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France May 2021: Renault Clio V and Dacia Sandero III lead market up 46.5% on 2020 but down -27.3% on 2019

The Renault Clio V and Dacia Sandero III are the best-selling vehicles in France in May. Picture largus.fr

The French new car market is up 46.4% year-on-year in May to 141.041 units, lifting the year-to-date tally up 50.1% to 723.258. However when comparing with two years ago pre-pandemic levels, May 2021 volumes remain significantly down at -27.3% on May 2019 (193.948) while year-to-date sales are down -22.7% on the same period in 2019 (935.478). According to AAA Data, private consumers are still hesitant to enter the new car market with private sales low this month at just 40% share. In contrast, company sales gain share at 15% vs. 14% in May 2020 and 12% in May 2019, as do short-term rental sales up to 17% vs. 8% in May 2020 and 19% in 2019. Demo sales are stable at 13%, the same share as in May 2020. Hybrid vehicles incl. PHEV account for a whopping 26% share thanks to 36.221 units, to be compared with 12% in May 2020 and 5% in May 2019. They are now above diesel sales down to a lowest-ever 22% share for the month (30.818 units). BEV sales remain at 8% share with 11.562 sales.

All evolutions are vs. May 2019. For the first time this year, Renault (-27.3%) reclaims the top spot in the brands ranking at 18.6% share while matching the market. It takes advantage of Peugeot skidding -35.1% to 16% share, however Peugeot easily remains the #1 carmaker year-to-date at 18.5% share vs. 16% for Renault and a difference of 18.450 sales. Citroen (-41.8%) is in dire straits, falling to just 8.7% share vs. 9.9% so far this year. Volkswagen (-5.2%) resists best in the Top 10 and threepeats at #4 with a strong 7.7% share vs. 6.5% so far this year. It however remains #5 year-to-date below Dacia (-27.9%). Toyota (-13.1%) halves the market drop and falls back to the 6th place it holds YTD. Audi (-5.4%) is the only additional Top 10 brand managing a single-digit loss just as competitors BMW (-27.8%) and Mercedes (-36.3%) struggle. Ford (-42.1%) endures the steepest fall in the Top 10. Below, Tesla (+411.1%), Mini (+19.1%), Hyundai (+8%), Volvo (+6%) and Honda (+4.7%) are the only mainstream carmakers sporting a gain vs. two years ago while Skoda (-1.9%), Seat (-3.8%) and Jeep (-3.6%) contain their loss. Newcomer MG is up 8 spots on April to a record #25 while Cupra remains at #29 and Aiways at #37.

Over in the models ranking, the Renault Clio V (+140.7%) repeats at #1 and sells 2.500 units more than any other nameplate this month. This however is not enough to surpass its archenemy the Peugeot 208 II in the year-to-date charts, as the latter still leads by 1.790 units at end-May even though it only ranked #3 this month. The Dacia Sandero III leaps up four spots on April to land in 2nd place overall for the month, and is up to #4 year-to-date, discarding the Citroen C3 (-32.1%) in difficulty this month at #7 overall. The Peugeot 2008 II dips one spot to #4 ahead of the Renault Captur II up two to #5 and the Peugeot 3008 (-33.7%) down two to #6. The Renault Zoe (+93.6%) marks a spectacular return in the Top 10, up 17 spots on last month to #9. The VW Polo (-1.1%) is up ten to #10, its first Top 10 finish since December 2019 and snapping the #1 foreigner title off the Toyota Yaris (-32.7%) down one rank to #11. The VW Golf (+7.3%) is back up 19 spots to #17 while the Tesla Model 3 (+557.65) is up 101 to #17.

Previous month: France April 2021: Renault Clio V back on top, Hyundai (+19.8%) impresses, sales down -25.4% on two years ago

One year ago: France May 2020: Market drops -50.2% as lockdown is lifted, worst May in 52 years

Full May 2021 Top 50 All-brands, Top 50 models and Top 10 EVs below.

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