European sales 2014-Q1 Small MPV segment

Nissan-Note-auto-sales-statistics-EuropeSales of small MPVs in Europe are up by 10% in the first three months of 2014, continuing to outperform the overall market. But the success is not shared equally between the models. In fact, only 4 out of the 13 models in this segment were able to increase their sales compared to the first quarter of 2013. Besides that, the segment’s growth of just over 11.000 units can be wholly attributed to the new generation Nissan Note, up 11.236 sales compared to the outgoing model last year. As a result, the Note has jumped into second place of the segment, coming out of nowhere (well, 6th position) in 2013.

The Fiat 500L keeps the lead of the segment, growing another 46% on its first quarter of 2013 sales. With the Note moving into second place, the Ford B-Max is pushed down to third, but can feel the Citroën C3 Picasso and Opel/Vauxhall Meriva breathing down its neck. In fact, both the C3 Picasso and the Meriva outsold the B-Max in February. … Continue Reading …

European sales 2014-Q1 midsize segment

Opel-Insignia-auto-sales-statistics-EuropeSales of midsized cars in Europe are down slightly again in the first quarter of 2014, after declining already 22% in the full year 2013. No change at the top, with the Volkswagen Passat still firm in the lead, although no longer selling twice as much as the number two of the segment.

In fact, the new generation Opel/Vauxhall Insignia, helped by more fuel efficient engines, is the second fastest improving model of the segment, right behind the venerable Ford Mondeo. The outgoing Mondeo is in sell-out mode to prepare for the arrival of the new generation, at last. That model has been on sale in the United States as the Ford Fusion since 2012, but the European market introduction was delayed due to the closure of the Ford Factory in Gent, Belgium and the subsequent migration of the production to Valencia in Spain. … Continue Reading …

European sales 2014-Q1 compact segment

Volkswagen-Golf-auto-sales-statistics-EuropeSales of compact cars in Europe are growing slightly faster than the market in the first quarter of 2014, up 8% while the overall market is up 7%. And whereas the growth in the subcompact segment can be fully attributed to the Renault-Nissan alliance, the compact segment’s growth is fully thanks to the VW Group’s compact platform with the Volkswagen Golf, Skoda Octavia and Seat Leon increasing their first quarter sales by a combined 45.628 units, while the whole segment grows by 43.314 sales.

The Golf doesn’t just increase its stranglehold on the segment, it’s actually the biggest gainer in absolute figures, adding almost 19.000 units to its first quarter sales, still outselling its nearest competitor by a 2-to-1 margin.

The new generation Octavia is moving into previously unthinkable territory, surpassing the Opel/Vauxhall Astra to jump onto the segment podium. To make this performance even more incredible, the Octavia outsold the Ford Focus both in January and February to become the second best selling car of the European compact segment! … Continue Reading …

European sales 2014-Q1 Subcompact segment

dacia-sandero Sales of subcompact cars in Europe are back in positive territory in the first three months of 2014, up 5% after a similar decline in 2013. Surprisingly, over 25.000 units of the segment’s growth of 30.573 units is accounted for by Dacia, thanks to the very successful model changeovers of the Sandero and Logan, and the equally successful market introduction of the brand in the United Kingdom. Adding the sales increases of the other Renault-Nissan group B-segmenters Renault Clio and Zoe and Nissan Micra, we can conclude that the rest of the segment combined shows a net loss. What an amazing performance for the French-Romanian Dacia brand!

Also impressive is the fact that the Ford Fiesta is increasing its lead over the Renault Clio, although sales of the latter may be slightly cannibalized by its small crossover sibling Captur. The same can be assumed for the Peugeot 208, already down on last year, probably due to the successful introduction of the 2008 small crossover.… Continue Reading …

European sales 2014-Q1 Minicar segment

Fiat-500-auto-sales-statistics-EuropeSales of minicars in Europe are growing again in the first quarter of 2014 after a slight decline in 2013, although the growth is still behind other segments, at 3% vs. 7% for the whole market. Forecasts for this segment are showing a 20% growth in the next three years, thanks to new arrivals like the Renault Twingo, the PSA-Toyota triplets and the Smart Fortwo this year . As a result of this product offensive, 6 out of the top 15 models will be either all-new or just refreshed by the end of 2014, and 13 out of the top 20 will have been renewed or refreshed in the last four years. Another reason for the expected boom in this segment is the rebound of sales in Italy, which is Europe’s largest minicar market. Italy has been in a sales slump in the last couple of years, dipping to levels not seen since the 1960’s.

The Fiat 500 is holding on to the first position it took from the Fiat Panda last year. After 2 months, the Panda was in the lead of the segment, but the 500 had an excellent month of March, outselling its sister by almost 7.000 units. This underscores the popularity of the 500 in the UK, where the model regularly scores a monthly top-10 position. It was the 8th best selling car in the UK in March, which is traditionally by far the biggest selling month of the year, thanks to the changeover to the new license plates.… Continue Reading …

European sales 2014-Q1 Passenger Van segment

Volkswagen-Caddy-Life-auto-sales-statistics-EuropeSales of small van-derived cars (or Ludospace in French) in Europe are up 3% in the first three months of 2014, after a slight decline of 4% over the full year 2013. Traditionally, the cargo versions of these cars sell much better than their passenger versions, but there is a loyal and happy customer base of people looking for an affordable and spacious no-frills car, and who don’t mind the lack of refinement and the utilitarian looks.

The ranking is relatively stable, as the top six has stayed in the same position as they were at the end of last year. That means the Volkswagen Caddy Life is still in the lead after the Citroën Berlingo Multispace enjoyed a short stint at the top position in the beginning of 2013. The margin between the numbers one and two is less than 100 sales, so it should be interesting to see if the Berlingo can keep up this pace until the end of December.

The Peugeot Partner Tepee is still in third, down 5% and threatened by the Renault Kangoo which sees sales increase 21% thanks to its facelift. … Continue Reading …

Automotive Mother’s Day gift ideas

As a true automotive enthusiast, you wouldn’t fob off the most important woman in your life with just another cook book or bath pearls for Mother’s Day, would you? Of course you wouldn’t! You’d get your mom something special, something that shows her how you appreciate everything she’s done for you. I know it’s hard to find something that does all those things, so here are 10 fine examples of automotive Mother’s Day gifts. Just pick your favorite and be the best son or daughter you can be!

1. All women love shoes. Some need to expand their house just to create enough storage space for their shoe collection. But there’s always that one special pair missing. Here’s your chance to surprise your mother with this pair of Maserati MC12 sneakers. Including the characteristic Maserati fender ports. Yours for just € 165,- / $ 206.30Maserati-MC12-sneakers-mothers-day-gift-ideaContinue Reading …

Ayrton Senna: five unforgettable moments

It’s the twentieth anniversary of the horrible weekend that shook the Formula 1 community and fans around the world, because of the tragic deaths of two drivers, Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna. The Austrian was only in his third Grand Prix weekend when he crashed into the concrete barriers at 315 km/h during Saturday’s qualifying session. He died on impact. One day later, the legendary Brazilian, three times F1 world champion and universally praised for his driving style and his attitude both on and off track, crashed off the track just a few laps into the race. He was fatally injured, and taken to a nearby hospital by helicopter, but wouldn’t make it to the end of the day.

To keep his spirit alive, here a five video’s of unforgettable moments on the track, which show his superiority in wet driving conditions, his devotion to win and his continuous dedication towards driver safety.… Continue Reading …

Manchester United sponsorship is looking less like a great deal for Chevrolet every year

Chevrolet-Manchester_United-shirt-sponsorship-dealThe seven-year, $ 559 million sponsorship deal that Chevrolet signed in 2012 with English Premier League football/soccer club Manchester United is starting to look like a costly mistake as time goes by. The deal already cost General Motors global marketing chief at the time Joel Ewanick his job, two months after it was signed. Ewanick then defended his decision by declaring “It was clear that the deal would bring Chevrolet increased brand exposure, purchase consideration and awareness around the world worth “over four times” the sponsorship’s cost. […] We crunched more data than I’ve ever seen. We had three separate media and consulting firms take a look at it and tell us what they thought it was worth. […] The way this was going to work over time, I would say that for the amount of money we were talking about, it was the biggest no-brainer I’ve seen.”

However, less than eighteen months after the official announcement of the deal, and even before the Chevrolet bowtie logo was supposed to appear on the official Manchester United shirts, General Motors announced it would withdraw Chevrolet from the European market. GM officials were quick to point out that Manchester United has a worldwide fan-base and that the English Premier League is the most watched football competition in the world, reaching an estimated 643 million households in 212 countries around the world. On top of that, the club’s regular appearance in the UEFA Champions League would still offer the brand the worldwide exposure it was looking for, as this competition is watched by 360 million households, some of which should be incremental to the EPL viewers.… Continue Reading …

Chrysler has almost reached the goals of Marchionne’s 2009 plan

fiat-chrysler-ceo-sergio-marchionne-five-year-turnaround-planWhen Fiat took control of Chrysler in 2009, Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne drew an ambitious five-year turnaround plan for the bankrupt American automaker, promising better product, improved quality, higher sales and profitability and independence of government ownership by 2014. On May 6th, a new five-year plan will be announced, which means it is time to look back at the previous plan and see how the company has fared in the past half decade.

Worldwide sales

Marchionne promised to more than double Chrysler Group sales from 1,3 million units in 2009 to 2,8 million sales in 2014. These numbers may be a bit misleading, as 2009 was a disastrous year for Chrysler, and a two month production shut down during its Chapter 11 bankruptcy procedure didn’t help either. But still, when comparing the 2014 goal with the 2008 score of 2 million sales, it would still mean a 40% increase in 6 years.

In 2013, Chrysler Group worldwide sales increased 9% to 2,4 million. In order for the 2014 target to be met, sales would have to grow another 16,7% this year. This target was reiterated in the 2013 financial report, so Chrysler itself is still confident the goal will be reached. In the first quarter of 2014, Chrysler Group US sales, which represent three quarters of the company’s worldwide sales, where up 11,1% on 2013, so the company probably needs to increase its momentum in order to reach the 2,8 million sales.… Continue Reading …