Automotive: a good year 2018, between “yellow vests” and decline of diesel

The French new passenger car market grew by nearly 3% in 2018. The share of diesel is still falling, to 40% of registrations, a far cry from its peak in 2012.

Despite a particularly dark month of December for the sector, the automotive market in France for new cars was still buoyant in 2018. According to the Committee of French Automobile Manufacturers (CCFA), it increased by nearly 3% out of the 12 last months. In all, 2,173,481 registrations were recorded. This figure, in line with manufacturers’ expectations, was nevertheless weakened by a very bad month of December. Compared to December 2017, registrations fell 14.5% to 165,390. The CCFA explains this on the one hand with the movement of “yellow vests” and on the other hand because many cars, especially foreign ones, have not yet arrived on the French market, due to lack of homologation.

A good year for French manufacturers, diesel at half mast

Over the year as a whole, PSA and Renault together increased their sales by 8.32%. In detail, PSA garnered 698,985 registrations (+ 13.36%), thanks in particular to the integration of Opel, which in 2017 had been recorded in the bosom of the American General Motors (GM). The group thus confirms its number 1 position in France, with a market share of nearly 30%.

The Renault group grew by 2.48%, driven by the Dacia brand (+ 19%). On the foreign manufacturer side, if Toyota (+ 9.93%), the Fiat-Chrysler alliance (+ 12.67%) and Hyundai (+ 16.54%) are clearly doing well, the German manufacturers Volkswagen (- 1.1%) and BMW (-3.21%) are down.

Another notable fact, that of. In free fall since 2012, where it then represented three quarters of the market, it fell further, from 47.3% in 2017 to 40% of cars registered in 2018. This disaffection is however only reflected very moderately on electric or hybrid cars, sales of which only increased by 6% in 2018. “This is still low,” notes François Roudier, spokesperson for the CCFA. “The offer will really hit the market in 2019 and 2020”.

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