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France March 2018: Private sales, Dacia, VW pull market up 2.2%

The new Duster (+46%) helps Dacia up 14.4% in March in France. Picture

* Now updated with the Top 40 brands, Top 260 models and Top 10 private sales – click on title to see *

New car sales in France continue to progress in this start of 2018 with a third consecutive uplift at +2.2% to 231.110 units, leading to a year-to-date volume up 2.9% to 556.849. But given this year March counted one less opening day than in 2017, the ‘real’ year-on-year gain is +6.8%. The good news is this growth is for the main part healthy, with private sales pulling the market up at +3.4% to 109.946 and long term rentals up 4.4% to 26.439 while company sales are down 0.5% to 19.913 units. Yet demo sales are up 6.9% to 37.701 but short term rentals are down 1.8% and self-registrations are down 41.4%.

Renault reclaims the brands pole position and the Captur signs its first podium finish of 2018.

As expected as its sales pattern is skewed towards end-of-periods, Renault reclaims the French brands pole position both in March at 21.3% share (+1.2%) and year-to-date at 19.2% (stable). Knocked down to #2, Peugeot shows much more vigorous figures though with a market-beating 3.5% gain in March to 17.5% share and a robust 9.9% uptick YTD to 18.5%. Citroen (-0.1%) remains below the 10% mark for the 2nd straight month at 9.3% of its home market, achieving a round 10% YTD (+0.8%). Volkswagen is one of only two carmakers in the Top 13 to post a double-digit gain in March at +12.9%, allowing it to reclaim the #4 YTD spot off Dacia itself up 14.4% to 6% share, leading to a YTD tally up 12.4% to 6.1%, the same share as VW. Note in the private sales channel, Dacia is a strong third with 11.981 sales and 10.9% share, below just Renault (19%) and Peugeot (16.2%) but above Citroen (9.3%) and Volkswagen (6.7%).

Volkswagen gains a solid 12.9% but the T-Roc (#33) is hurting the Tiguan (-15%).

Both Ford (+2.9%) and Fiat (+9.5%) overtake Toyota (-15.3%) in great difficulty as are Nissan (-20.5%) and Opel (-13.8%) in the tail end of the Top 10. All Top three premiums retract, led by Mercedes (-2.7%) ahead of Audi (-12.5%) and BMW (-0.9%). Stunningly, the remainder of the Top 20 all post double-digit gains, led by Seat (+28.3%), Kia (+22.1%), Hyundai (+17%), Skoda (+16.1%), Suzuki (+15%), DS (+14.8%) and Mini (+12.3%). Below, Mazda (+40%), Volvo (+34.6%), Jeep (+27.9%), Honda (+26%) and Lexus (15.7%) also impress while Alpine now truly relaunches with 27 sales this month and 28 so far this year.

27 Alpine A110 found a new French home in March.

Model-wise, the Renault Clio (+5%) and Peugeot 208 (+5%) jealously hold onto the two top spots, both of them even beating the market in the process. The Renault Captur (+13%) signs its first podium finish of 2018, knocking both the Peugeot 3008 (+15%) and Citroen C3 (+13%) down one spot but the latter two remain above the Captur YTD. The Peugeot 2008 (-7%) is stuck at #6 while the Peugeot 308 (-6%) overtakes the Dacia Sandero (+2%) for #7. The Renault Twingo (+19%) posts a second consecutive double-digit gain just as the Dacia Duster delivers the most impressive improvement in the Top 10 at +45% thanks to the new generation, making it two Dacias in the French Top 10 for the fourth month running.

Excellent performance of the Renault Scenic this month at home (+58%).

The Renault Scenic impresses at +58% to #11 but the Megane disappoints, down a steep 31%. After two months of Toyota Yaris reign, the VW Polo (+14%) reclaims the #1 foreigner title for the first time in 2018, but only just: it outsells the Fiat 500 (+30%) by just 30 units, and like in February the Top 12 is 100% French. The VW Golf (+38%) and Tiguan (-15%) also make it into the March Top 20. The Kia Picanto (+224%), Ford Mondeo (+147%), Ecosport (+137%), Peugeot 5008 (+137%), Nissan Leaf (+131%), Mercedes GLA (+130%), Suzuki Swift (+109%) and Mini Countryman (+83%) all surge ahead.

The Renault Koleos is back up 47 spots on last month to #56. Picture

Among recent launches (<12 months), the Citroen C3 Aircross is down one spot to #15, the VW T-Roc is up 9 ranks on last month to a new record at #33, above the Opel Crossland X at #47 (-7), Renault Koleos at #56 (+47), Opel Grandland X at #60 (+11) and Seat Arona at #62 (+31). In the private sales channel, the Peugeot 208 (+16%) takes the lead ahead of the Renault Clio (+14%), both overtaking the Dacia Sandero (+1%), leader in February. Year-to-date, the 208 (+23%) distances the Sandero (+2%) and Clio (+17%). The Renault Captur (+8%) is up two spots to #4 in March but lags at #7 YTD, while the Dacia Duster surges 67% to remain in 5th place, a ranking it also holds YTD (+41%). The Renault Twingo (+18%) now ranks inside the YTD Top 10 at #9 (+25%) while the VW Polo is boosted up 54% to #9 by the new generation.

Previous month: France February 2018: Peugeot scores second straight month at #1

One year ago: France March 2017: Peugeot 2008 settles at #3 in market up 7%

Full March 2018 Top 40 brands, Top 260 models and Top 10 private sales below.

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