Fiat and Alfa Romeo both posted strong gains on the French new car market during October although their volume improvements underperformed the overall market which gained ground to end the month up by one fifth year-on-year. France saw a total of 210,424 new cars registered last month which was up 20.3 percent year-on-year, driven especially by demand for the three domestic brands which accounted for more than half of all sales (116,531 units) to end the month up 25.5 percent year-on-year. Imported brands came in at 93,893 units, up 14.4 percent, with the big year-on-year risers including Porsche, Opel, Nissan, Kia and Honda.

The Fiat brand was the largest year-on-year market share and volume winner from the Fiat Group Automobiles portfolio in France last month, it gained 18.4 percent year-on-year after selling 7,878 cars during October, slightly trailing the overall market but comfortably outperforming the imported brands' rise by four percentage points. Alfa Romeo also saw its sales climb year-on-year last month; it was up by 8.3 percent on the back of sales of 1,049 units. Lancia meanwhile lost over a third of its ground year-on-year last month, and while the brand has been enjoying a very strong sales performance on its home market this year, it continues to slip on the major European markets, its 35.6 percent year-on-year fall in France last month, after selling 326 cars, closely mirroring the performance it posted in Germany during October.

The Fiat Groupís niche sports/luxury brands, Ferrari and Maserati, sold 16 and 25 cars respectively in France last month. There was no joy whatsoever for the Chrysler Group during October as its sales continued unabated with a year-long collapse. The Chrysler brand saw just 58 units registered last month in France to leave it down 58.3 percent year-on-year, Dodgeís 74 units meant it was the U.S. carmaker's worst-performing division year-on-year, down 68.9 percent, while Jeep saw the highest sales of the three brands, albeit of 95 units, and the gentlest decline, down 28.6 percent.

After the first 10 months of the year, the French new car market has seen 1,823,925 cars registered and has climbed into positive territory year-on-year; it is now up 4.2 percent. The three domestic brands, Citroen, Peugeot and Renault, account for 986,355 units of this and they are up a combined 6.1 percent year-on-year while imported brands (837,570 units) are also positive year-on-year, up by 2.1 percent. Of the domestic carmakers PSA Peugeot-CitroŽn has 581,779 sales for the year-to-date while Renault has 404,512 (excluding its Dacia brand).

Fiat has 67,732 sales for the year-to-date which is up 6.3 percent on the same period last year and easily outperforms the market average rise. Alfa Romeo has 9,748 sales so far this year and is one of the marketís best performers, up 19.1 percent year-on-year, while with 4,077 sales Lancia is fractionally up on last year, by 0.3 percent. Ferrari and Maserati have both defied the effects of the global recession in France, the former has 286 registrations so far this year, putting it up an impressive 42.6 percent on the same ten month period last year, while the latter has posted sales of 218 units which leaves the Trident in an excellent defensive position, down very slightly year-on-year by 4.0 percent.

The Chrysler Groupís road to European sales oblivion has continued all year in France and after the first ten months of the year the Fiat Group-controlled carmaker has mustered just over 3,000 sales on this market split reasonably evenly over its three brands. Chrysler is has 924 sales leaving it as the worst performer of the trio, down 59.5 percent, Dodge has 1,179 sales and is down 46.2 percent, while Jeep adds 1,010 units to see its sales exactly halve year-on-year (-50.3 percent). The Chrysler and Dodge brands are expected to be withdrawn from this market by 2011 leaving Jeep as the sole representative of the Group.

© 2009 Interfuture Media/Italiaspeed