January 1, 2018 / 3:43 PM / a year ago

French 2017 car registrations up, diesel share below 50 pct

PARIS, Jan 1 (Reuters) - New passenger car registrations in France rose 4.74 percent to more than two million vehicles in 2017 but the share of new diesel cars fell below 50 percent for the first time since 2000, industry data showed on Monday.

December registrations fell 0.51 percent to 193,375 vehicles and total 2017 registrations added up to 2,110,751 passenger cars, back to the level of about two million new cars that was usual before the 2008-2009 financial crisis, French car makers’ association CCFA said in a statement.

In 2008, 2.05 million new cars were registered.

Registrations jumped to about 2.2 million units per year in the three years following the crisis due to government incentives for car purchases, but fell back to less than 1.8 million units as the incentives were dropped.

The number of new registrations grew by 5.1 percent in 2016 and by 6.8 percent in 2015, ending five years of flat or lower car sales. For 2018, analysts at L’Observatoire de l’Automobile expect registrations to grow 3.8 percent to 2.2 million.

Diesel-engine cars - which made up three quarters of all French car sales five years ago - made up just 47.29 percent of new registrations last year, from 52 percent in 2016.

Following the Volkswagen “dieselgate” emissions scandal in 2015, many cities and countries have imposed limits or bans on polluting diesel engines.

Electric vehicles made up 1.18 percent of new registrations in France last year, hybrids 3.8 percent.

French car manufacturers had a 54.5 percent market share last year, up from 53.5 percent in 2016. The PSA group (Peugeot, Citroen) had 29.2 percent share and the Renault group a 25.3 percent share.

Among foreign brands, the Volkswagen group (Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche and other brands) had a 12.4 percent market share, followed by Toyota-Lexus with 4.46 percent and the Fiat group (Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Jeep) with 4.23 percent.

Reporting by Tangi Salaun and Gilles Guillaume; Writing by Geert De Clercq; Editing by Adrian Croft

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