French new car sales are up 7% year-on-year in March to 226.145 units, lifting the year-to-date tally up 4.8% to 541.065 units. However yet again this growth is mainly artificial with inventory registrations up a whopping 26% on March 2016 whereas private sales only gain 1.7% to 106.733 and are up only 1% year-to-date to 257.568 or a historically low 47.6% market share. As per every end of Quarter, market leader Renault posts a strong 21.5% market share vs. 19.7% year-to-date but gains less ground than the market at +4%. Peugeot on the other hand is up 12% while Citroen gains 9% thanks to the solid score of the new generation C3.
Volkswagen is in trouble at -9% and holds onto the 4th spots overall for a mere 675 units above Dacia up 10%. Other manufacturers in great shape this month include Toyota (+34%), Suzuki (+22%), Fiat (+18%), Kia (+18%), Mercedes (+15%) and Hyundai (+14%) but DS drops 34% to #20. Among smaller brands, notice Alfa Romeo (+34%), Maserati (+65%), Jaguar (+83%) and Infiniti (+145%).
The Renault Clio continues to dominate the models ranking with just under 5.9% share, a full percentage point above the Peugeot 208 at #2. Slowly but surely, the Peugeot 2008 settles into third place, a ranking it holds this month (+10%) and year-to-date (+14%). Its archenemy the Renault Captur follows at #4 in March but ranks 5th so far this year below the Peugeot 308. Recent launches makes themselves noticed: the new gen Citroen C3 remains at #6, the new Renault Megane is up one spot on February to #8 and the Peugeot 3008 down 1 to #9.
There are no foreign models inside the Top 13 (vs. Top 12 last month) with the VW Polo (-19%) leader the way above the Toyota Yaris (+13%) and Nissan Qashqai (+8%). Just below, we find the VW Tiguan (+204% thanks to the new model), the Fiat 500 (+19%) and Opel Corsa (+21%). Other great gainers inside the Top 50 include the Opel Mokka (+24%), Ford Kuga (+35%), Renault Talisman (+37%), Renault Zoe (+45%) and BMW X1 (+45%). The Audi Q2 (#57) is now the 2nd best-seller for the brand below the A3 (#37), the new generation Nissan Micra breaks into the Top 100 at #93 and this month we welcome the Alfa Romeo Stelvio at #160 and the new gen Land Rover Discovery reappears at #203.
In the private sales aisle, the Dacia Sandero reigns supreme with deliveries up 30% year-on-year thanks to its facelift, and is now followed by the Peugeot 2008 up 8% to n2nd place, distancing the Peugeot 208 (-5%), Renault Clio (-16%) and Captur (-7%). A very different picture than the overall sales charts indeed. Year-to-date, the Peugeot 2008 is now only 4 units below the 208 for second place overall. Notice also the Peugeot 3008 up 124% on the previous generation to #7 private sales. The locally-produced Toyota Yaris (+16%) makes it to the Top 10.
Previous month: France February 2017: Citroen C3 and Toyota C-HR impress
Full March 2017 Top 45 brands, Top 275 models and Top 10 private sales below.