Caution is the mother of safety. Let’s not be too quick to say that 2024 will be good or bad. In any case, the wait-and-see attitude of the French “lost in a maze of regulations and prohibitions” (to use the words of Xavier Horent, general delegate of the Mobilians union) is still not reflected in the sales figures. The year 2024 is starting off with rather good momentum.
A decent start to the year but…
With 122,285 registrations last month, this represents an increase of 9.24% compared to January 2023, for an equivalent number of days. Not bad then. However, the figures remain lower than those of January 2021. That year, 126,381 vehicles were delivered on French territory. Finally, the comparison with 2019, the reference year before the health crisis interrupted the strong momentum of previous vintages, is cruel. This to the extent that 155,080 cars had been sold. Between January 2019 and January 2023, registrations fell by more than 21%.
Overall, these good results should be welcomed. It should be noted that car sales have been increasing month after month in France for a year now.
Hybrids on the rise, electrics logically well placed
Second important point, the electrification of the market is intensifying. Thermal engines are losing more ground. Not only are diesel models continuing their descent into hell (they fell quite significantly below the 10% market share mark last month, 7.9% to be very precise) but petrol cars are now following the same path with almost 5 points of market share lost (34.1%).
For the first time, hybrid vehicles (full hybrid, micro-hybrids and plug-in hybrids) are those favored by the French with 36.3% market share. Note that PHEVs, however, show a slight decline (-0.6 points in market share, 8.6%).
Finally, electric ones are still just as successful. Although their market share has fallen slightly compared to the end of 2023 (from almost 21% market share to just over 16%), their performance remains solid and better than in January 2023 ( 13.1%). What could be more normal since buyers rushed towards the end of the year towards electric models which were no longer going to benefit from the bonus, and this is still felt a little at the start of the year.
Still too early to observe trends, the market is upside down
This also explains some astonishing performances when we look at the ranking of the best-selling brands and models last month. For example, the Tesla Model 3 (now ineligible for the bonus due to production in China) sold more than the Model Y (it was 17th in the ranking and the SUV 18th). Along the same lines, the Dacia Spring also produced in China is still well placed (14th).
Generally speaking, it is too early to observe trends in this month of January alone because things could quickly change once, for example, the details of the bonus have been shared. For the moment, the ranking is quite different from that of 2023. Peugeot is, for example, in excellent shape (+15.42%) and the 208 has regained its crown. While on the contrary, Renault is struggling a little (-13.18%) and its Austral and Arkana have left the top 20 in sales (fortunately, together, they still sell more than the 3008, 2,612 units compared to 2,478 for the Lion SUV).
Finally, a sign of changing times, we note the arrival of a model from the Chinese brand BYD in the top 100 sales. This is the Atto 3 SUV, 76th in the ranking and 328 units sold. Epiphenomenon or real trend? Only the future will tell us.
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To sum up
The decline expected by certain analysts and sector experts is still not on the agenda, the automobile market continues to grow at the start of 2024.
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