Best-Selling Cars

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2015 (Full Year) France: Best-Selling Car Manufacturers and Brands

by Henk Bekker

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Smart at Geneva Auto Salon 2015
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In 2015, the PSA Group (Peugeot Citroen) was the best-selling car manufacturer in France, Renault the most-popular brand and VW the top imported marque. The French car market expanded by 6.8% to 1,9 million new passenger vehicle registrations – the best performance since 2011. Almost all carmakers and brands in France had an increase in car sales in 2015. The popularity of diesel cars in France continued to wane.

The French New Car Market in 2015 (Full Year)

New passenger vehicle registrations in France in 2015 increased by 6.8% to 1,917,230 cars – the highest number since 2011 when 2.2 million cars were sold. In 2015, over 10,000 more cars were sold per months than in 2014.

French car producers underperformed the broader market. Sales increased by only 4.6% to 1,039,901 cars and an overall market share of 54.2%. It was the first year that French car producers sold over a million cars in France in a single calendar year since 2011.

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Sales of imported brands increased by a stronger 9.4% to 877,329 cars – the highest number since 2012 and a percentage increase in market share from a year ago.

Diesel and Electric Cars in France in 2015

The popularity of diesel-engined cars in France have been waning since before the Volkswagen emission scandal broke in September 2015 but the downward trend accelerated during the final quarter of the year.

Diesel engines had a record high 73% market share of new passenger vehicles registered in France in 2012 but that percentage slipped to 67% in 2013, 64% in 2014 and only 57% in 2015. During the final three months of 2015, the market share has been well below 55%

The number of new electric passenger vehicles registered in France in 2015 increased to 17,266 or 0.9% of the market. In 2014, 10,561 electric cars were registered. The Renault Zoe was the most popular electric car and with 10,407 sales the 42nd most popular car model in France in 2015.

Best-Selling Car Manufacturers in France in 2015

The strongest carmakers in France in 2015 according to car sales statistics released by the CCFA were:

FY 2015

% Share

% Change

FY 2014

Total Market

1,917,230

100.0

6.8

1,795,913

French

1,039,901

54.2

4.6

993,793

Imported

877,329

45.8

9.4

802,120

Manufacturers:

FY 2015

% Share

% Change

FY 2014

– PSA Group

558,715

29.1

4.2

536,146

Peugeot

327,393

17.1

7.3

305,015

Citroen

201,065

10.5

0.8

199,385

DS

30,257

1.6

-4.7

31,746

– RENAULT Group

479,945

25.0

5.2

456,425

Renault

382,504

20.0

8.1

353,906

Dacia

97,441

5.1

-5.0

102,519

– VW Group

246,710

12.9

3.9

237,544

Volkswagen

144,105

7.5

3.3

139,554

Audi

58,734

3.1

4.1

56,395

Seat

22,009

1.2

4.4

21,090

Skoda

21,759

1.1

6.6

20,412

– FORD Group

80,730

4.2

7.5

75,090

– TOYOTA Group

76,212

4.0

8.5

70,262

Toyota

71,755

3.7

7.5

66,774

– BMW Group

76,077

4.0

15.3

65,973

BMW

53,558

2.8

12.3

47,682

Mini

22,512

1.2

23.2

18,278

– NISSAN Group

75,241

3.9

9.5

68,741

Nissan

74,102

3.9

8.9

68,072

– FIAT Group

71,558

3.7

13.9

62,839

Fiat

54,443

2.8

19.0

45,738

Jeep

8,585

0.5

xx

Alfa Romeo

6,353

0.3

-16.5

7,608

Lancia

1,469

0,08

-75.9

6,105

– GM Group

64,324

3.4

-1.7

65,442

Opel

64,170

3.4

4.8

61,246

Chevrolet

121

0.0

-97.1

4,185

– MERCEDES Group

63,484

3.3

19.1

53,298

Mercedes Benz

55,377

2.9

12.7

49,149

Smart

8,107

0.4

95.4

4,149

– HYUNDAI Group

53,114

2.8

17.1

45,351

Kia

29,146

1.5

3.4

28,186

Hyundai

23,968

1.3

39.6

17,165

Source: CCFA. Data excludes “others”

Top-Selling Carmakers in France in 2015

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Despite slightly underperforming the broader market, both the PSA and Renault groups maintained their hold at the top of the French car market. Both top brands – Renault and Peugeot – slightly outperformed. However, Citroen sales were flat and both DS and Dacia saw sales slipping by 5%.

The Volkswagen Group was again the strongest imported car manufacturer in France in 2015. However, all main brands in the group – VW, Audi, Seat and Skoda – underperformed. The VW Group was the least improved of all the leading manufacturers and is likely to feel more fall-outs from the emissions scandal in 2016. Volkswagen brand sales were sharply down (-15%) in December 2015.

Ford and Toyota maintained their relative positions with sales just above market average. BMW Group Sales were up a strong 15% with both BMW and Mini brands much improved. BMW took the sixth place from Nissan despite the Japanese group also enjoying stronger sales. The BMW Group and BMW brand had the best year ever in France in 2015.

The Fiat Group also enjoyed strong sales. The Fiat 500 was the 20th most-popular car model in France in 2015. Following rebranding in the group, Jeep is a new leading marque in France while Alfa Romeo and Lancia continued the slide into insignificance.

GM was the only car-manufacturing group in France in 2015 with lower sales but this was mostly due to Chevrolet withdrawing from the market. Opel sales were up and the highest unit numbers in three years. However, Opel sales in France in 2015 were almost 30,000 cars fewer than in 2011.

The Mercedes Group had its best year ever in France and was with sales increasing by 19% the most-improved car manufacturer in 2015. Mercedes Benz brand sales were up 13% while smart sales nearly doubled – no brand did better.

After two weaker years, sales of the South Korean manufacturers were again up strongly by 17% in 2015. However, sales were still over 8,000 cars less than in the record 2012 year.

Best-Selling Car Brands in France in 2015 (Full Year)

The most-popular car marques in France in 2015 according to car sales statistics released by the CCFA were:

 Brand

FY 2015

FY 2014

% Change

1

Renault

382,504

353,906

8.1

2

Peugeot

327,393

305,015

7.3

3

Citroen

201,065

199,385

0.8

4

Volkswagen

144,105

139,554

3.3

5

Dacia

97,441

102,519

-5.0

6

Ford

80,730

75,090

7.5

7

Nissan

74,102

68,072

8.9

8

Toyota

71,755

66,774

7.5

10

Opel

64,170

61,246

4.8

11

Audi

58,734

56,395

4.1

12

Mercedes Benz

55,377

49,149

12.7

13

Fiat

54,443

45,738

19.0

14

BMW

53,558

47,682

12.3

15

DS

30,257

31,746

-4.7

16

Kia

29,146

28,186

3.4

17

Hyundai

23,968

17,165

39.6

18

Mini

22,512

18,278

23.2

19

Seat

22,009

21,090

4.4

20

Skoda

21,759

20,412

6.6

Top-Selling Car Brands in France in 2015 (Full Year)

The list of top-twenty most-popular car marques in France in 2015 remained almost unchanged from a year ago. Only two pairs of brands swapped place – incidentally in both cases a very good performing brand was surpassed by a marque performing even better – Fiat (+19%) replaced BMW (+12%) and sales up a quarter for Mini was even bettered by 40% for Hyundai.

Only two top-20 brands had weaker sales in France in 2015. Despite Dacia and DS slipping 5% each, neither was punished in the rank order.

At the top of the list, Renault increased its share of the French new car market to a fifth of the overall market – approaching similar figures to the strangle hold that Volkswagen has in Germany.

See also: 2015 France: Top-Selling Car Models – Renault Clio and Peugeot 208 leading the way again.

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