The figures are encouraging. New car sales rose 46% in May, and 50% since the start of the year in France. Except that this performance benefits from a very favorable comparison effect since the market collapsed over the same period of 2020 under the effect of the Coronavirus crisis. At the time, this health crisis had caused the closure of most European car factories and reduced sales to nothing. Thus, in comparison over two years, that is to say compared to the pre-crisis level, the French market remains down 22% over five months, and 27% in May alone.
Individuals are still missing
For the Committee of French Automobile Manufacturers (CCFA), this poor performance can be explained in particular by a poor recovery in private sales. According to François Roudier, spokesperson for CCFA, “These figures are consistent with recent studies by INSEE and Rexecode which indicate that the upturn in consumption will first be in everyday consumer products and housing, there is still a wait-and-see attitude from individuals on purchases vehicles’. In addition, the semiconductor crisis is pushing manufacturers to favor high-end models in the attributions of their meager supplies, that is to say models which are not necessarily the most requested by the general public.
Towards a rebound in the second half of the year?
It is also possible that the individual continues to move more and more towards the second-hand market, accentuating a phenomenon that began in the mid-2010s. François Roudier believes, however, that given the 2020 sales and the start of the year, the recent second-hand market will quickly dry up.
The CCFA still expects a market down 10% over the year as a whole with a strong rebound in the second half of the year, except for the fourth wave of health crisis.
The French automotive market penalized by the shortage of electronic components
The other phenomenon of this month of May is the parity of the mix between diesel and hybrid. In 2020, hybrid powertrains represented 11% of sales, compared to 32% for diesel. Since the start of the year, they are equal to 23.5% of new sales. Electric cars, they evolved less quickly in proportion to 7.1% of sales (+0.6 point). In volume, they still go from 31,200 registrations to 51,600. In all, so-called electrified cars now represent 31% of new car sales in France.