France sales increase nearly 3% in January
PARIS -- New-car registrations in France rose 2.5 percent in January, with sales helped by strong gains at Peugeot, Mercedes, Hyundai and Skoda. Sales increased to 156,151, industry group CCFA reported Thursday. French automakers' sales rose by 12 percent, while foreign automakers lost 8.5 percent.
PSA Group led the way with sales rising 18.5 percent month over month, including Opel, which was not included in 2017 sales until August. Buoyed by its 3008 and 5008 crossovers, Peugeot continued its strong performance, gaining 11 percent for the month after increasing 9.2 percent in all of 2017. The brand widened its market-share lead over domestic rival Renault to nearly three percentage points. Citroen sales were up 2.7 percent, continuing a positive trend after the introduction of the C3 Aircross SUV last autumn. DS sales fell 14 percent while Opel sales held steady under PSA's ownership.
Renault Group sales rose 2.9 percent, but Renault fell 0.7 percent as the brand introduced comparatively few new models in 2017. Sales at budget subsidiary Dacia increased 14.3 percent in January following an increase of 12 percent in December.
Skoda sales rose 15 percent behind the Karoq and Kodiaq. Spanish brand Seat rose 4.4 percent.
Daimler's sales surged by 36 percent, with Mercedes-Benz gaining 39 percent and Smart's sales rising 16 percent. BMW Group lost 0.3 percent, with an increase of 24 percent at Mini and decrease of 10 percent at BMW brand.
Hyundai Group rose 12 percent, with Hyundai brand leading all Asian automaker during the month with an increase of 17 percent. Hyundai sister brand Kia gained 8.5 percent. Toyota sales were up 6.9 percent. Nissan sales fell by 5.6 percent.
Fiat Chrysler sales also outpaced the market, increasing 9.4 percent. Fiat brand rose by 3.6 percent, Jeep was up 47 percent and Alfa Romeo increased by 24 percent. Ford sales lagged the market, falling by 2.6 percent.
Sales of diesel powertrains fell to just 41 percent of the market, a decline of six percentage points from January 2017. In contrast, gasoline engine sales rose to 52 percent of the market from 46 percent a year earlier. Sales of electric vehicles fell to just 0.8 percent of the market from 1.5 percent in 2017.
By body style, SUVs and crossovers accounted for 37 percent of the market, compared with 30 percent a year earlier.