Dacia sprung forward amid French EV market growth in October

18 December 2023


Registrations of electric vehicles (EVs) keep climbing in France. José Pontes, data director at EV-volumes.com, examines the trends in October, including the success of the Dacia Spring.

Consisting of battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), EV registration in France totalled 40,379 units in October. This means plug-in vehicles made up 26.4% of the country’s new-car market in the month.

BEVs alone represented 17% of all registrations in the month with 25,473 units, while PHEVs made up 10% with 14,906 units. The former jumped 51.1% year on year, while the latter climbed by 34.2%. Elsewhere, full hybrids (HEVs) posted growth of 40.1%, petrol a gain of 17.4%, while diesel dropped by 29.4%.

This points to electrified powertrains like BEVs, PHEVs, and HEVs driving the overall new-car market, which grew 21.9% in the month. However, this is still down 20% on October 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

BEVs outsold PHEVs in October, claiming 63% of the new EV market while PHEVs took the remaining 37%. This puts the BEV share between January and October at 64%, a slight increase on the 62% recorded at the end of 2022.

With the plug-in share increasing marginally, the French EV market could have reached a natural ceiling with what current models can offer. New and more affordable electric vehicles are therefore needed to help push the EV transition further.

Dacia springs up the ranks

With 3,291 registrations in October, the Dacia Spring was the market’s best-selling EV. This puts the model in ninth in the overall market rankings, its first time in the top 10 since taking eighth in February. The model can be expected to record even stronger results by the end of the year, as it is likely to lose access to subsidies at the start of 2024.

The Fiat 500e (1,887 units) secured second after a fierce battle with the MG4 (1,864 units), with only 23 units separating the two. The made-in-China model can also be expected to see a strong end to the year as incentive changes loom.

In fifth, the Renault Megane EV was the best-selling domestic model, beating all of its Peugeot rivals. The PHEV version of the 308 did manage to post a record 1,182 registrations, but the all-electric edition appeared to suffer a slump in demand, with only 50 units moved.

The Peugeot e-208 continued to lead its segment, followed by the 10-year-old Mini Cooper and the 11-year-old Renault Zoe. While the Mini Cooper EV is nearing the end of its commercial life, it still managed to post a record 1,063 units in the month.

With most major brands focused on more expensive SUVs, the small supermini is seeing its electric transition delayed. In turn, this is obstructing the progress of the wider market. The doors appear wide open for the 2024 Citroen e-C3.

The Mercedes-Benz GLA PHEV took 14th with 595 units as the recently refreshed Porsche Cayenne landed in 15th following 591 registrations. This makes it Volkswagen (VW) Group’s best-selling EV in France in October. While this confirms the popularity of the Porsche SUV, it is more evidence that a larger battery equals more registrations.

The Cupra Born reached a record 551 units in October, putting it in 16th. Highlighting a positive month for the Spanish make, the Formentor PHEV made it to 18th. At the bottom of the table, the BMW iX1 took 20th with a record performance of 511 registrations.

Below the top 20, the Skoda Enyaq hit 442 registrations, beating its VW ID.4 cousin (428 units). Elsewhere, the BMW i4 managed a record 445 registrations, while the Fiat 600e crossover achieved 176 units in its second month on the market.

Tesla Model Y locked in

Reviewing registrations across the first ten months of the year reveals that the Tesla Model Y has effectively secured the 2023 title in France. This would be the crossover’s first victory in the country, but the brand’s second success, as the Tesla Model 3 was the country’s most popular EV in 2021.

The Dacia Spring looks like it could pull off a similar feat in second place. However, this depends on the Peugeot e-208, which could prove to be a formidable rival if the production ramp-up of the refreshed version goes well.

Depending on the success of its rollout, the Tesla Model 3 could enter fourth place towards the end of the year. A surge in registrations can be expected in December, providing there are no production hiccups.

The MG4 climbed up one spot into sixth. It should surpass the Renault Megane EV by the end of 2023, profiting from the carmaker’s year-end peak and putting it at the front of its category.

Meanwhile, the Peugeot 308 and the 3008 PHEV are locked in an intense competition, this time for eighth. With only 62 units separating the two, the hatchback does seem to be the favourite, as the crossover is nearing the end of its current generation.

Taking 12th, the Mercedes-Benz GLC PHEV was a point of interest further down the table. With the ninth-place Peugeot 3008 PHEV roughly 1,200 units ahead, the midsize SUV could try to steal the category trophy in the last days of 2023. Elsewhere, the Mini Cooper EV (14th) and the Kia Niro (15th), both surpassed the veteran Renault Zoe.

Finally, the Mercedes-Benz GLA PHEV joined the table in 19th, putting two PHEVs from the marque on the table, alongside the GLC PHEV in 12th. Only two units separated the Mercedes GLA PHEV from the DS 4 PHEV in 21st. The premium hatchback registered 4,113 units, one unit less than the Volvo XC40 20th (4,114 units) and two less than the GLC PHEV. A close race between the three can be expected at the end of the year.

Falling shares

Within the brand ranking, the leading trio saw their shares shrivel slightly. Tesla’s grip weakened from 12.8% in September to 12.4% in October. In second, Peugeot dropped to 12.3% from 12.5%, losing out on an opportunity to recover the leadership spot due to the e-208’s slow month.

While a small share separates the two, the outcome will depend on the production ramp-up of the Telsa Model 3 and Peugeot e-208. The American brand will likely prioritise deliveries to the French market in December as subsidies could be affected in 2024.

In third, Renault also lost market share, down to 8.1%. The French brand is likely to end the year in third, its worst standing since 2012. This makes the upcoming Renault 5 incredibly important for the carmaker. On the other hand, Dacia was up slightly in October to 6.7% from 6.6% in September. 

Meanwhile. MG (6% up from 5.9%) put more distance between itself and sixth-place Fiat (5.3%). With a rising BMW (5%) in seventh, Fiat will need the new 600e to start delivering some significant volume in the next couple of months to help out the 500e.

Considering OEMs with brands grouped under parent companies, Stellantis (27.9% down from 28.3%) remained on top in France. However, with Peugeot, DS, and Citroen experiencing slow months, the conglomerate’s remaining brands could not stop the market share drop.

The same can be said about the Renault–Nissan–Mitsubishi Alliance (15.1% down from 15.4%). While Dacia had a good month, the remaining line-up did not follow through.

Third-place Tesla (12.4%) and fourth-place VW Group (11% down from 11.1%) were also down, with the German conglomerate’s namesake brand suffering a slow month. This effectively annulled the positive performances of Skoda, Porsche and Cupra.

Fifth-place BMW Group (7.4% up from 7.2%) was the only OEM in the top five to gain share, allowing it to put distance between itself and sixth-place Hyundai Motor Group (6.5%). This should allow BMW to hold onto fifth towards the end of 2023.