January and February’s car sales in France were quite successful in terms of growth to say the least. Similar to the current trend in Germany the performance of the different market channels in France shows a healthy development. The YTD (year-to-date) amount of self-registrations on car dealerships and manufacturers grew slightly with a + 2.5%, which was less than the Total Market growth of + 3.4%, meanwhile the volume on Short-Term Rental companies dropped massively with a – 17.1%. The Private Market was in good shape (+ 5.3%) but it was True Fleet that delivered a brilliant performance: impressive surpluses of + 14.7% in January and + 13.8% in February summed up to a growth of + 14.2% YTD.
Brand and model performance: Peugeot 3008 and Ford Mondeo on the rise
This positive trend is also visible in the analysis by brand: Three quarters of the top 20 brands achieved a higher volume than in the first two months of 2017. With + 41.9% Peugeot took the crown from Renault and the leading duo was followed by Citroën, Volkswagen, Ford (with a remarkable + 38.3%) and Audi. Mercedes had a very good start and with a YTD growth of + 35.0% the brand jumped from rank number 9 into 7th place. This result was mainly fuelled by the Compact line-up with A-Class (+ 81.8%!), CLA, GLA and B-Class. The top 10 was completed by BMW, Toyota and Nissan.
It is certainly not a ground breaking finding that French company car drivers surely have a certain favour for domestic products. Nevertheless, it is impressive to see that the first eleven positions in the model ranking went to French cars with 5 x Peugeot, 4 x Renault and 2 x Citroën. Especially Peugeot’s SUV range as they become more and more popular. With the 5008 already ranked 6th, the smaller 3008 left behind all its competitors and secured itself to top spot for both January and February 2018. This success becomes even more noteworthy if you take into account that the Renault Clio was number one fleet car every single full year between 2008 and 2017.
The first non-French models in the ranking were the Volkswagen Tiguan in 12th position followed by Volkswagen Golf and Ford Mondeo. The last-mentioned is certainly worth a closer look. Or did you really expect the Mondeo leading the Middle Class segment in France? January and February 2018 were the strongest months ever for the Mondeo both in terms of market share and absolute volume in True Fleets. However, it will be tough to stay ahead in this very competitive vehicle segment particularly with the recent launch of Peugeot’s the second generation 508 at the Geneva Motor show. Bearing in mind the Frenchs’ aforementioned penchant for home-grown brands the Efficient-Modular-Platform-2-based model will surely play an important role once it enters the market.
Fuel type performance: Hybrids pretty strong
The comparison with January/February 2017 shows a drop for Diesel of 6.8 percentage points in True Fleet while Petrol engines gained 5.6 percentage points in market share. In other words, Alternative powertrains couldn’t particularly benefit from the continuing Diesel slide. However this was more due to declining shares for pure EVs and CNG, while Hybrid registrations reached a record share in January 2018. Again the Ford Mondeo played a significant role here. As the top seller within Hybrids it was followed by four different Toyota models, the Lexus NX and the Kia Niro.