The PSA Group remained the strongest carmaker in France during the first quarter of 2015 with Renault the top-selling brand and the Clio the favorite model. New passenger vehicle registrations in France expanded by a surprisingly strong 6.9% in January to March 2015 with foreign brands benefiting most from the growing French car market. The Volkswagen Group remained the strongest car importer in France with Volkswagen the strongest foreign marque and the VW Polo the favorite imported car for the French. Mercedes Benz and BMW saw very strong sales growth in France during the first quarter of 2015.
The French Car Market in 2015 (Q1)
New passenger vehicle registrations in France during the first three months of 2015 increased by 6.9% to 477,326 cars – over 30,000 cars more than sold during the start of 2014. Growth in new car sales in France has been stronger during the first three months of 2015 than in both 2014 and 2013 and in March approached the figures last seen in 2012.
Most of the growth in car sales was to the benefit of foreign manufacturers. Sales of French brands increased by below average 3.8% while foreign brands saw sale increase by 11%. The market share of French brands slipped by 1.6% to 55% of the new passenger vehicle market in France during the first quarter of 2015.
Best-Selling Car Manufacturers in France in 2015 (Q1)
The top-selling car manufacturing groups and marques in France during the first three months of 2015 according to new passenger vehicle registration statistics released by the CCFA were:
% Market Share
Best-Selling Carmakers in France in 2015 (Q1)
The top three best-selling car manufacturing groups in France during the first quarter of 2015 remained unchanged from a year ago: the PSA Group followed by Renault and Volkswagen. All three groups saw sales increase below the market average.
Sales of Peugeot cars increased by 10% but sales of Citroens were flat while the new DS brand is struggling to set itself apart from Citroen. Renault similarly increased sales of its main brand while it budget brand Dacia was much weaker.
The VW Group increased sales by 2.7% but none of its brands outperformed the market. Sales of Skodas slipped by 6%.
The GM Group was the worst performing car manufacturing group in France during the first three months of 2015 – it slipped from fourth a year ago to ninth. This was largely due to Chevrolet withdrawing from the European car market and Opel sales remaining well below the market average.
Ford reclaimed fourth place in France with sales up by nearly a quarter. Nissan sales were up 14% but not sufficient to stay ahead of Ford. Toyota sales were also up in France at the start of 2015.
The Fiat Group increased sales by just over 10%. Sales of Fiat branded cars were up near 10% while Jeep established itself as the second largest brand of the group in France. Alfa Romeo and Lancia sales continued to slide these tradition-rich Italian brands closer to insignificance – only Chevrolet did worse.
Sales of BMW Group cars in France increased by a quarter. BMW-branded cars were up 14% but sales of Mini cars, which were influenced by the launching of a new model at the start of 2014, grew by 60%. (Rolls Royce sales slipped 80% – down to a single limousine compared to the five sold a year ago.)
The Mercedes Benz Group had a similar experience to BMW just with even more impressive percentages. Group sales were up 36.5% with sales of Mercedes Benz cars up by a third and sales of the newly launched Smart up nearly two thirds.
The South Korean manufacturers increased sales by nearly a quarter. Kia sales in France were flat but Hyundai sales increased by 64% – only Smart and Jeep performed better.
Top Ten Best-Selling Car Models in France in 2015 (Q1)
The ten top-selling car models in France during January, February and March 2015 according to car sales statistics released by the CFFA were:
Make & Model
% Market Share
Renault Clio IV
Peugeot 308 II
Citroen C3 II
Renault Twingo III
Renault Scénic III
Renault Mégane III
Citroen C4 II Picasso
There were only limited changes in the composition of the list of the top ten most-popular cars in France during the first quarter of 2015 compared to a year ago.
The three top-selling cars in France remained the same as a year ago. The Renault Clio is still the favorite car model of the French followed by the Peugeot 208 and the Renault Captur. Sales of the Peugeot 208 were slightly down while both Renaults saw significant increases in unit sales.
However, the Peugeot 308 was the most improved model: it moved up the list from 9th a year ago while its unit sales increase was the largest of the top-ten models. Sales of the Peugeot 2008 increased but the model maintained its 5th place while slightly lower sales for the Citroen C3 saw it slipping from 4th to 6th.
The Renault Twingo was the only new entrant on the top-ten list during the first quarter of 2015. The new model of Renault’s small city car was launched at the end of 2014.
The Renault Scenic maintained its 8th place while the Renault Megane climbed one position from last year. The Citroen C4 Picasso slipped to 10th from 7th a year ago.
The Dacia Sandero slipped from 6th place last year to 11th in 2015. The Volkswagen Polo was the 12th most popular car model in France during the first quarter of the year and thus the favorite imported car model of the French. The Dacia Duster was 13th and the VW Golf – still Europe’s best-selling car model – only 14th in France.