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France November 2018: Peugeot leads, Renault sinks, Dacia shines in market down 4.7%

Peugeot is now assured to end 2018 as the #1 brand with French private buyers.

Now updated with the Top 45 brands and Top 265 models.

The French new car market drops 4.7% year-on-year in November to 171.611 registrations, but the year-to-date volume is up 4.7% to 2.008.091 units. This is only the 6th time in French history that the 2 million units are eclipsed after 11 months and the first time in seven years, the others being 1990 (2.165.728), 1989 (2.133.120), 2001 (2.094.485), 2009 (2.040.279) and 2011 (2.016.412). Aside from potential sales disruptions linked to the “Yellow Vests” demonstrations over the last 10 days of the month, deliveries are impacted by WLTP in two ways: a lingering post-WLTP rush that is at play since early September as well as a sales pull-back to 2019 now that the government announced the January 1 decrease of price penalties for vehicles over 123g of CO2 emissions that could result in savings of up to 1830€ per vehicle, notably affecting fleet sales. As a result company sales (including long-term rentals/leases) are the main culprit of the market’s November decline at -9.6% to 41.829 units but private sales (-0.2%) are stable at 87.282 units and 50.9% share vs. 48.7% a year ago. Tactical sales are logically down again, having exhausted their potential during the pre-WLTP summer rush: demo sales are down 5.4% to 26.369, short-term rentals down 10.6% to 14.406 and self-registrations down 37.6% to 1.667.

The Renault Captur (-26%) steps outside the November Top 10.

Peugeot (-1.3%) is down slightly but outpaces the market to reach 19.1% share, snapping a 7th overall win in 2018, by far its most successful year so far. This is thanks partly to demo sales up 34.5% with the new generation 508 and Rifter in full swing. In contrast, Renault (-25.2%) implodes and falls to 15% share, its lowest level in over 3 years (since 14.7% in July 2015). All Renault nameplates except the Twingo and Zoe are down this month at home. As a result Peugeot outsells Renault by over 7.000 sales in November but remains #2 year-to-date by over 12.000 units despite a 7.3% gain vs. -0.5% for Renault, in YTD negative for the first time this year. With a 7.000 unit advantage at end-November, Peugeot is assured to become the #1 carmaker with private buyers at home in 2018 for the first time in at least two decades. Citroen (+10.7%) records a 2nd consecutive double-digit gain in third place, thanks notably to very dynamic private sales up 22.7% to 9.911 units. Volkswagen (+12.4%) is back in the game and up two spots on October to #4 and private sales up 25% after a couple of horrendous months linked to lack of WLTP-approved stock (-34.4% in September and -23.6% in October).

Dacia soars 34.7% year-on-year, the largest gain in the Top 15.

Dacia (+34.8%) posts no less than the largest year-on-year gain in the Top 15 to hit 7.2% share, the brand’s 4th incursion above 7% share in France after August 2017 (7.3%), April 2018 (7.5%) and August 2018 (7.6%). At 130.741 registrations so far in 2018, Dacia is now well over its previous annual volume record set last year (117.874), a level it had even gone past as early as at end-October. Toyota (+20.6%) is once again very impressive, signing a second consecutive month above 5% share at 5.2% with all channels in positive including private sales (+13.5%). The remainder of the Top 10 is entirely in decline: Ford (-12.1%) and Mercedes (-8.3%) lose share while Opel (-3.3%) and Fiat (-3.7%) roughly match the market and BMW (-13.4%) is knocking on the Top 10’s door. Below, notice Bentley (+250%), Mitsubishi (+249.1%), Seat (+42.2%), Lotus (+41.7%), Volvo (+38.4%), Hyundai (+18.8%), Lexus (+17%) and Lamborghini (+12.5%) all posting extravagant gains whereas Infiniti (-93.8%), Porsche (-80.5%), Ssangyong (-66%), Alfa Romeo (-59.6%), Nissan (-54.3%), Subaru (-43.1%), Maserati (-42.9%), Audi (-37.4%), Land Rover (-34.2%) and Jeep (-33.6%) are still reeling from excessive use of pre-WLTP artificial sales over summer.

The new C4 Cactus (+67%) helps Citroen up 10.7% to 10.3% share.

The Renault Clio (-13%) remains the most popular nameplate in the country despite a double-digit drop and slim 233 unit-margin over its archenemy the Peugeot 208 (+3%) which has been unable to snatch a monthly victory since August 2016… The Peugeot 3008 (-16%) suffers from a particularly high comparison set in November 2017 while the Dacia Sandero (+36%) shows absolutely no sign of fatigue despite being due for renewal in 2019, posting its 4th Top 4 finish in the past 8 months and snapping the #5 spot YTD off the Renault Captur (-26%) down to a ghastly #12 this month. Below the Citroen C3 (+8%), Peugeot 2008 (-1%) and Peugeot 308 (+1%) all stronger than the market, the VW Polo (+82%) shoots back up to #1 foreigner and signs its first Top 10 finish since August 2017 at #8, the Dacia Duster (+39%) is back inside the Top 10 and the Citroen C3 Aircross (+84%) is down one spot to #10. Below, the DS 7 Crossback (+840%), Seat Arona (+377%), VW T-Roc (+256%), Renault Zoe (+144%), Fiat Panda (+117%), Ford Ecosport (+97%), Toyota C-HR (+83%), Citroen C4 Cactus (+67%), Mercedes A-Class (+46%), Opel Corsa (+42%), Citroen C1 (+41%) and Opel Crossland X (+36%) make waves.

The Citroen C4 Spacetourer (#31) is the most popular recent launch (<12 months) despite dropping 12 spots, distancing the Volvo XC40 (#67), BMW X2 (#76), Peugeot Rifter (#77) and Citroen C5 Aircross (#80) up 64 ranks to break into its home Top 100 for the first time.

Previous month: France October 2018: PSA, Toyota help contain post-WLTP drop to 1.5%

One year ago: France November 2017: Peugeot 3008/5008 above Renault Clio

Full November 2018 Top 45 brands and Top 265 models below.

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