Archives for December 2013

VW Up, Skoda Citigo and Seat Mii sales already past their peak?

VW-Up-Skoda-Citigo-Seat-MiiIn 2012, Volkswagen Group made a splash in the European minicar segment, introducing a triplet of cars under the VW, Skoda and Seat brands, that were to take the successful Toyota-PSA triplets C1, 107 and Aygo head on to become the best (and best-selling) minicars of the continent. The cars have been well-received by the press and the public, storming to a (combined) first spot of the segment in their first year on the market. They are selling at a rate their predecessors, VW Lupo and Seat Arosa, and more recently VW Fox, have never been able to reach.

From my article on Jan-Sept sales of the European minicar segment, you might think sales of these Volkswagen Group triplets keep on rising: VW Up!: +21%, Skoda Citigo: +128%, Seat Mii: +91%. However, that’s compared to their introduction year 2012 when they were in startup mode. Looking more closely at sales of the past four months, a totally different picture is painted. A rather worrying one actually.… Continue Reading …

BMW i3 crash test reminds of the A-class moose test

Remember the Moose Test that almost killed the Mercedes-Benz A-class?

Mercedes-Benz-A-class-moose-testIn 1997 Mercedes had introduced a revolutionary new car, the A-class, Mercedes’s first entry into the compact car segment. Mercedes proclaimed it would be the safest compact car on the market. Shortly after the car was officially introduced, it rolled-over during a test known as the “moose test“, conducted by a Swedish journalist. The A-class’s failed moose-test created extensive media coverage in Germany and other European countries, threatening the success of the A-class launch and hurting the safety image of parent Mercedes-Benz. They were forced to make an Electronic Stability Control system ESP as standard, and then it passed the test, but the damage to the A-class’s image had been done.

BMW-i3-EuroNCAP-crash-testFast forward to 2013: BMW introduces a revolutionary new car, the i3, BMW’s first entry into the electric car segment. BMW proclaimed it would be one of the safest electric cars on the market, thanks to its carbon fibre safety cell. Shortly after the car was officially introduced, it received only a four-star rating in the European safety test, conducted by Euro NCAP. The i3’s “failed” safety test created extensive media coverage all over the world, with BMW hoping it won’t threaten the success of the i3 launch and hurt the technology leader image of parent BMW. They probably will have to make a few safety systems as standard to get a five star rating, but the damage will have been done.

You see the similarities, right? Then why didn’t BMW see this coming?… Continue Reading …