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Diesel car sales slump in France

media Peugeot's logo on a Peugeot 508, march 2018 REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

Car sales across France rose three percent in 2018, but diesel powered vehicles dropped significantly, due to changing technical standards and widespread opposition to a fuel tax.

Sales of diesel vehicles in 2018 dropped to 40 percent of the French market, down seven percent on 2017, according to the France Auto makers’ association (CCFA). That compares to more than 70 percent in 2012.

The CCFA attributed the fall in diesel car sales to increasing fuel costs and possible future traffic restrictions in major cities.


According to French newspaper Le Parisien, the market for diesel cars in France suffered two additional setbacks.

First, the Yellow Vest movement – initially sparked by an unpopular tax on diesel.

Secondly, new technical standards for vehicles in France came into effect in last summer, forcing car manufactures to sell diesel cars at low prices.

The share of electric or hybrid car sales rose by six percent, with petrol-powered engines still leading the market.

Peugeot keeps hold on French market

Combined sales for French car manufacturers PSA (Peugeot) and Renault increased by 8.3 percent in 2018.

PSA held the lion’s share with nearly 30 percent. With 698,985 new registrations, sales for Peugeot increased by 13.3 percent.

Renault sales rose far less at 2.4 percent, with the increase attributed to sales of Dacia automobiles, a Renault-owned brand.

Individual sales for the Renault brand dropped by nearly 3.5 percent over the year, with a 19 percent plunge for December year-on-year.

According to Le Parisien, the arrest of Renault chief Carlos Ghosn in Japan was partly responsible for poor end-of-the year sales.

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