French sales slip 13% in September on WLTP
PARIS -- New-car registrations in France fell 13 percent in September as the market continued to be affected by the EU's new type-approval testing.
There were 148,752 registrations in the month, which had 20 selling days, the same as in September 2017, industry group CCFA said.
Registrations rose by 40 percent in August as many automakers sought to clear out models that were not certified under the Worldwide harmonized Light vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP). Automakers were not allowed to sell uncertified cars after Sept. 1, with a few exceptions.
French sales also increased 19 percent in July largely because of WLTP's effect.
The EU's WLTP laboratory test and accompanying Real Driving Emissions (RDE), road test, seek to better match real-world conditions than the previous NEDC test. New models had to complete testing by September 2017, but the stipulation that current models undergo certification by Sept. 1 of this year led to testing bottlenecks and production disruptions, as automakers halted output of non-compliant models.
Sales soared over the summer, normally a slow selling period, as manufacturers pushed fleet sales, offered generous incentives and self-registered models to clear out inventory. Analysts had expected that sales would be sluggish this autumn, with some models still not certified and the summer sales incentives ending.
• Download PDF, above right, for September sales by automaker and brand.
The biggest decreases were recorded by Nissan, down 76 percent; Audi, down 55 percent; Jeep, down 44 percent; and Volkswagen, with a drop of 34 percent. Sales increased at a few brands, notably Hyundai, up 36 percent; Volvo, up 29 percent; and Toyota, with a rise of 12 percent for the month.
PSA Group sales rose 2.6 percent for the month, with a 1 percent increase at Peugeot, 4.7 percent at Citroen, 9.9 percent at Opel, and a decline of 8.5 percent at DS. The group reported in August that all models were certified under the WLTP.
Renault Group sales fell by 18 percent, with a 24 percent decline at Renault. Dacia sales rose by 5.5 percent.
Volkswagen Group sales fell by 36 percent overall, including a 21 percent fall at Skoda and 2.5 percent drop at Seat.
Fiat Chrysler sales were down 24 percent, with the Fiat brand down 14 percent and Alfa Romeo losing 75 percent.
Hyundai Group sales increased by 19 percent, as Kia increased 5.5 percent.
Daimler sales fell by 12 percent, with Mercedes-Benz down 11 percent and Smart down 19 percent. Sales were flat at BMW, which had certified most models under the WLTP by June. Mini sales were up 8.4 percent, while BMW fell by 4 percent.
Diesel sales, after holding steady at 40 percent market share from March through August, dipped to 36 percent for the month -- a figure not seen in France since the mid-1990s. Through nine months diesels accounted for 39 percent of France's overall vehicle sales.