Best-Selling Cars

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2016 (Full Year) France: Best-Selling Car Manufacturers and Brands

by Henk Bekker

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2016 DS e Tense Geneva 2016

New passenger vehicle registrations in France in 2016 increased by 5.1%. The PSA Group was the top-selling carmaker with Renault the best-selling brand. Most of the gains went to foreign brands although Renault and Dacia also had stronger sales. The Renault Clio was again the favorite car model of the French.

New Car Market in France in 2016

New passenger vehicle registrations in France increased by 5.1% to 2,015,186 cars for the full 2016 calendar year. This was the best performance by the French car market since 2011 and the first time in five years that the French passenger vehicle market exceeded two million cars in a calendar year.

Most of the gains in new car sales in France in 2016 accrued to foreign brands. French car manufacturers took a 54% market share with 1,078,433 sales a below market average increase of 3.7%. Foreign brands increased market share by 6.8% to 936,753 sales.

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The total French vehicle market – including passenger cars, light and heavy commercial vehicles – increased by 5.6% in 2016 to 2,452,283 vehicles.

Although diesel was again the most popular fuel type for new cars sold in France in 2016, the market share slipped from 57.22% in 2015 to 52.12% in 2016. Most of the gains accrued to petrol cars – up from 38.56% to 43.82% in 2016. Hybrid car sales in France in 2016 slipped to 58,384 from 61,619 in 2015. Electric car sales increased from 17,268 cars in 2015 to 21,751 in 2016 – electric cars had a 1,08% share of the new car market in France in 2016.

Best-Selling Car Manufacturers and Brands in France in 2016

The following were the top-selling car manufacturing groups and marques in France in 2016 according to new passenger vehicle registration data released by the CCFA:

Manufacturer

2016

2015

% Change

Total Market

2,015,186

1,917,230

5.1

– French

1,078,433

1,039,901

3.7

– Imported

936,753

877,329

6.8

Manufacturers:

PSA Group

558,976

558,715

0.0

– Peugeot

335,884

327,393

2.6

– Citroen

195,011

201,065

-3.0

– DS

28,081

30,257

-7.2

RENAULT Group

518,462

479,945

8.0

– Renault

407,933

382,504

6.6

– Dacia

110,529

97,441

13.4

VW Group

258,603

246,710

2.8

– Volkswagen

143,102

144,105

-0.7

– Audi

64,686

58,734

10.1

– Skoda

23,620

21,759

8.6

– Seat

21,648

22,009

-1.6

BMW Group

85,712

76,077

12.7

– BMW

60,521

53,558

13.0

– Mini

25,176

22,512

11.8

TOYOTA Group

82,796

76,212

8.6

– Toyota

77,696

71,755

8.3

FIAT Group

81,014

71,558

13.2

– Fiat

62,545

54,443

14.9

– Jeep

9,983

8,585

16.3

– Alfa Romeo

7,334

6,353

15.4

FORD Group

79,173

80,730

-1.9

NISSAN Group

72,367

75,241

-3.8

– Nissan

69,072

74,102

-6.8

DAIMLER Group

71,040

63,484

11.9

– Mercedes Benz

62,060

55,377

12.1

– Smart

8,980

8,107

10.8

GM Group

68,453

64,324

6.4

– Opel

68,281

64,170

6.4

HYUNDAI Group

61,727

53,114

16.2

– Kia

33,684

29,146

15.6

– Hyundai

28,043

23,968

17.0

VOLVO Group

15,599

 NA

12.4

Top-Selling Carmakers in France in 2016

The top three car manufacturing groups in France remained unaltered for another year. The PSA Groups remained the largest followed by Renault and Volkswagen. However, the PSA Group with flat sales and the VW Group with below market average increases in sales in France in 2016 both lost market share to Renault.

The PSA Groups’ flat performance in France in 2016 was largely due to weaker sales at Citroen while Peugeot sales were higher but well below the market average. DS continued to struggle and is now only the 15th largest car brand in France. The PSA sold only 261 cars more in France in 2016 than a year ago – the French new car market as a whole grew by around 100,000 cars.

In contrast, the Renault Group added nearly 40,000 cars with both Renault and Dacia outperforming the market. Renault increased its lead as France’s largest car marque with the Renault Clio still France’s favorite car model.

The Volkswagen Group underperformed the broader market in France in 2016 with Volkswagen sales flat but Audi and Skoda sales stronger. Volkswagen brand sales were down by 0.7% with the brand performing noticeable stronger towards the end of 2016 but partly also due to exceptionally weak numbers at the end of 2015 after the emission scandal broke.

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The BMW Group increased sales in France in 2016 by 12.7% with both BMW and Mini sales increasing by double digits. The BMW Group overtook Ford and Toyota in France.

The Toyota Group had stronger sales in France in 2016 and overtook the Ford Group but fell behind BMW.

The Fiat Group had a strong year in France in 2016 with Fiat, Jeep and even Alfa Romeo increasing sales by around 15% each. The FCA Group overtook both Nissan and Ford in France.

The Ford Group had weaker sales in France in 2016. Although Ford remained the sixth best-selling car brand in France in 2016, the group fell behind BMW, Toyota and Fiat.

The Nissan Group had the worst performance of any car-manufacturing group in France in 2016. Nissan brand sales were down 6.8% – of the top brands only DS performed worse – and clearly behind Toyota.

The Daimler Group had another strong year in France in 2016 with both Mercedes Benz and Smart sales increasing strongly. The GM Group fell behind Daimler but Opel for once outperformed the broader market.

The Hyundai Group had a strong year in France in 2016 with Hyundai the best-performing brand in France in 2016 and Kia not far behind.

Volvo figures were released separately for the first time in this data set in 2016.

Top 20 Car Brands in France in 2016

The following were the top-selling car marques in France in 2016 according to the CCFA:

Brand

FY2016

FY 2015

% Change

1

– Renault

407,933

382,504

6.6

2

– Peugeot

335,884

327,393

2.6

3

– Citroen

195,011

201,065

-3.0

4

– Volkswagen

143,102

144,105

-0.7

5

– Dacia

110,529

97,441

13.4

6

– Ford

79,173

80,730

-1.9

7

– Toyota

77,696

71,755

8.3

8

– Nissan

69,072

74,102

-6.8

9

– Opel

68,281

64,170

6.4

10

– Audi

64,686

58,734

10.1

11

– Fiat

62,545

54,443

14.9

12

– Mercedes Benz

62,060

55,377

12.1

13

– BMW

60,521

53,558

13.0

14

– Kia

33,684

29,146

15.6

15

– DS

28,081

30,257

-7.2

16

– Hyundai

28,043

23,968

17.0

17

– Mini

25,176

22,512

11.8

18

– Skoda

23,620

21,759

8.6

19

– Seat

21,648

22,009

-1.6

20

– Volvo

15,599

12.4

Best-Selling Car Brands in France in 2016

There were only very minor changes in the rank order of the top-20 best-selling car brands in France in 2016: Toyota moved ahead of Nissan, Fiat overtook Mercedes Benz, Kia pulled ahead of DS, and Skoda outsold sister brand Seat.

The most-improved brands were Hyundai, Kia and Fiat. The worst-performing brands were DS, Nissan and Citroen.

The Renault Clio easily maintained its position as the top-selling car model in France in 2016

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