Kadjar (2.108) and the Citroen C4 Picasso (3.234) reclaims the MPV lead off the Renault Scénic IV (2.339). The locally produced Toyota Yaris (+14%) is the most popular foreigner this month at #13 – meaning that just like in January the Top 12 best-sellers in France are all locals. The VW Polo (-24%) ranks 2nd foreigner above the VW Tiguan lodging another outstanding performance at +86% to #16 overall. Note the Tiguan brilliantly remains above the Golf (down 6% to #20) in the year-to-date charts at 4.768 sales vs. 4.396.

The new generation Kia Rio shows up directly at #102 in France this month.

Among further recent launches, the Toyota C-HR continues to impress and edges up two spots on January to a best ever #23 thanks to 1.734 sales, the Fiat Tipo is up 16 spots to obliterate its personal best at #27 – previously #43 hit last month and in November 2016), the Audi Q2 is up 8 ranks to #58, the Seat Ateca up four to #61, the Ford Ka+ up 17 to #67 and the Suzuki Ignis up 15 to #76. This month we welcome two new entrants inside the French new car sales charts: the new generation Kia Rio landing directly at #102 and the new gen Nissan Micra at #213.

The Dacia Sandero frankly dominates the private sales charts in France. 

3. Private sales

After being edged out of the annual pole position at the last minute in 2016, the Dacia Sandero reclaims the throne in 2017 with 4.410 private sales in February (+20%) and 8.704 year-to-date (+18%). Surprise in 2nd place: the Citroen C3 gains 10% to 3.818 sales and also ranks #2 year-to-date at 8.153 units (+15%), distancing its two arch-enemies the Peugeot 208 at 6.980 (-12%) and the Renault Clio at 6.584 (-2%). Back to the February charts where the Peugeot 2008 posts a splendid third place with 3.397 sales, outselling the 208, Clio and Captur. The Dacia Duster is the best-selling SUV with private French buyers at #6. The Peugeot 3008 ranks 10th.

Renault Trafic

4. Light Commercial Vehicles

The LCV market goes against the grain in February with a 4.2% year-on-year gain (+9.4% annually adjusted) to 34.616 deliveries. The Renault Kangoo firmly holds onto the top spot with 9.4% share ahead of the Renault Clio at 7.5%. The Renault Trafic gains three spots on January to #3, the Renault Master is up one to #4. the Peugeot Expert also up one to #8 and the Ford Transit 2T up three to #14. The Mercedes Vito (#18) and Renault Mégane IV (#20) break into the Top 20 this month.

Previous month: France January 2017: Four Peugeots in Top 5, Citroen C3 III up to #7

One year ago: France February 2016: Dacia and Opel shine in market up 13%

Full February 2017 Top 50 brands, Top 275 models, Top 10 private sales and Top 20 LCVs below.

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