30 Jan 19

French True Fleets have a “bumpy” December

With just 165,000 registrations in December, the French car market suffered a loss of 14.5% versus the same month in 2017, analysis by Dataforce shows. “Overall, the last three months have been pretty bumpy, especially for True Fleets”, says Dataforce analyst Christian Spahn.

True Fleets ‘only’ retreated by 9.6% in comparison with previous December, a less dramatic result than the Private channel (-15.6%) or Dealership and Manufacturer registrations (-26.4%). The only positive figure was registered by Short-term Rental companies (+12.4%).

Volume increase
True Fleets had a good run during the first three quarters of the year, which all showed growth. But the fourth one was clearly in the red (-6.5%). Nevertheless, French True Fleets showed a positive growth of 2.5% over the entire year, unlike True Fleet markets in Germany, Italy and the UK. 

The True Fleet brand top 10 was led by Peugeot and Renault (switching places since December 2017), followed by Citroën (retaining third place. Citroën was the first brand with a volume increase in December (+17.1%), mainly thanks to the C3 (biggest volume grower in True Fleets in December) and the C3 Aircross (third-most popular Small SUV, behind Renault Captur and Peugeot 2008).

Places four through six were a strictly German affair (VW, Mercedes, BMW), followed by Toyota on seven (up from 11th place, thanks to a +47.9% sales increase vs. December 2017). Audi, Ford and Volvo completed the top 10. 

Petrol increase
Honourable mentions outside the top 10: Skoda (jumping from 15th to 12th place thanks to a +51.5% sales increase), DS (+53.7%) and Hyundai (highest percentage growth of the top 30 brands and highest market share in French True Flees since December 2015). Hyundai’s stellar performance was thanks mainly to the Kona, the full-electric version of which already accounts for more than 40% of its fleet registrations.  

Looking at motorisations, there was a 33.4% increase in registrations of company cars with a petrol engine – despite the overall drop of 9.6% for the True Fleet market. As a result, the petrol share of True Fleet registrations shot up to 29.4% in December. That’s a new record for petrol in a market that until recently was almost entirely dedicated to diesel. 

Strong increases were also noted for EVs (+34.4%) and Hybrids (+22.8%), while PHEVs dropped significantly (-15.1%). However, some PHEV versions of large SUVs did score very well, notably the Land Rover Range Rover Sport and the Volvo XC90. 

“This will certainly have been influenced by the high malus that the French vehicle taxation allocates to the typical CO2 range of a large SUV, so opting for a PHEV version appears the logical choice”, concludes Mr Spahn.

Authored by: Frank Jacobs