This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.
Last Published: 8/3/2017
  • Overview
 2014201520162017 (Estimated)
Total Local Production22,47818,66719,31619,290
Total Exports26,06222,56523,42423,393
Total Imports24,02022,08622,92722,897
Imports from the US
Total Market Size20,43618,18818,81918,794
Exchange Rate 1 EuroUSD1.320USD1.109USD1.107USD1.063
(total market size = (total local production + imports) - exports)
Figures in USD billions. Sources :  FIEV – French Vehicle Suppliers Association
& CCFA – Comité des Constructeurs Français d’Automobile.
With 1.57 million passenger cars produced in 2016, France recorded a 1.3% increase compared to 2016 (1.55 million) and ranked fourth in Europe after Germany, Spain and the U.K. in production numbers. As far as light commercial vehicles are concerned, France produced 507,000 in 2016, a 22% increase from 2015 (when 416,000 were produced), and ranked second in Europe after Spain. Approximately 2/3 of vehicles produced in France are either a PSA or Renault. Vehicle production in France was expected to grow 4% in 2016.

This upward trend is true for the entire European market, which increased the production of new vehicles by 3% in 2016 compared to 2015 (16.47 million passenger cars and 2.16 million light commercial vehicles in 2016).

France also ranks third in Europe in passenger car registrations after Germany and the U.K. In 2016, approximately 1.97 million passenger cars were registered in France. New light duty vehicle (fewer than 3.5 tons) registrations reached 408,545 in 2016, which corresponds to an increase of 7% compared to 2015 (377,738). As for heavy duty vehicles (at least 16 tons), France recorded an increase in registration of 12.8% in 2016 with 41,600 new registrations (36,855 in 2015).

Automotive suppliers are responsible for nearly 80% of the manufacturing cost of a passenger vehicle produced in France. The remaining 20% is attributed to assembly. 

For 2015, OEM auto part sales were valued at $18.2 billion, a 6% increase from 2015. 
Europe (particularly Germany, Spain, the U.K., Italy and Spain) remains France’s principal foreign trading partner, accounting for approximatively 76% in imports and 74% in exports.

Outside of Europe, France’s main clients are in Asia, NAFTA countries, China, and Africa. France’s main suppliers outside of the E.U. are in Asia, NAFTA countries, Japan, Africa, and the Maghreb region.

Imports from the United States reached a $695 million profit in 2015, a 9% increase from 2014.

Companies within the French Vehicle Equipment Industry are under pressure to achieve productivity gains to maintain competitiveness; therefore, significant rescaling of production has resulted in a decrease in workforce to approximately 71,533.

  • Leading Sub-Sectors
The main categories of automotive parts included in these figures are: powertrain equipment (39.1%), vehicle interiors (27.1%), body components (17.2%), tire-to-road components (12%), and equipment for measurement, diagnostics and repairs (4.5%). This equipment is sold to the OEM market and to the aftermarket, which includes the OES (Original Equipment Suppliers) and the IAM (Independent Automotive Aftermarket) markets.          

  • Opportunities
France is the number one leading electric car market by volume in Europe with 22,000 registered electric passenger vehicles in 2016. There remains a large cash incentive for buying an EV or Hybrid vehicle in France. The number of registered electric vehicles was expected to continue to increase in 2016. There are more than 100,000 electric passenger vehicles registered, which represents 0.25% of the total number of all registered passenger cars on French roads.
E-Commerce in the auto industry in France has been growing for the past few years. In 2015, the sale of spare auto parts online represented 12% of the total spare auto parts distribution turnover.
Opportunities for U.S. suppliers are for highly technical products or those that are innovative in the context of the environment or safety. OEMs tend not to dedicate time and money for basic technologies for which they already have suppliers. In the OEM’s sphere, R&D focuses on electrical and hybrid technologies to prepare the car market of the future.
The market for remanufactured parts is also a growing sector. To reduce costs, insurance companies are considering utilizing remanufactured parts over more expensive replacement parts. This market represents 2% of the total aftermarket automotive spare parts market in France.
In order to be successful in the aftermarket parts sector, U.S. suppliers need to propose spare parts lines in accordance with vehicles found on French roads (60% are French brands). The automotive parts market in France is dominated by large multinational firms, many of them American with French or European operations. Large U.S. suppliers are already present in France or in Europe and are doing well. This closed environment (with competitive requirements, transportation costs, etc.) makes it difficult for firms not physically established in the market to sell their products to OEM and OES.             

  • Web Resources
EquipAuto Trade Show –October 17-21, 2017 – Paris, France
Automechanika Trade Show – September 9-11, 2018 – Frankfurt, Germany
French Vehicle Equipment Industries Association
Federation of Independent Automotive Distribution - FEDA
  • Contact
Embassy U.S. Commercial Service Trade Specialist: / 33 0 43 12 7138

Prepared by our U.S. Embassies abroad. With its network of 108 offices across the United States and in more than 75 countries, the U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce utilizes its global presence and international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide. Locate the U.S. Commercial Service trade specialist in the U.S. nearest you by visiting

France Automotive Trade Development and Promotion