2018 (Full Year) France: Best-Selling Car Manufacturers and Brands

In 2018, the PSA Group remained France’s largest carmaker while Renault was the top-selling car brand ahead of Peugeot, Citroen and Dacia.

Dacia Duster Geneva

Car sales in France in 2018 increased by a moderate 3% during 2018 with the PSA Group still the largest carmaker followed by Renault and the Volkswagen Group. Renault was the top-selling car brand despite weaker sales followed by Peugeot and Citroen. Dacia moved ahead of Volkswagen, which was again the top-selling foreign car brand in France in 2018. The Renault Clio remained the favorite model.

The French New Vehicle Market in 2018 (Full Year)

New passenger vehicle registrations in France increased by 3% to 2,173,481 cars in 2018. The French new car market thus expanded by just over 60,000 cars compared to the 2,110,748 cars registered in 2017.

In 2018, petrol cars took a clear lead ahead of diesel as the fuel choice of French car buyers. Petrol had a market share of 55% in 2018 and diesel 39% – in 2017, the shares were equal at 47%. Electric car sales in France increased from 24,910 in 2017 to 31,059 electric cars in 2018 – an increase in market share from 1.18% to 1.43%.

Sales of cars by French manufacturers increased by 8.3% for a 57.4% market share – much of this was due to Opel being included in French numbers in 2018. Foreign brands generally underperformed the broader market with sales down by 3.4% for a 42.6% share of the French new car market in 2018.

As with most European markets, the French new car market was very weak during the final quarter of 2018. This was at least partly due to the unavailability of cars due to new emission measurement regulations. During the first three quarters of 2018, the French new car market grew a much stronger 6.5%.

Best-Selling Car Manufacturers in France in 2018 (Full Year)

New passenger vehicle registrations for the full year 2018 (January to December) in France were as follows according to new car sales data released by the CCFA:

ManufacturerFY 2018FY2017% Change 17/18
Total Market2,173,4812,110,7513.0
French Marques:1,246,9151,151,1908.3
PSA Group698,985616,58513.4
– Citroen213,844201,3746.2
– DS24,00421,32312.6
– Peugeot389,518366,8726.2
– Opel71,61927,016*
RENAULT Group547,704534,4502.5
– Renault406,222416,578-2.5
– Dacia140,326117,86519.1
Imported Brands:926,566959,561-3.4
BMW Group84,93187,748-3.2
– BMW57,53761,309-6.2
– Mini27,37826,4313.6
DAIMLER Group73,25476,169-3.8
– Mercedes-Benz65,80868,007-3.2
– Smart7,4468,162-8.8
FCA Group100,62689,31412.7
– Alfa Romeo8,3329,208-9.5
– Fiat78,22668,19614.7
– Jeep13,19110,89221.1
FORD Group82,63384,382-2.1
– Ford82,63384,382-2.1
GM Group11145,716-99.8
– Opel045,548*
HYUNDAI Group77,85566,80516.5
– Hyundai35,54229,57020.2
– Kia42,31337,23513.6
NISSAN Group60,55173,477-17.6
– Nissan59,60671,492-16.6
TOYOTA Group103,38794,0529.9
– Lexus6,1015,39013.2
– Toyota97,28688,6629.7
VW Group259,268262,173-1.1
– Audi51,58265,690-21.5
– Porsche4,5675,457-16.3
– Seat31,21924,71526.3
– Skoda31,42326,79917.3
– Volkswagen140,313139,3600.7
VOLVO Group18,34916,21913.1
– Volvo18,34916,21913.1
Souce: CCFA–––
  • *Opel figures for 2017 are part of GM for January to August, and PSA for September to December.
  • Exclude smaller car manufacturers and β€œothers”.

Top-Selling Carmakers in France in 2018

The PSA Group remained by far the largest car manufacturer in France in 2018 with numbers further aided by the inclusion of Opel numbers. Peugeot, Citroen and DS all expanded above the market average with Peugeot alone adding more than 20,000 cars. Opel numbers were around a thousand units less than a year ago if both PSA and GM numbers are added.

The Renault Group expanded below market average with Renault sales down 2.5%. Dacia sales were up by nearly a fifth to become the fourth largest car brand in France in 2018.

The Volkswagen Group remained the largest foreign carmaker in France in 2018 but sales were marginally weaker than a year ago. The Toyota and FCA Groups in contrast increases sales in France in 2018. Ford, BMW and Daimler all had slightly weaker sales in France while the Nissan Group was the weakest performer in France in 2018. The Hyundai Group and Volvo expanded well above market average.

Best-Selling Car Brands in France in 2018 (Full Year)

The 25 top-selling car brands in France during the full calendar year 2018 were as follows:

–ManufacturerFY 2018FY2017% Change 17/18
1– Renault406,222416,578-2.5
2– Peugeot389,518366,8726.2
3– Citroen213,844201,3746.2
4– Dacia140,326117,86519.1
5– Volkswagen140,313139,3600.7
6– Toyota97,28688,6629.7
7– Ford82,63384,382-2.1
8– Fiat78,22668,19614.7
9– Opel71,61972,564*
10– Mercedes-Benz65,80868,007-3.2
11– Nissan59,60671,492-16.6
12– BMW57,53761,309-6.2
13– Audi51,58265,690-21.5
14– Kia42,31337,23513.6
15– Hyundai35,54229,57020.2
16– Skoda31,42326,79917.3
17– Seat31,21924,71526.3
18– Mini27,37826,4313.6
19– DS24,00421,32312.6
20– Volvo18,34916,21913.1
21– Jeep13,19110,89221.1
22– Alfa Romeo8,3329,208-9.5
23– Smart7,4468,162-8.8
24– Lexus6,1015,39013.2
25– Porsche4,5675,457-16.3
26Souce: CCFA

Top-Selling Car Marques in France in 2018

Renault remained the best-selling car brand in France in 2018 but sales were down by 2.5%. As a result, the gap to second placed Peugeot shrank from around 50,000 cars in 2017 to only around 17,000 cars in 2018.

While Renault sold around 10,000 fewer cars in France in 2018 compared to 2017, Peugeot sales increased by 23,000 and Citroen by around 12,000.

The star performer amongst the largest carmakers in France in 2018 was Dacia – sales increased by nearly a fifth, or over 20,000 cars, to take fourth place from Volkswagen.

Volkswagen slipped to fifth largest carmaker in France in 2018 – only 13 cars behind Dacia. Volkswagen remained by far the largest foreign car brand in France.

Toyota sales were up by nearly 10% in France in 2018 while Ford sales were down by 2%. Fiat sales expanded by 15% – only Dacia improved more among the top-ten brands in France in 2018. Fiat moved up from 10th a year ago to 8th largest car brand in 2018.

Opel slipped from 8th to 9th with sales down by around a 1,000 cars if both PSA and GM numbers for 2017 are added.

Despite weaker sales, Mercedes-Benz entered the top-ten list in France in 2018 at the expense of Nissan, which had a dismal year – only Audi performed worse in France.

Mercedes-Benz was the best performer amongst the German luxury premium brand trio. BMW moved up one rank position despite weaker sales mostly due to very weak sales by Audi. Audi sales in France in 2018 were down by more than a fifth – the worst performer in the top 25 car brands in France in 2018.

The worst performing car brands in France in 2018 were Audi, Nissan and Porsche – Porsche slipped to 25th behind a strongly growing Lexus.

The top performing car brands in France in 2018 were Seat, Jeep, Hyundai and Jeep – all with sales up by a fifth or more.

The Renault Clio remained the top-selling car brand in France in 2018 ahead of the Peugeot 208 – both models are due for replacements in 2019.

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.