Best-selling cars in France in 2020: classification by vehicle type

Best-selling cars in France in 2020: classification by vehicle type

Violet Field inHigh TechFeb 3, 2021 11 min read0 views

City cars, compacts, SUVs ... Discover the best-selling car models in each segment in France during the year 2020.

© Provided by Auto Moto Citadine polyvalente: Peugeot 208 II

City cars, compacts, SUVs ... Discover the best-selling car models in each segment in France during the year 2020.

Who are the stars of the automotive market? Despite the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, last year's registration figures provide an overview of the automotive tastes of the French. Discover the ranking of the most registered vehicles in France in each category.

Peugeot's good health is impressive. The Lion is the sales leader in segments as diverse as city cars, compact cars, and family sedans. But it is above all the success of the very profitable 2008-3008 tandem that is the pride of PSA boss Carlos Tavares. Their spectacular design and modern presentation eclipse the Renault Captur and Kadjar on a niche of SUVs ... However, this type of vehicle is still more popular with motorists: four new cars out of ten now claim to be in the category of " backpackers ".

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Tesla Model 3 isrising in the sales ranking, now ahead of the German references. It is now number 2 among vehicles designed without a heat engine.

The de-dieselisation of the market continued last year. In 2012, three quarters of registered passenger cars ran on diesel. The Volkswagen scandal and then the activism of certain large cities caused the decline. Over the twelve months, only 30% of new vehicles registered by individuals were equipped with diesel engines.

Another major development in the automotive market is the increasingly frequent use of LOA (rental with option to purchase) and LLD (long-term rental) contracts instead of traditional vehicle acquisition. In the first two months of 2020 - that is to say just before the first confinement linked to Covid-19 - leasing represented more than 4 registrations out of 10 with individuals.

New players are therefore entering the automotive world. Example? Credit organizations. Thus, Cetelem gave birth to the C Mon Projet Auto platform. It extends the principle of rent to used vehicles while offering personalized advice in choosing the right model, with a minimum guarantee of 12 months. This new platform also offers the possibility of having it delivered to a dealership close to home.

In an uncertain context, the figures for 2021 should bring their surprises. And shed more light on the evolution of our automotive habits.

2020 ranking of the best-selling cars in France by type of vehicle:

Versatile city car

  • Best-selling model: Peugeot 208 II

  • 1st overall

  • 2020 registrations: 92,796

  • Market share: 5.6%

Benefiting for the first time from an electric version, the Peugeot 208 takes orders for the second consecutive year in this star category of the French market. The gap is nearly 9,000 units in favor of the Lioness. The arrival of the hybrid Clio could reverse the trend in the coming months. The Citroën C3 III, Dacia Sandero II and Toyota Yaris IV are also in the top 15 registrations in France.

Small SUV

  • Best-selling model: Peugeot 2008

  • 3rd overall

  • 2020 registrations: 66,698

  • Market share: 4.0%

Renewed at the end of 2019, the two stars of the segment (Peugeot 2008 and Renault Captur) have again gained market share. The Lion SUV is even on the podium for registrations of this vintage, behind the irremovable 208-Clio duo. A little larger, more typical "adventurer" (it is available in 4x4), the Dacia Duster ranks third among SUVs of less than 4.35 m, ahead of the Citroën C3 Aircross and Ford Puma.

Compact SUV

  • Best-selling model: Peugeot 3008

  • 7th overall

  • 2020 registrations: 45 165

  • Market share: 2.7%

Sleek look, original presentation, sharp chassis ... Four years after its launch, the Lion SUV remains by far the number 1 in its segment and Peugeot's true cash cow thanks to its high average price. The 3008 has as many registrations as its two main challengers combined, the Citroën C5 Aircross and the discreet Renault Kadjar. The Nissan Quashqai and Volkswagen Tiguan barely exceed 10,000 sales per year in France.

Micro-city car

  • Best-selling model: Renault Twingo III

  • 8th overall

  • 2020 registrations: 43,116

  • Market share: 2.6%

The Twingo I had invaded downtown areas in the mid-1990s thanks to its fun face and record roominess. This is much less the case for this third generation with a rear engine. It still dominates this segment with as many sales as the Fiat 500, Peugeot 108 and Citroën C1 combined. Like others, the PSA group will abandon this type of car, threatened by the low-cost offer, stricter homologation standards and a tiring price war.

Electric city car

  • Best-selling model: Renault ZOE

  • 9th overall

  • 2020 registrations: 37,409

  • Market share: 2.3%

Renault's 100% electric city car is constantly evolving ... and rising in the sales rankings. 30th in 2017, 2018 and 2019, this year it enters the top 10 thanks to a new generation that is better manufactured and more versatile. But also thanks to the vigorous incentives put in place by the public authorities. Let us give back to the Losange what belongs to it: it is necessary to go down to the 64th rank of registrations to find another model purely designed for the electric.


  • Best-selling model: Peugeot 308 II

  • 10th overall

  • 2020 registrations: 36,575

  • Market share: 2.2%

The biggest market in Europe, compact cars are declining in France with the aging of the French stars. In its eighth year on the market, the Peugeot 308 retains a significant advantage over the Renault Mégane (just under 30,000 units registered in 2020) and the Toyota Corolla and Volkswagen Golf. The German is expected to pick up again this year, with the first full year for her eighth generation.

Large SUV

  • Best-selling model: Peugeot 5008

  • 18th overall

  • 2020 registrations: 20,050

  • Market share: 1.2%

Among the "over 4.60 m", it is also the Lion who dominates. Only the Volkswagen Tiguan (in its Allspace version) and the Toyota RAV-4 resist. Premium SUVs (Mercedes GLC, Volvo XC-40, Audi Q5) each claim a little over 4,000 sales. The more natural competitors of the 5008 - Nissan X-Trail, Renault Koleos or Skoda Kodiaq - do not appear in the top 100 registrations in France in 2020.

Compact MPV

  • Best-selling model: Citroën C4 Spacetourer

  • 38th overall

  • 2020 registrations: 10,978

  • Market share: 0.7%

In 1997, the Mégane + Scénic combo dethroned the Clio in first place for registrations in France. A quarter of a century later, the Citroën C4 Spacetourer occupies first place in the segment ... in 38th place, according to official data from the CCFA. By cumulating the results of the Scénic and Grand Scénic, Renault still passes in front of the Chevrons. But this battle is taking place in the indifference of motorists.

Family sedan

  • Best-selling model: Peugeot 508

  • 41st overall

  • 2020 registrations: 10,108

  • Market share: 0.6%

Here too, the wave of the SUV has won everything. The Citroën C5 has silently disappeared and the Renault Talisman is ranked 97th among registrations. Only the 508 floats above the 10,000 annual copies. More surprisingly: the second best-selling sedan in France is electric and American. In 2020, more Tesla Model 3s were sold than BMW 3 Series, Audi A4 or Mercedes C-Class.


  • Best-selling model: Citroën Berlingo III

  • 48th overall

  • 2020 registrations: 9,323

  • Market share: 0.6%

If the Renault Kangoo occupies the first place in the commercial XS, it is the Citroën Berlingo which maintains its rank of number 1 in the category of recreational vehicles reserved for individuals. This third generation, marketed since 2018, maintains the recipe: giant trunk, sliding doors, convincing engines. It added a nicer look and increased comfort. Will the forthcoming renewal of the Renault Kangoo (almost unchanged since 2007) reverse the ranking?

Electric sedan

  • Best-selling model: Tesla Model 3

  • 64th overall

  • 2020 registrations: 6,477

  • Market share: 0.4%

88th in 2019, 64th in 2020 ... Despite the disenchantment with sedans, the "small" Tesla (4.69 m) continues to weave its web on the French market. In addition to its intrinsic qualities - good autonomy, advanced technologies, impressive performance - the Model 3 has benefited in full containment from the home delivery system of the Elon Musk brand. Sales are expected to increase further in 2021 thanks to the brand's ever-growing aura.

SUV coupe

  • Best-selling model: Mercedes GLC

  • 100th overall

  • Registration: 3,427

  • Market share: 0.2%

The release of the BMW X6 in 2008 had given rise to many misunderstandings. A decade later, German manufacturers have all adopted this curious combination of protruding musculature and lowered roof. The Mercedes GLC is today the best-selling in this segment. But the arrival of the Renault Arkana, responsible for popularizing the genre, will disrupt this niche within a few months.

Small utility

  • Best-selling model: Renault Kangoo II

  • 1st overall (utilities)

  • 2020 registrations: 32,094

  • Market share: 8.0%

In the utility market, the Kangoo is number 1. It is a hair ahead of the Renault Master, which is much larger. But above all a much more modern competition formed by the Citroën Berlingo and the Peugeot Rifter. It also registers 30 times more than its German cousin, the Mercedes Citan.


  • Best-selling model: Renault Master III

  • 2nd in the general classification (utilities)

  • 2020 registrations: 31,762

  • Market share: 7.9%

The indestructible Master - the first generation released in 1980 - remains the pros' favorite large-format utility. Assembled in France - in Batilly, in Lorraine - and available with four different lengths, it is a hair ahead of its little brother Trafic in the 2020 winners. But it dominates above all the foreign and French competition: Fiat Ducato (5th in the utility ranking) , Peugeot Boxer (10th), Mercedes Sprinter (11th) or Citroën Jumper (12th).


  • Best-selling model: Ford Ranger

  • 23rd overall (utilities)

  • 2020 registrations: 4,064

  • Market share: 1.0%

Very favored by taxation for several years, pick-ups have experienced a surprising leap forward. In this niche market (around 9,000 LCV registrations in 2020), Ford is taking the lion's share. With 4,064 units last year, the Ranger is well ahead of its Japanese rivals: Toyota Hilux (2,947), Mitsubishi L200 (1,371) and Isuzu D-Max (399). Renault no longer sells its Alaskan, after two years of confidential sales.