The total number of passenger cars registered in France had been growing steadily until 2013 when figures reached 32.86 million registrations. Since then, numbers dropped. Paradoxically, the number of passenger cars sold in France is increasing since 2014. Despite the troubles experienced by the French automotive sector due to the COVID-19 crisis, new car registrations started to grow again in the second half of 2020. Furthermore, if new registrations of diesel and gasoline cars were still in the majority in France in 2020, sales of cars equipped with alternative motorizations took off. In fact, this represented a further step towards more environmentally friendly mobility in France.
The production of passenger cars by French manufacturers has remained around 1.4 million units in recent years. In addition, French car brands remain particularly popular with the French, as they still account for the largest share of vehicle registrations in the French domestic market: even in 2019, the bulk of new car registrations in France were vehicles produced by PSA or Renault. On a global scale, French brands are also among the world's largest car manufacturers.
The leading models from French car manufacturers in 2019 were the Peugeot 208 and the Renault Clio. There is a prevalence of lower-end cars on the French car market, despite the growing importance that 4WD and SUV have gained in recent years.
Less favorable taxation towards polluting motorization, higher prices due to changes in engine standards, Crit’air stickers, low emission zones: many factors have contributed to the rise of alternative engines, such as electric models, in France. Motorized mobility is increasingly being questioned as it has become more and more crucial to deal with the challenges of air pollution and global warming.