Sales in the compact segment grew by 1% compared to 2014, a better performance than in either the minicar or subcompact segments, thought still behind the industry average of 5% growth. With the latest crop of compact cars being large enough to accommodate a whole family sales in this segment are less sensitive to gas prices – consumers are less likely to migrate to the segments above simply because they no longer need an economic car now that gas is super-cheap. For many people a compact car is all they need. [Read more…]
Archives for January 2016
After discussing he 2015 US car brand ranking, we’ll now explore the model ranking a bit further. To refresh your memory: 2015 was a record year for the US auto dealers, with no less than 17,5 million cars sold, which was an increase of 5,7% compared to 2014. Cheap fuel has helped trucks and crossovers grow faster than the overall market at +7,7% and +11% respectively, while demand for cars has shrunk by 2,3%. The combined crossover segments surpassed 5 million units for the first time ever, and Jeep has had a nice hand in that increase, but also the Nissan Rogue.
The Ford F-series is still King of the Ranking in the US, although General Motors sells more full-sized pick-up trucks than Ford if you combine sales of the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra. The F-series is up just 3,5% as it suffered from weak sales during the summer months when factories were retooled for the new, aluminium-bodied generation. The Silverado gained 13,4% to top 600.000 sales for the first time since 2007. The RAM pick-up remains third to keep the top-3 all full-sized pick-up trucks, while the best selling car is still the Toyota Camry as it has been every year since 2002. The Toyota Corolla passes the Honda Accord to make it two Toyota sedans above all other cars. [Read more…]
The subcompact segment shrank by 8% compared to 2014, a performance even worse than the minicar segment shrinking by 5%. While low gas prices contributed to this, just as they did for the smaller segment, it is probably the lack of new metal that really drove sales in the segment down. Honda Fit and Scion iA were the only new cars that came to market in 2015, and only the former has sold in meaningful quantities. In fact, with many of the segment stalwarts getting on in years, this may be one of the oldest segments. [Read more…]
2015 started off very well for the Minicar segment, with a 19% growth recorded in Q1, but as the year went on got progressively worse and worse, culminating in the segment shrinking by 30% in Q4. The main reason for this is the falling price of gas that encourages people to buy larger, less fuel-efficient cars – a theme that we’ll see in many other segments as well. This trend is so strong in the US market right now that it drags down even the newest, most attractive cars (Mini Cooper), or ones that started the year as star performers (Mitsubishi Mirage).
Most Americans think of Buick as an all-American brand, best known for its large comfortable luxoboats that mostly appealed to senior citizens in the US and Canada. What they don’t know is that besides the 220.000 cars a year in the US and another 17.000 or so in Canada, Buick produces and sells over a million cars a year in China. Well, perhaps thanks to the UAW protests over GM’s plan to import the Envision SUV into the US from China, some more people are starting to become aware of that fact now.
So what kind of vehicles does Buick sell in China? A few models are quite similar to those in the US, like the Regal, LaCrosse, Encore and Verano, although the latter is a bit confusing, as the US Verano is called the Excelle GT in China, while the model that’s sold in China as the Buick Verano (Weilang in Chinese) is a China-only model positioned between the US Verano (Excelle GT) and the Regal. There’s also a hatchback version available, the Excelle XT, which is a rebadged Opel/Vauxhall Astra.
Besides the Weilang, Buick offers three more China-only models, the GL8 MPV, the Envision SUV and the Excelle. The latter has been Buick’s most successful nameplate in the world for almost a decade, with more than 2,5 million sales since its launch in 2003. You read that right, Buick still sells a compact sedan that was first introduced 13 years ago. To make matters worse, the Excelle isn’t actually a real Buick, it’s a rebadged Daewoo Nubira, which has been sold in the US as the Suzuki Forenza from 2003 to 2009. [Read more…]
Car sales in China increased 8,7% in 2015 to top 20 million units for the first time ever, as the tax break on small vehicles in Q4 helped to double the 4,3% increase in the first three quarters, after an unprecedented three consecutive months of declines from June to August. This was a result of the slowing economy and a stock market crisis, which has taken away a potential 500.000 car sales, according to analysts from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. Car purchase limits in 7 major cities due to congestion and subsequent air quality concerns have also cost a potential 2 million vehicle sales. As a result, 2015 is the second consecutive year that the Chines car market grows slower than the year before, and with tax break having ended on December 31st, this year may prove to be a difficult year again, unless the government pulls another subsidy rabbit out of their hat.
As you’ll know when you’ve followed the Chinese car market on this blog, SUVs are the main reason for this boost, as Chinese car buyers have shied away from sedans. Sales of crossovers and SUVs soared 52% to 6,22 million units, and MPVs increased 10% to 2,11 million sales, while sedans slumped 5,3% to 11,72 million sales.
The share of foreign brands in the Chinese market has shrunk by 4,2 percentage points, a landslide change in such a huge market, as it means that foreign car brands only added 338.000 units of volume last year for an increase of 2,8%, while the local Chinese automakers added over 1,45 million units of volume for an increase of 23,3%. [Read more…]
China car sales are up 21,5% in December 2015 to 2.389.313 units, which makes it the third year in a row that December is the biggest month of the year in China. However, we have to note that the volume was artificially boosted by the government temporary tax cut on small vehicles (engines smaller than 1,6 liters) in Q4. Still, the Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate of 23,7 million units was the highest of the year, and in fact the highest ever recorded in China. However, as the tax cut from 10% to 5% has been suspended on January 1st, we can expect a backfire effect in January.
Chinese brands have benefited the most from both the tax cut and the switch from sedans to crossovers, as the share of local brands has never been as high as in December, at more than 40%. It has to be noted that Chinese brands traditionally score better in the last month of the year compared to their foreign competitors. For example Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Co. or BAIC, has sold almost 17% of its total 2015 volume of its BAW, Huansu, Senova and Weiwang subbrands in December, scoring a nice 8th place in the brand ranking, compared to 15th overall. [Read more…]
Hyundai finally released full pictures and details of its new eco-warrior, the Ioniq. Uniquely for a manufacturer, Hyundai plans for the Ioniq to offer a variety of different powertrains, all using the same body:
- A standard hybrid, to battle the Toyota Prius and its ilk
- A plug-in hybrid, to battle the Chevy Volt, Toyota Prius Plug-in and similar
- An electric version, which will compete with the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Bolt