2017 (Q1) France: Best-Selling Car Manufacturers, Brands and Models

New passenger vehicle registrations in France increased by 4.8% during the first quarter of 2017. PSA was the top manufacturer, Renault the top-selling brand, and the Clio France’s favorite car model.

Renault Trezor at the Geneva Auto Show 2017

January to March 2017: Car sales in France during the first quarter of 2017 were up by 4.8% to 541,065 cars. The PSA Group remained the largest carmaker in France with Renault the best-selling car brand followed by Peugeot and Citroen. Volkswagen sales were down 8% but VW remained the fourth largest car brand in France and the leading import brand. The share of diesel cars fell below 50%. The Renault Clio was again France’s top-selling car model.

The French New Car Market in 2017 (Q1)

New passenger vehicle registrations in France increased by 4.8% to 541,065 cars during the first three months of 2017. Car sales increased by 7% in March 2017 after a 2.7% decline in February. Differences in working days continued to influence the figures: the first quarter of 2017 had 65 selling days compared to 63 in 2016. If this is taken into account, the growth was a more modest 1.6%.

Sales of light commercial vehicles in France during the first quarter of 2017 increased by a strong 10.1% to 110,102 vehicles with heavy commercial vehicle sales increasing by 6.2% to 12,198 trucks.

The sales of French carmakers increased by 3.9% to 291,264 cars or a market share of 53,83%. Foreign car brands increased sales by a faster 5.9% to 249,801 cars or a 46.17% market share.

The share of diesel cars fell by nearly 5% to 47,40% of the market while petrol engine cars’ share rose by 4% to 47,24%. Hybrid car sales reached 21,290 vehicles for a 3.93% share of the market. Electric car registrations were up from 6,022 to 7,402 cars or a 1.37% market share. The Renault Zoe was the most-popular electric car model in France and the 24th most-popular car model in France overall.

Best-Selling Car Manufacturers in France in 2017 (Q1)

New passenger vehicle registration data released by the CCFA showed the following as the top-selling car manufacturers and brands in France during the first three months of 2017:

Q1/2017 Q1/2016 % 16/17
Total Market 541,065 516,392 4.8
French 291,264 280,416 3.9
Imported 249,801 235,976 5.9
PSA Group 154,372 148,838 3.9
Peugeot 93,750 88,243 6.2
Citroen 55,068 52,270 5.4
DS 5,554 8,325 -33.3
RENAULT Group 136,869 131,319 4.2
Renault 106,717 102,716 3.9
Dacia 30,152 28,603 5.4
VW Group 63,056 64,776 -2.7
Volkswagen 33,764 36,593 -7.7
Audi 15,652 15,744 -.6
Seat 6,469 5,435 19.0
Skoda 6,085 5,825 4.5
Porsche 1,059 1,152 -8.1
TOYOTA Group 26,628 21,268 25.2
FORD Group 24,797 22,384 10.8
FCA Group 22,704 19,881 14.2
Fiat 18,154 15,656 16.0
Jeep 2,329 2,262 3.0
Alfa Romeo 1,963 1,720 14.1
GM Group 20,669 19,378 6.7
Opel 20,635 19,350 6.6
NISSAN Group 20,482 20,285 1.0
BMW Group 20,467 20,797 -1.6
BMW 14,539 14,816 -1.9
Mini 5,926 5,980 -.9
HYUNDAI Group 16,526 14,449 14.1
Kia 9,711 8,247 17.8
Hyundai 6,815 6,202 9.9
DAIMLER Group 14,924 14,312 4.3
Mercedes-Benz 13,152 12,188 7.9
Smart 1,772 2,124 -16.6
VOLVO Group 4,247 4,080 4.1

Top-Selling Carmakers and Brands in France in 2017 (Q1)

The French PSA and Renault groups remained the largest carmakers in France during the first quarter of 2017 although both groups lost market share with sales marginally weaker than the market average.

For the PSA Group, sales of both Peugeot and Citroen were stronger than the market but sales in DS were down by a third. DS was by far the worst-performing brand in France during the first quarter of 2017. Peugeot and Citroen remained the second and third largest brands in France.

The Renault Group was hindered by Renault branded cars marginally underselling the broader market. However, Renault remained the largest car brand in France, and the Renault Clio the favorite car model of the French. Dacia sales were stronger and Renault’s budget brand closed the gap to VW.

The Volkswagen Group was the worst performing car manufacturer in France during the first quarter of 2017 and one of only two groups with weaker sales. The Volkswagen group’s weak performance was largely due to Volkswagen branded cars selling 7.7% less than a year ago. VW was by far the worst performer of the top-selling car brands in France. Although VW remained the fourth largest car brand in France, the advantage over Dacia shrunk. Porsche and Audi sales were also weaker while Skoda and especially Seat had stronger sales in France.

Toyota Group sales were up by a quarter – the strongest performance by any car manufacturer and brand in France during the first three months of 2017. Although Ford sales were up by a strong 11%, Ford fell behind Toyota in France at the start of 2017.

The FCA Group also had strong sales in France to surpass Nissan and BMW. Fiat sales were up by a strong 16%. GM similarly moved ahead of these two groups but only a few hundred sales.

The Nissan Group continued to struggle in France with sales only marginally stronger but still 15 cars ahead of BMW. The BMW Group slipped several places with both BMW and Mini sales lower in France in 2017.

The Hyundai Group increased sales by a strong 14% with both Kia (18%) and Hyundai (10%) performing well.

The Daimler Group underperformed slightly largely due to a weak performance by Smart – only DS performed worse. Mercedes-Benz sales increased by 8% – the only German premium marque with stronger sales in France in 2017.

Volvo sales increased just below the market average.

Best-Selling Car Models in France in 2017 (Q1)

The following were the top ten best-selling car models in France during the first three months of 2017 according to the CCFA:

Make & Model Sales Q1/2017 % Market Share Sales Q1/2016
1 Renault Clio IV 30,815 5.7 28,331
2 Peugeot 208 26,779 4.9 26,761
3 Peugeot 2008 19,195 3.5 16,836
4 Peugeot 308 II 17,693 3.3 20,865
5 Renault Captur 17,453 3.2 19,139
6 Citroen C3 II 16,660 3.1 15,787
7 Peugeot 3008 II 16,496 3.0
8 Dacia Sandero 16,063 3.0 14,003
9 Renault Mégane IV 13,983 2.6
10 Renault Twingo III 10,518 1.9 10,719

The Renault Clio maintained its position as France’s favorite car and during the first quarter of 2017 increased sales to take 5.7% of the new car market. The Peugeot 208 was again the second best-selling car model in France in 2017 but sales increased by only 18 cars from a year ago.

Sales of the Peugeot 2008 were much improved allowing the model to move up to third from 5th a year ago. As a result, both the Peugeot 308 and the Renault Captur slipped down one position with both selling noticeably fewer cars in 2017 than in 2016. The Citroen C3 remained in sixth place for the third consecutive year.

The Peugeot 3008 II is a new entrant on the top ten list pushing the Dacia Sandero down one position despite stronger sales.

The Renault Megane IV is a new entrance at ninth – not a total surprise as the previous Megane was a regular on the list. The Renault Twingo maintained its tenth place.

The two cars slipping out of the top ten were the Citroen C4 – from 9th to 11th – and the VW Polo from 8th to 13th. The Polo remained the best-selling imported car in France during the first quarter of 2017 but may struggle – in addition to Volkswagen’s other woes – by being replaced later in the year..