2015 (Full Year) France: Best-Selling Car Manufacturers and Brands

Smart at Geneva Auto Salon 2015
Tailor made for Paris?

In 2015, the PSA Group (Peugeot Citroen) was the best-selling car manufacturer in France, Renault the most-popular brand and VW the top imported marque. The French car market expanded by 6.8% to 1,9 million new passenger vehicle registrations – the best performance since 2011. Almost all carmakers and brands in France had an increase in car sales in 2015. The popularity of diesel cars in France continued to wane.

The French New Car Market in 2015 (Full Year)

New passenger vehicle registrations in France in 2015 increased by 6.8% to 1,917,230 cars – the highest number since 2011 when 2.2 million cars were sold. In 2015, over 10,000 more cars were sold per months than in 2014.

French car producers underperformed the broader market. Sales increased by only 4.6% to 1,039,901 cars and an overall market share of 54.2%. It was the first year that French car producers sold over a million cars in France in a single calendar year since 2011.

Sales of imported brands increased by a stronger 9.4% to 877,329 cars – the highest number since 2012 and a percentage increase in market share from a year ago.

Diesel and Electric Cars in France in 2015

The popularity of diesel-engined cars in France have been waning since before the Volkswagen emission scandal broke in September 2015 but the downward trend accelerated during the final quarter of the year.

Diesel engines had a record high 73% market share of new passenger vehicles registered in France in 2012 but that percentage slipped to 67% in 2013, 64% in 2014 and only 57% in 2015. During the final three months of 2015, the market share has been well below 55%

The number of new electric passenger vehicles registered in France in 2015 increased to 17,266 or 0.9% of the market. In 2014, 10,561 electric cars were registered. The Renault Zoe was the most popular electric car and with 10,407 sales the 42nd most popular car model in France in 2015.

Best-Selling Car Manufacturers in France in 2015

The strongest carmakers in France in 2015 according to car sales statistics released by the CCFA were:

FY 2015 % Share % Change FY 2014
Total Market 1,917,230 100.0 6.8 1,795,913
French 1,039,901 54.2 4.6 993,793
Imported 877,329 45.8 9.4 802,120
Manufacturers: FY 2015 % Share % Change FY 2014
– PSA Group 558,715 29.1 4.2 536,146
Peugeot 327,393 17.1 7.3 305,015
Citroen 201,065 10.5 0.8 199,385
DS 30,257 1.6 -4.7 31,746
– RENAULT Group 479,945 25.0 5.2 456,425
Renault 382,504 20.0 8.1 353,906
Dacia 97,441 5.1 -5.0 102,519
– VW Group 246,710 12.9 3.9 237,544
Volkswagen 144,105 7.5 3.3 139,554
Audi 58,734 3.1 4.1 56,395
Seat 22,009 1.2 4.4 21,090
Skoda 21,759 1.1 6.6 20,412
– FORD Group 80,730 4.2 7.5 75,090
– TOYOTA Group 76,212 4.0 8.5 70,262
Toyota 71,755 3.7 7.5 66,774
– BMW Group 76,077 4.0 15.3 65,973
BMW 53,558 2.8 12.3 47,682
Mini 22,512 1.2 23.2 18,278
– NISSAN Group 75,241 3.9 9.5 68,741
Nissan 74,102 3.9 8.9 68,072
– FIAT Group 71,558 3.7 13.9 62,839
Fiat 54,443 2.8 19.0 45,738
Jeep 8,585 0.5 xx
Alfa Romeo 6,353 0.3 -16.5 7,608
Lancia 1,469 0,08 -75.9 6,105
– GM Group 64,324 3.4 -1.7 65,442
Opel 64,170 3.4 4.8 61,246
Chevrolet 121 0.0 -97.1 4,185
– MERCEDES Group 63,484 3.3 19.1 53,298
Mercedes-Benz 55,377 2.9 12.7 49,149
Smart 8,107 0.4 95.4 4,149
– HYUNDAI Group 53,114 2.8 17.1 45,351
Kia 29,146 1.5 3.4 28,186
Hyundai 23,968 1.3 39.6 17,165

Source: CCFA. Data excludes β€œothers”

Top-Selling Carmakers in France in 2015

Despite slightly underperforming the broader market, both the PSA and Renault groups maintained their hold at the top of the French car market. Both top brands – Renault and Peugeot – slightly outperformed. However, Citroen sales were flat and both DS and Dacia saw sales slipping by 5%.

The Volkswagen Group was again the strongest imported car manufacturer in France in 2015. However, all main brands in the group – VW, Audi, Seat and Skoda – underperformed. The VW Group was the least improved of all the leading manufacturers and is likely to feel more fall-outs from the emissions scandal in 2016. Volkswagen brand sales were sharply down (-15%) in December 2015.

Ford and Toyota maintained their relative positions with sales just above market average. BMW Group Sales were up a strong 15% with both BMW and Mini brands much improved. BMW took the sixth place from Nissan despite the Japanese group also enjoying stronger sales. The BMW Group and BMW brand had the best year ever in France in 2015.

The Fiat Group also enjoyed strong sales. The Fiat 500 was the 20th most-popular car model in France in 2015. Following rebranding in the group, Jeep is a new leading marque in France while Alfa Romeo and Lancia continued the slide into insignificance.

GM was the only car-manufacturing group in France in 2015 with lower sales but this was mostly due to Chevrolet withdrawing from the market. Opel sales were up and the highest unit numbers in three years. However, Opel sales in France in 2015 were almost 30,000 cars fewer than in 2011.

The Mercedes Group had its best year ever in France and was with sales increasing by 19% the most-improved car manufacturer in 2015. Mercedes-Benz brand sales were up 13% while smart sales nearly doubled – no brand did better.

After two weaker years, sales of the South Korean manufacturers were again up strongly by 17% in 2015. However, sales were still over 8,000 cars less than in the record 2012 year.

Best-Selling Car Brands in France in 2015 (Full Year)

The most-popular car marques in France in 2015 according to car sales statistics released by the CCFA were:

Β Brand FY 2015 FY 2014 % Change
1 Renault 382,504 353,906 8.1
2 Peugeot 327,393 305,015 7.3
3 Citroen 201,065 199,385 0.8
4 Volkswagen 144,105 139,554 3.3
5 Dacia 97,441 102,519 -5.0
6 Ford 80,730 75,090 7.5
7 Nissan 74,102 68,072 8.9
8 Toyota 71,755 66,774 7.5
10 Opel 64,170 61,246 4.8
11 Audi 58,734 56,395 4.1
12 Mercedes-Benz 55,377 49,149 12.7
13 Fiat 54,443 45,738 19.0
14 BMW 53,558 47,682 12.3
15 DS 30,257 31,746 -4.7
16 Kia 29,146 28,186 3.4
17 Hyundai 23,968 17,165 39.6
18 Mini 22,512 18,278 23.2
19 Seat 22,009 21,090 4.4
20 Skoda 21,759 20,412 6.6

Top-Selling Car Brands in France in 2015 (Full Year)

The list of top-twenty most-popular car marques in France in 2015 remained almost unchanged from a year ago. Only two pairs of brands swapped place – incidentally in both cases a very good performing brand was surpassed by a marque performing even better – Fiat (+19%) replaced BMW (+12%) and sales up a quarter for Mini was even bettered by 40% for Hyundai.

Only two top-20 brands had weaker sales in France in 2015. Despite Dacia and DS slipping 5% each, neither was punished in the rank order.

At the top of the list, Renault increased its share of the French new car market to a fifth of the overall market – approaching similar figures to the strangle hold that Volkswagen has in Germany.

See also: 2015 France: Top-Selling Car Models – Renault Clio and Peugeot 208 leading the way again.