Sales of luxury cars in France continue to grow steadily, but France is still a relatively small market compared to the UK or Germany as the car culture in France is often associated with social inequality as opposed to individual success. French car manufacturers have stopped producing luxury models and sports cars since the 1950s, and have instead focused the top of their ranges on premium innovative but middle-class cars such as the Citroën DS or more recently the Citroën C5.
Development of the luxury car category is also constrained in France by a heavy tax burden compared to that of neighbouring countries. A new tax on luxury yachts, supercars and precious metals was introduced in 2018.
Mercedes-Benz, Audi and BMW are the undisputed top three leading brands of luxury cars in France. Mercedes-Benz’s strong performance in 2017 was driven by the brand’s SUV vehicles, including its top-selling GLC.
German automakers were recently hit by a diesel emissions scandal and might develop more electric vehicles in future – a technology they had to date neglected. Conversely, US luxury carmaker Tesla managed to tap into demand for more eco-friendly vehicles and has been selling high-end electric vehicles to wealthy customers.
The hybrid car offer is in full expansion mode in France, with new models being launched every year. With prices close to those of diesel or gasoline cars, hybrid vehicles have seen their sales in France rise strongly in France in the past few years and the upward trend is expected to last.
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This report originates from Passport, our Luxury Cars research and analysis database.
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