* See the Full Snapshot by clicking on the title! *
After Barcelona we go to France where I spent a large part of the past month between the Nice area and Paris. I’m calling this update a Car Landscape Snapshot as it summaries my impressions observing the cars in circulation in my native country, and not all pictures are mine… Remember to click on any picture to enlarge! This stay in France was the opportunity to spot my first new generation Peugeot 308 Station Wagon, on sale since a few months ago now here. And after that it was a regular flow of this variant of the new French model, roughly one every day for a solid 3 weeks… There are still more hatchbacks than station wagons on the roads, which by the way is in line with the new 308 firmly establishing itself inside the monthly Top 5 best-sellers in the country, but the SW variant is enjoying an extremely encouraging start at home.
The second striking French car landscape observation I made this month is the (expected, I know) unbelievable popularity of the Renault Captur/Peugeot 2008. Potentially with the help of a few rental cars, I will go as far as saying that in the French Riviera (this is not valid in Paris) on some days I spotted more Captur and 2008 than Clio IV and 208 respectively! Yes you have read that well. Obviously this is not an exact science but it gives you an indication of how fast and furiously these two small SUVs have conquered their home market. This simple observation opens up an era when for their 2nd generation, both the Captur and 2008 have good chances to overtake the Clio (V) and 208 (II) and take control of the overall models ranking. Huge news in a country dominated by superminis every year since… 1974 – bar the Mégane in 1997!
Third main finding: the high amount of 2nd generation Nissan Qashqai already sprawling in both Southern and Parisian streets this month, so soon after its launch. This means the transition between the two generations has been as smooth as Nissan could have hoped for, with the new Qashqai taking the relay exactly where the amazingly successful first generation left it, despite a slightly larger size and a very different look. This is confirmed by monthly sales figures with the Qashqai II already at #15 in July but seeing it with my own eyes had a different impact.
As far as new models are concerned, here too the sales ranking gets roughly confirmed in real life which is always a great feeling. I spotted my first two Citroen C4 Cactus (both in the South), in line with its first Top 20 ranking in July, my first Toyota Aygo II and Citroen C1 II but no Peugeot 108 yet – logical as the 3 Kolin triplets are only breaking into the monthly Top 100 now. In the LCV category, quite a few new gen Fiat Ducato and Peugeot Boxer can already be seen working hard in the streets of Paris…
Finally a Dacia observation: if last year I was impressed to spot one Dacia in every village in the Nice hinterland, this time the main info for the French-Romanian manufacturer is the extremely high incidence of 2nd generation Sandero (regular monthly Top 10 rankings consistently over the past 2 years will do that to you), and more precisely of Sandero Stepway: I estimate that roughly 50% of Sandero I spotted were the ‘pseudo-SUV’ variant of the model.
Full Photo Snapshot below.