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France September 2020: Peugeot 208 II, 2008 II & Dacia Sandero keep Clio V outside podium, volumes down -3%

The Peugeot 2008 II 3peats at #2, an all-time record ranking at home for the nameplate.

At -3% year-on-year in September to 168.291 registrations, the French new car market puts a dreadful August (-19.8%) in the rearview mirror, but can’t quite match the positive scores of June (+1.2%), and July (+3.9%). The year-to-date tally is now down -28.9% to 1.166.700 units. We at BSCB had predicted a harsher “back to school” month for France (-10%), but we’ll keep our predictions virtually intact for October (-7%), November (-5%) and December (-5%) as a second wave of Covid-19 is currently hitting the country and threatening to return some cities to lockdown. As a result we’ll adjust our 2020 forecast slightly up from 1.69 million last month to 1.71 million, yet the year-on-year evolution remains at -23%. Company sales are actually up 5.9% year-on-year this month while private sales down just -1.2%, the entire damage being done by weak artificial channels such as demo sales and short-term rentals which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Dacia (+34.9%) scores the largest gain in the Top 10 just as the third generation Sandero is revealed.

In September, petrol sales are down -22.4% to 75.246 and 44.7% share vs. 55.9% in September 2019, diesel is off -28.9% to 53.489 and 31.8% vs. 35.4%, HEV shoots up 108.3% to 18.302 and 10.9% share vs. 5.1%, BEV is up 138.2% to 10.009 and 5.9% share vs. 2.4% and PHEV surges 480.2% to 7.839 and 4.7% share vs. 0.8%.YTD, petrol sales drop -40.3% to 572.918 and 49.1% share vs. 58.5% over the same period in 2019, with diesel registrations off -35.2% to 362.142 and 31% vs. 34.1%, HEV are up 45.4% to 109.737 and 9.4% vs. 4.6%, BEV up 132.2% to 70.535 and 6% vs. 1.9% in 2019 and PHEV sales soar 239.5% to 40.284 and 3.5% share vs. 0.7% last year.

Audi (+39.6%) remains ahead of BMW (-14.2%).

In the brands ranking, Peugeot (+6.7%) swims upstream to repeat at #1 with 19.2% share, a full percentage point above its YTD level (18.2%). This is the fourth time Peugeot is #1 at home in 2020 after January and February and only the second time it ever tops the charts in September (after 2017) as end of quarters are traditionally times when Renault artificially pads up volumes with Quarterly Reports in mind. The arrival of Luca De Meo seems to already have resulted in the removal off this unprofitable commercial practice, with Renault (-16%) down drastically to remain at #2 with 18.2% share, this time one percentage point below its YTD level of 19.2%. Citroen (-10.3%) also underperforms but Dacia (+34.9%) shines brightly with the largest gain in the Top 10, this just as the new generation Sandero and Logan are revealed. Volkswagen (-7.3%) reclaims the 5th place off Toyota (+5.9%) just as Ford (+4.2%) signs the 4th and last uptick in the Top 10. Further down, Suzuki (+86.3%), Audi (+39.6%), Mitsubishi (+31%), Jeep (+24.9%), Alfa Romeo (+23%) and Nissan (+12.9%) impress in the remainder of the Top 30.

The Peugeot 208 II is getting closer to its first annual win at home.

Model-wise, the Peugeot 208 II (+5335.4%) and 2008 II secure the Top 2 spots for the third consecutive month, with the 2008 nameplate 3peating at an all-time #2 ranking record at home. The Dacia Sandero (+65.1%) stays in third place as it is being cleared out before the arrival of the third generation at the end of the year. This means the Renault Clio V (-12.5%) spends a third straight month outside its traditional Top 2 level, unheard of for any generation of this nameplate launched in 1990. Renault aficionados will point out the imminent arrival of the Hybrid variant and the sustained success of the Renault Zoe (+83.5%) as consolation prizes. It all however means that the 208 II now has a 4.752-unit advantage over the Clio V year-to-date, not unsurmountable but definitely a step closer to the annual win. The Renault Captur II ends the month only 44 sales below the Clio V: are we witnessing the start of a potential change of guard atop Renault sales? When considering Dacia and Opel as French-owned, the best-selling foreigner is the Toyota Yaris (-29.5%) above a surprisingly strong Aygo (+76.2%) and the Ford Puma down 6 ranks on last month to #18. The Mercedes GLA (+102.7%), Audi Q3 (+92.5%), VW Golf (+85.7%), Suzuki Swift (+83.5%) and Toyota RAV4 (+56.9%) also impress in the remainder of the Top 50.

These are preliminary results. Final and complete data will be uploaded to this post when made available to us.

Previous month: France August 2020: Reality check as market sinks -19.8%, Hyundai (+39.1%), Toyota (+2.4%) shine, 208 II and 2008 II tops again, Clio V down to #5

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

Full September 2020 Top 50 All-brands and Top 60 models below.

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