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France October 2019: Market up 8.7%, Peugeot 208 II lands at #12, wreaks havoc: Clio V pulled to #2, Citroen C3 scores first ever pole position

The GT Line variant accounts for 50% of Peugeot 208 II initial sales.

08/11 update with Top 365 All-models final figures and buyer types info.

02/11 update with Top 50 All-brands.

The French new car market posts a sturdy 8.7% year-on-year gain to 188.985 units in October, signing the largest volume for the month in the past decade and meaning the year-to-date tally is now almost identical to 2018 at -0.3% to 1.830.352. However this uptick is by and large artificial as boosted by high demo sales activity due to the flurry of high-impact launches (see further down in the models detail). Indeed demo sales and carmaker registrations total 20.9% of the October volume at 39.529 units vs. 16% a year ago and 19% YTD. In contrast, private sales account for a 46% share vs. 45% YTD while company sales are up to 25.3% vs. 21.8% YTD. Short-term rentals (6.4%) are low now that summer holidays are well and truly over. EV sales are above the symbolic 2% market share for the 2nd month in a row – and in history – at 2.3% and 4.382 units vs. 2.4% and 4.202 in September, while petrol is at 57% share vs. 58% YTD and diesel at 33.5% vs. 34%.

This month again the best performers are mostly brands that fared particularly weakly a year ago. Renault (+17.6%) remains in the top spot but with less than 1.000 units above Peugeot (-3.4%) which was WLTP-ready a year ago and therefore comparatively strong. Citroen (+14.4%) also outpaces the market at #3, as does Dacia (+22.6%) back up to #4 above Volkswagen (+29.1%) for the first time since last May. Looking at buyer types, Renault is also #1 in private sales at 14.6% share (12.748) vs. 13% for Peugeot (11.293), snapping the YTD top spot off Peugeot as a result – keep in mind Peugeot was the annual #1 private seller in 2018 and for the first time in history. Citroen is back to #3 above Dacia both in October and YTD. Peugeot leads in the demo sales channel at 19.2% thanks to the 208 II vs. 18.4% for Renault helped by the Captur II (see further down).

The second half of the Top 10 is a lot more muted, with only Toyota (+10.8%) and BMW (+9%) slightly edging past the market growth unlike Fiat (+7.6%) while both Ford (-14.8%) and Mercedes (-14%) suffer. Notice Toyota extremely strong in private sales at 7.6% share, above Volkswagen, but also relying very little on demo sales (11% of its mix), as is also the case for Ford (12%). Opel (-33.9%) is knocked out of the Top 10 even with demo sales accounting for a whopping 44% of its mix, just as the Adam, Mokka and Karl are discontinued. Further down, Porsche (+427.2%), Land Rover (+107.6%) and DS (+77%) impress, as do Audi (+45.5%), Seat (+39%), Alfa Romeo (+35%), Jeep (+28.8%), Hyundai (+24.4%) and Nissan (+24.3%) in the Top 30. Tesla (+540%) is down 83.5% (!) on August.

First ever monthly win at home for the Citroen C3.

With sales to the public kick-starting on the October 12-13 weekend, the Peugeot 208 II has its first substantial sales month in October, shooting up 125 spots on September to #12 with over 4.000 registrations and 2.1% share. The 208 II demo sales roll-out is now complete in all Peugeot dealerships across the country and as a result the large majority of the October volume remains demo sales (3.587), November will when private sales will start in earnest. Early signs are encouraging for Peugeot: according to its France Director Guillaume Couzy, as of November 5th the GT Line variant (the most expensive combustion spec at 26.300€) accosts for a whopping 50% of early sales to the public. Even though top specs are usually overrepresented at launch, this is still very impressive and in line with what Peugeot has previously achieved with the 308 and 3008. The e-208 EV variant, hitting dealerships in January 2020, represents 15% of orders so far.

The availability of the 208 II has already had a dramatic impact on the French sales charts: its archenemy the Renault Clio V drops from 4.8% in September to 4% this month and loses the pole position to the Citroen C3 (+11.1%). Even though these are very particular circumstances, this is the first time the Citroen C3 tops the French monthly ranking. It’s however lonely at the top: the C3 is the only Citroen in the October Top 12. Note that when counting both generations of Clio (9.998) and 208 (9.691) together, the Citroen C3 remains at its usual third place. The private sales ranking shows the Dacia Sandero in the lead at 5.4% share above the Renault Clio 4+5 (5%), Citroen C3 (4.2%) and the Peugeot 208 I+II (3.8%) as 208 II private sales won’t truly gear up until November.

Dacia Duster sales are up 48% in France in October.

The Peugeot 3008 (-20.1%) steps up to #3 despite a ghastly drop, overtaking the Peugeot 208 I (-38.1%) starting its fall as the new generation is here. Peugeot places 3 nameplates in the Top 5 with the 308 (-11%), but the biggest gainer in the Top 10 is the Dacia Duster (+49.7%) up 7 spots on last month to #7, its highest ranking since August 2018, and earning back its place among the YTD Top 10 best-sellers. The other big event in the French ranking this month is the arrival – even though they won’t be available to the public until the end of the year – of the 2nd generations Renault Captur (#24) with just under 2.000 demo sales and Peugeot 2008 (#106) just above 350 units, all vehicles aimed at launch events across the Renault dealership network. The Captur I (+3.7%) isn’t impacted yet but the 2008 I (-15.2%) is, falling to #9 in October.

The Renault Captur II arrives with just under 2.000 demo sales in October.

Just outside the Top 10, the Toyota Yaris (+12.4%) cements its lead in the foreign models ranking – helped by the arrival of the new generation at the end of the month, the VW Polo (+27%) at #16 being the only other foreigner in the Top 20. The Yaris is up to a fantastic 6th place in private sales at 3.4% share vs. just 1.7% for the VW Polo (#13). Notice also the Citroen C5 Aircross (#13) outselling the C3 Aircross (#15) for the very first time. The SUV fever is far from over in France as they account for the majority of the largest gainers further down the ranking: the Audi Q3 (+261.5%), Peugeot Rifter (+173.3%), Citroen Berlingo (+136%), Audi A1 (+105%), Seat Arona (+99.7%), Peugeot 508 (+91.7%), Mercedes CLA (+72.8%), Fiat Tipo (+70.5%), VW Tiguan (+68.6%), Ford Kuga (+66%), Nissan Qashqai (+59.4%), Hyundai Kona (+58.3%) and Volvo XC40 (+47.6%).

Previous month: France September 2019: Renault Clio V clocks first win, Opel Corsa #1 foreigner in market up 16.6%

One year ago: France October 2018: PSA, Toyota help contain post-WLTP drop to -1.5%

Full October 2019 Top 50 All-brands and Top 365 All-models below.

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