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France August 2019: Demo sales lift Smart (+479.5%), Suzuki (+130.5%) to record rankings in market down -14%

The Smart Fortwo is the best-selling foreigner in France in August.

07/09/2019 update: Now with the Top 50 All-brands and Top 355 All-models.

One year ago pre-WLTP stock clearances artificially boosted August sales up 40% in France, and they are logically down -14% this month to 129.259, but only -10% at same number of selling days and up 20.3% on August 2017 which is a much more realistic comparison rate. Even though the share of artificial sales is a lot lower than a year ago, it remains unusually high: demo sales account for 23% of the French market in August vs. 16.5% year-to-date, self-registrations are at 2.5% vs. 1.5% YTD while short-term rental sales (7.5%) and temporary registrations (1.7%) are consistent with their YTD level. As a result of this high artificial activity, private sales recede to 43% share vs. just under 50% in July and 44.5% YTD, while company sales hold 22% share vs. 25% last month. Diesel sales freefall to their lowest level in decades at just 31% vs. 40% in August 2019. Year-to-date, petrol sales gain 5.6% to 862.814 and 58.8% share vs. 54% over the same period in 2018, diesel registrations drop -18.1% to 497.832 and 33.9% share vs. 40.2%, hybrid sales gain 12.1% to 77.178 and 5.3% share vs. 4.5% and EVs soar 49.2% to 26.177 and 1.8% share vs. 1.2%.

The Suzuki Vitara is artificially up 256.6% to break into the Top 20.

In the brands ranking, Peugeot (-6.3%) resists much better than the market – partly due to a WLTP-ready lineup a year ago that didn’t greatly disrupt its sales, and snaps the #1 spot for the 5th time this year and a whopping 8th time in the past 12 months. Renault (-32.7%) loses one-third of its sales year-on-year, roughly equivalent to the artificial registrations added a year ago, but remains #1 YTD at 18% share vs. 17.4% for Peugeot. For once Renault leads in the private channel at 13.1% share vs. 11.7% for Peugeot, but the latter is ahead with companies and with demo sales at 2.951 vs. 1.991. Citroen (-5.7%) resists ok but sees its share thaw to 10% vs. 10.9% so far this year (+10%). Volkswagen (-13.4%) remains above Dacia (-29.3%) at shares consistent with their respective YTD levels. Note Dacia remains the #3 brand with private buyers just below Peugeot at 11% vs. 11.7% and above both Citroen and Volkswagen. Toyota (+12%) posts an excellent month thanks to outstanding private sales (8.1% share of this channel), but it’s Suzuki (+130.6%) that signs the largest gain in the Top 10, soaring 11 spots on July to a record 7th place overall with 4.2% of the market vs. 1.6% YTD. However this is almost entirely artificial and due to very high demo sales for the Vitara and Celerio. Mercedes (+13.3%) remains in the premium lead at #8 overall above Audi (-24.6%) at #10 and BMW (-21.6%) at #15. As we already saw in the intermediary weekly rankings, Smart (+479.5%) is on fire, up 10 spots on July to a record #13 and 2.5% share vs. 0.5% YTD but also due to demo sales, this time for the Fortwo. Tesla (+357.8%), Mitsubishi (+101.7%), Alpine (+51.4%), Lexus (+31.3%) and Honda (+22.7%) shine further down.

4th straight month at #1 for the Peugeot 208 I.

Model-wise, the Peugeot 208 I (-3.9%) continues to benefit from the Clio model changeover, topping the French sales charts for the 4th consecutive month but still #2 YTD (+0.2%), with 100 Peugeot 208 II demo sales registered for the month. The Citroen C3 (-6.2%) ranks #2 for the 2nd straight month and only the third time in the past 6 years (add December 2013) with the Dacia Sandero (-18.8%) remaining on the podium for the 3rd time in the past 4 months despite a painful fall. The Sandero remains the favourite of French private buyers at 6.2% share of this channel above the Renault Clio (4.9%), Citroen C3 (4.3%) and Peugeot 208 (3.9%). The Peugeot 3008 (-21.7%) and 2008 (-8%) round up the Top 5 – meaning there are no Renaults in the French Top 5 for the 2nd month running – above the Renault Clio IV aka Generation (-47.7%) up one spot on July to #6 and the Renault Clio V up 8 ranks on last month to post its first ever Top 10 finish at #7. Note Clio totals are back above 208 volumes this month. The Renault Twingo (+29.8%) scores the largest gain in the Top 10 thanks to its facelift.

The Peugeot 508 leaps up 575.5% thanks to the new generation.

The Smart Fortwo shoots up 615% year-on-year and 52 spots on July to a record #12 and the Suzuki Vitara (+256.6%) is up 50 ranks to a record #20, both thanks to unusually high demo sales volumes in anticipation go stricter emissions standards. This makes the Fortwo the best-selling foreigner in France for the month above the Toyota Yaris (+18.5%) at #14 but #7 and #1 foreigner with private buyers, the Nissan Qashqai (-55.2%) at #15, the VW Polo (+18.9%) at #17, the VW T-Roc (+92%) at #18 and the VW Tiguan (-32.3%) at #19. Below, notice the Citroen C5 Aircross down a worrying 9 spots on July to #22, the Peugeot 508 up 575.5% to #34 thanks to the new generation, the Suzuki Celerio (+358.2%), SX4 S-Cross (+237.9%) and Smart Forfour (+209.2%) also artificially boosted and the Mitsubishi Outlander (+172.6%), Space Star (+164.5%), Opel Karl (+144.1%), Kia Niro (+136.9%), Stonic (+117.1%), Toyota RAV4 (+98.4%), Renault Zoe (+55.6%), Audi Q3 (+51%), Mercedes GLA (+41.2%) and Opel Corsa (+35.2%) all in excellent shape. We welcome the Mazda CX-30 at #178.

Previous post: France 1-20 August 2019: Demo sales lift Smart up 854%, Fortwo #8 in market down -11%

Previous month: France July 2019: Citroen, Toyota, Mercedes help contain market loss to -1.8%, Renault down to lowest share this decade

One year ago: France August 2018: Pre-WLTP stock clearances pulls market up 40%

Full August 2019 Top 50 All-brands and Top 355 All-models below.

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