2018 (Half Year) France: Best-Selling Car Manufacturers, Brands and Models

During the first semester of 2018, the PSA Group was France’s largest carmaker, Renault the biggest brand and the Clio the favorite car model.


January to June 2018: The PSA Group was again the largest car manufacturer in France followed by Renault and the Volkswagen Group. The best-selling car brands in France were Renault, Peugeot and Citroen while Dacia moved ahead of Volkswagen for the first time. The Renault Clio remained the favorite car model in France ahead of the Peugeot 208.

French New Car Market 2018 (First Semester)

New passenger vehicle registrations in France during the first half of 2018 increased by 4.7% to 1,188,156 cars – over 50,000 cars more than during the first six months of 2017. French brands increased market share to 58% with a 12.2% increase in sales to 694,605 cars. Imported cars lost market share with sales down by 4.4% to 493,551 cars.

Fuel TypeHY2017% Share HY2017HY2018
% Share HY2018

The popularity of diesel cars continued to decline in France. During the first six months of 2017, petrol and diesel cars had similar sales but the market share of diesel cars have slumped to 40% thus far in 2018 while petrol sales are up to 54%.

Electric car sales in France during the first six months of 2018 increased to 14,381 cars or a market share of 1.21% The Renault Zoe was the best-selling electric car model in France with 8,007 sales – the 33rd most popular car model in France thus far in 2018.

Best-Selling Car Manufacturers in France in 2018 (First Six Months)

New passenger vehicle registrations in France by manufacturer and brand were as follows during the first six month of 2018:

ManufacturerHY2018HY 2017% Change
Total Market1,188,1561,135,2814.7
FRENCH MANUFACTURERS694,605619,24512.2
PSA Group380,209324,10017.3
– Citroen114,070114,502-0.4
– DS13,40011,15920.1
– Peugeot213,588198,4397.6
– Opel39,15140,879*-4.2
RENAULT Group314,267295,0936.5
– Renault236,161230,7662.3
– Dacia77,72364,32720.8
BMW Group43,53543,594-0.1
– BMW29,76630,655-2.9
– Mini13,75812,9366.4
DAIMLER Group34,63434,5860.1
– Mercedes-Benz31,18730,9480.8
– Smart3,4473,638-5.3
FCA Group57,17347,65920.0
– Alfa Romeo4,8164,6014.7
– Fiat44,40837,08819.7
– Jeep7,4515,43337.1
FORD Group46,92049,155-4.5
GM Group7040,974-99.8
– Opel40,879
HYUNDAI Group42,00434,37622.2
– Hyundai18,41714,66225.6
– Kia23,58719,71419.6
NISSAN Group34,60640,904-15.4
– Nissan34,19739,608-13.7
TOYOTA Group52,28649,3385.9
– Lexus3,1212,59720.2
– Toyota49,16546,7915.1
VW Group138,150135,2002.2
– Audi28,70933,274-13.7
– Porsche2,4622,671-7.8
– Seat15,63813,23518.2
– Skoda16,22713,33421.7
– Volkswagen75,06172,6243.4
VOLVO Group9,0348,5925.1
Figures exclude “others”
Source: CCFA

Top-Selling Carmakers in France in 2018 (Half Year)

The PSA Group increased its lead as France’s biggest carmaker during the first six months of 2018. Peugeot increased sales by above market average to close the gap to Renault as France’s top-selling car brand. DS sales were up by a fifth but from a very low base while Citroen sales were flat and Opel sales still lagging behind numbers sold while still part of GM.

The Renault Group also performed stronger than the market average but France’s best-selling car brands underperformed. While Peugeot increase sales by around 15,000 Renault sales increased by less then 6,000 compared to a year ago. Dacia sales were up by a fifth to overtake Volkswagen brand sales in France for the first time.

The Volkswagen Group remained the largest import carmaker in France during the first half year 2018 but underperformed the broader market. Skoda and Seat increased sales by around a fifth but Volkswagen brand sales increased below market average in France. Sales of high-earning Audi were sharply down.

Sales of the FCA Group in France during the first six months of 2018 were up by a fifth to leapfrog both Ford and Toyota. Sales of Fiats increased by a fifth while Jeep was the best-performing brand in France thus far in 2018.

Toyota sales in France increased by 6% with Lexus brand sales up by a fifth and Toyota sales up just more than market average. Ford sales were down by 4.5%.

The BMW Group had weaker sales in France during the first half of 2018 with BMW brand sales down 3% while Mini sales increased by 6.4%

The Hyundai Group had the strongest growth of any carmaker in France thus far in 2018 with sales of Hyundai branded cars up by a quarter and Kia branded cars by a fifth. The South Korean group overtook both Daimler and Nissan in France.

The Daimler Group overtook Nissan in France in 2018 with sales ahead by only 28 cars. Mercedes-Benz sales were flat while Smart sales were weaker. Nissan sales were down by 15% – no other car manufacturer performed worse thus far in 2018 in France.

Volvo sales increased by 5% in France thus far in 2018.

GM is still included in statistics mostly as Opel numbers were still listed under GM until August 2017.

Best-Selling Car Brands in France in 2018 (Fist Semester)

The top-selling car brands in France during the first half of 2018 were as follows according to the CCFA:

ManufacturerHY2018HY 2017% Change
1– Renault236,161230,7662.3
2– Peugeot213,588198,4397.6
3– Citroen114,070114,502-0.4
4– Dacia77,72364,32720.8
5– Volkswagen75,06172,6243.4
6– Toyota49,16546,7915.1
7– Ford46,92049,155-4.5
8– Fiat44,40837,08819.7
9– Opel39,15140,879-4.2
10– Nissan34,19739,608-13.7
11– Mercedes-Benz31,18730,9480.8
12– BMW29,76630,655-2.9
13– Audi28,70933,274-13.7
14– Kia23,58719,71419.6
15– Hyundai18,41714,66225.6
16– Skoda16,22713,33421.7
17– Seat15,63813,23518.2
18– Mini13,75812,9366.4
19– DS13,40011,15920.1
20– Volvo9,0348,5925.1
21– Jeep7,4515,43337.1
22– Alfa Romeo4,8164,6014.7
23– Smart3,4473,638-5.3
24– Lexus3,1212,59720.2
25– Porsche2,4622,671-7.8
Figures exclude “others” & manufacturers selling fewer than 2,500 cars
Source: CCFA

Top Car Brands in France in 2018 (Half Year)

Renault, Peugeot and Citroen remained the top three best-selling car brands in France during the first six months of 2018. Only Peugeot increased sales above market average.

Dacia was the most improved of the top car brands in France during the first half of 2018 to move ahead of Volkswagen for the first time ever. Toyota and Ford swapped rank positions.

A strong performance by Fiat allowed the Italian brand to pass both Opel and Nissan.

Mercedes-Benz and BMW both overtook Audi mostly due to a very weak performance by Audi. Audi and Nissan were the worst performing top brands in France thus far in 2018.

Most other brands had strong sales in France during the first half of 2018. The only other rank position changes were Lexus outselling Porsche.

Best-Selling Car Models in France in 2018 (First Semester)

The ten top-selling car models in France during the first half of 2018 according to the CCFA were:

ModelSold HY2018Sold HY2017
Sold HY2016
1Renault Clio IV70,04064,40862,206
2Peugeot 20856,27254,81154,056
3Peugeot 3008 II46,73737,197New
4Citroen C3 III40,98936,34131,092
5Renault Captur40,03337,47941,727
6Dacia Sandero37,64333,65331,407
7Peugeot 200836,97138,70537,094
8Peugeot 308 II35,47437,86044,000
9Renault Twingo III25,97020,41122,908
10Renault Mégane IV25,82228,84721,801
Source: CCFA

Top Ten Best-Selling Car Models in France in 2018 (Half Year)

The Renault Clio and Peugeot 208 were again the favorite car models of the French during the first half of 2018. Renault continued to increase sales volume at a faster pace. Both car models are due for an update towards the end of the year.

The Peugeot 3008 improved from 6th to 3rd while the Citroen C3 improved from 7th to 4th. The Renault Captur maintained 5th place.

The Dacia Sandero improved from 8th to 6th. The Peugeot 2008 slipped from 3rd to 7th while the Peugeot 308 slipped from 4th to 8th.

The Renault Twingo re-entered the top ten list from 11th a year ago while the Renault Mégane slipped from 9th to 10th. The Dacia Duster narrowly missed out on a top ten listing.

The only car falling out of the top ten from a year ago was the Volkswagen Polo that slipped from 10th to 13th despite sales volume remaining basically unchanged. The VW Polo remained the favorite imported car in France during the first half of 2018.

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.