In both September and October, the French passenger car market was less affected by the impact of WLTP than the other big European countries. With a drop by only 1.5% in October there were hopeful signs that this market would maybe return to growth in November.
Unfortunately, that didn’t happen and we saw a decline of 4.7% overall or less than 172,000 registrations. While the Private channel was very stable (- 0.3%), the registrations of Dealerships, Manufacturers and Short-Term Rentals were down by no less than 10.9%. And True Fleets? A decline of 6.7% in November pushed the year-to-date growth rate below 4% (+ 3.8%).
Thanks to a + 2.0%, Peugeot was able to expand its leadership. Just five registrations more and the French brand would have scored a market share of exactly 30 percent but the 29.99% was its best ever in the French fleet market nevertheless! Meanwhile, Renault in second position, Citroën in third and Mercedes in fifth suffered losses, while VW (4th) managed a small positive, and interestingly all top 5 kept their positions in the ranking. BMW in 6th (+ 1.9%) gained one rank and Toyota in 7th even two, thanks to a remarkable + 33.4%. Ford (8th) and Audi (9th) missed their volumes from November 2017 but Volvo entered the top 10 with a stunning + 37.1%. The biggest support for the Swedish manufacturer came from two SUV models; the XC60 (delivering an impressive + 52.6%) and the all-new XC40 which pushed Volvo’s market share to a new record of 2.1%. Opel in 11th place missed the top 10 but once again have been showing a noteworthy consistency. Over the last 16 months their market share has always ranged between 1.7% and 2.1%.
The SUV subsegments Small and Medium continued their rise and both scored new record shares (10.2% and 10.0% respectively). The group of small SUVs was led by Peugeot’s 2008 and eight out of the top 10 models showed increasing figures, some of them even with three-digit growth rates when compared to November last year.
Speaking of growth rates: the biggest increase by percentage came from a segment you might not have expected. It was the Mini Car class with a + 46.1%. The full electric models Peugeot Ion and Citroen C-Zero made an especially huge jump, ranking fourth and fifth in the segment behind Renault Twingo, Fiat 500 and Smart ForTwo (of which a third was the Electric Drive version). But there was another EV with an outstanding result; the Renault Zoe with + 150.8% and ranking 10th overall (!). Consequently, it wasn’t a big surprise that the share of EVs was the highest ever in the French Fleet Market (4.1%). This is significantly higher than in the Private sector (only 1.6% in November and 1.2% year-to-date) while the percentage of Hybrids is pretty similar between companies and private households.