An improvement very far from settling everything. The new vehicle market in France grew by 3.9% compared to July 2019. The increase was stronger than in June (1.2%). Sales have benefited fully from conversion bonuses. However, this aid became more restricted from Monday August 3.
The end of the “extended” conversion bonus
In June and July, the conversion bonus was extended. The tax income of beneficiary households was to be less than € 18,000, instead of 13,500 previously. The age of cars likely to be replaced had been lowered and, above all, premiums had increased: up to 5,000 euros for an electric or plug-in hybrid vehicle. The government had warned that this device would apply to the first 200,000 cases.
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By the end of July, the quota was reached and the premium has just returned to the pre-Covid level. Tax income must not exceed € 6,300, or € 13,500 if home-to-work trips exceed 12,000 kilometers per year. Beyond that, the aid is only 2,500 €.
Very contrasting results
In July, the market for new vehicles intended for individuals climbed by 7%. ” it is not a surprise, comments Éric Espinasse, from C-Ways. The conversion bonus helped speed up purchasing decisions »During a traditionally strong month preceding the departures on vacation.
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With very contrasting results: Renault increased by 58%, Peugeot by 21%. In contrast, Opel, DS and Citroën fell by 7%, 14% and 23% respectively. Among German manufacturers, BMW increased by 29%, but Mercedes, Audi and especially Volkswagen fell by 16%, 12% and 30% respectively.
Over the first seven months, the fall remains very significant
These very wide variations should be analyzed with caution: manufacturers may differ in their policy of catching up registrations that did not take place throughout the spring. Also, they do not all have the same attitude towards what professionals call “tactical channels”, that is to say registering demonstration vehicles, or selling to short-term rental companies (LCD ). Renault, for example, has quadrupled its sales to rental companies. This last channel increased by more than 33% between July 2019 (12,400 registrations) and July 2020 (16,500 registrations).
But beware of trompe-l’oeil: if we consider the first seven months of the year 2020, sales of new vehicles to LCD reach 97,000 vehicles, against more than 187,000 last year, over the same period. Such a perspective recalls the immense difficulty of all the players. Over the first seven months of the year, Renault and Mercedes each fell by 23%, Peugeot, Audi or BMW by 34%, Volkswagen by 47%, Opel by 53%.
The second-hand market in shape
This shows that the year remains difficult for everyone. After a traditionally hollow August, “ from September, we can expect the catching up to continue, advance Éric Espinasse, unless the new market is cannibalized by the used vehicle market ».
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The latter, in fact, is in good shape, having also benefited from the conversion bonus. It increased by 12% between July 2019 and July 2020, reaching an all-time high of 635,000 registrations. ” It benefits from the slow restart of factories in Europe, says Vincent Hancart, CEO of Autoscout 24, which will have pushed some customers in a hurry to have a new vehicle to the second-hand market ».
Renault takes the lead in electric vehicles
On the second-hand market, electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids are also appearing: 3% of the used market. A part that is set to grow as that of new vehicles is gradually being “contaminated” by clean engines. In this game, Renault retains its leading position by far, capturing nearly 39% of the market. PSA is not left out, with 18% of the market.
Tesla, a solid third in ambush for the first seven months of the year, must watch for imminent electric model launches by Koreans Kia and Huyndai. They should be much less expensive than the cars of the California manufacturer.