Car sales were positive during the first three months of 2014 in France. Renault was the strongest brand with the Clio the favorite car model of the French.
The first quarter of 2014 saw the French car market expand by 2.9% for the first positive start to a year since 2011. French car manufacturers had positive growth while imported brands were mostly weaker. The PSA Group remains the strongest car-manufacturing group in France but Renault remained the strongest car brand. Volkswagen was the most popular imported car brand but German car marques had weaker sales in France at the start of 2014. The Renault Clio remains France’s favorite car model.
The French Vehicle Market in 2014 (Q1)
The total French light vehicle market grew by 2.1% to 537,629 vehicles during the first three months of 2014. Of these, passenger vehicles were 446,615 new registrations for an increase of 2.9% over the first quarter of 2013.
January to March 2014 was the first positive start to the year for the French car market since 2011. French car manufacturers all had a positive start to the year with sales of domestic branded cars increasing by 10% after several quarters of declines. In contrast, imported car sales declined by 5%.
New Passenger Vehicle Registrations in France in 2014 (Q1)
The best-selling car manufacturing groups and brands in France during the first quarter of 2014 according to the CCFA were:
|Q1 / 2014||% Market Share||% Change||Q1 / 2013|
Best-Selling Car Manufacturers and Brands in France in 2014 (Q1)
After several dismal quarters, the French car manufacturers have finally managed to stem the decline in car sales with all four French brands recording strong growth during the first quarter of 2014. PSA remained the strongest manufacturing group but Renault is still the strongest selling car brand in France. Sales of Dacia – Renault’s budget brand – increased by a quarter.
In contrast, most imported brands had weaker sales. The Volkswagen Group is still the strongest car importer into France but the group strongly underperformed with Volkswagen brand sales particularly weak.
Ford sales remained weak in France allowing both the GM and Nissan groups to overtake Ford in sales. Chevrolet, which is withdrawing from Europe soon, saw sales down by a quarter while Opel had a rare positive quarter.
Nissan was the most improved foreign group allowing it to pass both Ford and Toyota despite Japan’s largest car manufacturing having a positive start to 2014 in France.
The Fiat Group also achieved growth in France during the first quarter of 2014. Although Fiat branded car sales were down, Lancia, which is also scaling back in most of Europe, had a stunning 83% increase but volumes are small.
Sales of the BMW Group were slightly down due to weak sales of its Mini brand ahead of a new model launch. BMW-branded cars saw a slight increase in sales – in contrast, Audi and Mercedes both had weaker sales in France.
The Hyundai Group slipped below Fiat and BMW at the start of 2014 with sales down by a third. Hyundai sales were down by 50%.
Mercedes outperformed the market for most of the past three years but sales were markedly down in France during the first quarter of 2014. Mercedes-Benz sales were down 15% and Smart sales were down nearly a fifth and are unlikely to recover before the launch of the new car towards the end of the year.
Top-Ten Best-Selling Car Models in France in 2014 (Q1)
The top-10 most popular cars in France during the first quarter of 2014 according to the CCFA were:
|Make & Model||Sales Q1/2014||% Market Share|
|1||Renault Clio IV||24’829||5.6|
|4||Citroen C3 II||14’758||3.3|
|7||Citroen C4 II Picasso||12’253||2.7|
|8||Renault Scénic III||11’948||2.7|
|9||Peugeot 308 II||11’539||2.6|
|10||Renault Mégane III||11’331||2.5|
The Renault Clio and Peugeot 208 remained the most popular car models in France during the first quarter in 2014. The Renault Captur – a new model – took third place.
Last year’s third place car, the Renault Mégane, slipped to 10th place while the Renault Scénic slipped from fourth to eighth. The Citroën C3 improved from fifth to fourth. The fifth place Peugeot 2008 is a new model.
The Dacia Sandero improved from tenth to sixth and the Citroen C4 from ninth to seventh. The Peugeot 308 is a new entry on the top-ten list of best-selling cars in France during the first three months of 2014.
The Peugeot 3008, Renault Twingo and VW Polo slipped out of the top 10 list from a year ago. The Peugeot 3008 is now down at 15th and the VW Polo at 12th but a facelift may improve its prospects. The Renault Twingo slipped to 11th but a complete model change developed together with Smart may see it find renewed favor with the French.