Do French car brands hold their value?

    French cars are common features on British roads. From Citroëns to Renaults, French vehicles are popular in the UK, offering buyers affordable and stylish ways to get around. But do cars and vans made across the Channel maintain value over time?  

    We delve into the factors influencing the value of French cars in the UK, and why these vehicles may not fare as well as their German or Japanese counterparts on the resale market.

    Whether you’re thinking of buying or selling a French-made car, knowing what factors impact resale value is essential for getting more money from your investment.

    French car manufacturers 101

    the peugeot badge
    French car makers Renault and Citroen are popular on British roads.

    France boasts several renowned car manufacturers known for innovation, style, and performance. Let’s take a closer look:

    With a rich history spanning over two centuries, Peugeot is synonymous with elegance, reliability, and cutting-edge technology. The brand’s extensive lineup includes hatchbacks, SUVs, and electric vehicles, catering to a variety of driver preferences. This diversity contributes to Peugeot’s position as the most popular French carmaker in the UK, with over 1.39M vehicles on British roads. 

    One of France’s legacy car brands, Renault is a multinational manufacturer based outside of Paris. Known for its innovative designs and technological advancements, Renault is positioning itself as a leader in electric vehicles (EVs). Renault maintains a modest market share in the UK of approximately 3.4% but notably manufactuers the Clio – the 10th most popular car in the UK according to figures released by the DVLA.

    Citroën also produces stylish and practical vehicles suited for both urban commuting and long-distance travel. From compact cars to family-friendly vehicles, Citroën offers a versatile range with an emphasis on comfort. 

    DS Automobiles represents luxury and sophistication within the French automotive industry. As a standalone brand under the PSA Group, which also owns Citroën and Peugeot, DS delivers premium vehicles known for their refined interiors, advanced features, and distinctive styling.

    Finally, Dacia specializes in mass-market, budget-friendly vehicles. Its lineup includes cars, vans, and SUVs that are practical and reliable, but don’t break the bank.

    Valuation trends

    a citroen parked
    On the whole, French cars have mixed reputations in terms of resale value.

    How well French cars retain their value depends on factors including model, condition, mileage, maintenance history, and market demand

    While in general French cars do not hold their value as well as Japanese or German vehicles, the story of every car is unique. Track the value of your vehicle to make the most informed decision on when to sell based on your changing valuation trends. 


    Explore the resale value of the most popular French car brands, as well as the factors that help or harm their value over time:

    BrandResale value reputationValue retention factors
    Citroën😐 Varied– Comfort-focused designs
    – Innovative technology
    Dacia😐 Varied– Affordability
    – Reliability
    – Simplicity 
    Peugeot😐 Varied– Popularity in the UK
    – Stylish design
    – Innovative technology
    – Reliability
    Renault😐 Varied– Popularity in the UK
    – Strong service network
    – Innovative technology

    Public perception

    Regardless of if they’re true or not, consumer perceptions of French car brands influence resale pricing. Historically, there have been concerns about the reliability of French cars among UK consumers. This is especially true for older Renault and Peugeot models. 

    On the resale market, brands seen as less reliable or desirable compared to competitors are likely to experience faster depreciation. However, improved reliability ratings and quality control measures implemented by French manufacturers in recent years are helping to boost public opinion – and resale values.

    Vehicle size

    Compact and subcompact cars lead the French automotive fleet in the UK. Renault, Citroën, and Dacia all manufacture city cars designed to get you from A to B smoothly. According to Motorway data, British drivers favor smaller vehicles like these, helping their performance on the resale market. 


    Are French car brands reliable?

    While they’ve battled negative press in the past, French car brands including Renault, Peugeot, and Citroën have earned a reputation for reliability in recent years. These manufacturers prioritise innovative engineering and stringent quality standards, resulting in vehicles known for their durability and performance.

    Are French cars expensive to maintain?

    While maintenance costs for French cars can vary depending on factors like brand, model, and age, they are generally moderate. 

    Routine maintenance and repair expenses are usually manageable, especially when compared to luxury or niche foreign brands. Additionally, the availability of aftermarket parts and skilled mechanics contributes to reasonable maintenance costs for French cars.

    What is the best car brand in France?

    Peugeot stands out as one of the premier car brands in France, revered for its exceptional blend of style, performance, and reliability. With a rich heritage dating back to the 19th century, Peugeot has consistently delivered vehicles that embody French automotive craftsmanship and innovation.

    How can I track the value of my car?

    If you’re not sure what your car’s value is to begin with, it’s hard to know how much its brand may impact the price.

    All vehicles depreciate at varying rates, with no rule of averages accurately describing any one car’s changing value. Motorway’s Car Value Tracker provides a free, reliable monthly price alert for up to six vehicles at once. 

    Follow changes to your car’s value to choose the best time to sell, and make informed choices about investments in your car’s maintenance.

    Ready to sell your car?

    Want to read more about owning, valuing, and selling your car? Check out more of our guides here, covering everything from depreciation to maintaining your car’s value. Understand your car’s worth in the wider market.