The French automotive market has enough to drive all the goat sector analysts. Although new car registrations were the lowest since the beginning of 2022, August was the stabilization month with an increase of 3.79% compared to August 2021. Typically, this period is considered the emptiest of the year.
Confirmation was expected for September, a period that did not disappoint with 141,137 registrations, an increase of 5.46% compared to the same year in 2019 (133,830 registrations).
But this good news does not hide a deficit in the French automotive market. In the first nine months of 2022, the decline is 11.77%, with 1,112,072 new car registrations compared to 1,260,373 in 2021 (January to September).
Even worse, compared to 2019, the post-Covid reference year, is berezina. The market dropped 32.25% after enjoying two more business days. Thus, from January to September 2019, 1,641,367 new passenger cars were registered. The comparison of the months of September 2019 and 2022 also shows a drop of 18.62% (173,433 records against 141,142).
This improvement should be approached with caution, according to Julien Billon, managing director of AAA Data, who stresses that “It would be premature to take these two consecutive monthly results as a lasting return to a positive and promising dynamic. […] Market fundamentals remain fragile. Inflation continues to weigh on purchasing power and new car production is expected to suffer for a few more months with the global semiconductor shortage.”.
Priority of electric vehicles for semiconductors
Today, the priority for car manufacturers is the regular supply of electronic components so that production lines do not shut down, as was the case recently at Renault or Stellantis (Peugeot). And when semiconductors arrive, they are mainly dedicated to electric vehicles.
According to François Roudier, spokesman for the PFA, explaining to our colleagues at BFM TV, this trend is dictated by “the need to ‘launch’ this electricity market and escape Europe’s penalties in the event of a poor CO2 balance of its sales”.
In the first three quarters of 2022, 100% electric vehicles represent a market share of 12.7%, far behind gasoline (37.6%) and hybrid (29.4%) cars, but almost four points diesel ( 16.4%) which, despite everything, is still doing well in Europe. As for plug-in hybrids, which dropped 13%, their market share was 8%. Superethanol (or E85) has only accounted for 0.9% of the market since the start of the year, despite some enthusiasm.
Renault saved by Dacia, Stellantis by Alfa-Romeo and Maserati
As for the car manufacturers, it’s a soup of grimaces for some, like the Renault group that suffered a fall in September of 4.96% and 7.97% since the beginning of the year. Fortunately, Dacia is there to save the day with +2.60% in September and +3.78% in the first three quarters.
Stellantis gained +1.68% in September with Peugeot (+13.44%), Opel (+6.80%), DS (+1.12%), Alfa Romeo (+148.95%) and Maserati (+ 112.50%). On the other hand, since January 2022, the group as a whole has fallen by 15.51%, with the exception of the two Italian brands that showed a positive result.
The Volkswagen group had a monthly growth of 6.67% (VW +6.98%; Skoda +63.21%; Cupra +251.39% and Porsche +27.72%). However, the group is down 21.34% in the first three quarters of 2022.
BMW (+11.97%), Toyota (+56.04%), Ford (+35.46%), Mercedes-Daimler (+52.75%) and Volvo (+33.76%) are in the green in September, but point to negative in relation to the first nine months of the year.
If the Hyundai/Kia group is at +4% since January, September was not happy for Hyundai (-13.94%), unlike its cousin Kia (+1.51%).
The good surprise comes from Mitsubishi: +46.10% in September 2022 and +46.24% between January and September 2022.
For pure electric, Tesla has +6.13%, but has remained in the red since January (-14.87%). MG Motors and Lynk&Co recorded increases of 353.26% and 393.62%, respectively. Since the beginning of the year, the two Chinese automakers have registered 6,110 vehicles for the first and 2014 for the second.
Electric: sedans dominate SUVs
You see them everywhere on the road and yet the SUV is not the most popular body type with customers. Thus, since 2020, it is the sedan that dominates the SUV in the electric motor sector with 84,352 copies sold against 32,131 in the first eight months of 2022.
On the other hand, we have noticed a reversal of the trend with the rechargeable hybrids (or PHEV) where the SUV represented 112,804 units out of a total of 141,001 in 2021, according to data published by AAA Data.
Peugeot 208, Renault Clio and Dacia Sandero, queens of sales
In the first nine months of the year, the winning trio is the Peugeot 208 II (67,866 VP) ahead of the Renault Clio V (47,589 private sales) and the Dacia Sandero III (46,032). The Top 10 for the first nine months is monopolized by five Stellantis models (Peugeot and Citroën) and five Renault/Dacia models.
The first electric is the Dacia Spring in 20th place with 13,022 units.