Archives for March 2016

US sales: February 2016, models

RAM_1500-Pickup-US-car-sales-statisticsAfter discussing the US auto brand sales ranking for February, let’s zoom in on the models. In the top-3 we immediately see that the RAM Pickup has closed in on the Chevrolet Silverado‘s #2 spot with a 23.2% increase, compared to a loss of 5% for the Chevy. A little further down, the Toyota Corolla has reclaimed the #2 passenger car spot from the Honda Civic, despite the new generation Civic’s impressive 31.7% improvement on last year. Nissan Altima sales are flat, but it stays ahead of its rival Honda Accord, while the Nissan Sentra shoots past the Ford Focus to take third place for compact cars as both improve more than 30%. The Sentra was helped by its recent facelift, but also thanks to fleet sales according to Nissan. The Honda CR-V hits a February record, but that couldn’t save it from being outsold by the Toyota RAV4. The RAV4 is still about 7,000 units behind the Camry, but the company expects the crossover to become the brand’s best selling model within five years.

After rising quickly in the past 2.5 years, the Nissan Rogue takes a breath. According to Nissan, this is a result of the phase-out of the previous generation Rogue, which until now was still sold as a cheaper alternative under the name Rogue Select. Similarly, Infiniti suffered a loss as the Q40 is phased out, the previous generation G37 sedan. The Chevrolet Malibu is the biggest winner in the top-25 with more than 50% increase, while its smaller sibling Chevrolet Cruze is the biggest loser at -29%. A similar phenomenon happened at Hyundai, where the Sonata midsized sedan improved 25% in 19th place, while the compact Elantra lost 23.8% in 31st place. Contrastingly, at Kia the Optima (#40) lost 16.9% while the Forte (#50) improved 47.5%.… Continue Reading …

US sales: February 2016, brands

US car sales were up 6.8% to 1,343,652 in February, bringing growth back to black where it has been, with a few interruptions, for the past few years. One of the reasons for this good performance is that this year February had 29 days, which usually makes a not-insubstantial contribution to total sales. In addition, whereas January was affected by the snowstorm of the century on the East Coast, many of those customers who delayed their purchases at the time caught up in February.

A lot of records were set in February:

  • FCA saw its best February since 2006 (182,879 sales), resulting in the 71st straight monthly gain on the back of another strong month for Jeep, Dodge and RAM
  • Audi’s February sales (11,718 sales) represent its 62nd straight monthly gain
  • Lexus outsold Mercedes-Benz and BMW with 23,090 sales, thanks mainly to its strong-selling SUVs
  • Nissan set a new February record (120,540) on the back of strong sales from the Murano and the renewed Sentra
  • Honda set a new February record (106,212) thanks to its new Civic and refreshed Accord models

Please note: for those of you interested in US auto sales statistics, Bart & Kriss have been working very hard these last couple of months to add US brand- and model specific pages to the already existing European and Chinese car sales data pages. 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.
Continue Reading …

Geneva 2016: Top 5 concept cars

#5 Abarth 124 Spider Rally

Abarth 124 Spider Rally

Why is it here? This was not a great show for concept cars, but the rally version of the already-lovable 124 Spider did just enough to make me smile, looking back to the day when rally cars were all rear-wheel-drive, light and insanely hard to snowy Monte Carlo.

Continue Reading …

Geneva Auto Show 2016 production model premieres, part 2: Lamborghini – Volvo

Volvo_V90-Geneva_Auto_Show_2016

  • Lamborghini Centenario

So Lamborghini claims to have developed the Centenario to celebrates the 100th anniversary of the brand’s founder Ferruccio Lamborghini, but they’d better just admit that it really is a farewell tribute to the departuring CEO Stephan Winkelmann who has saved the company from extinction in his 11-year tenure at the brand. Winkelmann has turned a struggling, low-volume money-pit into a successful cashcow, which produces more supercars than ever and is preparing to launch a third model line with an über-SUV in two years time, which will undoubtedly rake in more cash. But the insane looking, all-out special editions launched under Winkelmann’s watch are what both boost the brand image and bring in the cash: the Veneno, the Sesto Elemento, the Reventon. And now the Centenario: a 770 hp, naturally aspirated V12 engine launches the carbon-bodied Centenario to 300 km/h in 23,5 seconds and doesn’t stop until 350 km/h. All 40 (20 coupes and 20 roadsters) have already been sold out at € 1,75 million a piece, before taxes.

  • Lexus LC 500h

Lexus stunned the world when it showed the concept car-like production version of its LC500 Coupe in Detroit last January. In Geneva the brand debuts the hybrid version of the new luxury coupe. It’s equipped with the next-generation Lexus Hybrid Drive technology, called “Multi-Stage Hybrid”, promising higher performance and efficiency. Combining a 3,5 liter V6 petrol engine with an electric motor gives a combined 354 hp of power, sent to the wheels through a four-speed gearbox. Despite Lexus’ claims, expect this car to be closer to a GT than to a thoroughbred sports car.


Continue Reading …

Poll: what were your 5 biggest production car disappointments in Geneva 2016?

Following articles on our Top 5 production cars, our 5 biggest production car disappointments, and the poll on what were your top 5 production cars from Geneva, now it’s time to hear what you thought the biggest disappointment of the show were!

Continue Reading …

Geneva Auto Show 2016 production model premieres, part 1: Abarth – Kia

Jaguar_F_Type_SVR-Geneva_Auto_Show_2016

  • Abarth 124 Spider

This is the tuned version of the Fiat 124 Spider, which in its turn is based on the fourth generation Mazda MX-5. That means a long hood, low seating position and short but stubby rear end. And of course rear wheel drive and a short-shifting manual gearbox. The Abarth looks more militant than the Fiat thanks to its black hood and trunk lid, but the powerboost of just 10 hp to 170 hp isn’t very impressive and the chassis can handle more power for sure. I hope they’re coming up with more impressive hardware in the future, for example the 300 hp 1,8 liter they’ve mounted in the rally-spec Abarth hard-top. That unit has been mounted further back in the engine bay for better weight distribution. But that’s not all: it looks so stunning you’d wonder why they don’t use a transparent hood to show their jewelry to the world.


  • Alfa Romeo Giulia

We’ve finally seen the mainstream versions of the Alfa Romeo Giulia, after having been teased with the Giulia QV for over six months now, and honestly I hate to say this, but I’m slightly disappointed with them. The Giulia looks absolutely stunning and very aggressive with the QV body kit, and the white one on display wasn’t too bad, but the blue and grey ones just look didn’t do it for me. The lame wheel designs didn’t help and neither did the uninspiring colors. I really hope this is Alfa’s attempt at following Audi’s strategy of making the basic car look so lame that anyone with even one drop of petrolhead-blood in his body is forced to spend extra on  the optional sports package (or S-line for Audi) with body kit and a nice set of wheels to make the car look the way it’s supposed to look.

The Giulia will be available in Europe with three 2,2 liter four-cylinder turbodiesel engines, the 150 hp and 180 hp versions are rear-wheel drive only and the option of manual or automatic gearbox. The 210 hp diesel will only have four-wheel drive and an automatic. The 2 liter four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine will also come in three versions all with standard automatic gearbox. The entry-level version has 200 hp with rear-wheel drive, the 250 hp version has four-wheel drive and the 280 hp version surprisingly comes standard with RWD, but optional AWD. The next step up is the QV with 510 hp, as we already know.

Continue Reading …

Poll: what were your top 5 production cars in Geneva 2016?

Following articles on our Top 5 production cars, as well as Top 5 production car disappointments, now we’d like to hear what you thought the stars of the show were!

Continue Reading …

Geneva 2016: Top 5 production car disappointments

#5 Ssangyong Tivoli XLV

Ssangyong Tivoli XLV

Why is it here? Because it marks a returns to form for Ssangyong as the maker of the ugliest cars on earth. The regular Tivoli may not be a great looker, but at least it’s a decently-proportioned small crossover. And proportions is exactly what this overstretched, under-wheeled monstrosity gets so horribly wrong.


Continue Reading …

Geneva 2016: Top 5 production cars

#5 Porsche 911 R

Porsche 911 R

Why is it here? Two reasons: manual gearbox, and natural aspiration. At a time when most other supercar manufacturers are releasing cars powered by turbocharged engines that do with two pedals only, citing emissions and efficiency, Porsche is alone in still offering drivers what they really crave: three pedals and a stick that the driver has to row with speed and precision to extract the best from a wailing, high-rev NA engine. Long may this combo live!


Continue Reading …