2020 (Q1-Q3): The best-selling car brand in France was Renault while the Peugeot 208 was the top-selling car model. The French market contracted 29%.
September 2020: New passenger vehicle registrations in France largely recovered to normal levels with new car sales only 3% lower in September 2020 than a year ago. However, during the first nine months of 2020, new car sales in France were down 28.9% with losses widely shared by all major domestic and foreign manufacturers. PSA was the top-selling manufacturer, while Renault was the best-selling car brand in France. The Peugeot 208 was the favorite car of the French ahead of the Renault Clio.
French New Car Market in 2020 (Q3)
New passenger vehicle registrations in France during the first nine months of 2020 contracted by 28.9% to 1,166,699 cars — nearly half a million vehicles fewer than during the first three quarters of 2019.
While new car sales in France in 2020 were very weak in March, April, and May, numbers were near normal levels in June, July, and September. The outlook for the final quarter is positive but sales would in no way compensate for sales lost during the lockdown period. Sales during the final quarter of the calendar year are traditionally far higher in France than during the third quarter.
Thus far in 2020, petrol remained by far the most-popular energy source for new cars but the market share shrunk from 58% a year ago to 49.1%. Diesel is down from 34.1 to 31% while hybrid cars increased its share from 5.3% to 12.9%, including plug-in hybrids with a 3.5% share.
Battery-electric vehicle sales in France more than doubled during the first nine months of 2020 to 70,535 cars (from 30,378) while market share tripled from 1.9% to 6%. The electric-only Renault Zoe was the ninth most-popular car in France and the Tesla Model 3 the 60th (5,025 cars).
Best-Selling Car Manufacturers in France in 2020 (Q3)
The best-selling car manufacturing groups and brands in France during the period January to September 2020 according to car sales statistics released by the CCFA were:
Top Carmakers in France in 2020 (Q1-3)
Losses were fairly evenly shared amongst the larger carmakers and brands in France during the first nine months of 2020. Domestic brands performed only slightly better than foreign brands.
The PSA Group remained the largest carmaker in France followed by Renault. The Peugeot and Renault brands were both down by a quarter. For PSA, Opel and Citroen strongly underperforming the market, while Dacia sales were weaker for Renault. The Alpine brand seemed wiped out but it was recently announced that the brand will spearhead Renault’s motorsport division in the future so should survive.
The Volkswagen Group remained the largest foreign carmaker in France, although sales were down by a third mostly due to the very weak performance of the Volkswagen brand. In contrast, Porsche was the best-performer of all brands listed with sales down only 5.5%.
Toyota and the Hyundai groups gained market share with sales down only around 13% while Nissan and the BMW groups outperformed the broader market. Daimler and FCA had weak sales in France in 2020 while the Tata Group saw sales almost halved.
Best-Selling Car Brands in France in 2020 (Q3)
The ten top-selling car marques in France during the first three quarters of 2020 were:
Top-Ten Car Brands in France in 2020 (Q1-Q3)
After leading the market during the first quarter of 2020, Peugeot slipped again behind Renault at the end of the second semester and remained in second place after nine months. However, both brands outperformed the broader market with sales down by a quarter.
Citroen remained in third place despite sales down by more than a third while Dacia also struggled but maintained fourth place.
Toyota was the best-performing large brand and moved ahead of Volkswagen as the largest foreign car brand in France thus far in 2020. Volkswagen had a dismal performance in France — only Opel performed worse of the top-ten brands.
Ford and Mercedes-Benz sales were down by 30% while BMW gained market share with sales lower buy just over a fifth.
Top-Ten Best-Selling Car Models in France in 2020 (Q1-Q3)
The ten best-selling car models in France during the first nine months of 2020 were as follows:
|Brand & Model||Sales Q1-3/2020|
The traditional order was reversed during the third quarter of 2020 with the Peugeot 208 outselling the Renault Clio in France. Half-year, the Clio was still 21 cars ahead but during the third quarter, the Peugeot 208 moved well clear to take the lead.
Small SUV or crossover cars were popular with the Peugeot 2008, Renault Captur, and Peugeot 3008 selling well in France.
The electric-only Renault Zoe moved into ninth place — full-year 2019, the Zoe could only muster 30th.
The top-selling foreign car was the Toyota Yaris (11th) while the VW Polo slipped to 19th.