sales as low as in 2020

After the slump of 2020 for the French automotive sector, a rebound was expected in 2021. But it did not come. In view of the figures provided by the firm NGC Data and revealed by theArgusthe 2021 financial year was substantially as catastrophic as the previous one.

1.66 million new vehicles sold

For the second consecutive year, the number of new cars sold fell below the 2 million mark, with ” only “ 1.66 million vehicles sold. Be one ” increase “ by 0.5% compared to 2020. Compared to 2019, the last “pre-Covid” reference year, sales therefore once again recorded a 25% dropout last year, or a quarter less registration.

To find traces of such a low registration level, we have to go back to the oil shocks of the 1970s. Never, even during the crises of the 1990s and 2000s, had the market fallen below the fateful bar of 1.7 million units sold.

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Shortage of semiconductors and abundance of opportunities

However, if the results of 2020 and 2021 come together, the reasons for their disarray are not quite the same. Two years ago, the pandemic was the main and essential cause of the fall in the auto market. Just remember the collapse observed following the very first confinement: an 88.8% drop in production in April 2020compared to April 2019.

Last year, restrictions on movement and openings linked to Covid also had their influence. But it is above all the shortage of semiconductors which permanently hampered production on a global scale, and therefore sales. To this must be added, in times of economic uncertainty, the revival of the second-hand market, boosted by the take-off of online sales players, such as, for example,Aramisauto.

Nevertheless, it should also be remembered that despite these difficulties, the year 2021 was also rich in significant changes for the French automotive market. A symbolic shift was noted on the occasion of the last return to school: vehicles equipped with an automatic gearbox are now in the majority among all new cars.

This historic first owes a lot to two other major developments confirmed in 2021: the leasing growth as a method of financing, and the increase in the share of electric and hybrid cars in the car park.

With more than 160,000 vehicles sold, i.e. +45.6% compared to 2020, electric cars have in fact achieved a historic market share: nearly 10% of registrations (against 3% in 2019). For their part, hybrid engines now represent 17% of sales:









Type of engine Share of sales in 2021
Essence 40%
Diesel 21%
Hybrid 17%
Electric 10%
Plug-in hybrid 8%

Peugeot overtakes Renault

At the time of the assessments, it is finally appropriate to evoke the results of our national manufacturers. The first ones from Stellantis were particularly awaited. The group resulting from the merger of PSA and FCA was indeed born in early 2021. And it must be said that its flagship brand on the French market has met expectations: for the first time, Peugeot becomes number 1 in sales (with 17% market share) ahead of Renault (16%).

The ranking of the best-selling new models in 2021 (according to the Committee of French Automobile Manufacturers) reflects this passing of the baton:

The 10 best-selling cars in France in 2021

  1. Peugeot 208 II (78,000 units)
  2. Renault Clio V (75900)
  3. Peugeot 2008 II (68,600)
  4. Dacia Sandero 3 (67780)
  5. Citroen C3 III (60 350)
  6. Renault Captur II (48,300)
  7. Peugeot 3008 II (46 400)
  8. Toyota Yaris (31150)
  9. Dacia Duster II (27,700)
  10. Renault Twingo III (27,200)

On the side of electric cars, it is the American firm You’re here which had a great year, with nearly a million vehicles sold. His Model 3 ranks first in the ranking of theArgus, stopped at the end of last year with the following podium:

The best-selling electric cars in France in 2021

  1. Tesla Model 3 (13,000 units)
  2. Renault Zoe (10,800)
  3. Peugeot e-208 (9100)

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