Archives for September 2017

China car sales analysis August 2017

China-car-sales-graph-august_2017The Chinese car market grows for the third consecutive month in August 2017, with a 6,5% increase to 1,87 million sales. That brings the year-to-date total to almost 14,5 million sales, an increase of 3,7% on the same period in 2016. Looking at the final four months of last year, they were exceptionally good in terms of sales volume due to the pending reduction of the tax cut on small vehicles (engines of less than 1,6 liters). The tax, which was temporarily halved to 5%, increased to 7,5% on Jan. 1st 2017 and will return to its normal rate of 10% on Jan. 1st 2018. This may give the Chinese car market another boost in the final few months of this year, but will it be enough to keep the market from decreasing for the first time in a couple of decades? The year-end rally in 2016 pulled forward a lot of sales, which translated in a slow start of 2017 and that may be difficult to make up in the final few months of the year. Back to August: crossovers and SUVs continue their boom with an 18% increase to 760.700 sales, but for only the second time this year, after February, sedan sales also improved, up 4% to 954.800 units. The MPV segment remains weak with a decline of 19% to 155.200 sales. Within those sales figures, electric cars and PHEVs also showed a impressive improvement of 76% in August, to almost 68.000 sales. EVs were responsible for most of that growth, as sales increased 96% to 56.000, compared to a 22% increase for PHEVs, to 12.000. These figures add up to 260.000 EV and 59.000 PHEV sales in China so far this year, an increase of 30% on the first 8 months of 2016 and 2,2% of the overall market. The Beijing government has set a target of 6,7% in 2020 and as much as 20% by 2025, helped by a carbon credit scheme that will be imposed in 2018.

The Seasonally Adjusted Annualized selling Rate in August stood at 24,9 million, the highest since last January and up almost a million on July. The share of domestic automakers in August was 38,5%, the lowest figure in the past 13 months and down from 39,15% in August 2016. However, it’s worth noting that the share of domestic brands in the crossover segment is an impressive 56%. Despite their success in this hot segment, sales of domestic brand vehicles across all segments trailed the market growth at +4,7%, though still beat the US brands at +2,8% and the South-Korean brands at -27,2%, their lowest rate of decline since last February. With European brands up 8,7%, most of the growth in China came from Japanese brands at +25,3%.

Continue Reading …

Volvo shows off the new XC40 [w/ poll]

Just yesterday Volvo finally took the wraps off its latest model, the new XC40. Aimed squarely at the premium compact SUV market, and models like the Audi Q3, BMW X1, Mercedes-Benz GLA and Range Rover Evoque, the XC40 is the first all-new model line the Swedish automarker has introduced since it launched the XC60 in 2008. Seeing as the XC60 did rather well in the European (figures) and US (figures) markets, the question on everyone’s minds is: has Volvo done it again?

Continue Reading …

Poll results: BMW Z4 Concept and VW T-Roc

A few weeks ago when the BMW Z4 Concept came out we asked you, our readers of what you thought of Munich’s latest creation. As you can see below, most everyone thought it was a genuine looker: exactly half of you thought it was gorgeous, while another 30% thought it looked great, but lacked a certain BMW-ness. So, not bad for BMW – now the challenge will be to turn the concept into a production model, which I’m a bit worried about given how the production 8-series looks to lose a lot of what made the 8-series Concept special (not least that hawkish nose).

Continue Reading …

European car sales analysis July 2017 – models

Skoda_Octavia-European_car_sales_statistics-2017After looking at the July 2017 car brand ranking in Europe, let’s discuss sales figures of individual models. Like in May, Volkswagen places 2 models on top, with the Polo in run-out mode to prepare for the new model that will arrive in showrooms shortly. With places 4 through 7 all within a margin of just 600 sales, we find a surprise in fourth place, as the facelifted Skoda Octavia improves its ranking record. Its previous best was a 5th place achieved in Oktober 2013 and August 2015. The Nissan Qashqai ranks 5th for the second time this year and frankly outsells its closest challenger Volkswagen Tiguan, which is out of the top-10 for the second month in a row and only 1.100 sales ahead of the Peugeot 3008, the fastest growing nameplate in the top-75. As the Opel/Vauxhall Corsa is suffering from its advanced age compared to much fresher rivals, it is down to 6th place of its segment, behind even the Dacia Sandero and Toyota Yaris. The latter of these two is the biggest winner in the top-10 with a gain of 15% thanks to its facelift. The Corsa is also challenged by its new stablemate Citroën C3 in 13th place. … Continue Reading …

Look-a-like: Audi A8 and…

I think it’s fair to say that the design of the latest Audi A8 has met with a less-than-enthusiastic response. While most of the styling is not in any way ill-judged or controversial, people’s reactions instead fall into a few camps: “wasted opportunity” is a common one, “yawn” is another, while many detractors level the same criticism as they have leveled at most German limousines for the past two decades: “looks too much like the mid-sized saloon blown up by 30%”. While personally I fall into the “wasted opportunity”, there is an aspect of the A8’s styling which actually bothers me, and that is the oversized, chrome-lipped grille that, to add insult to injury, reminds me a of a much-less exclusive car…

Continue Reading …

Genesis debuts its 3-series fighter, the G70 [w/ poll]

Following what feels like a relatively short gestation process, with relatively few spy shots and no teasers (that’s refreshing in today’s world), Hyundai-Kia’s new premium brand Genesis revealed the new G70 model. Designed to compete in the premium mid-sized segment against the likes of Audi A4, BMW 3-series and Mercedes-Benz C-class, the G70 is Genesis’ first truly new model, following in the footsteps of the premium large G80 (née Hyundai Genesis) and the premium limousine G90 (née Hyundai Equus).

Continue Reading …

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Frankfurt production cars

Audi RS4 Avant and BMW M5

Kriss: hit

If this is the future of performance saloons/wagons, sign me up! Sure, we should all mourn the passing of the thrilling NA V8 screamer in the RS4 and, going back two generations, a similarly high-revving NA V10 in the M5. However, if they can only imbue the new engines with a bit of charisma it’s hard to argue with the hard facts: 0-62mph (100km/h) times of 4.1s for the RS4 and 3.4s for the M5, respectively, plus a series of chassis techniques to make these big cars controllable and exciting: torque vectoring, carbon brakes, a rear-biassed 4WD system that can be fully switched off in the BMW’s case. Plus they look every bit as good as they should, with their wide tracks and swollen arches.

Continue Reading …

European car sales analysis July 2017 – brands

European-car-sales-graph-July_2017July marks the third consecutive month of growth for European car sales, and the sixth this year. A total of 1,19 million cars were registered in the 28 countries of the European Union and EFTA, an increase of 3,2% on last year. This brings the year-to-date tally to 9,56 million sales, up 4% on the first seven months of 2016. Among the five biggest markets, Italy (+15,8%) and Spain (+13%) showed the strongest improvements, as France (+9,4%) and Germany (+3,5%) also outgrew the market, but the United Kingdom (-6,4%) suffered another blow. Including the smaller markets, Greece (+19,7%) was once again the best performer, while Ireland (-7,2%), Switzerland (-4,6%) and Denmark (-3,3%) are the only other three markets to lose volume on last year.

Toyota_CHR-auto-sales-statistics-EuropeAmong manufacturers, Toyota Motor is the best performer in terms of absolute growth, although Renault-Nissan is only a handful of sales behind and Daimler AG remains pretty close as well. The first two add more than 10.000 sales to their July volume of last year, while the latter grows by close to 9.600 sales. On the other end of the scale, Ford Motor Company loses more than 7.000 sales as its best seller Fiesta is in a model change phase which temporarily hurts its deliveries. BMW Group loses almost 1.200 sales and Honda continues to lose volume for the 7th month this year. In relative terms, Aston Martin is the only manufacturer to more than double up, while Tesla Motors adds 63% and General Motors‘ US brands Cadillac and Chevrolet (sports cars and SUVs) grows by almost 50% from its low base. Mahindra & Mahindra is hurt by slowing sales of its South-Korean SUV brand SsangYong and is the fastest declining manufacturer, followed by Ford Motor Company and Honda.

Continue Reading …

Look-a-like: Dacia Duster and…

This Look-a-like is going to be a bit different, as it is based on a suggestions from CSB readers. In the metaphorical crosshairs this week: Dacia Duster, a car whose second generation recently debuted ahead of the Frankfurt Motor Show, impressing both Bart and myself. 

Continue Reading …

US sales: August 2017, models

After discussing the US auto brand sales ranking for August, let’s take a closer look at the models ranking.

Top 10

Ford F-series

Ford F-series

The Top 10 this year has been the setting of many fascinating battles. First, there is the battle of the Large Pickups, a battle which Ford F-series remains firmly in control of despite a wobbly start to the year, with sales up 15.0% in August alone. Following the Ford are Chevrolet Silverado and Ram Pickup, with the Ram putting in some good performances earlier this year, outselling its rival for three straight months March through May and coming to within 5,000 cars in the YTD total at the end of that period, but the Chevy regaining initiative since then to widen the YTD sales gap to over 35,000 units by the end of August. August growth stats reflect this clearly: sales for the Chevy are up 3.9%, while for the Ram they are down 6.5%, the largest drop in 12 months.

Continue Reading …