2012 (First Half) Best-Selling Car Manufacturers in France

Renault, Peugeot and Citroen remained the best-selling motorcar brands in France during the first six months of 2012. Volkswagen remained the top-selling foreign auto marque.

Peugeot 208 at the Geneva Auto Salon in 2012

The French car market remained weak during the first half of 2012. January to June 2012 saw a 14.4% decline in new passenger vehicle registrations in France to 1,048,298 cars. Although Renault, Peugeot, and Citroen remained the best-selling car brands in France, all French carmakers underperformed with domestic brands losing almost 4% market share to foreign brands. South Korean manufacturers Kia and Hyundai performed well with most premium German brands also increasing sales and market share.

Top-Selling Car Brands in France in 2012 (First Half Year)

The best-selling car manufacturers in France during the first six months according to car sales statistics released by the聽CCFA聽were:

January to June聽% Change
20112012% Market Sharefrom 2011
Total Market1,225,0841,048,298100-14.4
RENAULT Group294,312239,47022.84-18.6
VW Group146,290141,43913.49-3.3
GM Group70,46257,3365.47-18.6
NISSAN Group36,26938,6643.696.6
BMW Group34,22934,8203.321.7
TOYOTA Group37,24634,6773.31-6.9
FIAT Group44,96133,4803.19-25.5
HYUNDAI Group24,37831,3302.9928.5
MERCEDES Grp26,51826,9552.571.6
Source: CCVA / Figures include only brands selling more than 10,000 cars

The French Car Market during the First Half of 2012

Despite a weak 2011, the French car market was always expected to be even weaker during 2012. Although the French market shrank by 14.4% during the first six months of 2012, car sales started to recover in recent months. The slide during the first quarter of 2012 was an even worse 22%. Car sales in June 2012 were only 0.9% weaker than in June 2011, even if the figure is corrected to -5.6% to compensate for an extra workday during 2012. Similarly, one fewer workday over the six-month period can statistically improve the six-months decline to 13.7%

However, the continued weakness in one of Europe鈥檚 largest car markets is hurting especially French car manufacturers. French car brands saw a decline of around 20% in new passenger vehicle registrations with Peugeot, Citroen, and Renault performing equally weak. Domestic car brands lost almost 4% market share to foreign brands

Best-Selling Car Brands in France in 2012 (First Half)

The top-selling car brands in France remained Renault, Peugeot, and Citroen with Volkswagen a distant fourth. However, the Volkswagen Group managed to increase its penetration of the French car market by increasing its market share by more than 1.5% despite weaker unit sales. Premium brand Audi slightly increased unit sales while Skoda sold 13% more cars in France during the first half of 2012.

Of the major manufacturers, South Korean brands Kia and Hyundai increased market share by around half a percentage point each. Fiat and Open both had a dismal start to 2012.

Mercedes-Benz (up 4.6%) and the BMW Group saw positive growth in sales in France during the first half of 2012. In general, the cheaper and more expensive ends of the market outperformed while mainstream cars remained unwanted.

About the author:

Henk Bekker

Henk Bekker is a freelance writer with over 20 years of experience in online writing. His best-selling cars website has been reporting car sales statistics since 2008 with classic car auction prices focusing on the most expensive automobiles sold at public auctions in the past decade. He also owns the travel websites European-Traveler.com and Lake Geneva Switzerland. Henk holds an MBA from Edinburgh Business School and an MSc in Finance from the University of London.