Archives for May 2015

European sales 2015-Q1 Minicar segment

Fiat_500-Vintage_57-Geneva_Auto_Show-2015European sales of minicars, also known as A-segment cars, are up 10% in the first quarter of 2015, after being virtually flat in 2014. The introduction of a handful of new and redesigned models in the second quarter of last year has helped the segment grow faster than the overall European car market.

The Fiat 500 is now in its 8th full year since its introduction without any major redesigns, continues to improve on its best-ever year, although sales of the stylish Italian grow slower than the rest of the segment. Its sibling, the Fiat Panda closes in on the segment’s top spot it traditionally held until 2013.

The third place of the Volkswagen Up! is threatened by the all-new Renault Twingo, which manages to improve 44% vs. a 12% drop in sales for the small VW. The Twingo enjoyed an especially successful month of February, moving into third place for that month. However in March, the third place of the segment was taken by the Hyundai i10, which wasn’t enough for the small South-Korean minicar to fend off the surging Toyota Aygo with sales up 30% thanks to the new generation.… Continue Reading …

China car sales analysis April 2015

Auto-sales-statistics-China-Leopaard_CS10-SUVBy now you’re used to my monthly updates on European car sales, and from now on I’ll be keeping you up-to-date on monthly car sales in China as well. You can also use the dropdown menu at the top right of this website to find brand-specific and model-specific auto sales in China of every model and brand since 2003. Keep in mind, the data I use is only comprised of locally produced models and excludes imported models.

After showing double-digit growth for decades, the growth of the Chinese car market seems to have slowed down in 2015. Mind you, this doesn’t indicate the market is shrinking, it merely indicates the growth rate is tempering to a more modest speed. However, after growing 13,55% in the first quarter of 2015, April growth has thawed to only 8,1%, almost half the growth rate of last April and a record low for the once-booming Chinese car market. When including imported models, the picture is even bleaker: +3,7% in April.

And while domestic carmakers have been losing market share at home for a few years now, April 2015 marks a slowdown of both imports and of foreign models locally built by the Joint Ventures the foreign carmakers have set up with their local partners. This phenomenon can be explained by two trends:… Continue Reading …

Monaco & Barcelona Formula 1 photo report

I haven’t published a lot of posts this month, as I’ve attended the Barcelona and Monaco Formula 1 races, spending more than a week at each location. Fortunately, I’ve taken a lot of pictures, especially at Monaco. If you followed me on Twitter, you’d have seen most of these photos “live” as I posted them there as well.

In Spain, the track is located about 30km from downtown Barcelona and as a result, Formula One doesn’t seem to vibe that much in the city. Barcelona is always packed with tourists, and apart from a few billboards and advertising signs (mostly from Martini), you couldn’t really tell the difference from a normal weekend. While in Monaco, the Grand Prix weekend means that half of the roads in the 2 km² (0.78 square mile) principality are closed and it is turned into the temporary capital of Formula One, with billboards of F1 sponsors all over the place.

Click on the pictures to start a slide show:… Continue Reading …

Renault Kwid is one good-looking Dacia!

One is used to cars designed for the Indian market often looking rather ridiculous: think tall and narrow Nano, the booted Renault Thalia (Clio), or, even worse, the Suzuki Swift sedan. That is why the newest Renault for the Indian market, the Kwid, is a very pleasant surprise – it not only looks good, it looks European-good! Not only that, it is based on an all-new CMF-A platform from the Renault-Nissan alliance, though a 0.8-liter petrol unit will likely ensure its more “show” than “go”. Still, starting at below $5,000 in India, the car looks to be a great hit, and will surely be sold in markets around the world.


What is weird about it, though, is that it looks a whole lot like another car from Renault’s sister company: the Dacia Sandero Stepway. A smaller, better-executed version, sure – but the family resemblance is undeniable.

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Chevy aims to out-pony the Mustang with its new Camaro (w/ historical sales)

Following months of teasers Chevrolet finally revealed the all-new Camaro, and a handsome beast it is too! It also represents the best trend in recent years among car-makers: to make the new-gen cars smaller and lighter. Here it scores some major points over the Ford Mustang, which grew both larger and heavier in the new generation, making it less of a pony and more of a slightly overweight steed. The Camaro, on the other hand, looks lean, mean, and ready for action!

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European car sales analysis March 2015 – models

After discussing the brand ranking for European car sales in March 2015, we now look at the models ranking. Like the brands, this ranking is also influenced by the traditionally strong selling month in the UK, as this market took three out of every ten cars sold in March, compared to two out of every ten over the course of an entire year. As a result, the models that sell relatively well in the UK benefit from strong March volumes. These include the Ford Fiesta and Focus (UK’s # 1 and #3), Opel/Vauxhall Corsa and Astra, Nissan Qashqai, Fiat 500, Mini and Audi A3.

Nissan-Qashqai-auto-sales-statistics-EuropeFor example, like I already predicted in the February models ranking, the Ford Fiesta has a blockbuster month which helps it move ahead of its main competitors Corsa, Clio and Polo year-to-date after falling behind the trio after the first two months. In fact, the Fiesta has its best selling month in three years, the Corsa its best month in four years, while there are no less than five models in the top-30 that reach their best-ever sales month this march: the Qashqai, A3, 500, Mini and Nissan Juke break their own monthly sales records at over 31.500, over 24.500, over 23.000, almost 17.000 and almost 15.000 sales respectively.

A bit further below, both the Hyundai i10 and the i20 reach their highest volumes in Europe ever, the latter thanks to its new generation, which clearly has been well-received in this important market for the brand.… Continue Reading …

European car sales analysis March 2015 – brands

The European car market grew by an impressive 11,4% in March to 1.643.607 units, pushing up the Year-To-Date increase to 8,2% at over 3,6 million cars sold. This is the largest monthly year-over-year gain in at least five years and possibly a decade, indicating the recovery of the European car market is picking up speed.

Ford_Fiesta-European-sales-March-2015March sales are traditionally skewed towards brands that are popular in the United Kingdom, as this is the kingdom’s biggest selling month of the year thanks to the bi-annual license plate change-over. Brands that benefit more than others are Ford, Opel-Vauxhall, Nissan, Jaguar-Land Rover and Mini. For example, Nissan moves ahead of Toyota to become Europe’s best selling Asian brand, like it did in March 2014. However, Nissan now also outsells Toyota year-to-date thanks to its strong March sales, and this is the first time it does so in the 21st century.

Volkswagen Group and Renault-Nissan are still the biggest volume winners, with VW now also leading the way year-to-date. In March, PSA also joined the top-3 of fast-growing manufacturers, while General Motors is the only manufacturer to lose sales compared to March of last year.… Continue Reading …

Unpopular opinion: Mercedes R-class

Sometimes there are cars that, in theory, make a lot of sense, but when they arrive on the market it suddenly turns out that customers are just not interested. Not necessarily because they’re “bad cars” per se, but just because they don’t resonate with the audience. The Mercedes R-class is one such car that I think was unfairly shunned by the market. More than that, it is probably my favorite non-AMG car Mercedes made in the late 2000s.


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