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France Full Year 2017: Renault Clio #1, Peugeot 3008 on podium, Top 12 100% French for the first time since 1980

The Peugeot 3008 second generation lands on the podium for its first full year of sales. 

* See the Top 60 All-brands, Top 435 All-models, Top 10 private sales, Top 10 used sales, Top 25 LCV brands and Top 100 LCV models by clicking on the title *

Consult over 120 years worth of French Historical Data here

Overall trends

The French new car market lodges a fourth consecutive year of gains in 2017 at +4.7% to 2.110.863 registrations, its highest annual score since 2011 (2.204.065) and above the average annual score of the past 20 years (2.04 million). Private sales continue to lose market share and spend their second year in a row (and ever) below 50% of the total market with sales trailing the overall growth but still up at +2.5% to 1.009.615 units and 47.8% share. Private sales dynamism is explained by the continued progression of leasing, in particular the LOA (in French Location avec Option d’Achat – Leasing with Purchase option) which accounts for 32% of total private sales in 2017 vs. 27% in 2016 and 20% in 2015. Leasing options are the darling of premium brands as it makes their cars more affordable. Tesla (57%), BMW (56%), Mini (55%), Smart (51%) and Mercedes (49.5%) are the brands with the highest LOA ratio on private sales in France this year, while Audi is a notch below at 40%. Among French carmakers, Renault (32.5% vs 27.5% in 2016) is right on-average, while Peugeot (28% vs. 24.5% in 2016) Dacia (27% vs. 20.5% in 2016) and Citroen (18% vs. 15% last year) are well below. Among strong LOA users are also Seat (33%), Volkswagen and Skoda (38%), Ford (41%) and Kia (51% vs. 39% in 2016).

The Renault Clio is the best-seller in France for the 19th time in the past 26 years.

Fleet sales are the most dynamic in France this year with +10% for business sales now accounting for a 9.8% share, +6.9% for long term leasing to 13% share and +5% for short term rental sales to 11% share. Following up on a trend we detailed in last year’s Report, demo sales are up a further 7% to 16.5% share vs. 15% in 2016 and 13.9% in 2015: this is the infamous self-registration process that sends unsold cars straight into the “zero km second-hand” market at heavily discounted prices. The biggest culprits of this method are Mercedes (23% of its 2017 sales), Nissan (22%), Fiat (21.8%), BMW (21.6%) and Opel (21.2%). French carmakers are more subtle: Citroen (16%, up 25% on 2016) is above average but Renault (down 5% to 11.5%) and Peugeot (up 0.6% to 10.8%) are below. Overall, the share of tactical sales (demo, self-registrations, short-term rentals) keeps progressing in France: from 25.9% in 2012 to 28.1% in 2016 and 30.2% in 2017, cracking the 30% milestone for the first time in history. The most virtuous carmakers are Dacia (only 13% tactical sales), followed by Suzuki (15%), Mini (19%), Toyota (21%) and Audi (23%). Peugeot is at 27% and both Renault and Citroen at 32%.

Mercedes overtakes Audi to become the #1 premium brand in France in 2017. 

Lastly, a much talked-about event in 2017 is the decline of diesel sales falling below petrol sales for the first time since 2000. Diesel sales are down 5% to 998.124 or 47.29% share vs. 52.1% in 2016 and falling to a low of 45% in December whereas patrol sales gain 13.7% to 1.004.310 and 47.6% share vs. 43.82% last year. For reference the share of diesel in total French new car sales was 73% in 2012, 67% in 2013, 64% in 2014 and 58% in 2015. Meanwhile Hybrid sales are up 39.7% to 81.547 and 3.9% share vs. 2.9% a year ago (plug-in hybrid are up 59.7% to 11.868) and electric sales are up 14.5% to 24.910 units and 1.2% share. As a whole, French manufacturers retain market share at 53.3% vs. 53.5% in 2016 and 52.5% in 2012.

The launch of the C3 Aircross has not reversed Citroen’s shrinking market share at home.

Brands ranking

Brand leader Renault trails the market in 2017 at +2.1% to return below 20% share at 19.7%, with private sales edging up just 0.8% at 40.5% share, well below the market average. Peugeot is one of the biggest winners of the year, doubling the market growth with deliveries shooting up 9.2% to 17.4% share and private sales are up 7% to account for 44.2% of it mix. Citroen ranks third as usual but only gains 3.3% to see its share decline further to 9.5%, having endured a series of setbacks this year despite the first full year of the C3 III and the launch of the C3 Aircross. In December, Citroen fell to a paltry 7.4% share – potentially its lowest in 97 years – and was outsold by Volkswagen for the first time in history. Meanwhile its premium division, DS, tumbles down 24.1% to just 1% share, the steepest decline in the Top 30.

Dacia is the #3 brand in France with private buyers, and the Sandero is #1. 

If Dacia remains in 5th place with sales up 6.6% to a new record volume just under 118.000 units (the 5th record in the past 10 years), this year the low-cost brand steps up to a fantastic third place in the private sales channels with deliveries up 7.9% to 98.740 or 9.7% share, distancing both Citroen (93.457) and Volkswagen down 8.6% to 67.286. In August, Dacia even managed to outsell VW for a 4th spot overall for the second time in history (along with a scrappage scheme-fuelled frenzy in March 2010), then holding 12.2% of the private market vs. 13.6% for Renault and 13.4% for Peugeot. Toyota is the other big winner this year, up 14.1% to overtake Ford (+6.6%) and settle in 6th place. Toyota’s private sales are up 13.6% to 58.112 and 35.6% LOA. Ford on the other hand sees its private sales fall 9.2% despite 40.7% LOA (+14%).

Toyota shoots up 14.1% thanks mainly to the new C-HR, up to #28.

Opel (+6.3%) gains 6.2% with private buyers (15.5% LOA), while Nissan (+3.5%) only edges up 1.1% on that channel. These two manufacturers have a much higher than average share of artificial sales with over 40% going to demo and short term rental sales, while for Fiat (+9%) this share climbs up to a very unhealthy 45%. Mercedes becomes the best-selling premium carmaker in France in 2017, ending the long-term domination of Audi. Its overall sales are up 9.6% to a new annual record at 68.000 units, private sales are up 5.9% but it’s demo sales that prep the brand up at +36.9% to 23.1% share. Audi (+1.6%) still manages to break a new volume record at 66.000 units (the 5th in the past 10 years) and keeps the premium leadership with private buyers (+1.8% to 30.517) while BMW (+1.3%), also at its highest ever at 61.000 sales, is only up thanks to demo sales up 36.7% to 21.6% share.

Kia breaks its annual volume record in France for the 7th time in the past 10 years.

Further down, Kia gains 10.5% to a record 37.000 sales (its 7th in the past 10 years) and displays one of the highest private sales ratios in market at 67.2% or 25.010 units (+8.9%). Hyundai is also up (+5.4%) to a new record at 30.000 units but sees its private sales thaw -0.8% to 19.137 or a strong 64.7% ratio. Other double-digit gainers in the Top 20 include Skoda (+13.5%) on its way to a new annual high of 27.000 (its 5th record in the past 10 years), Seat (+14.2%) and Suzuki (+22%). Other record-breakers in 2017 include Mini (26.000), Jeep (11.000), Porsche (5.500, 5th record in past 10 years) and Lexus (5.400, 6th record in past 10 years). Aston Martin (+55.4%), Tesla (+44.8%), Alfa Romeo (+25.6%) and Ferrari (+15.7%) also shine. Detailed figures as well as all the record years for the Top 30 brands are below the jump.

The Renault Captur remains in 4th place by the skin of its teeth in 2017.

Models ranking

Over in the models ranking, the Renault Clio celebrates seven consecutive years in the French pole position, roughly following the market at +4% to 5.5% share. This is the Clio’s longest streak of annual wins in France and the longest since the Renault 5 topped the annual charts for ten consecutive years from 1974 to 1983. The Clio now adds up to 19 annual wins in the past 26 years across four generations of the model, the first one being in 1992. This is the most wins of any nameplate ever on sale in France. Interestingly, the Clio has remained at the same market share since 2011, going against the overwhelming fragmentation trend over the past decade. This year’s victory is implacable: the Clio wins every single month vs. just 8 in 2016, 9 in 2015 and 11 in 2014, meaning the #2, the Peugeot 208 has not snapped a single monthly win in a calendar year for the first time since its launch in 2012. Down 0.2% to 4.6% share in 2017, it topped the charts 5 times in 2012, 2 in 2013, 1 in 2014, 3 in 2015 and 4 in 2016. The 208’s last monthly win dates back to August 2016.

The Peugeot 2008 ranked #4 YTD up until end November but ends 2017 at #5. 

The hero of the year is without contest the second generation Peugeot 3008, landing directly on the podium for its first full year of sales with over 74.000 sales. This is the largest volume ever generated in a single year by an SUV in France, and the star nameplate even tops a fantastic year by becoming the brand’s best-seller for the first time in December, outselling the 208. Its 7-seat variant the 5008 is also an instant blockbuster, up 67% to #23. The 3008-5008 tandem even became the unofficial best-seller in France in November when cumulated sales edged past that of the Clio. The previous generation 3008 only managed a personal best of #9 in both 2011 and 2012. The negative effect for Peugeot: the 308 (-12%) is knocked down to #7. A last minute rally brings the Renault Captur (-2%) back to where it was last year: at #4 above its archenemy the Peugeot 2008 (+3%) which had led the way all year. Both small crossovers are inside the French Top 5 for the third year in a row. We saw it above: the third generation Citroen C3, landing at #6 for its first full year in market and peaking at #3 in May, has not saved the marque. The Dacia Sandero (+9%), Renault Megane IV (+13%) and Scenic IV (+411%) round up the Top 10.

The VW Polo is the best-selling foreigner in France for the 8th straight year. 

For the fourth consecutive year, there are no foreign models inside the French Top 10 with the VW Polo the best-selling foreigner for the 8th year in a row but down 5% to #13. Astoundingly, this is the lowest ranking for the #1 foreigner in France in 37 years, since the VW Golf ranked #13 in 1980 and was one of only three foreign nameplates in the Top 20. In other words, the Top 12 best-sellers are 100% French (if counting Dacia as French because Renault-owned) for the first time since 1980. For reference, the highest annual ranking reached by a foreign nameplate in the past 50 years is #7, reached by the Ford Fiesta in 1985 and 1991 and the VW Polo in 2012. The VW Golf (#15), Toyota Yaris (#17), Nissan Qashqai (#18), Fiat 500 (#19), VW Tiguan (#20) posting its first ever Top 20 finish in France, Opel Corsa (#21) and Ford Fiesta (#22) follow. The Toyota C-HR is a smashing success for the Japanese carmaker, landing directly at #28 for its first full year of sales, with the Ford Kuga (+55%), Nissan Micra (+68%), Fiat Tipo (+140%), BMW X1 (+28%) and Mercedes GLC (+59%) also impressive in the Top 50.

Ford Kuga sales are up 55% year-on-year in France in 2017. 

Models ranking by channel – private sales and others

Big event in the private sales ranking by model: after missing out in the last days of the year in 2016, the Dacia Sandero takes the overall lead for the first time thanks to deliveries up 12% to almost 55.000, a comfortable 9.000-unit advantage over the Peugeot 208, down 7% while the Renault Clio is up 2% to remain at #3. For the third year in a row, the Peugeot 2008 (+5%) outsells the Renault Captur (-4%) with private buyers, with the Citroen C3 (+10%) remaining at #6, the Peugeot 3008 up 87% and 7 spots to #7 and the Dacia Duster down 4% to #8. Among foreigners, only the VW Polo makes it inside the Top 10 at #9. Note the Toyota C-HR outsells the Nissan Qashqai with private buyers.

The Citroen C3 is the best-selling model in the demo sales channel in 2017. 

In the demo sales channel, the new Citroen C3 is the leader with 3.9% share above the Renault Clio (3.4%) and Peugeot 208 (3.1%) with the Nissan Qashqai best foreigner at #10. Long term rentals see the Renault Clio and Megane on top ahead of the Peugeot 3008 (5.6% share), Renault Scenic and Peugeot 308 (-29%). Business and administration sales have the Peugeot 3008 as its clear leader with a stunning 8% share ahead of the Peugeot 208 and 308, Citroen C3 (5.4%), Renault Clio (4.3%) and Megane (2.7%). The Peugeot 5008 (2.3%) ranks at an impressive 8th place followed by the Citroen C4 Picasso (2.3%), with the VW Golf #1 foreigner at #11 (1.7%) just above the Tiguan (1.7%) while the Mercedes A-Class and GLC rank at #14 and #15.

The Renault Megane tops the under-1-year used car sales charts.

Best-sellers in the used car segment

For the first time on BSCB we can also share with you French used car sales data for 2017. A record total of 5.678.592 used cars changed hands in France this year, up 0.6% on the previous record established in 2016. Renault is down 3.3% but both Peugeot and Citroen edge up 0.4%. The best performing brands are Dacia (+15.9%), Skoda (+9.5%) Toyota (+8.4%) and Mazda (+8%). Model-wise, the Renault Clio is #1 despite sales down 1.7% to 407.000 ahead of the Megane down 8.4% to 364.000. The Peugeot 206 (-4.9%), Citroen C3 (+9.9%) and C4 (+2.8%) round up the Top 5 with the VW Golf (#6) and Polo (#10) inside the Top 10 but the Peugeot 208 outside. We can also share with you under-1-year used sales which are another indication of where those tactical new sales end up. The Renault Megane is tops at this little game despite a steep 21.6% year-on-year drop, distancing the Clio and Captur with the Citroen C3 and Peugeot 208 also in the Top 5. The Peugeot 3008 shoots up 98.6% to #7 and the Renault Kadjar (+8.7%) also breaks into the Top 10.

First appearance of the Renault Alaskan in the annual French LCV charts.  

Light Commercial Vehicle market

The French light commercial vehicle market remains the largest in Europe, up a robust 7% to 438.639 units in 2017. Renault is still the dominant force here but once again trails the market growth at +5% resulting in a lowered 31.4% share. Peugeot is up 12% to 16.8% while Citroen is up 11% to 15.7% and overtake Renault when cumulated which wasn’t the case in 2016. Fiat edges up 0.2% but sees its share thaw to 8.4% whereas Ford (+13%) and Volkswagen (+15%) both outpace the market and Toyota (+30%) impresses. The Renault Kangoo (+2%) celebrates 20 consecutive years as the #1 LCV in France, distancing the Renault Clio (-5%) and Citroen Berlingo (+4%) with the Renault Master (+8%) and Trafic (+14%) now above the Fiat Ducato (-1%). The Peugeot Expert soars 68% to #8 and the Citroen Jumpy is up 38% to #10. Pickup trucks gallop ahead, led by the Ford Ranger (+16%), Toyota Hilux (+36%), Nissan NP300 (-9%) and VW Amarok (+4%) while the Fiat Fullback is up 130% to #55, the Renault Alaskan points its bonnet at #63 and the Mercedes X-Class at #89.

Previous post: France December 2017: Volkswagen above Citroen for first time in history

Previous year: France Full Year 2016: Private sales under 50% share for the first time in history

Two years ago: France Full Year 2015: Fleet and rental sales push market up 7%

Full Year 2017 Top 60 All-brands, Top 435 All-models, Top 10 private sales, Top 25 LCV brands and Top 100 LCV models vs. Full Year 2016 figures below.

See also the All-time annual volume records for the Top 30 brands, Full Year 2017 Top 10 used cars and under 1-year old used car sales vs. Full Year 2016 figures below.

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