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France December 2019: Pre-malus rise demo sales boost market up 27.7% to 9-year high, new Renault Captur and Peugeot 2008 gear up

Both the Peugeot 2008 II and Renault Captur II now outsell their predecessors at home.

21/01/20 update: Now with Top 315 All-models.

Like in November, this month the French new car market is biased by rushed registrations as cars registered after Jan. 1 count toward the EU’s fleet emissions target of 95 grams of CO2/km and malus taxes will surge as they are now calculated on WLTP norms. Add to this a weak comparison base a year ago when yellow vests paralysed the country and you get December volumes up a smashing yet artificial 27.7% to 211.194 units, the strongest December since 2010 (226.314) which was also impacted by an impending malus increase. A testimony of the rush manufacturers got into as the month came to an end is the 31.946 sales registered over December 30 and 31, that’s 15% of the month’s total. Demo sales, which are for the most part self-registrations by the dealerships of cars that are then sold to real customers as 0km used, surge to 50.652 units and 24% share in December, their highest level all year to be compared with the 18.5% they command in 2019 annually. Demo sales were used to clear stock of high-polluting models: the market average was 113 g/km in December vs. 109 g/km in October and 95 g/km 2020 target. Brands abusing the system this month are Smart (85% demo sales), Subaru (64%), Suzuki (50%), Opel (39%). Among the French, Dacia (28%) and Renault (25.6%) are above average while Peugeot (19.6%) and Citroen (22.7%) below. As a result private sales are even weaker this month at 89.028 units and 42% share but Kia (67.1%), Hyundai (66.2%), Mini (65%) and Toyota (61%) excel on this channel.

Subaru (+784.2%) is offloading high-polluting vehicles in December.

Looking at brand volumes, Renault (+27%) follows the market to score 18.8% share vs. 18.4% this year, leaving Peugeot (+8.2%) in the dust and falling below 14% for the first time this decade at 13.9% while Citroen (+10.3%) delivers its lowest share in two years at 8.5%. Volkswagen (+23.8%) trails the market slightly but reaches a strong 7.7% of the market, clearly distancing Dacia (+37.6%) while Mercedes (+31.2%) confirms it is the favourite premium brand in the country above BMW (+69%) and Audi (+74.2%). Brands posting extravagant surges in December include Subaru (+784.2%), Tesla (+647.4%), Ssangyong (+450%), Ferrari (+425%), Porsche (+386.6%), Lotus (+380%), Maserati (+235.3%), Infiniti (+157.1%), Alpine (+150.6%), Land Rover (+142.4%), Jaguar (+111.9%), Lamborghini (+100%), Mitsubishi (+89.8%), Mazda (+81.3%), Nissan (+81.3%), Volvo (+77%) and Lexus (+72%).

First five-digit sales month for the Renault Clio V.

Over in the models ranking, the Renault Clio V (5.1%) frankly beats the Peugeot 208 II (3.4%) with the Dacia Sandero (+28.7%) signing its 4th podium finish of the year, distancing the Citroen C3 (+1.3%), Peugeot 3008 (-10.4%) and Renault Twingo (+18.9%). The Dacia Duster (+36.9%) is up to #7, making it two Dacias in the Top 7 for the 2nd time in the past 3 months. The Renault Megane (+41.2%) and Toyota Yaris (+35.3%) also end the year in style with the VW Polo (-4.5%) at #10 making it two foreign models in the French Top 10 for the first time since last July. Below the Citroen C5 Aircross back up 5 spots on October to #11, the Renault Captur II is now really gearing up, jumping 30 spots on last month to #13 and outselling the 1st generation (#15) for the first time. As if on cue, its archenemy the Peugeot 2008 II is also beating its predecessor at #27 vs. #202 last month and #31 for the 2008 I, even though the majority of the new model’s December registrations are demo vehicles being displayed in Peugeot dealerships across the country. Notice also the Ford Kuga (+421.8%), Audi Q3 (+228.2%), Suzuki Vitara (+175.1%), Volvo XC40 (+152.2%), BMW X3 (+117.2%) and BMW 1 Series (+89.8%).

Previous month: France November 2019: Renault Clio V and Peugeot 208 II take control in market propped up by demo sales (+36%)

One year ago: France December 2018: Yellow vests send market down -14.5%, Citroen resists, Renault Zoe breaks records

Full December 2019 Top 50 All-brands and Top 315 All-models below.

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