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France October 2018: PSA, Toyota help contain post-WLTP drop to -1.5%

14 months after launch, the C3 Aircross hits a record 2.5% share, helping Citroen up 14.7%.

* See the Top 20 best-selling brands and Top 50 models by clicking on the title *

The pre-WLTP rush aftermath, after cutting new car sales in France by 12.8% in September, has greatly reduced its impact with October registrations down just 1.5% to 173.799, in fact -5.8% in daily rates given this month has one additional opening day compared to October 2017. The year-to-date tally is now up 5.7% to 1.836.481 which is now the 4th largest 10 month volume in French history below 1990 (1.973.172), 1989 (1.921.716), 2001 (1.912.485) and 2011 (1.837.474). Private sales happily go against the market at +3.3% to 92.635 sales and 53.3% share vs. just 50.8% in October 2017. In contrast, artificial sales are logically panting with short-term rentals freefalling 24% and demo sales down 4%. So far this year, private sales also outpace the market at +6.7% to 881.500 units and 48% share vs. 47.5% over the same period in 2017.

Peugeot is the best-selling carmaker at home for the 6th time this year: a first.

Peugeot (+8.3%) vastly outperforms its home market once again to remain in first position for the 6th time in the past 10 months, a situation unheard of before in France. The brand benefits from its outstanding handling of the transition to WLTP with its entire lineup compliant well before the September 1 deadline, and crosses the symbolic 20% share mark for the 2nd time this year – and this decade – bettering its score to 20.12%. Peugeot sees its company sales up 9.5% (including long-term leases) to snap the #1 brand title on this channel with 12.569 sales vs. 10.486 for Renault (-8.2%), its private sales grow by 6.5% to 15.808, demo sales are up 21% to 4.041 and self-registrations are up 41.7% to 1.136 due to the launch of the Rifter and the new generation 508.

Toyota outsells Volkswagen to rank #1 foreign marque in France for the 2nd straight month.

Renault (-9.7%) falls faster than its home market, once again paying the price of overusing artificial registrations in the pre-WLTP period last summer. Showing an encouraging turn of events, Citroen (+14.7%) posts a third double-digit gain in the past 4 months to hit 10.8% share, its highest since last January (11%). Even more encouraging is Citroen’s stunning 33% uptick with private buyers this month. Cementing its 4th place YTD above Volkswagen, Dacia (+19.4%) brilliantly signs the largest gain in the Top 15, while Toyota (+18.3%) also posts an extremely strong result to remain inside the French Top 5 for only the 2nd time in history after last month. Other great performers include Seat (+26.5%), Volvo (+22.2%, +38% for private sales), Skoda (+15.5%), Mercedes (+14.7%, private +17.6%), Ford (+13.7%, private +17.6%), Mini (+8.2%), Hyundai (+8%, private +19.6%), Kia (+7.9%) and Opel (+5.2%, private +16.9%). At the other end of the scale, Volkswagen (-23.6%) whose lineup isn’t yet 100% WLTP-compliant, continues to struggle but the hardest hit in the Top 20 are Audi (-53.3%) and Nissan (-48.6%) and further down Infiniti (-93%) at 10 sales vs. 421 in August, Alfa Romeo (-71.3%), Porsche (-71.3%) and Land Rover (-61.3%).

Volvo private sales soar 38% year-on-year in France this month, mainly thanks to the XC40. 

The top of the models ranking returns to the YTD order with the Renault Clio (+9%), Peugeot 208 (+6%), Peugeot 3008 (+15%) and Citroen C3 (+20%) the most popular. In fact, the entire Top 6 best-sellers go against the market and post solid gains: add the Peugeot 308 (+7%) and Dacia Sandero (+17%), and there are only 3 declining nameplates in the Top 15: the Renault Megane (-25%), Captur (-20%) and Peugeot 2008 (-7%). The Citroen C3 Aircross soars 102% to secure its 4th ever Top 10 finish at home at #9 after last January (#10), July (#9) and September (#10). Finally the Renault Twingo (+30%) continues to take full advantage of the scrappage scheme put in place in the country. Just outside the Top 10 at #11, the Toyota Yaris (+26%) confirms it is the favourite foreigner in France – albeit produced locally – distancing the Ford Fiesta (+60%) at #14, Opel Corsa (+39%) at #16, VW Polo (-16%) at #17, Fiat 500 (-16%) at #19 and Toyota C-HR (+70%) at #22, equalling its ranking record also hit last August. The DS 7 Crossback (+581%), Renault Zoe (+125%), Fiat Panda (+80%), Opel Crossland X (+51%), Citroen C4 Cactus (+49%) and Ford Ecosport (+44%) also impress in the Top 50 just as the VW T-Roc (#30) tops all recent launches (<12 months).

Complete data will be uploaded to this post when available.

Previous post: France 1-17 October 2018: Citroen (+18%), Toyota (+16%) shine, Audi (-75%), Nissan (-53%), VW (-44%) still hurting

Previous month: France September 2018: Toyota scores first Top 5 in market down 12.8%

One year ago: France October 2017: Peugeot 3008/5008 tandem triumphs

Full October 2018 Top 20 brands and Top 50 models below.

France 1-17 October 2018: Citroen (+18%), Toyota (+16%) shine, Audi (-75%), Nissan (-53%), VW (-44%) still hurting

The C3 (+26%) helps Citroen up 18% to 11.7% share at home so far in October.

* See the Top 10 best-selling brands and models by clicking on the title *

New car sales in France continue to suffer post-WLTP hangover at -6% year-on-year over the first 17 days of October. Peugeot (+7%) holds onto the pole position thanks to a strong result whereas Renault is stable at #2, but it’s Citroen (+18%), Toyota (+16%) potentially headed towards a second consecutive – and ever – 5th place monthly finish, and Dacia (+15%) that impress the most in the Top 10. Reversely, Volkswagen (-44%), Nissan (-53%) and Audi (-75%!) are still decimated by overuse of pre-WLTP registrations and they are still busy selling off as 0km 2nd hand the cars they artificially registered before September 1. Model-wise, the Renault Clio (+29%) is already back to #1 just as the Citroen C3 (+26%) outsells the Peugeot 208 (+4%) for now, with the 3008 (+6%) and 308 (+10%) also making it into the Top 5. Excellent hold of the Toyota Yaris (+24%) in 6th place.

Previous post: France 1-4 October 2018: No improvement just yet for Audi, VW, Nissan

Previous month: France September 2018: Toyota scores first Top 5 in market down 12.8%

Full 1-17 October 2018 Top 10 brands and models below.

France September 2018: Toyota scores first Top 5 in market down 12.8%

Toyota is up to 5th best-selling brand potentially for the first time in French history.

* Now updated with the Top 40 best-selling brands, Top 265 models and Top 10 private sales *

The French market was one of the most sensitive to pre-WLTP stock clearances in August with sales surging 40% artificially as the necessity of registering non-compliant cars before September 1 was coupled with the price increase of a high number of vehicles due to greater emissions under the new testing. In that context, I was bracing for a much larger drop than the -12.8% in September at 148.752 units which translates into -8.5% in daily rates as there was one less opening day compared to September 2017. This keeps the year-to-date volume up 6.5% to 1.662.684, the 4th highest 9-month tally in French history and the highest in 17 years, since the 1.713.958 reached in 2001 (see table below). Private sales drop just 8.2% year-on-year to reach 50.6% share vs. 48% a year ago just as artificial channels logically retreat:  short-term rentals (-40.4%) and demo sales (-6.7%) amount to 23.9% share vs. 28.2% in August and 27.1% YTD, while fleet sales are at 22.6% share vs. 24.3% due to long-term leases down 24.8%.

The Citroen C3 hits its highest market share since March 2011. Pictures largus.fr

Annual volume records9 months volume records
2.309.130 (1990)1.750.049 (1990)
2.274.307 (1989)1.713.958 (2001)
2.268.671 (2009)1.691.132 (1989)
2.254.732 (2001)1.662.684 (2018)
2.248.100 (2018 predicted)1.661.376 (2011)
2.217.149 (1988)1.632.617 (2002)
2.212.661 (2010)1.621.977 (2010)
2.204.065 (2011)1.613.501 (2009)

Peugeot (+0.7%) snaps the #1 brands ranking at home for the 5th time this year at 19.7% share, enjoying the benefits of a WLTP-compliant lineup just as Renault (-23.5%), down to 18.9% share, is enduring the hangover from a aggressive pre-WLTP push last month. The two brands show even more radically opposed fortunes in the private sales channel with Peugeot up 11.2% to 14.155 or 48.2% share while Renault freefalls 26.1% to 12.954 or 46.1%. Citroen (+4.7%) also manages a solid gain to 10.6% share, its highest since last January, thanks to very strong private sales accounting for 55% of its mix vs. just 38% a year ago. Dacia (+5.5%) is doing even better to cement its #4 YTD spot ahead of Volkswagen and confirming it is the #3 brand with French private buyers thanks to 90.704 sales vs. 80.805 for Citroen.

Peugeot is the best-selling brand at home for the 5th time this year vs. 4 for Renault.

Up to 5th place overall, Toyota (+11.7%) is the best performing carmaker in the Top 12 and the only one sporting a double-digit gain, with very healthy indicators showing private sales up 13% to 68.5% share and demo sales down 22% to just 10.5%. Even if in atypical circumstances, this is the first time Toyota breaks into the French Top 5 brands since at least 2012 and potentially ever. As a reminder Toyota produces the Yaris locally in Valenciennes. Ranking-wise, Toyota has benefitted from post-WLTP hangover of Volkswagen (-34.4%) in dire straits even though the German carmaker attempted to pad its freefalling private sales (-46%) down to 41.6% share with a hefty lot of demo sales (+46.2%) reaching 26% of its sales.

The Opel Corsa is the most popular foreign nameplate in France for the first time since May 2011.

Opel (+9.9%) is the other great performer in the Top 10 thanks to – how unusual – an exceptional performance in the private channel at +28% to 59.7% share, well above the market. This frankly contrasts with lukewarm scores in recent times prior to the PSA buyout and aligns with PSA’s almost perfect September scorecard – only DS (-8.4%) is down. Overall in the Top 40, only Lotus (+54.5%), Jaguar (+46.3%), Mitsubishi (+40.7%), Hyundai (+36.4%), Volvo (+29.2%), Ferrari (+11.8%), Mini (+8.4%) and Kia (+5.5%) are in positive but Audi (-55.4%) and Skoda (-20.6%) suffer greatly. The most impacted by post-WLTP hangover are Nissan (-76.6% year-on-year) going from 9.296 sales in August (#6) to 1.458 in September (#21), Alfa Romeo (-75.8%) from 1.404 to 169, Jeep (-44.5%) from 1.573 to 491, Porsche (-69.5%) from 902 to 124, Subaru (-78.1%) from 151 to 16 and Infiniti (-93.9%) from 421 to… 6. Note all percentages are year-on-year vs. September 2017.

Hyundai (+36.4%) is the fastest-growing carmaker in the Top 20 this month.

The Top 2 best-selling nameplates in France weather the storm and stay identical vs. August and YTD: the long-running Renault Clio (-5%) and Peugeot 208 (+6%) evolve like their respective marques but camp on their positions, meaning a 25th consecutive monthly win for the Clio. The Citroen C3 (+38%) finally seems to be taking off, scoring this 3rd generation’s only 2nd podium ranking after May 2017 and highest share to-date at 4.4%. Note this is only the third time in four years the Citroen C3 nameplate ranks on the French podium (add October 2014) and only the fourth time this decade the C3 is at or above 4% share at home alongside March 2011 (4.9%), January 2014 (4.1%), October 2014 (4.1%), January 2018 (4%) and February 2018 (4%). Since 2010, the C3 hit the 2nd place overall twice in March 2011 and December 2013.

First-ever monthly Top 20 ranking for the Mercedes A-Class in France.

Peugeot completes the Top 5 with the 3008 (+15%) up two spots on August to #4 and the 2008 (-1%) up five to #5. The Citroen C3 Aircross (+71%) scores its third-ever Top 10 after January (#10) and July (#9), the Opel Corsa (+72%) snaps its first #1 foreigner crown since May 2011 at #12, also its highest ranking since May 2011 (#9), followed by the Toyota Yaris (+26%) at #13 and now #1 foreigner YTD, the Fiat 500 (+1%) at #15 and the Mercedes A-Class (+55%) at #19, breaking into the French Top 20 for the first time in history (pb #21 in December 2017) and scoring the highest ranking by any Mercedes in France since the Class C in August 2004 (#19). Extremely rare feat – we have no trace in our records of it happening at least since 2004: all Volkswagens are relegated well outside the Top 20: the Polo (-37%) at #23, Golf (-53%) at #27, T-Roc at #29 and Tiguan (-49%) at #34. Outside the Top 50, three recent launches break ranking records: the BMW X2 is up 22 spots on August to #64, the Hyundai Kona is up 42 to #65 and the Volvo XC40 up 37 to #67.

Previous post: France 1-4 October 2018: No improvement yet for Audi (-75%), VW (-50%), Nissan (-47%)

Previous month: France August 2018: Pre-WLTP stock clearance pull market up 40%

One year ago: France September 2017: Best September since 2009 but up a shy 1.1%

Full September 2018 Top 40 brands, Top 265 models and Top 10 private sales below.

France 1-4 October 2018: No improvement just yet for Audi (-75%), Volkswagen (-50%), Nissan (-47%)

Audi sales are down 75% year-on-year so far in October in France.

* See the Top 10 best-selling brands and models by clicking on the title *

New car sales in France continue to endure the hangover of registrations pulled-forward to August in the wake of the September 1 implementation of the new WLTP emissions testing standard. Over the first five days of October, the market is down another 7% year-on-year. Peugeot (+8%), Citroen (+14%) and Renault (-18%) top the brands charts, an order not unusual given how back-loaded in the month Renault sales traditionally are. Toyota (+22%) continues to impress after scoring its first ever Top 5 monthly finish in September, as do Fiat (+35%) and BMW (+15%). If these early results are always to be taken with a grain of salt, there is one unmissable element: the depressed state of manufacturers that overused pre-WLTP stock clearances back in August is not disappearing just yet: Audi sinks 75%, Volkswagen is down 50% and Nissan down 47%. Notice also the temporary absence of Dacia in the Top 10.

Over in the models ranking, Peugeot justifies its domination by placing no less than 5 nameplates in the Top 10 for now. The 208 wins the week with the tiniest possible margin: one sale above the 3008, with both models up 18% year-on-year. The Peugeot 308 (-7%) is up to #5, the 5008 (+42%) up to #8 and the 2008 (-25%) up to #10. The Toyota Yaris (+27%) is the best-selling foreigner, one in just two in the Top 10 alongside the Fiat 500 (+81%).

Previous post: France September 2018: Toyota scores first Top 5 in market down 12.8%

One year ago: France October 2017: Peugeot 3008/5008 tandem triumphs

Full 1-4 October 2018 Top 10 brands and models below.

France 1-13 September 2018: Kia and Hyundai impress, VW at -61%

Kia sales are up 31% year-on-year so far in September in France.

* See the Top 10 best-selling brands and models by clicking on the title *

The hangover from the pre-WLTP sales rush of August continues, with French registrations down 18% year-on-year over the first two weeks of September. The brands ranking is slowing moving towards its traditional self with Peugeot (-11%), Renault (-16%) and Citroen (+2%) in the lead. Toyota (+4%) surprises in 4th place, overtaking Dacia (+19%) still in excellent shape. The rest of the Top 10 is reshuffled, with some great performances by Kia (+31%), Hyundai (+26%) and BMW (+26%) and some ghastly ones by Volkswagen (-61%!), Mercedes (-26%), Ford, Fiat and Opel all kicked outside the Top 10. In the models ranking, the Citroen C3 (+8%) takes the temporary crown above the Peugeot 208 (-1%) and 3008 (-15%) while the Renault Clio (+13%) and Dacia Sandero (+24%) score strong gains in the remainder of the Top 5. The Toyota Yaris (+30%) manages to stay at #6, the Dacia Duster (+19%) continues to gallop ahead and the Citroen C3 Aircross ranks 8th.

Previous post: France 1-6 September 2018: Sandero #1, Dacia up 20%, VW down 75%

Previous month: France August 2018: Pre-WLTP stock clearances pull market up 40%

One year ago: France September 2017: Best September since 2009 but up a shy 1.1%

Full 1-13 September 2018 Top 10 brands and models below.

France 1-6 September 2018: Sandero #1, Dacia up 20%, VW down 75%

The Dacia Sandero is the best-selling model in France outright so far in September.

* See the Top 10 best-selling brands and Top 10 models by clicking on the title *

As expected, the carmakers that rushed to register non WLTP-compliant cars before the new emissions rule’s implementation date of September 1 are waking up well hungover this month. In France, overall sales deep dive 37% year-on-year over the first six days of September. Volkswagen (-75%) is down to #10 vs. #5 YTD, Ford down to #11 vs. #7, Fiat down to #13 vs. #8 and Nissan down to #20 vs. #9. Meanwhile Peugeot (-32%) roughly follows the market to top the brands charts ahead of Citroen (-25%) and Renault (-18%) with Dacia (+20%), Kia (+22%), BMW (+14%) and Hyundai (+1%) also bucking the trend with year-on-year gains. The Dacia Sandero soars 30% year-on-year to snap the lead of the models ranking above the Citroen C3 (-28%), Peugeot 208 (-17%) and Renault Clio (+14%). Chances are this order will be remodelled before month-end though as Renault always backloads its months in France. The Citroen C3 Aircross lands at a solid 7th place with the Dacia Duster (+23%) also posting a double-digit gain at #9.

Previous post: France August 2018: Pre-WLTP stock clearances pull market up 40%

One year ago: France September 2017: Best September since 2009 but up a shy 1.1%

Full 1-6 September 2018 Top 10 brands and models below.

France August 2018: Pre-WLTP stock clearance pulls market up 40%

Nissan has artificially boosted its August volume by 104.4% to clear pre-WLTP stock in France.

* Now updated with the Top 40 brands, Top 265 models and Top 10 private sales *

Our August coverage of Spain and Italy showed some pretty striking movements due to stock clearances ahead of the implementation of the new WLTP emissions standard on September 1. The same applies to France, although there is one element to add to the mix: the price increase that the new standard is incurring. Car prices in France are subject to a bonus/malus system that adds or retracts a certain amount depending on their CO2 emissions level. Given emissions tend to be higher under the new WLTP standard, a large swath of cars saw their price increase quite significantly on September 1, another reason to rush sales of non-compliant models before the due date. As a result and almost completely artificially, new car sales in France surge 40% year-on-year in August to 150.391 registrations, the largest result for the month in 18 years, since August 2000 (156.576). The year-to-date tally is now up 8.9% to 1.513.933 units which is the 4th highest 8 month-tally in French history (see table below, the 2018 prediction is calculated by applying the 2018 YTD growth rate to the FY2017 figure).

The 500X (+136%) helps Fiat up 60.8% in France in August.

Annual volume records8 months volume records
2.309.130 (1990)1.610.885 (1990)
2.298.700 (2018 predicted)1.560.914 (2001)
2.274.307 (1989)1.532.030 (1989)
2.268.671 (2009)1.513.933 (2018)
2.254.732 (2001)1.493.813 (2011)
2.217.149 (1988)1.479.548 (2002)
2.212.661 (2010)1.454.281 (2010)
2.204.065 (2011)1.430.761 (1988)

Looking into the detail by channel unveils a lot of artificial activity in August in France. Private sales significantly trail the market but still bounce up 26.5% to 66.600 and 44.3% share vs. 49% a year ago, indicating strong promotion activity to attempt getting rid of pre-WLTP stock through retail. Company sales (including long-term rentals) also advance slower than the market at +22% to 33.500 and 22.3% share vs. 26.5% a year ago. But demo sales, essentially dealers registering cars themselves to later sell them as 0km used, shoot up 93% to 33.000 and 21.9% share vs. 15.9% in August 2017 and short-term rental sales surge 72% to 9.278 units or 6.2% share vs. 5% a year ago.

Renault is up 53.8% and the Captur up 107% to #3.

As we stressed in our Spanish coverage, the carmakers seeing the largest increases in August are the ones that have the most to lose from the new standards, ie whose lineup isn’t yet totally compliant. Accordingly, Renault sales surge 53.7% to 18.5% share, with company sales up 52%, private sales up 37% and demo sales doubling year-on-year but remaining at a reasonable level at 17.2% share. The PSA Group is the only manufacturer to have announced last week that 100% of all its brands lineups are WLTP compliant, and therefore don’t need to clear any stock, showcasing very healthy gains. Peugeot (+16.8%) sees its demo sales up just 27.4% and Citroen (+42.3%) is boosted by very strong private sales (+67.5%) while demo sales are up 57%, much less than the market. Similarly, Dacia’s 46% uptick is fuelled by sturdy private sales up 50% and enables the brand to return to 4th place in July for the 5th time this year and the 7th time ever, but also YTD with a slim 858 sales advantage over Volkswagen, up 34.2% in August.

The Dacia Duster is #2 with private buyers below the Dacia Sandero – a historical first in France.

In the Top 10, Nissan (+104.4%) is the most striking pre-WLTP culprit with demo sales up 353% year-on-year to represent a whopping 57% of its August volume. Fiat (+60.8%) is the only other Top 10 carmaker outpacing the market, with Audi (+39.1%), Ford (+25.9%) and Toyota (+13.7%) posting thinner gains. Porsche (+321.5%), Mitsubishi (+250.8%), Alfa Romeo (+222%), Jeep (+192.9%, 40% are demo sales), Seat (+118.8%), Volvo (+76.9%) and Skoda (+55.5%) all post extravagant gains just below, while a few smaller brands owe their August uplift solely to pre-WLTP stock clearances: 83% of Infiniti August volume is demo sales, 67% of Subaru’s, 55% of Maserati’s, 52% of Mazda’s, 50% of Jaguar’s and 41.6% of Land Rover’s… Opel (+2%) for its part posts one of the smallest year-on-year gains in the entire French market this month, and despite all its lineup already being WLTP compliant, demo sales still represent 38% of it August volume (+39.2%), well above the market’s level of 21.9%.

Artificial boost (1): The Nissan Juke is up 188% thanks to 69% demos sales.

The Renault Clio (+20%) and Peugeot 208 (+26%) trail the market but hold onto the Top 2 spots, followed this month by the Renault Captur artificially boosted up 107% by demo sales up 191% to 23% share and short-term rentals up 271% to 14%, as well as healthy private sales up 61% to 45% share. The Citroen C3 (+33%) and Dacia Sandero (+21%) complete the Top 5 ahead of the Peugeot 3008 (+38%). Thanks to private sales up 116% and demo sales up 229% but weak at 15.6% share, the Dacia Duster leaps up 126% to #7 for the second time in the past 4 months (with last May), its second best ranking below the #5 it hit in November 2011 and February 2013 and only the second time in French history that two Dacias feature in the Top 7 – also alongside last May. A historical first, the Dacia Sandero (+33.4%) and Duster (+116.1%) are the 2 best-selling vehicles in France with private buyers this month: the very first time Dacia manages a 1-2.

Artificial boost (2): The Alfa Romeo Stelvio is up 407% thanks to 43% demos and 30% short term rentals.

The Renault Megane jumps 78% to round up the August Top 8 and the Nissan Qashqai (+105%) artificially breaks into the French Top 10 for the third time ever after March 2013 (#9) and May 2013 (#10). This is due to demo sales up 5-fold on August 2017 to 57% of its volume, one reason being new September pricing under WLTP standards increasing significantly. Similarly, the Nissan Micra is up 99% to #20 thanks to 54% demos and the Nissan Juke is up 188% to #21 thanks to 69% demos. Also notable are the Renault Scenic (+96%) thanks to 25% demo sales up 352%, the VW Tiguan up 150% to #16 with 21% demo sales up 5-fold, the Renault Kadjar (+64%), Toyota C-HR (+98%) breaking its ranking record at #22 (previous best #23 hit first in February 2017) and the Fiat 500X up 136% thanks to 31% short term rentals vs. 29% private sales. Further down, notice also the Fiat Tipo (+95%), Audi Q2 (+81%), Jeep Compass (+753%) smashing its ranking record at #34 (previous best #56 last month), the Audi A1 (+138%) thanks to private sales up 165% to 59.5% of its volume, the Opel Crossland X (+121%) thanks to 49% demo sales and the Alfa Romeo Stelvio (+407%) at 43% demos and 30% short term rentals.

Outstanding success for the Alpine A110. Picture largus.fr

Recent launches (<12 months) comparatively have a slow month as they typically are already WLTP-compliant and don’t benefit from rushed registrations. The Citroen C3 Aircross drops 3 spots on July to #12, the Citroen C4 Spacetourer is down 13 to #36, the Seat Arona remains at #37, the VW T-Roc is down 10 to #43 and the DS 7 Crossback is down 27 to #59. Reversely, the Peugeot Rifter is up 106 ranks on last month to #66, outselling the Partner it replaces for the first time, the BMW X2 is up 18 to a new record #86, the Skoda Karoq is up 5 to #95, the Alpine A110 up 46 to #118 and the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross up 25 to #216.

Previous month: France July 2018: Two more days, artificial sales boost market up 18.9%

One year ago: France August 2017: Dacia above VW to rank #4 for the second time ever

Full August 2018 Top 40 brands, Top 265 models and Top 10 private sales below.

France July 2018: Two more days, artificial sales boost market up 18.9%

The DS 7 Crossback represents 50.6% of the brand’s sales in France in July.

* Now updated with the Top 40 brands, Top 270 models and Top 10 private sales *

Helped by two additional selling days vs. July 2017, the French new car market advances by a stunning 18.9% year-on-year this month to 175.396 registrations, registering its 7th consecutive year-on-year uplift, the 14th gain in the past 15 months and lifting the year-to-date volume up 6.3% to 1.363.546 units. That’s the 4th highest 7-month volume in history in France behind 1990 (1.430.556), 2001 (1.412.749) and 2011 (1.385.029). The spectacular July gain is the largest year-on-year improvement French new car sales have experienced since May 2016 (+22%), even if the growth adjusted for daily rates is a much lower but still robust +8.1%. All channels grow strongly this month but private sales trail the market slightly at +15.5% to return below the symbolic 50% mark at 49.7% vs. 51.1% a year ago. Short-term rental sales surge 30%, company sales including long term rentals are up 20.7% but the manufacturers’ favourite “fake” channel, demo and dealer sales, traditionally used to pad monthly deliveries, are sadly the most dynamic at +32.7% giving the month a definite artificial flavour.

The Peugeot 3008 (#3) has never been so close to the monthly pole position in France.

Let’s also not forget the impact the new Worldwide harmonised Light vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP, ) is having on registrations across Europe. This is particularly true in France where a “bonus/malus” system is in place, which removes or adds a sometimes very significant amount to the selling price of each car depending on its emissions, and the local press is stressing the fact that almost all vehicles sold in France are likely to see their price increase as a result of the WLTP implementation on September 1. This way, many fleet operators and dealerships themselves are purchasing cars now in order to avoid the likely steep increase in a couple of months and, in the case of dealerships, to be able to sell these cars as 0km without the WLTP added tax. So as much as I would have loved to declare the 18.9% gain in French sales is due to World Cup victory-induced euphoria, it is not really the case so far.

The Citroen C3 Aircross breaks its ranking record at home at #9…

For the fourth time this year (already a record) after January, February and April, Peugeot is the most popular carmaker at home despite gaining less ground than the market at +15.7% to 17.5% share vs. 17.9% YTD, distancing Renault (+14.8%) at 15.8% share and Citroen (+13.2%) at 10%, meaning the 3 main French manufacturers lose market share year-on-year in July. To be noted is the push towards health by Renault, reducing its demo sales by 13.3% in a market up 32.7% to just 6.1% of its deliveries, whereas Peugeot demo sales are up 20.9% to 11% share and Citroen’s are up 13.6% to 10%. One of the biggest events of the First Half 2018 in France was the historical 4th place of Dacia, ahead of Volkswagen for the first time. This unique situation isn’t anymore, with VW (+23.4%) now back above Dacia (+18.3%) both in July and YTD. Toyota (+31.7%) reclaims the 6th spot it holds YTD off Fiat (+61.5%) delivering the largest year-on-year gain in the Top 20 thanks to short-term rentals.

Jeep deliveries surge 82.7% year-on-year in July, propped up by demo sales.

Nissan (+48.1%) is also very impressive in 8th place (its highest since September 2017), however reading between the lines reveals the largest demo sales gain in market at a whopping +178% to an incredible 48% of its July sales. The 3 premium Germans all lose significant share year-on-year this month with Audi (-2.3%) reclaiming the lead both in July and YTD for only 30 sales, ahead of Mercedes (-3.7%) and BMW (+3.3%). BMW demo sales are up 81% to a huge 26% of its July deliveries, Mercedes also in the naughty corner with demos up 67% to an even more worrying 34.5% share in July. Some very dynamic brands at the tail end of the Top 25 also owe their spectacular growth to soaring demo sales: Jeep (+82.7%) is matched by demo sales up 82% to 27% of its July volume and DS (+49.6%) sees its demo sales up 50% to 11.9% of its total.

The Seat Arona smashes its ranking record to #33, by far the brand’s best-seller in France.

Seat (+42.6%), Skoda (+29.9%), Hyundai (+29%), Volvo (+27.1%) and Ford (+24%) also impressare healthier whereas Mini (-26.4%) freefalls. Also of note is a very interesting return to a healthy mix for Opel, already making news this month with a first H1 profit in 19 years under the control of PSA. Opel is a brand that has traditionally been burdened with a very high rate of artificial sales, but its weak July uplift (+12.2%) is actually due to short-term rentals freefalling down 26% to just 3% of its July sales vs. 22% YTD, demo sales down 11% to 18% share and – the most impressive and significant – private sales shooting up 36% to account for 64.6% of its July volume – well above the 49.7% market average – vs. 43.6% YTD. Finally, notice Alfa Romeo demo sales surging 171% to a whopping 48% of its July sales, Honda demos up 145% to 50%, with Mitsubishi (+204.4%), Jaguar (+79.1%), Subaru (+46%) and Porsche (+39.3%) also posting extravagant gains and newly relaunched Alpine crossing the 500 units sold since the start of the year.

The Peugeot 5008 breaks its ranking record at home to #12.

Model-wise, the Renault Clio (+10%) and Peugeot 208 (+8%) remain in control but both lose share vs. a year ago, as does the Peugeot 3008 (+14%) back in the third spot it holds YTD. This month the 3008 is only 755 sales off the French pole position: this is the closest the nameplate has ever been to being the outright best-selling nameplate in France (previous best: 926 exactly a year ago in July 2017). Naturally, the Peugeot 3008/5008 tandem is by far the most popular “unofficial” vehicle in France at 5.8% share vs. just 4.4% for the Clio, and this for the 5th time this year after January, February, April and May. The Dacia Sandero (+17%) and Peugeot 2008 (+18%) match the market and both edge past the Citroen C3 (+1%) already weak less than two years after launch, and the Renault Captur (+11%), handicapped by Renault’s policy of loading up on sales at the end of every quarter (March and June), drops five spots on last month to #8.

Ford Fiesta sales are up 156% year-on-year in July.

The Citroen C3 Aircross is up 4 ranks on June to hit a record #9, breaking into the French Top 10 for only the 2nd time after last January (#10) while the Renault Megane (+41%) uncharacteristically posts the largest gain in the Top 10 (WLTP?). The Peugeot 5008 (+39%) breaks its ranking (#12) and share (1.8%) records (previous bests #15 and 1.6% last November) just as the Toyota Yaris (+38%), VW Tiguan (+161%, hitting a new ranking record at #13) and Nissan Qashqai (+62%) all fit within the July Top 14 whereas foreign YTD leader the VW Polo (-24%) is down to #19. Adding the Dacia Duster at #15, there are 8 SUVs in the French Top 15 in July, a new all-time record.

First Top 100 finish for the XC40 which has become Volvo’s best-seller in France.

The Fiat Tipo (+161%), Ford Fiesta (+156%), Ecosport (+133%), Fiat Panda (+86%), 500X (+71%) and Citroen C4 Cactus (+58%) all shine further down the ladder. Among recent launches, the Citroen C4 Spacetourer – in fact a rebranded C4 Picasso – leaps up 78 ranks on June to #23, the DS 7 Crossback is up 6 spots to a new record #32, toppling the VW T-Roc at #33 (-5) while the Seat Arona breaks into the French Top 50 (and Top 40) for the first time at #37 (+18) and the Volvo XC40 scores its first Top 100 at #90 (+35). Looking at the private sales channel, the Dacia Sandero (+10.7%) remains comfortably at #1 ahead of the Peugeot 208 (+9.7%), Renault Clio (+4%) and Peugeot 2008 (+9.9%), replicating the YTD Top 4. The Dacia Duster (+23.1%) is down to #8 but remains #5 YTD, the Toyota Yaris (+39.3%) is the only “foreigner” (albeit made in France) in the July Top 10 but the YTD Top 10 is now 100% French as the Renault Twingo (+34.6%) knocks the VW Polo out.

Previous post (1): France 1-17 July 2018: Peugeot 3008 in top spot, 5008 in Top 10

Previous post (2): France H1 2018: Dacia above VW, Top 13 is 100% French for 1st time since 1979

Previous month: France June 2018: Renault, Dacia, Fiat lift market to 3rd largest volume in history

One year ago: France July 2017: Peugeot 3008 on the podium for the first time

Full July 2018 Top 40 brands, Top 270 models and Top 10 private sales below.

France 1-17 July 2018: Peugeot 3008 in top spot, 5008 in Top 10

The Peugeot 5008 breaks into the July Top 10… so far.

* See the Top 10 best-selling brands and models by clicking on the title *

We continue on our Summer series studying the intermediary weekly rankings in France, this time looking at the first 17 days of July, and therefore extending the period to just after the country’s World Cup win, when sales are up 6% year-on-year vs. +9% a week ago. A large caveat to these rankings is the unusual positions some brands and models hold traditionally do not stick until the end of the month, but rather reflect the carmakers’ specific sales policies. Renault for example always waits until the very last few days of the month to load up on artificial sales (rental and demo sales, self-registrations…) and accordingly appears particularly weak throughout the month. Last note on this update is the official year-on-year evolutions are completely out of whack based on the data we published exactly a year ago, so the basis must be different.

If Citroen was the hero of last week with three nameplates in the Top 10, this time Peugeot is under the spotlight with almost 12.600 sales over the period (stable), that’s 30% more than Citroen (+9%) clinging to its 2nd spot, and 35% more than Renault (+14%). Volkswagen sinks 14% but ranks 4th vs. #5 YTD, Toyota (+27%) shines in 5th place above Fiat continuing to soar (+114%), a growth fuelled by rentals at 42%. Dacia (+9%) climbs back up two spots on last week to #7, dislodging Ford (+8%) and Nissan (+13%) while Audi (-21%) returns inside the Top 10 despite a steep fall. Model-wise, Peugeot places no less than five nameplates in the Top 10, with the 3008 in pole position like a year ago and the 5008 soaring 50% year-on-year to break into the Top 10. But the 208 (-16%) is already outsold by bot the Renault Clio (+22%) and Citroen C3 (-2%). The Toyota Yaris is now the only foreigner in the Top 10 at #7.

Previous post: France 1-9 July 2018: Citroen has C3, C3 Aircross and C4 Cactus in Top 10

Previous month: France June 2018: Renault, Dacia, Fiat lift market to 3rd largest monthly volume ever

One year ago: France 1-17 July 2017: Peugeot 3008 in pole position

Full 1-17 July 2018 Top 10 brands and models below.

France 1-9 July 2018: Citroen has C3, C3 Aircross & C4 Cactus in Top 8

The Citroen C4 Cactus is up 129% to #8 over the period…

* See the Top 10 best-selling brands and models by clicking on the title *

Being currently in France, I naturally get exposed a little more to the intermediary sales ranking published by local weekly Auto Plus. This time we can have a look at the best-selling carmakers and models over the first 9 days of July when the French market is up a very solid 9% year-on-year. Although defunct of any real meaning, these rankings nevertheless offer precious insights into a few carmakers’ various sales policies. Renault for example always registers the majority of its sales at the very end of every month – a clear indication of its heavy reliance on artificial channels such as demo sales and self-registrations – and therefore appears in a very uncharacteristic third place over the period, placing just one nameplate, the Clio, inside the Top 10.

…while the Citroen C3 is #1…

In contrast, very weak for the past year or so at home, Citroen starts July all guns blazing with volumes up 21% to  distance Renault by over 2.000 units, deserving of a 2nd place overall behind only Peugeot, itself trailing the market at +6%. Citroen even places the C3 in pole position over the period thanks to registrations up 14% year-on-year, the C3 Aircross at #7 – by far the most popular new launch on the country – and the C4 Cactus, whose 2nd generation has just replaced the C4 hatch, up 129% to #8 overall. Peugeot manages to place 3 nameplates in the Top 4: the 3008 (#2), 208 (#3) and 308 (#4).

…and the Citroen C3 Aircross #7.

Fiat shoots up 160% year-on-year to a fantastic 4th place just 82 sales below Renault (!) and has the 500 (+86%) at #10 but 60% of the Italian carmaker’s deliveries so far in July are to rental companies. Toyota (+24%) whose Yaris (+40%) is the best-selling foreigner over the period at #5 and Nissan (+23%) also shine while Kia breaks into the Top 10 whereas it only ranks 14th year-to-date. Meanwhile, Volkswagen (-36%) implodes and doesn’t place any nameplate in the Top 10 where the Polo ranked #4 exactly a year ago. Dacia also starts the month slowly at #9 vs. #4 so far in 2018 but will catch up for lost time over the next couple of weeks.

Previous post: France First Half 2018: Dacia passes Volkswagen to #4, Top 13 is 100% French for the first time since 1979

Previous month: France June 2018: Renault, Dacia, Fiat lift market to 3rd largest monthly volume in history

One year ago: France 1-17 July 2017: Peugeot 3008 in pole position

Full 1-9 July 2018 Top 10 brands and models below.

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