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France 1-22 April 2020: Sales collapse -91.5% but frank uptrend over last 3 days, French brands hold 80% share

The French must provide a movement certificate to be allowed out.

French sales data published today on local weekly Auto Plus shows April volumes down -96% year-on-year halfway through the month as the country remains under strict lockdown. Daily sales rates have plummeted to 268 vs. 312 at the start of the restrictions (18-31 March) and to be compared with 6.390 sales per day halfway through April 2019. Peugeot and Renault reportedly add up to over 50% of sales, with Citroen at #3 and DS in a fantastic 4th place above Dacia and Volkswagen, while Tesla “contains” its loss to -64%. Keep in mind that currently only deliveries of orders passed before lockdown are allowed, actual new car sales are forbidden. With the national lockdown being extended to May 11, the April situation isn’t likely to improve much by the time the month ends. We currently anticipate a French market down -31% in 2020.

However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel according to more recent Autoways sales data also relayed today by French professional website It shows the French new car market down -91.5% year-on-year over the first 3 weeks of April with 9.245 registrations, a slight improvement on the situation halfway through the month due to a significant surge over the last 3 days of the period. Indeed 56% (or 5.153) of the 9.245 sales in April so far have been registered on just 3 days: Monday 20 April (1.316), Tuesday 21 April (1.430) and Wednesday 22 April (2.407), showcasing an impressive – and fast – improvement.

Renault holds a 31.1% market share at home after 3 weeks in April. 

Yet even if the last week of the month builds on the April 22 figure and remains at an encouraging 2.500 daily sales, it would give us a full-month April figure of close to 27.000 units, still down a devastating 86% on April 2019. We are therefore realistically looking at a month of April in France down between -85% and -90%, with a stretch-target of -75% to -80% in case of a continued surge over the last days of the month, which isn’t totally impossible given this is an ages-long tactic adopted by Renault for example.

Looking at sales by channel, at the 3-week mark private sales accounted for 56.2% of the total and company sales for 27.1%, as “strategic” registrations used to pad up monthly volumes such as demo sales or rental fleets have all but stopped. The little sales activity in France has favoured local manufacturers in a very striking way: Renault holds 31.1% of the market so far in April above Peugeot at 24.3%, Citroen at 16.6% and Dacia at 6.5%, adding up to a whopping 78.5% of the French market over the period vs. just 53.8% over Q1 2020. Add DS and the 80% mark is eclipsed.

This Post Has 3 Comments
  1. Hi Matt, why do you consider Dacia as a French brand? Because the owner is French? Then we should include also for example Opel…

  2. Hi Matt. How is it possible that there is an improvement on the situation halfway through the month due to a significant surge over the last 3 days of the period, if the lockdown has not changed during those days? I mean, the main reason for the collapse is that consumers are not allowed to leave their homes and dealers are closed. How can there be sales/regs is there’s no activity at all?

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