Cruising Through Diversity: A Deep Dive into France’s Varied Passenger Car Fleet and the Shaping Factors for After-Sales Services

Cruising Through Diversity: A Deep Dive into France’s Varied Passenger Car Fleet and the Shaping Factors for After-Sales Services Categories: 2023, News Timelines: Argentina, Brazil, Central America, Chile, China, Colombia, France, Germany, India, Italy, Mexico, Morocco, Peru, Poland, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Vietnam

Announcement Date : 13 October 2023

France boasts the second-largest passenger car fleet in Europe, boasting a staggering 37.5 million vehicles. Over the past decade, this fleet has expanded by approximately 2.5 million cars, marking a growth rate of 6.6%, and this upward trajectory shows no signs of abating. Projections indicate that by 2030, the French car parc is poised to reach a remarkable 39 million vehicles.

This remarkable phenomenon is accompanied by another intriguing statistic – the increasing age of the car fleet. Currently, the average age of passenger cars stands at 10.6 years. This aging trend impacts the sales volume of spare parts and the frequency with which drivers visit workshops for vehicle repairs.

The car parc is characterized by its extensive diversity, encompassing various vehicle types. Drawing a parallel with Jerome Fourquet’s metaphorical description of French society as an archipelago of islands, the fragmentation within the French car parc is readily apparent. Consequently, we observe a wide array of vehicle typologies, each dictating distinct driver behaviors and expectations throughout the vehicle’s lifecycle. This divergence leads to varying after-sales service requirements.

We can categorize vehicles into three distinct groups that underscore the fragmentation within the passenger car fleet:

  • Alternative Energy Fleet: This category includes 100% electric, plug-in hybrid, and non-rechargeable hybrid vehicles. Their numbers have seen significant growth, now totaling 2.5 million vehicles, with 1 million equipped with electric charging capabilities. This trend is set to continue, reaching 11 million vehicles, including 6.5 million with electric charging by 2030. Owners of these vehicles seek reassurance in terms of after-sales management, with manufacturers’ networks currently enjoying a strong position. Independent aftermarket players are also adapting to cater to these vehicles and are rapidly expanding their expertise to establish credibility.
  • Cars Collector and Youngtimers: This dynamic segment comprises vehicles over 25 years old, totaling 1.2 million units (3% of France’s car fleet as of January 1, 2023). Owners of these vehicles are deeply invested both emotionally and financially, and they seek repair professionals who can maintain their vehicles with precision, preserving their reliability and authenticity.
  • Corporate-Owned Fleets: Currently, 7.5% of passenger cars, or 3 million vehicles, are owned by companies. This share is steadily increasing, having grown by +1.5% within the PC fleet (0.8 million) over the past decade. This segment presents unique after-sales management needs, with high expectations regarding services. Despite a significant proportion of these vehicles having maintenance contracts, the multi-brand nature of the fleets and their service requirements provide opportunities for independent aftermarket repair circuits.