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France April 2019: Citroen (+28.7%) lifts market up 0.4%, places 3 nameplates in Top 10 including C5 Aircross

The Citroen C5 Aircross scores its very first Top 10 finish in France – and the world – in April.

New car sales in France edge up a very shy +0.4% year-on-year in April to 188.197 units, meaning the YTD tally is now down just -0.4% at 741.532. But this relative stability hides a concerning situation as private sales tumble down -10.7% to 81.977, hitting their lowest-ever share at 43.5% vs. 45.5% YTD. In contrast, dealership demo sales – a totally artificial channel – surge +20.5% to 26.252 registrations or 13.9% share while company sales including long-term leases gain +16.7% to 46.243 and 24.6% share. Diesel registrations fall further to their lowest level this decade at 33% share. As a reminder they held 64% of the French market just five years ago in 2014.

In the brands ranking, Peugeot (-1.3%) reclaims the top spot for the 7th time in the past 10 months, by far the carmaker’s best streak of pole positions at home in its entire history. In contrast Renault (-6.6%) is in difficulty at 16.7% share (its lowest since last November) and private sales imploding down -32.6%, but it retains the YTD top spot ahead of Peugeot by the skin of its teeth for just 746 units. Citroen (+28.7%) is the biggest gainer in the Top 15, reaching its highest share at home since July 2015 at 11.6% vs. just 9.1% a year ago in April 2018. Citroen sales are up frankly on all channels including fleet (+47%) and private (+12.5%). Volkswagen (+1.9%) owes its growth to artificial demo sales (+124%) accounting for a whopping 22% of its April mix, and is back above Dacia (-11.4%) handicapped by a very high comparison in April 2018 when it hit its all-time record market share in France. Mercedes (+15.3%) continues to dominate the premium aisle thanks to strong demo sales, distancing Audi (+2%) helped by company sales and BMW (+10.1%) lifted by long and short-term rental sales. Tesla (+682%), Mitsubishi (+121%), Seat (+39.1%), Volvo (+22%), Mini (+19%) and Skoda (+14.1%) also impress.

Model-wise, the Renault Clio (+6.9%) and Peugeot 208 (+5.5%) enjoy rebates-fuelled sales on their outgoing generations, keeping a safe gap over a Citroen C3 (+27.1%) in excellent shape, consolidating its 3rd place overall. The Dacia Sandero (+0.3%) edges up to #4, its highest ranking since last November, distancing the Peugeot 2008 (+9.5%), 3008 (-17.7%) and 308 (-5.6%). The Citroen C3 Aircross (+30.6%) remains in 9th place while its larger sibling the C5 Aircross is up 9 spots on March to break into the French Top 10 for the first time in its career. This means Citroen places 3 nameplates in the French Top 10 for the first time since June 2012 (C3, C4 and C4 Picasso then). The Toyota Yaris (+16.6%) reclaims the foreigner top spot off the VW Polo (-6.1%), with the Ford Focus (+118.8%), Mercedes A-Class (+110.7%), Audi Q3 (+102.5%), Fiat Panda (+73.7%), Opel Crossland X (+68.3%), Citroen C1 (+61.9%), Renault Zoe (+53.4%), Fiat 500X (+48.9%) and Suzuki Swift (+40%) also posting outstanding scores in the remainder of the Top 50.

Previous post: France Full Year 2018: Exclusive Top 20 brands for every 100 Department now available

Previous month: France March 2019: Skoda (+15.8%), Dacia (+13.8%), Citroen (+9.7%) and Opel (+8.5%) strong in 6th market decline in past 7 months

One year ago: France April 2018: Peugeot #1, Dacia hits all-time record share

Full April 2019 Top 20 brands and Top 100 models below.

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