The French car market is a largely home-grown affair. The three main French brands ― Peugeot, Citroën, and Renault ― consistently outsell those from abroad, and Renault’s finance arm and two of the biggest banks in the country, BNP Paribas and Société Générale, represent the largest automotive finance providers, according to Leaseurope’s 2012 rankings.
But the French car market, and the four monolithic companies at its heart, are experiencing some tough times. As consumer confidence improves in the rest of Europe and motor finance levels begin to return to growth, France’s car sales are experiencing worse-than-average downturns.
In 2013, the number of car registrations in France fell 5.7% to below 1.8 million vehicles, the lowest level since 1997. At the same time, the figures across 27 of the 28 EU members fell 1.7% as the market began to show signs of recovery in private car sales.
The important factor for French finance is that this downturn happened later than in most world markets, and as the rest of the European market looks set to recover, France’s remains in a slide. But the decline appears to be restricted to new-car financing. In the used-car sector, the finance market is performing in more encouraging ways. Last year, the number of used cars financed dropped only 0.67%.
The car finance market can hope, therefore, that the stable used market can tide it over until the more lucrative new market picks up again. Only then can the French car market hope to recover to become, once again, the second-largest market in Europe.
―Courtesy Motor Finance