Archives for February 2016

Geneva Auto Show 2016 Preview

Geneva-Auto-Show-2016-Bugatti_ChironWe’ll be covering the Geneva Auto Show press days on Tuesday March 1 and Wednesday March 2. Make sure you follow us on Facebook to stay up-to-date with all the news and all the pictures, as we’ll upload them there as it happens. Of course you’ll find detailed reports right here on our site within the next few days.

Here’s a list of all the premieres, facelifts and concept cars:

  • Alfa Romeo Giulia (non-QV)
  • Aston Martin DB11
  • Audi S4 Avant
  • Audi Q2
  • Audi RS Q3 Performance
  • BMW M760Li
  • Bugatti Chiron
  • Citroën Spacetourer, Peugeot Traveller, Toyota Proace
  • Ferrari GTC4Lusso

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European car sales analysis January 2016 – models

Opel_Astra-2016-auto-sales-statistics-EuropeAfter looking at which brands were selling well in January, we’ll zoom in on model level to see what’s caused the trends. It won’t surprise anybody to see the VW Golf still firmly in the lead, but it does lose 8,5% on last year. That has been expected, as the Golf VII is now three years old and the competition is getting stronger with the new Opel/Vauxhall Astra storming up the charts and a new Renault Megane ready to do the same. The Golf is again followed by the Polo in 2nd place ahead of the Ford Fiesta and Renault Clio. The Opel/Vauxhall Corsa used to be close behind these three subcompact models, but has fallen behind in 2016, and the Peugeot 208 has moved into the vacant spot at #5. The Corsa’s loss is made up by the advance of the Astra, the fastest growing model in the top-40, now firmly back in the top-10 and here to stay.

The Nissan Qashqai has its strongest January ever in 6th place, but the big surprise comes from the Fiat Panda. The 4-year-old minicar has the best January of this generation and grabs a top-10 position for the first time in almost 2 years with an increase of 28,9%. However, almost 80% of its sales came from its home market Italy, where it was the #1 seller with 13.367 units, an increase of 42%. That means it was actually down 5% to 3.481 sales in the rest of Europe. Another late-bloomer is the Toyota Yaris, launched in 2011 and showing steady sales improvements for the past three years, and again in January, up 4% and into 11th place.

The Volkswagen Passat finishes its twelve-month streak of double digit increases as the new generation was starting to arrive in dealerships in the beginning of last year, and it drops out of the top-10. Not to worry, it still sells almost 2,5 times as much as its closest competitor, the Ford Mondeo at #50.… Continue Reading …

Look-a-like: Hyundai Sonata and…

When the seventh generation of the Hyundai Sonata came out in 2014 there was a strong sense of disappointment, as the new model seemed to have lost most of what the previous, game-changing generation so special. Gone were the bold swoops and a coupe-like shape, replaced with a more “mature” design that was neither as sophisticated or as original as the best rivals. It is easy to understand what Hyundai was going for, trying to appeal to conservative buyers without alienating those who liked the design of the sixth generation, but it is fair to say the execution should have been better. Consumers noticed and voted with their wallets: the seventh generation has so far been unable to match the annual sales figures of its predecessor.

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European car sales analysis January 2016 – brands

Car-sales-Europe-January-2016-Fiat-Alfa_Romeo-Lancia-Jeep-dealershipEuropean car sales increased 5,95% in January 2016 to 1.086.564 units thanks to double digit growth in the Mediterranean countries Italy, Portugal and Spain, while the UK, Germany and France showed increases of between 2,9% to 3,9% as Italy even overtook France as the #3 country for new car sales in Europe. This means that the European car market has grown for 29 consecutive months, although the rebound from the crisis is very gradually as opposed to the US where records are being broken again.

There’s also change of guards when we look at which manufacturers are growing fast. If last year Volkswagen Group and Renault-Nissan were the clear leaders in volume growth, in January FCA took control, followed by the two big American corporations whose European operations are finally starting to climb out of the dip. Ford is already making money in Europe again and GM is hoping to return to black figures again soon as well, after cutting off excess fat (Chevrolet). The only way to do so is growth, so they’re on the right track. Mitsubishi Motors replaces Honda as the only manufacturer to lose volume, taking a break from growing so quickly in the last few years.… Continue Reading …

Poll results: readers predict Pacifica to be a hit

Early in January when Chrysler showed off its new Pacifica we asked you whether you thought the new model had what it takes to succeed.

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UK car production and Brexit: what’s at stake?

British-auto-manufacturing-brexit-consequences

Photo credit: Auto Express

Car production in the UK has had its fair share of changing fortunes over the years. The demise of British Leyland in the 1980s and ’90s was offset by investments in car plants by Japanese automakers Nissan (Sunderland, 1984), Honda (Swindon, 1985) and Toyota (Burnaston, 1989). Even with all surviving British brands currently in foreign ownership UK manufacturing has thrived, as for the past three years more cars were produced in the UK than in France. UK car production is expected to reach a record 1,95 million cars next year, beating the previous high from 1972.

Jaguar-Land Rover has overtaken Nissan to become the biggest producer of vehicles in the UK, after the new Indian owner Tata invested over £ 11 billion in UK manufacturing since 2009. In six years time, production the two luxury brands has more than tripled from 158.000 units when it was on the brink of bankruptcy to almost 490.000 units in 2015, 81,5% of which is exported. During that period, J-LR’s UK payroll has increased more than five-fold to 35.000 employees.

Earlier this week Aston Martin gave UK car manufacturing another boost, when it decided to invest £ 200 million in its second UK factory in Wales instead of opting for Eastern Europe, Alabama, USA or any of the 18 other places it had considered. This will create another 4.000 jobs in the UK and comes right at the time when the UK manufacturing industry may be threatened by the upcoming referendum in June on a British exit from the European Union.… Continue Reading …

Mad genius or simply mad? FCA to drop 200, Dart [w/ poll]

Dodge Dart2015 Chrysler 200C
News broke recently that FCA was going to phase out its Chrysler 200 and Dodge Dart sedans, surprising pretty much everyone, including seasoned industry-watchers. For starters, the cars are only a few years old. Second, they are both reasonably successful – in 2015 the 200 placed 7th in the mid-sized segment, while the Dart still managed a respectable 10th in the compact segment. Not earth-shattering, maybe, but surely the combined 250,000 sales annually are worth something to FCA? So, what is Sergio Marchionne’s logic for dropping the models, and does it actually make sense?

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US sales 2015 Small Premium Sports segment

US Small Sports PremiumSales of Small Premium Sports Cars in the US shrank by 6% in 2015 to 14,652 units, helped by a 15% increase in the last quarter, as sales were down by 20% in the first half and still down 10% in Q3. The new generation Audi TT is to thank for the recovery, as the outgoing model sold just 60 units in Q4 of 2014, but the new one arrived in showrooms last August and sold 647 units in the last three months of 2015, which is almost as many as the Porsche Boxster. Porsche has two models in this segment, in 2nd and 3rd place, although they’ve switched places last year. The Cayman coupe was up 4% while the Boxster roadster lost 20% of its volume as the updated “718 Boxster” is making its way into showrooms early 2016.… Continue Reading …

US sales 2015 Large Sports segment

Large-Sports_car-segment-US-sales-2015-Corvette-Porsche_911-Mercedes_AMG_GTSales of Sports Large sports cars in the US shrank by 5.4% in 2015 to 55,100 units, after showing growth in the first half of the year, similar to the Exotic car segment, for which the downward trend in the second half was even more obvious. Only one existing model has been able to grow its volume in 2015, as even the distant leader of the segment, the Corvette, is down 4% after four straight years of growth. If in Europe the Porsche 911 is ultra-dominant in the large sports car segment with about 50% share, in the US the Corvette holds an even more impressive 60% share of the segment. The 911 is in second place with less than a third of the volume of the leader.… Continue Reading …

US sales 2015 Small Sports segment

US Small SportsThe Sports Car Small segment grew by 13% in 2015 to 341,924 sales, as two all-American muscle cars showed nice improvements. The Ford Mustang has finally reclaimed the segment leadership it lost to the then-new Chevrolet Camaro in 2010, as the Mustang has just been completely renewed and the Camaro was due for a facelift. The Mustang enjoyed a 48% growth to over 120,000 sales, its highest volume since 2007. Meanwhile, the Camaro was down 10%, dipping below 80,000 sales for the first time since its introduction year 2009. That has given the Dodge Challenger the opportunity to close in, as it scores a record volume in its 7th year on the market. The halo-effect of the 707-hp Hellcat version is to thank for turning this into a three-horse race now, after having trailed the other two ever since its launch.… Continue Reading …