French brands defy European sales dip

Out of the top ten performing manufacturers in Europe, the French trio were three of only four manufacturers that have recorded an increase in sales compared to the same period last year.

The popularity of models such as the Renault Clio, Peugeot 207 and Citroen C3 has led to an increase of 17.8 per cent for Renault, 7.2 per cent for Peugeot and 2.7 per cent for Citroen so far in 2010.

Meanwhile, other manufacturers such as Volkswagen, who top the sales chart in 2010, have seen a reduction in sales compared to 2009.

The success of the French manufacturers is partly due to the French car market, the home market for the trio, remaining more stable in 2010. In comparison, the ending of the scrappage scheme in both the UK and Germany has led to a decline in new car registrations.

Renault now has two cars in the top five best sellers in Europe. The French marque has sold 218,000 Clios compared to 170,000 last year, and 167,000 Meganes compared to just 130,000 in the same period in 2009.

The other French model in the top ten is the Peugeot 207, which is the sixth best-selling model in Europe so far in 2010.

Outside the French manufacturers the UK’s best-selling models, the Ford Fiesta supermini and Focus family car, both remain in the top ten.

Sales of the Vauxhall Astra have increased by 13.6 per cent in 2010, buoyed by the introduction of the new ST version. It joins the Vauxhall Corsa in the top ten best-selling cars in Europe in 2010.

The results from JATO Dynamics show total car sales in Europe are 1.5 per cent lower compared to 2009 due to the ending of scrappage schemes and a 17.4 per cent fall in new car production in July 2010 compared to July 2009.