PARIS -- French registrations fell by 21 percent in February, the seventh consecutive month of falling sales as pandemic restrictions including a 6 p.m. curfew remained in place. Among volume brands, only Dacia, Suzuki and Mini reported sales increases.
There were 132,637 vehicles registered on 20 selling days for the month, the same number as in February 2020, according to industry association CCFA. The market is down 8 percent for the first two months.
The drop in sales in February can be partly explained by a steep fall in orders in November, when the country was put under a curfew and dealerships were closed. Orders fell by 52 percent for the month compared with November 2020. Many of those vehicles would have been delivered in February.
In contrast, when dealers re-opened their doors in December, orders were down 11 percent for the month year over year.
February was the first month that CCFA grouped sales from the former PSA Group and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles together as Stellantis. The combined group had a market share of 37 percent in January, although sales fell 26 percent.
Within Stellantis, Peugeot sales fell 17 percent, Citroen sales fell 26 percent, DS lost 52 percent and Opel lost 51 percent, with dealers still awaiting the new Mokka small SUV. Fiat sales fell 36 percent. Jeep sales rose by 31 percent, but volume was just 576 vehicles for the month.
Renault Group sales were down 22 percent overall, with Dacia’s gain of 26 percent behind the new Sandero small hatchback unable to offset a 35 percent drop at Renault brand. Sports-car brand Alpine had just four registrations for the month.
The new-generation Sandero, built on a newer Renault-Nissan Alliance platform, was in second-place overall through February, with 13,289 sales, behind the Peugeot 208 at 16,064 sales. In contrast, the Sandero was in eighth place in the same period in 2020, with 7,845 sales.