French true fleets down in Q4 but up for 2018 full year
The French true fleet market saw a bumpy last quarter to 2018 but remained up for the full year, according to latest figures from Dataforce.
The firm’s analysis shows the overall French new car market fell 14.5% in December to around 165,000 registrations. The 9.6% drop for true fleets was less dramatic than for the private channel (-15.6%) or for the registrations of Dealerships and Manufacturers (-26.4%) but it was only actually the channel for short term rental companies that recorded growth compared to December 2017 with +12.4% rise.
True fleets was also down for the whole of Q4 with a 6.5% decline, but thanks to the strong period from January-August , the channel retained a growth of 2.5% year-to-date, in contrast to markets like Germany, Italy or the United Kingdom.
Looking at brand performance, Peugeot and Renault switched positions compared to December last year followed by Citroën who remained in third place and was the first of only three brands within the top ten with a volume increase in the current month (+17.1%). This was mainly supported by the C3 (number one by absolute volume growth in True Fleets in December) and the C3 Aircross, which was third in the Small SUV segment behind Renault Captur and Peugeot 2008.
Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz and BMW all kept their positions, but Toyota jumped from 11th into seventh place with a remarkable +47.9%. Audi, Ford and Volvo completed the top 10. Meanwhile with an impressive +51.5% rise, Skoda ranked 12th (December 2017: 15th), and DS even grew by 53.7%, driven by DS7 Crossback.
The performance of the Hyundai Kona helped the Korean manufacturer to score the highest percentage growth within the top 30 brands and to achieve its highest market share in the French True Fleet Market since December 2015. The full electric version accounted for more than 40% of Kona’s fleet registrations.
Dataforce also looked at the large SUV sector and fond that despite the drop of 9.6% for True Fleets the registrations of company cars equipped with a Petrol engine were up by 33.4%. Consequently, the share of Petrol rose to 29.4% – a record for the French market. EVs and Hybrids also showed a strong increase with +34.4% and +22.8% respectively while Plug-In Hybrids (PHEV) saw a drop of 15.1%. However, there were some PHEVs with very positive results, especially large SUV models like the Land Rover Range Rover Sport or Volvo’s XC90; a result of the high malus that the French vehicle taxation allocates to the typical CO2 range of a large SUV, which means that opting for a PHEV appears the logical choice. As a result, the Large SUV sector achieved the highest PHEV volume from all vehicle segments in December.