European car sales analysis May 2014 – models

After exploring the European brands sales rankings for May, let’s take a look at which models are making waves this month.

Peugeot-2008-auto-sales-statistics-EuropeUnsurprisingly, the Volkswagen Golf is still the leader of the pack, all by itself outselling full brand line-ups like Hyundai or Nissan and Infiniti combined. It even has gained the most units of all models except for the Peugeot 2008, which was still in start-up mode last year.

The 2008 has outsold its archenemy Renault Captur for the very first time ever, leading the small crossover segment, with the Opel/Vauxhall and Dacia Duster not far behind in third and fourth places, taking their distance from the former segment leader Nissan Juke, which is being updated soon.

The success of the 2008 seems to have a downside for Peugeot, as the still relatively fresh 208 subcompact hatchback is losing sales quickly. In fact, whereas the 2008 adds the most units of all models (8.990 sales), the 208 is the biggest volume loser of all models (5.010 sales).… Continue Reading …

Why is the Land Rover Defender really killed?

Land_Rover-Defender-90-river-wadeAs announced almost a year ago, 2015 will mark the end of production of one of the longest running vehicle designs currently on sale. The Land Rover Defender was introduced as the Land Rover Series I in 1948, was renamed Ninety and One Ten in 1983 and renamed again as Defender in the 1990’s, but the basic structure and design haven’t changed much over the past decades.

Jaguar-Land Rover claims that it’s impossible to make the iconic Defender meet the stricter European Union emission standards that go into effect by 2020. The Defender had already been pulled out of the North American market in 1998 when it couldn’t meet the stricter safety regulations of the US and Canada. However, if we look at the sales figures, we can conclude that Europe is one of the Defender’s smallest markets, and not being allowed to sell the model in the European market wouldn’t result in a loss of sales large enough to blame the demise of the model on the regulations.… Continue Reading …

Peugeot trimming its line-up a smart move?

PSA-Peugeot-Citroen-CEO-Carlos_TavaresUnlike many other brands, which are adding models to fill up every possible niche, Peugeot has changed its strategy to focus on fewer models, and focusing on segments in which the brand can compete successfully across the globe, increasing economies of scale. Carlos Tavares, the new CEO of PSA Peugeot-Citroën who is responsible for bringing the company back into profitable territory, has outlined a number of strategies to turn the company around, and one of them is to increase transaction prices.

This strategy is designed to evolve Peugeot from a regular mainstream brand into an upper-class mainstream brand, to avoid the buzz-word “premium”, as every mainstream manufacturer appears to be aiming for a premium image. Tavares wants to be able to raise transaction prices of Peugeot cars in Europe to match those of its competitor Volkswagen, whereas they are trailing the German brand by almost 7%. His aim is to decrease this deficit to 4,7% in 2016 and to less than 3% in 2020. These increased prices should contribute directly to the company’s bottom line, as production costs remain at a similar level. According to Tavares, the technology and quality of the 208 subcompact, 2008 small crossover and 308 compact are already on par with Volkswagen’s and therefore help improve the Peugeot brand image.… Continue Reading …

CARicature news: Police investigate how idiot got on track

More than 35 years after the release of their first single “Fall Out”, band members of The Police have announced they will start an investigation into how a completely unqualified man was able to get on the track.

Volkswagen-Polo-Brands-Hatch-trackThe then 24-year old male, later identified as Corsican Henry Padovani, managed to get himself on the track playing a guitar without authorization from the actual band members Sting and Stewart Copeland. As the track was being recorded, Padovani came out of nowhere, having snuck past the security gates with his guitar, jumped into the studio behind the other musicians and started playing guitar solos.

When interviewed by the press, Sting explained: “Stewart was the drummer of the band and was supposed to play the guitar for this song as well. But when the vocals and drums had been recorded and we listened it back, we heard the guitar solos were already on the track as well. We never even noticed the extra guy in the studio. It wasn’t until we saw the cover that we noticed this weirdo acting like a total asshat in the picture as well.”

Copeland, who also wrote and produced the song, continues: “He really messed up this song, it didn’t even make the charts because of his guitar play, only when we hired Andy Summers to play the guitar, we managed to break through an become one of the most popular bands in the 1980s.”

The band says they have only now started to investigate into the matter because Sting had been too busy making appearances in films and TV-series “As himself”.

The original post: Watch This Asshole Drive Onto An Active Track During A Real Race


Great cars, great stories at Youngtimer Event 2014

Youngtimer-Event-2014Sunday June 15th was the third edition of the Dutch Youngtimer Event “Forever Young”. Owners and enthusiasts of cars from the 1970s, ‘80s and ‘90s gathered together at the former DRU factory complex in Ulft, near the German border. Some visitors may have not even made it to the entrance of the event, as even the parking lot was one big cookie jar, filled to the brim with cars from the past, kept running by passionate owners who showed their car and told their story to other enthusiasts. With the outside area covered by brand- and model- owners clubs like the Mazda-owners club, Volvo 480-owners club and the EMW “Club for forgotten and undervalued youngtimers”, the air was filled with enthusiasm, passion and appreciation of each other’s hobby.

Walking into the factory hall was like stepping into a time capsule. It was easy to feel a bit of melancholy in this combination of the industrial atmosphere with the remains of the pre-war ironworks still visible and the well-preserved cars from the time when we were young. As most of the cars on display inside were for sale, some felt like Charlie in the Chocolate Factory, finding it hard to restrain themselves.… Continue Reading …

European car sales analysis May 2014 – provisional

Renault-Clio-European-car-sales-may-2014The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association ACEA has published the provisional May 2014 European car sales data. Provisional because only the 32 major brands are published, and Malta sales (although minor) are not yet included. No detailed model data will be available until the first week of July.

May marks the 9th straight month of year-over-year gains for the European car market, although it’s still the second-worst May in at least a decade. Sales increased 4,5% to 1.093.448 units, setting the year-to-date total at 5.431.921, up 6,9% on the first five months of 2013.

In May, Volkswagen Group has taken the biggest chunk of the sales growth, thanks to increases at all of its core brands, but most notably Skoda (thanks to the new Octavia) and Seat (thanks to the new Leon). Skoda is knocking on the door of the brands top 10 while Seat outsold Kia and Dacia in May.

Renault-Nissan is strong again, but this month the star of the show is not Dacia but Renault itself, adding the most sales of all brands and the fastest growing brand in the top 10. Strong showings of the Clio and Captur are likely to have contributed to this success. Nissan is strong as well, slowly creeping closer to Toyota to become the number 1 Japanese brand in Europe.… Continue Reading …

2014 already a record year for MG

Yes, you read that right. You may or may not be aware of it, but MG is still alive in Europe, albeit only in the UK and Ireland, and no longer with classic British roadsters. But nonetheless it’s starting to make waves. In fact, it’s Europe’s fastest growing brand year-to-date with the exception of Tesla, which was introduced to the European market in 2013.

MG3-record-auto-sales-MG-UK-EuropeBut that’s not the only reason why champagne bottles will be uncorked these days at the Chinese-owned brand, as 2014 is also the first year since its resurrection five years ago that its European sales have exceeded the 1.000 units milestone, and with seven months to spare. By the end of May, MG had already sold a total of 1.008 cars in the UK, compared to 513 over the full year 2013 and 782 in 2012, the brand’s previous record.… Continue Reading …

European car sales analysis April 2014 – brands

Nissan-Qashqai-auto-sales-statistics-EuropeAfter exploring the models ranking in April and year-to-date, lets dig a little deeper into the brands ranking and trends.

Renault-Nissan is again the big winner this month, mostly thanks to big increases of Dacia and Nissan. The French-Japanese manufacturer is followed by the Volkswagen Group, where Skoda is responsible for 10.000 of the 13.000 added sales compared to last year. And PSA Peugeot-Citroën has some good news as well, with both brands back on track to increase sales.

At Fiat-Chrysler automobiles, the Fiat brand managed its third consecutive month of year-on-year growth, thanks to the continued success of the 500 and 500L. But on a smaller scale, Maserati and Jeep were among the biggest winners of the month in percentage terms. … Continue Reading …

European car sales analysis April 2014 – models

Audi-A3-European-car-sales-analysisEuropean new car sales have increased 2,8% to 1.126.319 units in April, slowing down the year-to-date increase of 6,6% to 4.471.024 units for the first four months of 2014. April is the eighth consecutive month of year-over-year sales increases, but things are not all as positive as they may look: last month was still the third worst April in at least a decade.

The Volkswagen Group had yet another very successful month in the compact segment, with the Golf not only the best selling car overall as usual, but also adding more units on last year’s score than any other model in the top 15, both in April and year-to-date. But besides the Golf, the Audi A3 and Skoda Octavia both score their best April ever in the history of their respective nameplates, and both claim yet another European top-10 spot.

As a result, the VW Group has three cars in the compact segment top four, with only the Ford Focus in-between. As recently as 2006, the Opel Vauxhall Astra outsold the VW Golf in that segment, but the Golf is kicking its rival’s nuts this year with a 3:1 ratio and even the compact crossover VW Tiguan is outselling the Astra this month for the second time this year, and ever. The Astra has been around since 2009, but the Tiguan is even two years older, with just a few updates in that period.

April was also a great month for the Nissan Qashqai, as the new generation has hit showrooms all across Europe. The Qashqai is up 22,4% on last year and is set to come back into positive year-to-date territory by next month. Nissan has a great month overall, with also big gains for the Micra subcompact and the Note small MPV.… Continue Reading …

Spyker B6 Venator ready for production

The small yet ambitious Dutch supercar company Spyker has revealed the production version of its B6 Venator, which is planned to go into production in 2015. A concept version of the Venator, which is Latin for “hunter”, was introduced at the Geneva Auto Show in 2013, and a convertible Spyder version was shown at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Both concept vehicles were based on the German Artega GT. Spyker promised to have the Venator production ready by now, they decided to make some last minute changes to the compact sports coupe, although the delay will undoubtedly also be related to the need for a capital injection into the company.


Spyker B6 Venator. Photo credit: Spyker

The past couple of months, Spyker has been working to a new design for its smallest car yet. “After careful research of our potential market we’ve concluded that we could make the Venator appeal to a larger audience with just a few tweaks to the original concept.” according to John Walton, Chief Commercial Officer at Spyker. As a result, the sports car has returned to the drawing board shortly after its initial introduction. The final result is a car that’s been slightly stretched to offer increased interior space and luggage room. “The car will have a longer wheelbase, giving us the possibility to add a rear seat while offering more capacity for baggage. We’ve found that our potential customers appreciate practicality more than we initially thought.” The new layout is either a 2+2 with only room for small children in the rear seat or a 2+0 in which the rear seats are removed to create a larger storage area with leather straps. … Continue Reading …