Over the past weeks we have flown into Zimbabwe, New Caledonia, Iceland and The Entire World (yes Sir!), this week it is time to stop in my own country, France. Yes I know I am confusing you, I am based in Australia but come from France… Only the French…
Now if Paris, baguettes, berets and grumpy old men are not your tasse de cafe au lait that’s ok, rest assured I won’t be offended because I have prepared 159 additional countries for you to visit in my blog, so don’t be shy and click away, oui oui!
Well this year in France the best-selling model had not been in that position in 5 years…Oh la la!
French car sales are down just 2% in 2011 at 2,204,065 in 2011, which is an outstanding performance in the current economic context. For the first time since 2006 the Renault Clio 3rd generation is the best-selling car in the country with 123,827 sales and 5.6 percent share, stable on last year. Boosted by heavy promotions on its petrol version, the Clio hit the 3rd generation’s highest market share in September at 9.4 percent.
It is the 13th time in the nameplate’s 20 year-life that the Clio finishes the year in pole position in France, making it the 2nd most successful nameplate below the Renault 5/Supercinq (14 times). The first year the Clio was #1 was 1992 when it sold 233,209 units for a 11.1 percent market share - See all the years the Clio ranked #1 here.
Losing its crown for the first time in a full year (it was #1 since its first full year in market in 2007), the Peugeot 207 is #2 with 103,321 sales and 4.7 percent share, down 19 percent. A difficult year for Peugeot’s best-seller but its successor the 208 has already been unveiled and will go on sale in March 2012.
Helped by the new generation of the model now if full swing, the Citroen C3 is up 8 percent on 2010, climbing up to #3 with 79,364 sales and 3.3 percent share. It is the first time a Citroen ranks on the French podium in 26 years! Since the Citroen BX was #3 in 1985 with 7 percent of the market…
The C3 is only the 6th Citroen to claw its way onto the annual French podium since 1945 with the Traction Avant, 2CV, Ami 6, GS and BX.
It is followed by 3 Renaults: the Mégane at 78,861 units (-1 percent)..
Twingo at 68,265 sales (-26 percent)..
and Scénic at 66,360 units (-12 percent).
Boosted by a light facelift, the Peugeot 308 is up one spot to #7.
Best-selling foreign model for the 2nd year in a row, the VW Polo takes advantage of a fantastic end of year to gain 10 percent and 4 spots on 2010 to #8 at 53,582 units and 2.4 percent share. This is the highest year-end ranking reached by a foreign model in 15 years! Since the Ford Fiesta ranked #8 in 1996…
The next two models make their first appearance ever in the French year-end Top 10: the Peugeot 3008 continues to progress at +7 percent and +2 spots on 2010 to #9 with 53,297 sales and 2.4 percent share. It broke into the monthly Top 5 for the first time in May at #5.
The Dacia Duster is the success story of the year: it sells 51,612 units for its first full year, landing at #10. This is the first time in the history of the automobile in France that an SUV/4WD ranks within the year-end Top 10. The Duster ranked #1 for one week in April and broke into the monthly Top 5 for the first time in November at #5.
The new generation Citroen C4 ramped up all through the year to break into the Top 10 in December, finishing 2011 at #12.
Excellent performance of the Citroen DS3 up to #17 with 33,015 sales and 1.5 percent share…
…and the Nissan Qashqai breaking into the French year-end Top 20 for the first time at #19, up 17 percent. It is one of only 5 foreign models in the Top 25 below the Polo, Ford Fiesta, VW Golf and Opel Corsa (Owned at 100% by Renault, Dacia is considered a French brand). It is also the first time ever Nissan manages to place a model in the French year-end Top 20.
All-new this year, the Peugeot 508 lands directly in Top 20 with 28,507 sales, already leader in its category ahead of the Citroen C5 (#24), Renault Laguna (#26) and VW Passat (#36). Further down the ranking, the Ford C-Max up 67 percent to #27, the Nissan Juke landing directly #32 and already flirting with the monthly Top 20 and the Audi A1 the brand’s best-seller straight from its first full year at #45.
France Full Year 2011 Top 30
|Citroen C4 Picasso||46,982||2.1%||-9%||51,632||2.3%||10|
|Citroen C3 Picasso||31,139||1.4%||-2%||31,703||1.4%||18|
|Renault Clio Campus||25,217||1.1%||-33%||37,679||1.7%||16|
You can see each year’s best-selling models in France since 1949 here. (Scroll down to the table and click on the year to see the detailed ranking)
And now for the golden nugget: the Renault 4CV you can see in the video at the start of the article was the first mass-produced car in France and the first one to pass the 1 million units mark. It was unveiled at the 1946 Paris Motor Show, started production in August 1947 and already sold over 50,000 units for a mammoth 29 percent market share in 1950! See the Top 15 best-selling models in France in 1950 here.
Matt Gasnier, based in Sydney, Australia, runs a blog named Best Selling Cars, dedicated to counting cars all over the world.