France embracing EVs as they take a quarter of the market in August

04 October 2023


Registrations in France during August highlighted that buyers are turning to electric vehicles (EVs) as the technology made up a quarter of the overall market. José Pontes, data director at, examines the market.

France is continuing to embrace EVs, with both battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) enjoying significant registrations growth in August. In all, 29,184 EVs were delivered in the month, of which 19,657 were BEVs, up 60% year-on-year, with 9,527 PHEVs representing growth of 40.5%.

In terms of market share, BEVs took 17% of the overall French market in August, with PHEVs holding 8% of registrations in the month. This means the total EV share was a quarter of the market, as the technology gains traction amongst buyers. Petrol is stable, with its 38% market share down only 1% compared to August 2022, yet it is diesel where EVs are making inroads into the dominance of internal-combustion engines. Despite having a 72% market share in 2012, the fuel-type now holds just 9% of the market.

August saw BEVs outperform PHEVs once again, with 67% of the EV market compared to 33%. In the year to date, all-electric passenger cars have 63% of the plugin market, with the other 37% held by PHEVs. Over the rest of 2023, BEVs are expected to continue their upward climb, and pull away from plug-in hybrids.

The overall French market continued its recovery in August and was up 24% year on year. However, EVs grew faster than the overall market, and after the first eight months of 2023, the technology holds a 24% market share, with 15% of this coming from BEVs.

Tesla back on top

The best-selling EV in France during August was the Tesla Model Y, which returned to the top spot after a slower month in July. Now in the second month of the quarter, the BEV-specialist is able to pick up its deliveries, a situation that has also seen its Model 3 take second place in the month. This is despite the model entering ‘run-out’ mode as a refreshed version waits in the wings.

Following Tesla’s domination, domestic carmaker Peugeot came in third, with its e-208 EV model proving popular in August. Stellantis stablemate Fiat was up next, its 500e achieving 1,672 registrations allowing it to place fourth, just ahead of the increasingly popular MG4, with 1,598 units. The BEV model won the race in the compact class, beating the Renault Megane EV, which ended the month in seventh overall, and the Peugeot 308 in ninth.

Peugeot will be aiming for the 308 to overtake the MG4 in the monthly tables before the end of the year, helped by a push for sales of the BEV version of the model. In August, this newer powertrain option contributed just 61 units to the 308’s total registrations figures, and this can be expected to increase as 2023 continues.

Renault, however, has no updated model or new powertrain for the Megane EV to rely on if it wants to compete with the MG4 and Peugeot 308. It must, therefore, bank on a significant price cut to inspire further sales.

A surprise in the top part of the August chart was the robust performance from the Mercedes-Benz GLC PHEV, which ended up in eighth place, making it the best-selling PHEV in the month.

Outside the top 10, the Kia Niro was a highlight, with 341 of its total 414 registrations coming from its BEV version. The car continues to deliver results for Kia, even if it does not trouble some of the bigger players in the French market.

Despite August often being a slower month, with the usual summer slowdown, there were record results for BMW. The iX1 scored 341 registrations, suggesting the German carmaker could have a best-selling model on its hands in the country, especially with no sign of the Mercedes-Benz EQA or Audi Q4 e-tron just yet.

Just below the top 20, BMW had more reasons to celebrate, as the iX3 model also hit a record month with 289 registrations.

But BMW wasn’t the only German OEM to show strong deliveries. At Volkswagen (VW) Group, both the VW ID.3 (285 units) and Skoda Enyaq (310 units) were close to the top 20, while Mercedes-Benz saw its Smart #1 crossover reach 239 units.

Fight for third by year end

Across the first eight months of 2023, Tesla holds the lead with the Model Y, and looks set to see the year out above its competition. This would be the first time the crossover has been the best-selling model of the year in France, but Tesla has already achieved this accolade with the Model 3 in 2021.

The Dacia Spring continues to hold on to second place year to date, after taking sixth place in August. However, the competition behind this model is tighter, with the Fiat 500e, currently holding third spot, losing ground to the Peugeot e-208 EV, meaning there is currently just 270 units between them.

Therefore, with a refreshed model ready to hit the market, Peugeot could take third away from the Italian marque. This is unless buyers adopt the new Tesla Model 3, which still managed to climb one spot to fifth with its older model in the eighth year-to-date chart of 2023. Unless there are any delays or problems, the newer Model 3 could lead to a record month of registrations in December, allowing it to surpass both Stellantis brands.

The Peugeot 308 sits in eighth, but despite its promise of further BEV-version sales in the last months of the year, it has some way to go in order to make up the 5,083-unit gap to seventh, which is occupied by the MG4. It therefore seems the top seven places are set for 2023, although the final order may not be decided until the last month of the year.

In the second half of the table, there were a few position changes. The DS 7 PHEV was up to 12th, while just below the French SUV, the Mini Cooper EV was also up one spot, to 13th.

However, the highlight in this area of the chart was the new Mercedes-Benz GLC PHEV jumping straight into 16th. With the VW Tiguan PHEV less than 100 units ahead of it, The Mercedes-Benz SUV could soon surpass it and become the best-selling German model in France.

History in the making?

Looking at the brand ranking, Tesla increased its lead at the top of the table, with 12.9% share, up from 12.2% in July, while Peugeot (12%, down from 12.2%) stayed in second. This is significant, as no foreign brand has ever been ahead of a domestic carmaker in France. Based on current sales, Tesla may well win the battle by the end of the year.

In third, Renault (7.9%, down 0.4%) continues its decline, due to slow results across its EV line-up. The company will need to keep an eye on its Dacia brand (6.8%), which is likely targeting its parent marque and could displace it in the future.

SAIC’s MG (5.8%, up from 5.7%) has gained some distance over sixth-placed Fiat (5.5%). Considering the current strength of MG’s line-up, especially the MG4, it may take on a challenge for Dacia’s fourth place in a few months. MG only needs to scale up production to meet the overwhelming demand for its compact hatchback.

As for OEMs, with brands grouped together under their parent companies, Stellantis is the major force in France, but it lost some market share in August, dropping from 28.6% in July to its current 28.2%.

However, this is still better than the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, which saw its market share drop to 15.3% from 16%. The OEM is struggling to inspire sales from its brands, and the anticipated Renault 5 EV is still a year away, meaning there could be more hard months for the French-led group.

The company may well be watching Tesla. With its 12.9% share increasing, the US-based manufacturer could overtake in the race for second place.

Outside the top three, VW Group grew its share, with 11.1% in August, up from 10.5% in July. The OEM is benefitting from the VW brand’s resurgence, especially thanks to the recent registration jump of the VW Tiguan PHEV. That has allowed the German manufacturer to gain some distance over another rising OEM, fifth-placed BMW Group (7.4%, up from 7.1%).