03 December 2018

The Cynical Car Industry

Capitalism is doomed to fail. Any system that panders to greed is inherently flawed and will destroy as it prospers. Companies exist to prosper and those that cheat - especially without being caught - win. Commerce has huge financial resources which gives it tremendous potential to influence or bully in order to get its way.

I have written about such in the past, such as Bullies 1Bullies 2Cynical crash tests, Class action (VW),  and Fuel consumption disparities. I guess one can be sympathetic with those competing in a system that seems to favour a cynical win at all costs thinking. There is no medal for being moral and going broke, while competitors play all their tricks and prosper.

So why do I write about cars, when clearly disillusioned with the car industry and commerce generally? Well, I've always liked cars and statistics, so brought both together to do this blog. It's strictly non commercial (no advertising here) so the many hours are spent for my pleasure and those who share what I like. However, watching the industry has opened my eyes to it's self serving actions, and at times, corrupt ways.

One thing I will say is don't get hooked into this system of constantly changing cars unless that is what you want, or have, to do. As much as I like cars, I'm not wasting money on them. I bought a new car 14 years ago (a good price too) and still have it. I haven't done a huge mileage, have had no mechanical problems, and it still serves our needs. It doesn't have the latest bells and whistles but that is why it is so reliable and easy to own.

I believe cars could and should be cheaper but lack of co-operation between makers, overly complicated features, getting over sized and in the case of NZ, profit margins too big scuppers that. So I watch with increasing detachment.

26 November 2018

The Renault-Nissan Alliance


Carlos Ghosn has been the driving force in this alliance, one where Renault was the dominant force. Hiroto Saikawa was  appointed CEO of Nissan by Ghosn in 2017 with Ghosn remaining chairman and the two seemed close. More recently Ghosn was pushing for a merger, which some say Saikawa was against. It could have ended up a Renault takeover and it is felt Saikawa was against this.

Due to a whistleblower, an investigation was discreetly started by Nissan - without Renault's knowledge - into alleged misuse of Nissan funds by Ghosn for personal benefit. When Carlos Ghosn recently arrived in Japan, he was arrested. Almost immediately Nissan had Ghosn removed as Nissan chairman, despite Renault wanting them to wait for more information.

Hiroto Saikawa is regarded as a scrupulous man, doing business straight down the line. Any inproprietry would be looked upon very negatively, so his actions do reflect that attitude. He is against a merger and wishes to rather stabilise the existing structure. Others would say that the timing is suspiciously opportune, as it conveniently scuppers the merger that Nissan was opposed to.

Whatever the truth, we will probably never get a full picture of why things happened as they did. The fact is that things have taken a serious turn and the Renault-Nissan alliance will in future be governed differently, now the flamboyant leader has been taken out of the picture. How the alliance worked as well as it did was probably because it was done without much input from Nissan. Japanese culture is restrained and in future that style will figure more strongly in the way things are done.

PS. Mitsubishi Motors, which Nissan took a controlling interest in back in 2016 has since also removed Carlos Ghosn as its chairman. As of this time, he has not been formerly charged.

22 November 2018

Europe Passenger Car Sales : Jan-Sep 2018


Car sales for Europe (excluding Russia) were down a whopping 23.4% in September although up 2.3% YTD. Clearly the new fuel consumption and emissions (WLTP) regulations had an effect. Below the % column is market share and the +/- is shift in that share, comparing the first nine months of 2018 with the full 2017 year. Below green shows market share gain and yellow a drop.

The top ten selling brands didn't do that well, with premium marques leading the way. Just below that the chasing bunch made ground on the leaders, with the exception of Nissan. Further down we see SAIC MG going really well but it is currently only sold in the UK. Eagle eyed readers will have noted no Mclaren, data for which I do not have. I would would guess it is near the 800 units.


17 18 Brand 2018 % +/-

1 1 VW 1,385,157 11.3% 3.1%

2 2 Renault 885,733 7.2% -2.2%

3 3 Ford 777,919 6.3% -4.2%

5 4 Peugeot 753,473 6.1% 3.5%

4 5 Opel 701,069 5.7% -5.7%

6 6 Mercedes 650,886 5.3% -7.5%

7 7 BMW 617,031 5.0% -5.2%

8 8 Audi 610,493 5.0% -6.1%

9 9 Fiat 580,081 4.7% -5.5%

10 10 Škoda 562,529 4.6% 1.3%

11 11 Toyota 561,338 4.6% 5.9%

12 12 Citroën 470,845 3.8% 5.0%

14 13 Hyundai 425,854 3.5% 3.4%

13 14 Nissan 411,278 3.3% -7.7%

15 15 Dacia 405,619 3.3% 9.0%

16 16 Kia 385,818 3.1% 3.8%

17 17 Seat 363,220 3.0% 15.1%

18 18 Volvo 238,282 1.9% -0.2%

19 19 Suzuki 192,622 1.6% -0.1%

20 20 Mazda 181,591 1.5% -0.5%

21 21 MINI 160,792 1.3% -5.2%

25 22 Jeep 131,312 1.1% 53.5%

23 23 Honda 109,405 0.9% -1.0%

24 24 Mitsubishi 105,290 0.9% 17.1%

22 25 Land Rover 99,834 0.8% -16.3%

26 26 smart 74,829 0.6% -3.9%

27 27 Alfa Romeo 71,049 0.6% 5.3%

29 28 Jaguar 62,349 0.5% 14.0%

28 29 Porsche 62,131 0.5% 7.5%

32 30 Lexus 36,480 0.3% 4.5%

31 31 DS 36,267 0.3% 0.5%

30 32 Lancia 35,456 0.3% -25.9%

33 33 Subaru 29,167 0.2% 5.0%

34 34 Tesla 21,459 0.2% -3.4%

35 35 SsangYong 12,091 0.1% -11.5%

39 36 SAIC MG 6,696 0.1% 109.1%

37 37 Maserati 6,316 0.1% -16.7%

36 38 Infiniti 5,354
-45.2%

38 39 LadaVAZ 4,143
8.7%

43 40 Ferrari 2,871
49.8%

41 41 GM US 2,835
6.3%

40 42 Bentley 2,567
-17.1%

42 43 Aston Martin 1,878
-3.9%

52 44 Alpine 1,374
n/a

44 45 Lamborghini 1,290
61.3%

49 46 DR 664
103.8%

48 47 Mahindra 648
97.4%

46 48 Rolls Royce 540
-7.2%

47 49 Lotus 478
-10.2%


Others 58,308 0.5%

Total 12,304,711 2.3%

Data source: ACEA (mostly).
Picture source: www.autocar.co.uk