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France 1969-1971: Peugeot 204 dominates

Peugeot 204

* See the Top 5 best-selling/most produced models by clicking on the title! *

For the first time since the end of the War, a Peugeot leads the year-end sales ranking in France. #2 in 1968, the Peugeot 204 passes the Renault 4 in 1969 to become the best-selling model in the country with 150,000 sales and 11% market share. Sales figures for 1970 and 1971 are unavailable.

Citroen Ami 8

In 1969, the Citroen Ami 6/8 ranks 2nd at 123,000 units and 9% share, ahead of the Renault 4 at 116,000 sales (8.5%), the Renault 6 at 95,600 units (7%) and the Renault 16 with 88,700 sales (6.5%).

Renault 4

If you have detailed data for 1970 and 1971, Production or Sales, please make sure to get in touch by commenting on this post, thank you!

Full 1969 Sales, 1969 and 1971 Production Ranking Tables below.

France 1968: Renault 4 and Peugeot 204 in the lead

Renault 4

* See the Top 5 best-selling and most produced models by clicking on the title! *

New car sales in France are not troubled by the May student revolution, up 6% to 1.3 million. The Renault 4 holds onto the pole position with a strong 174,000 sales and 13.4% share.

Peugeot 204

The Peugeot 204 proves to be the most popular Peugeot in 30 years and climbs onto the 2nd spot only 4,000 units below the R4 at 170,000 units and 13.1%. The Citroen Ami 6 is down one spot to #3 with 10.2% share, ahead of the Renault 8/10 and the Renault 16.

Full Year 1968 Top 5 Ranking Table below.

France 1967: Renault 4 reclaims leadership

1967 Renault 4

* See the Top 20 best-selling models by clicking on the title! *

After losing its title of best-selling car in France in 1966 to the Citroen Ami 6, the Renault 4 gets a new aluminium grill and jumps back on top in 1967 with 177,950 sales and 14.5% market share, up 11%. The Citroen Ami 6 drops to #2 at 148,680 units and 12.1% share, down 8%. we welcome a new entrant on the French podium this year: the Peugeot 204, up a massive 36% on 1966 to land #3 with 129,610 sales and 10.5%.

Citroen Ami 6

The Peugeot 404 stays #4 with sales down 7% to 98,640 and 8% share, followed by the Renault 16 up 4 spots and 15%, the Citroen DS/ID up 2 ranks to #6, the Simca 1301/1501 down one spot to #7 and the Citroen 2CV down an alarming 42% and 5 ranks to #8 due to the arrival of the Citroen Dyane at #12.

Fiat 850

There is no foreign model in the Top 12 this year and the Fiat 850 takes the lead of imports in 1967 at #13 with 15,810 sales, ahead of the Opel Kadett at #14 and 13,990, Opel Rekord at #16 and 12,990, Ford 12M at #17, VW Beetle at #18, Austin/Morris Mini at #19 and Fiat 500 at #20.

Full Year 1967 Top 20 Ranking Table below.

France 1966: Citroen Ami 6 snaps up top spot

Citroen Ami 6

* See the Top 20 best-selling models by clicking on the title! Many thanks to Rene *

The , characterised by an unusual reverse-raked rear window, was launched in 1961 to bridge the gap in the Citroen range between the luxurious DS and the frugal 2CV. Its sales went up steadily until 1966 when the Ami 6 managed to snap up the best-seller title with 162,000 sales vs. 160,000 for the Renault 4L, the highest sales volume achieved by any model in France so far…

Renault 4L

Because the 4L is more successful in export markets it keeps the #1 ranking production-wise at 226,000 units vs. 180,000 for the Ami 6, and celebrates its millionth unit produced on February 1. 1966 would be the only year the Ami 6 ranked 1st in sales in France, and as at 2011 the only Citroen to rank #1 at year-end in France in 70 years…

Citroen DS

The Citroen 2CV rounds up the podium with 107,000 sales followed closely by the Peugeot 404 at 106,000 units. The Peugeot 204 is #6 for its first full year of sales at 95,000 units while the Renault 16, also launched in 1965, is at #9 with 68,000 sales. Notice the Citroen DS/ID at #8 with 69,000 units.

Opel Kadett

The Opel Kadett is the best-selling foreign model in France in 1966, ranking #12 overall with 20,500 sales, ahead of the Fiat 850 #13 at 18,500 units, the Ford 12M #14 with 14,200 sales and the Opel Rekord #15 at 12,450 units. Other imports in the Top 20 include the Austin/Morris Mini at #16, the VW Beetle at #18 and the Fiat 500 at #20.

Full Year 1966 Top 20 Ranking Table below.

France 1962-1965: Renault 4L takes control

Renault 4L

* See the Top 10 most produced models by clicking on ‘Read more’ at end of post! *

Launched in July 1961, the  doesn’t wait and become the best-selling car in France in 1962, and stays there for four consecutive years. However for this period I only have official production rankings which differ from sales slightly. The 4L would end up being the best selling French car in history with 8,135,424 units by the end of its life in 1992.

Renault Dauphine

In 1962, the Renault 4L leads the production ranking with 197,000 units, with the Renault Dauphine resisting very well in 2nd place with 171,000 units, followd by the Simca 1000 at 154,000 units, the Citroen 2CV at 145,000 and the Peugeot 404 at 141,000.

Renault 8

In 1963, while the Renault 4L is at 233,000 units, for its first full year of sales the Renault 8 jumps 5 spots to land directly in 2nd place with 221,000 units produced. It is followed by the Peugeot 404 (174,000), Simca 1000 (169,000) and Citroen 2CV (158,000).

Peugeot 404

In 1964 if the Renault 4L is still the best-seller it is however not the most produced car in France: the Renault 8 takes the lead at 187,000 units vs. 181,000 for the 4L. The Peugeot 404 is a close #3 with 178,000 units, followed by the Citroen 2CV (168,000) and Simca 1300/1500 (157,000).

In 1965 the Renault 4L is back on top of both sales and production with 182,000 units. The Peugeot 404 (164,000) climbs to a brilliant 2nd place, ahead of the Citroen Ami 6 (158,000), Citroen 2CV (138,000) and Simca 1300/1500 (118,000), the Renault 8 falling to #7.

Full 1962, 1963, 1964 and 1965 Top 10 Production Ranking Tables below.

France 1961: Renault Dauphine & Citroen 2CV on top, R4 launches

Renault Dauphine

* See the Top 5 most produced models by clicking on the title! *

Today I am taking you on a trip down memory lane, to explore the best-selling models in France 50 years ago…

Launched in 1956, the  is an instant hit. It becomes the best-selling car in France as early as for its first full year of sales in 1957 and hits record production figures for the times, peaking at 395,000 units in 1959. 267,000 units were produced in 1961.

Citroen 2CV

The early sixties is also the time the Citroen 2CV became a (sort of) blockbuster, 15 years after its original launch! It reaches a record 158,000 units produced in 1961 and ranks #2 overall for the very first time. France’s best-seller in 1956, the Simca Aronde stays on the podium all the way up to 1961 when 153,000 units were produced.

Peugeot 404

Launched in 1960, the Peugeot 404 immediately strikes a chord with the French consumer: it is produced at 115,000 units for its first full year in 1961. It is followed by the Peugeot 403, slowing down to 78,000 units after peaking at 182,000 in 1958.

Renault 4L

1961 is also the year the legendary Renault 4L launched. From July to December, 20,000 units of the model were produced. The Renault 4 would end up being the most successful French model ever, reaching a final production total of 8,135,424 units by the time it finished its life in 1992.

Full Year 1961 Ranking Table below.

France 1957-1960: Renault Dauphine reigns

Renault Dauphine

* See the Top 5 most produced models by clicking on the title! *

Launched in 1956, the is an instant hit and becomes the best-selling car in France as early as for its first full year of sales in 1957. Production figures are immediately very high: 280,000 units in 1958, 395,000 in 1959 (a record at the time) and 382,000 in 1960.

Peugeot 403

The Peugeot 403 is also a real success over the period, peaking at 182,000 units in 1958. Following up on its title of best-seller in 1956, the Simca Aronde stays on the podium over the period, peaking at #2 and 205,000 units in 1959.

Citroen 2CV

This is also the time the Citroen 2CV became a (sort of) blockbuster, more than 10 years after its original launch: from #4 at 125,000 units produced in 1958, it went up to #3 both in 1959 with 146,000 units and in 1960 at 152,000. Notice the Citroen DS/ID at #5 in 1960 with 78,000 units.

Full 1958, 1959 and 1960 Top 5 Ranking Tables below.

France 1950: Renault 4CV and Citroen Traction Avant shine

Renault 4CV

* See ‘Read more’ at end of post for the France 1950 Top 15 best-selling models – thanks STAC for the tip! *

In 1950, the French market is rebooted: it is 5 years since the end of World War II, sale of petrol is not controlled anymore and raw materials are more widely available. Consumers are buying new cars again: 174,305 exactly that year, making France the largest car market in Europe by far, 3 times the volume of the UK, the 2nd biggest. Three models hold 2/3 of the market:

The is king with 50,291 sales and 28.9% share. Presented at the 1946 Paris Motor Show, its production started in August 1947 and 37,000 units had been sold by mid-1949, making it the most popular car in France. It was nicknamed “La motte de beurre” (the lump of butter) due to its shape and colour: early deliveries used sur paint from the German Afrika Korps Army vehicles which were a sand-yellow color.

Peugeot 203

In 2nd place the sells 34,012 units for a 19.6% market share. The 203 launched in 1948, was the first model Peugeot launched after the War and the only model it produced up until 1954 when the larger 403 debuted.

Citroen Traction Avant

The legendary takes the 3rd spot with 30,180 units sold in 1950 and 17.3% share in spite of its much higher price. Launched in 1934 it is the oldest model in the ranking.

Two more cars sell upwards of 10,000 units this year: the Simca 8 (10.2%) and Ford Vedette (7.5%). At that time Ford had a French branch and produced cars in the country. Notice the Panhard Dyna at #6 with 6,825 sales and the all-new Citroen 2CV at #7 and 6.177 units, up from 876 in 1949 which was its launch year.

Full Year 1950 Top 15 best-selling models below.

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