26 September 2018

JLR Caught Out

Jaguar has been on a model offensive and sales have grown quickly. In such a situation, manufacturing capacity is a challenge. Jaguar soon became fully committed and Magna Steyr in Autria was chosen for E and I-Pace on a contract basis. That seemed a sensible solution.

However, suddenly the Castle Bromwich plant in Birmingham will be put on a three day week. Why the sudden turn around? How can that happen so suddenly? There are reasons offered in the media but there is a simple reason. JLR got caught out.

Expanding too quickly. To grow they needed more models, such as a compact car. In the past I often expressed dismay that Jaguar didn't have any SUVs. The reason was Land Rover did them. The move to SUVs demanded they both could do them and we now see that LR hasn't been damaged by Jaguar's late arrival at the SUV party.

Out came the XE a year after the F-Pace, both of which were entering new areas for the marque and benefiting from pent up demand. Before they had time to settle down to what would be their real demand, the E-Pace was coming and a commitment would have to be made as to where it would be assembled. Capacity was tight in the UK and Maga Steyr was chosen. Since then, volumes settled down for the XE and F-Pace which reduced manufacturing demand.

China: With high import duties, Jaguar started making the XF and then XE over there. Jaguar's largest market was now making cars, lessening Jaguar's UK exports to China. The E-Pace will be built there too, despite China now reducing import tariffs.

The diesel scandal. VW started it but everyone within the industry has been affected. The UK move to reduce diesel sales has affected the UK market negatively and caused many buyers to put off a new purchase. This was an unseen development that has impacted on Jaguar.

Increased competition: Premium car makers were basically about three German outfits, with others seemingly caught in the headlights. They've all woken up and lifted their game. Competition is now intense and pressure on maintaining volume an issue.

How will JLR manage the road ahead?

Caught out: All these above factors have combined to force Jaguar to reduce hours worked. Some they couldn't avoid, others they misread. Expanding the range of vehicles with it's excellent design team was the easy part. Managing the way forward will require managerial expertise. Hopefully they are quick learners and this will turn out to be nothing more than a speed bump. They certainly have been caught out.

25 September 2018

The Blame Game

Sometimes fact is stranger than fiction. Often the stuff that comes out of the car industry is like that. What are some of the wierd happenings surrounding JLR? Some recent snippets.

1) In late 2016 workers at Jaguar Land Rover overwhelmingly backed a two year pay deal described by their union as "exceptional".

That's nice....if you can afford it.

2) More recently, JLR is transferring all production of its Land Rover Discovery model from the UK to a new plant its built in Slovakia.

I assume lower wages were a major part in that decision. I was thinking a lower priced model below the current range would have been ideal but are probably too far behind in engineering one.

3) The Jaguar E-Pace and I-Pace are made at Magna Steyr, Austria. The E-Pace will also be manufactured in China but neither of these Jaguar models will be made in the UK.

With UK production in decline, I wonder why the E-Pace has no place in UK manufacturing.

4) JLR blamed a collapse in diesel sales for the reason 1,000 workers will lose their jobs and reduce production. the company also claim that profit has also been affected by the decline.

That has been a challenge, but other car makers have had to face it and seem to have coped better.

5) JLR predicts it will spend £80bn in Britain over the next five years but that without a Brexit with the EU deal to their liking then this money could go elsewhere. Ultimately, it could result in UK plants closing.

Out comes the big stick to threaten if they don't get their way. Don't stand near the pram lest you get hit by flying toys as the baby has a tantrum.

My take:

Moving production off shore while sales for models made in the UK decline - due to their aging model cycle - is problematic for JLR. I can't recall reading this from any JLR press releases but that would involve accepting responsibility.

When Honda realised that the European car market wasn't suitable to its way of doing business, it didn't close its UK operation. Rather it turned it into a global centre for Civic production, with cars exported around the world. Europe now takes a small part of its output.

This option seems well beyond the capabilities if JLS's current crop of managers. Having moved production elsewhere renders a move such as Honda's impossible. The high wages it thinks it can afford isn't helpful. It's lack of lower priced volume models makes keeping UK factories busy a challenge.

Of course it's easy to blame external factors for business woes. However, going public with them comes across to me as playing the blame game and not getting on with finding solutions. Honda is a case of a company that got on quietly with sorting a problem.

Honda UK gone global. Pic source and interesting article MEMUK

19 September 2018

Chevrolet Camaro Yearly Production Numbers

The Chev Camaro started life in 1967 as an answer to the Ford Mustang, which was hugely popular. The Camaro was a success and still is today but it never quite knocked the Mustang of its perch. Considering that GM nearly always outperformed Ford in volume, this was not something the General was used to. (Mustang data can be viewed by clicking here).

The Mustang has been in constant production and averaged 184,000 units, the Camaro wasn't manufactured between 2003 and 2008 inclusive. Even so, for all the years it was made, the average was 128,700. That's impressive in its own right, if you don't compare with the Mustang (like I just did).

There have been six generations of the Camaro, made for North America with a few finding homes elsewhere. They are soon to be sold in Australia and NZ with RHD conversions done by HSV. The numbers won't be huge but it shows that there is demand for muscle cars. The Mustang is already a strong selling model in these parts, helping make a business case for this initiative.

The figures below are from more than one source and I found these were not usually consistent. So they should be taken as reasonably accurate and hopefully the swings and roundabouts effect evens out those differences.

Each series is coloured, with a gap for when there was no production. When one model changed over to another, that generally isn't shown here. As the Camaro was made in both the USA and Canada, that when the change of generations becomes evident.

Year Total USA Canada

1967 285,700 285,700

1968 276,100 276,100

1969 246,900 246,900

1970 152,000 152,000

1971 133,000 133,000

1972 80,000 80,000

1973 112,900 112,900

1974 151,000 151,000

1975 152,800 152,800

1976 198,800 198,800

1977 235,900 235,900

1978 272,600 272,600

1979 282,600 282,600

1980 152,000 152,000

1981 126,100 126,100

1982 189,700 189,700

1983 154,400 154,400

1984 261,600 261,600

1985 214,400 214,400

1986 172,600 172,600

1987 121,600 121,600

1988 99,800 99,800

1989 100,600 100,600

1990 71,000 71,000

1991 52,200 52,200

1992 48,200 47,800 400

1993 87,400

1994 135,200

1995 110,700

1996 56,800

1997 58,000

1998 47,000

1999 44,600

2000 44,100

2001 27,100

2002 23,000







2009 83,100

2010 94,400

2011 105,400

2012 99,900

2013 72,600

2014 88,900

2015 77,000 8,100 68,900

2016 99,600 99,600

2017 92,400 92,400

Totals 5,791,700 4,544,200 1,247,500

Average 128,700

16 September 2018

Japan Passenger Car Production : 2016-17

Unit production was up 6%, a sizable figure for a large volume industry. 8.348 million were made in 2017, a large number indeed. That's the highest total since 2012. There is an evenness about the figures for each maker, Toyota excepted.

Toyota unsurprisingly leads the way with just over a third of the total. Mazda makes most of its cars at home so not that surprising it is second. Daihatsu's total is amazing considering it is for the domestic market only. Subaru had a small decline but that was enough to drop it two places.

Passenger Cars
16 17 Brand Units '17 Share +/- Units '16 Share
1 1 Toyota 2,869,600 34.4% 0.8% 2,847,400 36.2%
2 2 Mazda 961,000 11.5% -0.7% 967,500 12.3%
3 3 Nissan 921,500 11.0% 10.4% 835,100 10.6%
4 4 Honda 788,900 9.5% 0.5% 784,700 10.0%
6 5 Suzuki 767,700 9.2% 29.2% 594,150 7.5%
7 6 Daihatsu 749,800 9.0% 33.3% 562,300 7.1%
5 7 Subaru 709,650 8.5% -2.5% 727,750 9.2%
8 8 Mitsubishi 579,650 6.9% 4.4% 555,000 7.0%

Total 8,347,800 6.0% 7,873,900

15 September 2018

Korea Vehicle Production : 2016-17

The Korean car manufacturing has been steady for some years now. It was in excess of 4.5 million from 2011 to 2015 but the last two years has been just over the 4 million mark. New factories overseas is a major part of that but also sales growth has ceased.

Passenger cars: Following the pattern of total vehicles, PCs were in excess of 4 million from 2011 to 2015 but now reside just under the 4 million figure. The Hyundai/Kia duo account for 75% of the total.

Hyundai: So many models involved, the Tucson and Avante two of note. All I can say is the complexity must be quite a task to manage.

Kia: Much the same with the sister brand, with the Picanto, Sportage and Soul marginal stand outs.

GM Korea: This is a problem child for GM. Sales domestically are not doing well and finding export markets difficult as GM retreats from many markets. The Spark model is by far the main model.

Samsung: Renault is keeping the operation viable with exports. the Nissan Rogue is sent to North America in goodly numbers.

Ssangyong: A brand that specialises in SUVs should be in better shape than this. The problem seems to be getting into more markets and doing better in most places they are available in. The compact Tivoli is the biggest volume model.

Passenger Cars

16 17 Brand Units '17 Share +/- Units '16 Share

1 1 Kia 1,421,550 38.1% -2.8% 1,461,825 37.9%

2 2 Hyundai 1,392,600 37.3% -2.6% 1,429,225 37.0%

3 3 GM Korea 511,875 13.7% -10.1% 569,400 14.8%

4 4 Samsung 264,025 7.1% 8.2% 243,950 6.3%

5 5 Ssangyong 145,350 3.9% -6.6% 155,600 4.0%

Total 3,735,400 -3.2% 3,860,000

Utility: Hyundai is well ahead here along with Kia. A 13% increase for all production was more than useful. 

Utility Vehicles

16 17 Brand Units '17 Share +/- Units '16 Share

1 1 Hyundai 259,100 68.3% 3.4% 250,700 68.0%

2 2 Kia 100,975 26.6% 6.3% 95,025 25.8%

4 3 Tata Daewoo 9,475 2.5% 1.5% 9,350 2.5%

3 4 GM Korea 7,525 2.0% -27.4% 10,350 2.8%

5 5 Daewoo Bus 2,425 0.6% -21.6% 3,100 0.8%

Total 379,500
13.0% 368,525

Gr Total 4,114,900
-2.7% 4,228,525