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France September 2017: Best September since 2009 but up a shy 1.1%

Mercedes is the only carmaker posting double-digit gains in the Top 10 this month.

* NOW UPDATED with the Top 35 brands, Top 10 private sales and Top 270 models *

The French new car market maintains itself in positive territory for the fifth consecutive month with September sales up 1.1% to 170.652, the largest score for the month since 2009 (183.248), leading to a year-to-date total up 3.9% to 1.560.885 registrations. The market is in positive solely thanks to company sales up 8.1% while private sales remain stable at +0.9%. Tactical sales, for once, are in decline: short-term rental sales are down 11.5% to 5.85% share, carmakers’ self-registrations down 4% to 1.75% share and demo sales down 2.6% to a still very high 18.6% market share.

The new generation 5008 helps Peugeot up 4.7% this month. 

Renault is stable this month at -0.1% to a strong 21.5% share – as is its tradition for end of quarter sales, however its sales mix is completely reshuffled, with private sales up 11.9% to 17.541, company sales up 20% to 12.834 and demo sales down 47% to 3.650. Peugeot beats the market with a 4.7% gain to 17.1% share, helped by company sales up 15.9% to 9.271 whereas private sales are down 4.9% to 12.724. Despite the recent launch of the new gen C3 and the arrival of the C3 Aircross in demo sales, Citroen remains at a historically low level at 8.8% share of its home market, up just 3.3% on an already paltry performance in September 2016. Private sales are down 4.6% to 5.719, company sales down 10.4% to 3.471 and demo sales up 50% to 4.519, more than Renault. This month demo/tactical sales represent almost one in three registrations for Citroen… Clearly not the sign of a healthy brand.

The Renault Captur is back on the French podium but down 8% year-on-year.

After being outsold by Dacia for the first time last month, Volkswagen post another disappointing performance at -14.8% to 6.1% share with private sales down 11.1%. According to Thierry Lespiaucq, the Volkswagen Group France President interviewed by local outlet Autoactu, this is solely due to the generation transition of the Polo. Dacia (+3.5%) returns to a more traditional 5.2% share after its exceptional performance of last month, while Toyota confirms it is now the #2 foreign brand in France with sales up 2.8% to 3.7% share. Mercedes leads the premium segment for the second month in a row thanks to deliveries up 12.9% to an outstanding 3.7% share, distancing Audi at 3.2% (+4.3%) and BMW at 3% (-2.8%). Opel (+3.2%) returns inside the Top 10 at #10, Fiat is up 11.8% to #11 but owes its score to tactical sales. Kia (+7.1%), Skoda (+9.3%), Suzuki (+24.5%), Seat (+26.9% – with the Ateca now the brand’s best-seller here) and Mazda (+32.6%) impress.

Volkswagen (-14.8%) is waiting for the new Polo (pictured) to get back in positive. 

Model-wise, the Renault Clio celebrates 13 consecutive months in pole position thanks to sales up 8% to 5.7% share whereas its archenemy the Peugeot 208 is down 10% to 4.6%. The Renault Captur is back up 7 spots to #3 but down 6%, distancing its rival the Peugeot 2008, down 4% to 3.2% share in 4th place. The Peugeot 3008 is up one rank on August to #5 and remains #3 year-to-date. The new gen Citroen C3 hasn’t managed to stick to the top of the ranking near its rivals the Clio and 208: it is down four spots on last month to a disappointing 8th place. The Renault Twingo (#10), Scenic IV (#11) and Kadjar (#13) get a ranking boost due to Renault’s traditionally back-ended end-of-quarter sales, but don’t perform that well overall. With the VW Polo down 31%, the Golf is the best-selling foreigner this month at a low #14, meaning the Top 13 best-sellers are locals.

The Citroen C3 Aircross is just outside the French Top 20. 

Further down the ranking, notice the new gen Peugeot 5008 maintaining itself inside the French Top 20 for the 4th month in a row at #19 while the new Citroen C3 Aircross lands directly at #21 with just under 2.000 sales, the large majority being demo cars. The Ford Kuga (+53%), Renault Zoe (+56%), Nissan Micra (+68%), Fiat Tipo (+77%) and Mercedes GLA (+34%) all post fantastic results inside the Top 50. The new gen Renault Koleos is up 34 spots on August to break into the French Top 50 for the first time at #38, a milestone the Opel Crossland X also crosses, up 33 ranks to #50. We also welcome the Opel Grandland X at #126, the Kia Stonic at #133 and the DS 7 at #181. In the private sales ranking, the Dacia Sandero remains in the lead with sales up 3%, distancing the Renault Clio (+27%), Captur (-1%), Peugeot 208 (-16%) and 2008 (-9%). The Peugeot 3008 is up 62% and the Renault Scenic up 79%.

Previous month: France August 2017: Dacia above VW to rank #4 for the first time

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

Full September 2017 Top 35 brands and Top 270 models below.

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