2014 (Q3) France: Best-Selling Car Brands and Models

Renault Clio Break Geneva Auto Salon2014 (Q1-3): The French car market expanded by 2.1%, PSA remained the strongest manufacturer, Renault the strongest brand and the Clio the favorite car model of the French. Growth in new passenger vehicle registrations in France during the first nine months of 2014 was mostly due to French car makes selling 7% more than in 2013 – imported car sales were down 3.6%. PSA, Renault and Volkswagen remained the strongest car manufacturing groups in France with Renault, Peugeot, Citroen and VW the strongest marques. The Renault Clio and Peugeot 208 were the top-selling car models in France thus far in 2014.

The French New Car Market in 2014 (Q1-Q3)

New passenger vehicle registrations in France increased by 2.1% to 1,337,327 cars during the first nine months of 2014. However, the French car market remains relatively weak.

The increase in car sales must be seen against the background of 2013 being a particularly bad year for new vehicle registrations in France. Car sales in France from January to September 2014 were nearly 100,000 cars less than in 2012 and 300,000 less than during the same period in 2011.

Top-Selling Car Manufacturers and Brands in France in 2014 (Q3)

The best-selling car manufacturing groups and marques in France from January to September 2014 according to car sales statistics released by the CCFA were as follows:

Q1-3/2014% changeQ1-3/2013Q1-3/2012
Total Market1’337’3272.11’309’8581’430’832
RENAULT Group346’0109.9314’893326’152
VW Group173’564-1.2175’732196’467
TOYOTA Group51’490-3.353’26949’867
NISSAN Group50’9426.247’96953’155
GM Group50’422-18.161’58075’097
FIAT Group46’681145’35544’312
BMW Group45’412-145’85048’898
HYUNDAI Group32’591-26.744’45144’303

Exclude “others” and brands selling fewer than 10,000 cars.

Best-Selling Car Brands in France in 2014 (Q1-3)

French car manufacturers performed far better than imported brands during the first nine months of 2014. French brands increased sales by 7% to gain nearly 2.5% market share from foreign brands. Market share of new cars sold in France thus far in 2014 divides as 56% French vs. 44% foreign.

PSA easily remained the strongest carmaker in France but Renault was the leading marque followed by Peugeot and Citroen. Dacia was the most-improved brand during the period with sales up by more than a fifth.

The Volkswagen Group performed better than other foreign brands but still lost market share to the French manufacturers. Sales of Volkswagen branded cars were flat while Audi and Seat were much weaker. Skoda sales increased by 10% but the numbers are low.

The GM Group slipped three places from a year ago – largely due to Chevrolet (-75%) withdrawing from the European market. In contrast, Opel had positive numbers.

Ford, Toyota and Nissan all moved up one place at the expense of GM. Ford sales were flat; Toyota slightly weaker while Nissan (+6%) was the most improved foreign group and second overall only to its partner Renault (+10%).

Fiat and BMW swapped relative positions. The BMW Group sales were hurt by the change of the Mini model earlier in the year – sales of new Minis were very strong in recent months.

Mercedes sales were slightly up with the Mercedes-Benz brand sales up 4%. Smart sales were down be nearly a quarter – a new model is due in coming months.

The Hyundai Group saw sales slipping by nearly a quarter. Kia sales were down by 14% while Hyundai sales were down 43% – only Chevrolet performed worse.

Top-Selling Car Models in France in 2014 (Q1-Q3)

The top 10 best-selling car models in France from January to September 2014 according to the CCFA were as follows:

Q1-3/ 2013Q1-3/ 2014Make & ModelQ1-3 /2014% Market ShareQ1-3 /2013
11Renault Clio IV78’0625.877’428
22Peugeot 20863’0114.769’446
123Renault Captur46’3513.523’935
54Citroën C3 II44’1863.334’202
955Peugeot 308 II43’2190.23’135
286Peugeot 200839’789313’794
37Renault Scénic III37’8002.838’114
98Citroën C4 II35’0472.628’140
69Dacia Sandero34’8402.630’181
410Renault Mégane III33’2572.534’473

The Renault Clio and Peugeot 208 easily remained France’s favorite car models during the first nine months of 2014. Sales of the Clio remained steady while the Peugeot lost half a percentage market share.

The Renault Captur, which was launched at the end of the first quarter in 2013, improved from 12th a year ago to third this year. Small SUV crossover compact cars are in vogue in France and most Europe.

In contrast, last year’s number 3 and 4 – the Renault Scénic and Renault Mégane slipped down the list despite unit sales only marginally weaker than during the first nine months of 2014.

The Citroen C3 improved one position while the Peugeot 308 II shot up from 95th a year ago. This huge improvement was largely due to the car being launched during Q3/2013 – its predecessor 308 was in 13thplace last year.

The Peugeot 2008 similarly entered the top-ten list this year from 28th a year ago when it was not on the market for the full period.

The Citroen C4 slipped on place and the Dacia Sandero slipped from 6th to 9th despite both models selling many more cars than a year ago.

The three cars slipping out of the top-ten list from last year were the Peugeot 3008 (7 to 14), Renault Twingo II (8 to 15) and the VW Polo (10 to 13). The all-new Twingo, a joint development with the Smart of Mercedes-Benz, should be available during the fourth quarter of 2014 and most likely will reenter the top-10 list during 2015.

The Volkswagen Golf with 31,044 sales was at eleventh place France’s favorite foreign car model.

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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.