France 2018. Dacia & Fiat shine in a market up 3.2%

French vehicle market

French vehicle market grew 3.2% in 2018 with 2.177.510 sales, closing the fifth consecutive year of improvement, despite the influence of WLTP regulation. Renault was the market leader, with a tiny gap from Peugeot. Impressive performances from Dacia and Fiat.

Economic Environment

President Emmanuel Macron delivered a much-watched mea culpa in mid-December as he set out to extinguish the so-called ‘yellow vest’ protests that erupted in response to a proposed fuel-tax hike. In his efforts to mollify protestors, he offered a handful of concessions; raising the minimum wage and slashing some taxes could push next year’s fiscal deficit well beyond the EU-mandated threshold of 3.0% of GDP but appears to have brought the situation under control.

Recent protests are expected to scatter by next year but continue to pencil in unremarkable, demand-driven growth. Household spending should benefit from income-tax cuts and an improving labor market, while fixed investment—despite the spook in recent weeks—should hold up amid Macron’s reform push, elevated capacity utilization and upbeat economic sentiment. External-sector risks trend to the downside and include a pullback in global trade and any escalation of the U.S.-China trade spat.

Market Trend

French vehicles market is in a positive momentum since early 2015 and the Macron government active policy ha corroborated the market pushing up consumer confidence and expectations. Consequently, in the 2017 the market raised at the highest level in this decade, not far from the all time record, with over 2.1 million car passenger’s sold, the best score since the 2008.

In the 2018 he market has grown again, with a more moderate speed. Indeed, as reported by the C.C.F.A, the French Associations of Car Manufacturers, this year sales have been 2.177.510 improving by 3.2% from last year. Despite WLTP regulation dragged sales down between September and December, this is the fifth consecutive year of growth, reaching the largest volume since 2011.

Competitive Arena

The French government has always taken in high consideration the rule of the automotive sector in the national economy and Renault is still partially controlled by the State with policy usually in favor of local made products. Furthermore, since 2010 France has introduced the most advanced and long-term incentive scheme for replacing old vehicles, with a fiscal system called “bonus/malus” with increasing tax for more polluting vehicles.

French people is well known to be proud of them nation and it easy to understand why over 50% of the market is concentrated in local brands and the top 10 models are all local made.

In the 2018, the market leader, Renault, closed the year with a safe advantage on all the others with 406.207 sales (-2.5%) despite the second, Peugeot, has marginally reduced the gap in last months, with 389.514 sales (+6.2%).

In third place Citroen with 213.841 (+6.2%) ahead of Dacia with 140.345 (+19.1%) and Volkswagen with 140.310 (+0.7%).

In sixth place Toyota with 97.286 sales (+9.7%) followed by Ford with 82.631 (-2.1%), Fiat, with 78.225 (+14.7%), Opel with 71.621 (-1.3%) and in 10th place Mercedes with 65.806 (-3.2%).

At model wise, on top of the 2018 list again the Renault Clio with 123.659 sales (+6%) followed by the Peugeot 208 with 102.385 (+4.8%) and the Peugeot 3008 with 84.833 (+14.2%).

Tables with sales figures

In the tables below we report sales for all Brands, top 10 Manufacturers Group and top 10 Models

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