4 Jan 19

French car market flourished in 2018

The yellow vests protests of the last months, showing many cars vandalised by protesters, may have lead us to believe that the French do not love automobiles, but the 2018 registration figures prove otherwise.


Despite the transition to WLTP, that had an effect on the vehicle registrations in the last quarter, the total number of registrations of passenger cars and light trucks in 2018 increased by 3,3% compared to 2017. In total, no less than 2,632,067 new cars were put on the road, which is 82,674 cars over the 2017 figure of 2,549,393. The figures come from the Committee of French Automobile Manufacturers (CCFA).


Of that total of 2,632,067 cars, no less than 1,547,358 were sold by French car markers, with PSA (Citroën, Peugeot, DS and now also Opel) in the lead, selling 856,433 cars, followed by Renault (Renault, Dacia, Alpine), totalling 689,788 new cars in 2017. French chauvinism? The 2018 figure lies 7,6% over the 2017 one, while non French-constructors sold 2,4% less cars than in the previous year.


French OEMs sales results 2018















Winners and losers


In absolute figures, Renault is still the top selling brand in France, although its 2018 sales number of 547,045 is 1,8% lower than that of 2017 (554,504). Dacia did remarkably well, increasing its sales figures by 18,6% in one year.


Other good performers are Toyota and Lexus, totalling 111,192 registrations (of which 105,091 Toyota’s), Hyundai (35,873 cars) and Kia (42,463), which gives a Hyundai Group-result of 16,5% over the 2017 one.

FCA Group, with brands such as Fiat, Alfa, Jeep and Maserati, did reasonably good, with mainly Jeep and Fiat (16,468 and 116,606 cars) contributing to that result.


There are less reasons to be cheerful at Nissan and Infiniti, that saw their registrations fall by 15.8% over one year (70,406 units), and for Volkswagen Group, where Audi saw sales plummet by 21.2%, to 52,430 cars.



What about the fleet market?


Figures published by the Observatory of Business Vehicles (OVE), the French fleet market has grown by 2,1%, totalling 818,648 passenger cars and light commercial vehicles sold to companies in 2018.


Both the passenger car fleet market and the lcv market did well, with a respective total of 476,269 passenger cars (+2%) and 342,379 LCV’s (+2,3%).


Remarkably, the real growth comes from the first half of 2018, when WLTP was not yet in effect. From January until August (included), the fleet market was up 6,2%, but the last quarter saw that figure drop to 2,1% over the whole year.


In 2018, a total of 17,130 electric vehicles were registered to fleets, which is no less than 45% over the figure of 2017.


As is the case in other countries, the French fleet market also saw a decrease in diesel registrations. In France, with 642,803 diesel cars registered, 5,2% less were sold, making the diesel market share drop to 78,5%. Nevertheless, diesel is still king in the LCV-segment, with 93,5% of the market and 320,156 registrations.


The loss of diesel in the passenger car fleet market is partly compensated by an increase in gasoline vehicles. The gasoline market share in fleets at the end of 2018 was 16%, for what passenger cars is concerned, that figure lies at 24,7%.


Photo: Renault press

Authored by: Stijn Blanckaert