New model introductions in China, May 2016

The Chinese car market is one of the most diverse, with over 400 different locally produced passenger cars, and more than 1.000 including import models, minivans and commercial vehicles. And it keeps expanding, with 12 all-new models in March, 7 introductions in April and another 7 in May, excluding 3 additional (electrified) versions of existing models. We’ve already discussed the overall May 2016 sales figures for China, here we’ll introduce those newly launched models for this month.

FAW Xenia R7

Auto-sales-statistics-China-FAW_Xenia_R7-SUVThe most successful new introduction is from a brand that has suffered from a product drought, as this is only the third new model in the past 20 months. No wonder the FAW Xenia R7 immediately becomes the brand’s second best selling model in its introduction month with 3.931 sales, more than a quarter of FAW brand sales in May, but not enough to keep the brand from losing 17,3% of volume this month. The Xenia R7 is a small crossover priced from 69.800 Yuan (US$ 10,600 / € 9.350), powered by a 1,6 liter four-cylinder engine with 109hp and 155 Nm. Size: 4.300/1.780/1.650 mm. It is produced by FAW-Jilin, a subsidiary of First Auto Works based in Jilin province. It will probably replace the FAW Xenia, also known as Xenia M80, which was based on the previous generation Daihatsu Xenia / Toyota Avanza, the best selling cars in Indonesia. But don’t be surprised if this model stays in production, as long as there’s demand for an even cheaper alternative.… Continue Reading …

China car sales analysis May 2016

Auto-sales-statistics-China-Volkswagen_Lavida-sedan-2016Sales of automobiles in China increased 13,3% in May, the fastest growth rate so far in 2016. That means just over 1,7 million new passenger cars were registered in the country, for a Seasonally Adjusted Annualized Selling Rate of 22,1 million in May. Year to date, the figure stands at 8,8 million sales, an increase of 9,7% over the same period last year. Local brands continue to lag the overall market after enjoying a short boom in share in the beginning of 2016. In May, their share was down to 37,5%, the lowest of the year so far, but still up from 35,2% in May 2015. Sales of SUVs and crossovers jumped 36% to 627.000 units, MPVs followed with a 28% increase to 182.000 sales and even sedans sales were back into positive territory, albeit slightly at 1,5% to 904.000. Sales of EVs and PHEVs continued to thrive, with electric cars up 162% to 26.000 sales and Plug-in Hybrids gained 68% to 9.000 units.

As all models in the top-10 improve and 11 of the 12 best selling models add 25% or more to their volume of last year, the Chinese car market proves very dynamic again. The Wuling Hongguang reclaims its leadership after being outsold by the Haval H6 last month, while the quick rise out of nowhere of the Baojun 560 appears to have stalled. After its introduction last July, it has sold more than 30.000 units a month between October and March, including two 40.000+ months, but it dropped to 25.000 in April and is down to 18.500 in May, while falling out of the top-10. It’s still the best selling newcomer, ahead of the Buick Verano.

European brands

Auto-sales-statistics-China-Land_Rover_Discovery_Sport-SUVBreaking news: Jaguar Land Rover has finally started to report sales of its locally produced models in China: the Range Rover Evoque and Land Rover Discovery Sport. The former has been sold since October 2014 and the latter since a year later. We don’t yet have data from before this month, but May data shows that the Discovery Sport is the most popular of the two at 3.800 vs. 1.600 sales, undoubtedly helped by its optional 7-seater capability. With local production of the Jaguar XFL starting in a few months, we’ll finally be able to gain an insight into the performance of the Indian-owned British brands in China.… Continue Reading …

Look-a-like: Genesis New York Concept and…

Genesis New York Concept

When the deliciously aggressive-looking Genesis New York Concept made its debut I was really impressed. Having been spun off its parent Hyundai brand Genesis needed to make an emphatic statement of intent, and the New York Concept was just that. And while I could not escape the nagging feeling that Hyundai had been there before, a quick browse through their concept back-catalog yielded nothing. Maybe I was wrong?

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Family haulers, part I: history and the US middle ground

Family cars

Recently I’ve been looking to buy a car capable of carrying more than the usual five passengers, which got me thinking about the way this market has developed over the past few decades, and how it will change in the future. However, rather than spend time retreading the topic that’s been covered thousands of times, namely the history of the minivan and SUVs, I want to focus on the the interesting efforts by carmakers to offer those looking for space something genuinely new and potentially market-changing. In the first of a series of articles, I look at the brief history of the family-haulers, and then dive into the American experience of looking for the middle ground between the unsexy minivan and the gas-guzzling and compromised SUVs.

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Look-a-like: Renault Kadjar and…

Renault Kadjar

Renault Kadjar is, by all means, fully deserves the sales success it has enjoyed thus far. It is well positioned within the market, offering a compelling, family-friendly package draped in an attractive skin that fully embraces the swoopy style adopted under Renault’s chief designer Laurens van den Acker. To me, it may actually be one of the best-looking cars in its segment, but whenever I look at it from its side I just can’t shake off how much it’s window line, with its up-kick midway through the rear door, reminds me of…

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US sales: May 2016, models

2016-Toyota-RAV4-Hybrid-front-three-quarter-view

After discussing the US auto brand sales ranking for May, let’s zoom in on the models. After losing the title of the top-selling non-truck in April to Honda CivicToyota Camry reclaimed it this month as it outsold the Civic by over 1,500 units. Still, not all is well for the Camry, as it actually lost 15.8 percent compared to May’15, when it outsold Ram Pickup and placed third overall in the sales table. A possible explanation is that the arrival of the fresh Chevrolet Malibu is making consumers turn on the established mid-sized models, particularly Nissan Altima (down 15.5 percent) and Ford Fusion (down 21.5 percent), though they are not alone as the whole segment seems to be suffering. At least Toyota can feel satisfied that its other top family car, the RAV4, is doing very well, gaining 12 percent in sales, and ranking six places higher than it did in May’15.

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US sales: May 2016, brands

 

Jeep lineupUS car sales were down 6.1 percent to 1,535,514 in May, the largest monthly fall in sales volumes for over six years. What’s more, the single-digit fall is flattered by a 2.4 percent rise in truck sales, which masks a fall in passenger car volume of over 16 percent! Among the 20 best-selling brands, only JeepHyundaiKiaSubaru and Audi recorded growth, with the other manufacturers recorded falling sales, many of them double-digit.

Note: Use the drop-down menu on the top right-hand corner of this site to browse for car sales data of every brand and model sold in the US since 2003.
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European car sales analysis April 2016 – models

European-car-sales-analysis-April_2016-Volkswagen_Golf-Renault_Megane-Opel_AstraAfter discussing the April 2016 European car brand sales figures, let’s look at the model level which cars are selling well in Europe. Despite the increased competition from the new generations Opel/Vauxhall Astra and Renault Megane, and despite VW having been discredited by the diesel scandal affair, the Volkswagen Golf manages to continue improving, albeit slower than the overall market. The Golf’s strength can partially be explained by its solid reputation as a company car, and the subsequent preferential treatment the VW brand gets with the Golf and Passat when companies buy or lease new vehicles for their employees. They have decades of recognizable and inoffensive (some would say: boring) design to thank for that. The Renault Clio manages to grab 2nd place as it did exactly one year ago, ahead of 4 subcompact rivals, of which the facelifted Peugeot 208 shows the biggest improvement, while the YTD #2 Ford Fiesta is starting to show its age.

The Skoda Octavia jumps from 14th in March to 7th in April, followed by the Passat and the Astra, both with the exact same number of sales. That leaves the Ford Focus to complete the top-10. The Renault Captur keeps improving and consolidates its leadership of the fast-growing small crossover segment, with the Peugeot 2008 now in 2nd place (#17 overall), ahead of the Opel/Vauxhall Mokka (#24). The Nissan Qashqai drops out of the top-10 at #14 with the Hyundai Tucson closing in at #23 and the Kia Sportage at #25. The Renault Kadjar can’t keep up with the South Korean cousins and has to make do with 35th place, and that’s before the new generation Volkswagen Tiguan (#29) is fully available. Volkswagen’s new Touran hits the spot with a 38th place, ahead of the Citroën C4 Picasso in 39th, while the soon to be replaced Renault Scenic (#50) is also outsold by the Volkswagen Sportsvan and BMW 2-series Active Tourer (#47 and #48). … Continue Reading …

European car sales analysis April 2016 – brands

European-car-sales-graph-April_2016April 2016 marks the 32nd consecutive month of growth for car sales in Europe. At +8,9%, European car dealers sold 1.308.891 passenger cars, making it the best April since 2009 and bringing the year-to-date figure to 5.217.097, an increase of 8,1%. Of the five major markets, Spain is the most dynamic with a growth of 21,2%. Italy, which was the fastest growing market in the first few months and even outsold France in January and February, sees its growth slow down to a still very healthy +11,5%. Germany (+8,4%), France (+7,1%) and the UK (+2%) are in single digit growth, while Switzerland is the only country of the EU28 to lose volume in April, at -1%.

Volkswagen Group is back as the manufacturer adding the most volume, despite growing slower than the overall market. All of it volume brands showed volume gains, but only Audi and Porsche added market share. The performance of Daimler AG is more impressive, with an increase of 21,6% as Mercedes-Benz outsold BMW and reduced the gap to Audi by more than half. FCA passed Ford Motor Corporation thanks to strong volume gains at Fiat, Jeep and even Lancia, despite the latter being down to a single model in a single market. There are no big volume losers in April, with Mitsubishi Motors the biggest of them at -565 units, followed by Aston Martin and Tesla, both down just a handful of units.… Continue Reading …

Nissan will control Mitsubishi. What’s going to happen next?

Mitsubishi_eK-Nissan_Dayz-Kei_cars-cooperationIt shouldn’t really surprise anybody that Mitsubishi finally got taken over by a larger auto maker, the brand was simply too small and too irrelevant in the world’s most important markets to survive on its own. But the way Nissan played its cards was a stroke of genius, whether intentional from the get-go or just improvising on the opportunity at hand. Mitsubishi has supplied its bigger rival with Japanese market minicars (“Kei” cars, as described in my article on the Japanese auto culture) since 2011 and when Nissan was testing the pre-production next generation cars they found some irregularities with the reported fuel economy figures. This led to a public scandal in which Mitsubishi had to admit some of its engineers had been using a trick with tire pressures for the past 25 years to overstate fuel economy of its Japanese market cars (and perhaps some cars sold outside of Japan), causing Mitsubishi’s share prices on the stock market to almost halve. Nissan then scooped up 34% of these shares at the heavily discounted price for a controlling stake to become Mitsubishi’s largest single shareholder. It’ll take a few months to complete the takeover, and there are still quite a few issues to be handled before the deal will be finalized, but looking ahead: what will Nissan do with Mitsubishi?… Continue Reading …