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France January 2020: Peugeot 208 II breaks nameplate record share, Renault Zoe up to #3 in market upended by new emission rules and dearer malus (-13.4%)

The Peugeot 208 hits a record 7% share in January, 1 in 4 sold being the e-208.

11/02 update: Now with Top 270 All-models.

4/02 update: Now with Top 10 EV models.

After an artificially bloated December (+27.7%), French January sales logically fall back -13.4% to 134.232 units, the weakest January since 2014. This is a first look at a new automotive era in the European Union: in 2020 all manufacturers must reduce their average CO2 emissions to 95g/km and as such, brands that have a polluting range filled up on sales in December and are now distressed, while labels that have a green offer had waited until January to launch it so as to be fully in line with the new European regulations, and post record sales this month. In France, this overhaul is further reinforced by a bonus malus system that significantly increases the price of polluting vehicles, particularly in January and February as rates are based on NEDC emissions before they follow WLTP calculations in March.

The Renault Zoe is propelled to an incredible third place overall.

As such, French petrol sales drop -27.3% year-on-year to 65.363 and 48.7% share vs. 58% a year ago, diesel sales skid -19.6% to 42.596 and 31.7% vs. 34.2% in January 2019 but electrified vehicles soar 119.6% to 26.199 and a record 19.6% share vs. just 7.7% a year ago. This includes 11.513 traditional hybrids (+49.1%) at 8.6% share vs. 5%, 10.952 EVs (+258%) at 8.2% share vs. 2% and 3.734 PHEVs (+225.5%) at 2.8% vs. 0.7%. Private sales suffer the most at -24.4% to 58.404 unites and a record low 43.1% share vs. 49.8% a year ago in January 2019. However leasing (-6.7%) has kept the fall from being a lot steeper and represents 43% of all private sales in January vs. 35% in January 2019 and 38% over the Full Year 2019. Company sales contain their loss to -1.1% to 18.807 and 14% share vs. 12.1% a year ago, and in this channel French carmakers (+4.6%) shine with 13.593 registrations vs, just 5.214 (-13.4%) for foreigners. Long-term rentals drop -8.6% to 15.375 and 11.4% vs. 10.8% a year ago. Short-term rentals are hit a lot harder at -20% to 10.238 and 7.6% share vs. 8.2% a year ago. Demo sales are the only channel in positive at +6.4% to 26.024 and 19.4% share vs. 15.8% a year ago.

The Toyota Yaris hits a record 6th place in January.

Peugeot (-1.4%) is one of the winners of the French market this month: because its lineup is low CO2-ready, it didn’t need to fill up on artificial sales in December unlike Renault and its limited fall propels the brand to a gigantic 21.8% share, its highest in over a decade and potentially everIn any case this is only the third time since 2010 Peugeot crosses the symbolic 20% milestone alongside January and October 2018 (both at 20.1%). Renault (-9.3%) manages to fall slightly slower than the market as does Citroen (-11%), hitting its highest share since last April at 11.6%. Peugeot outsells its archenemy Renault at home in all channels: 10.391 company sales for a 29.4% share vs. 9.551, 9.614 private sales vs. 6.892 despite a -22% fall to 17.7% share, and also #1 in long-term rentals, demo sales and self-registrations. Citroen is up to 14% share with private buyers, a very high level.

The second generation Peugeot 2008 scores its first Top 10 finish at #7.

Another hero this month is Toyota (+16.3%) now fully unleashing its hybrid lineup, smashing its market share record at 7.2% (previous best: 5.5% in July and October 2019), breaking its all-time French ranking record at #4 (previous best: #5 in October 2018) and becoming the #1 foreigner above Volkswagen for only the 2nd time in history after October 2018. Toyota is helped by a contained loss of private sales (-6.8%), company sales urging 65%, long-term rentals up 21% and demo sales up 77%. In contrast, Dacia (-37.4%), Ford (-33.2%), Volkswagen (-30.6%) and Opel (-27.5%) all implode. BMW (-4.5%) remains the #1 premium marque in France and the only one making it into the Top 10 at #9, while Nissan (+28.7%) returns inside the Top 10 for the first time since August 2018 thanks to short term rentals (+320%), company sales (+59%), demo sales (+32%) and contained private sales (-3%). Tesla (+431.3%), DS (+39.7%), Porsche (+32.9%), Seat (+16.4%) and Skoda (+5.7%) sign the only other year-on-year gains in market.

The DS 3 Crossback breaks into the Top 25 at home.

The models ranking is where the upending of the French market for 2020 is the most apparent. The Peugeot 208 II is up 30.5% on December to almost 9.500 sales and 7% share, with the electric e-208 variant representing a whopping 27% of its January volume at 2.537 (1.187 demos, 732 private sales), a level that should stabilise around 15% later in the year. 7% is simply the highest market share ever reached at home by the 208 nameplate, with the first generation 208 hitting a record 6.4% shortly after launch in August 2012 and falling below 6% from May 2013 onwards. 7% is also the highest share reached by any Peugeot model in 11 years, since the 207 hit 7.2% in February 2009. Note that when adding dwindling sales of the 208 I, the 208 nameplate commands 7.4% of the French market in January, the highest for any French nameplate since the 207 in February 2008. In contrast the Renault Clio V implodes down -48.8% on December to just 4.1% share, but there’s another surprise in third place: the Renault Zoe shoots up 256.4% year-on-year to land in third place overall, Renault withholding sales of the October 2019 model until 2020 so that the brand’s CO2 average benefits from the maximum Zoe sales possible. The Zoe smashes its previous record established in December 2018: ranking at #3 vs. #16, volume at 5.331 vs. 2.558 and share at 4% vs. 1.5%. Note 52% of Zoe sold in January are to private customers at 2.803.

The Ford Puma just misses out on a Top 50 ranking for its first month of sales.

The surprises don’t stop there. Below the Peugeot 3008 (-21.8%) and Citroen C3 (-18.1%), the locally-produced Toyota Yaris (+25.9%) is up 3 spots on December to land in 6th place overall with 3% of the market which are new ranking and share records for the nameplate – and for any Japanese model in France – its previous best being #7 and 2.6% in August 2014. Another spectacular progression is the Peugeot 2008 II up 85.6% and 20 spots on December to break into the Top 10 for the very first time at #7, doing so before its archenemy the Renault Captur II which launched two months prior, down -13.2% but up to one spot on last month to a record #12. Notice also the Peugeot 5008 (+16.5%) up to its 2nd highest ever ranking at #13 (below the #12 hit in July 2018), the Opel Corsa back up 60 spots on December to #16, the Toyota Corolla up 66 to #17, a new record for this generation, the Dacia Duster (-53.7%) hit full frontal by additional 2,000€ malus and going from #7 in December to #18 this month and the DS 3 Crossback (+917.1%) up 32 ranks to a record #25 thanks to its EV variant accounting for 45% of its January volume at 597 and ranking 3rd best-seller in the segment below the Zoe and e-208. Among other recent launches, the VW T-Cross is down 24 spots on last month to #44, the Ford Puma lands directly at #51, the Skoda Kamiq is up 19 to #60, the Mazda CX-30 is up 29 to #89 and the Lexus UX up 40 to #101.

Previous post: France 2019: 6th consecutive gain (+1.9%) lifts market to 9-year high, Peugeot 208 I tops changeover year

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

One year ago: France January 2019: Peugeot #1, Citroen at highest in 3.5 years, Mercedes, VW strong in market down -1.1%

Full January 2020 Top 50 All-brands, Top 270 All-models and Top 10 EV models below.

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