23 July 2021

China Sales : 2021 (Jan-Jun)

The fact that imported models do not feature here can affect how some brands are portrayed. They are in some cases missing or in other instances they import a reasonable number of vehicles, the figure here will be far too low. If you are able to accept these anomalies then a picture is painted of reasonable quality. 

The market was up 26% but down 12% in June with the chip shortage not helping. Regardless, the '+/-' column below is comparing market share variance for six months of 2021 with a full 2020. So which brands were able to improve their share? 

VW is well ahead fell by some way this year in share although sales are up about 2%. Toyota is steadily making its way up the list as is Changan. The colour shadings show which way the wind is blowing.

Data source: CAAM.

In case you don't recognise it, it's a Changan Raeton CC

22 July 2021

Honda Swindon - UK

Honda opened a plant in the UK at Swindon, Wiltshire and in 1992, the Honda Accord started rolling off the assembly line. The Honda Concerto was also UK assembled and that commenced in 1989 but that was produced by MG Rover for Honda. At first things went well with Honda's collaboration with MG Rover but BMW's taking over MGR moved Honda to quickly withdraw from the arrangement. The sad thing about that was both MGR and Honda suffered from the loss of cost savings the arrangement provided.

We all know the mess BMW made of MGR but Honda soldiered on. However, the EU decided to phase out import duties on cars and Honda's sales in Europe were in decline. The Swindon plant was exporting most of its product out of Europe in the form of the new Civic. It was also down to one model which causes cyclical cost issues. The upshot is Honda closes the plant at the end of July 2021. 

Now for some model history. The Accord was assembled effectively from 1993 for nine years and in that time 325,500 were made (36,200 per year). In 1995 Civic assembly was going along nicely and continued down to the end over a 27 year period (one not counted here). The Type R was a highlight of that. The undulating volume averaged out at 76,600 and by the time the factory finally closes its doors, over 2 million will have been produced.

The CR-V SUV came along in the year 2000 but it was 2002 when things got serious. 1,200,000 in all were made. The Jazz made a cameo appearance from 2009 to 2015 with nearly 153,000 units assembled. 

Looking back, it was in the 2000's when the plant was at its most productive, reaching nearly a quarter of a million cars with two models. Beyond that, even with three models the numbers were falling as European sales fell. The final attempt was made with a lone Civic Hatchback made for the global market but the cost effectiveness of that was its downfall. It was cheaper to make the Civic in other plants closer to where they are sold. 

Another chapter of UK car manufacturing had been written and now ended. Many in the UK wouldn't know or care anyway, symptomatic of the culture that pervades modern Britain. Mind you it can't all be blamed on that as Honda's way of succeeding in the European market was increasingly ineffective.   

Toyota Burnaston - UK

Toyota has numerous plants around the world. They have only ever closed one I believe, in Australia. So that gives security to workers knowing that a facility is in doubt each time a model nears the end of its production cycle. 

It started back in 1993 at a time when Japanese car makers were trying to get around duty on cars imported from Japan. The UK was the most popular choice and Toyota was one of three companies that built assembly plants. 

The Carina kicked things off (green shading in the Avensis column). As production ramped up, in due course saloon, liftback and estate models were made. In total 467,000 were assembled at Burnaston before it was replaced by the Avensis. There is an overlap year between models in case you wondered. 

The Avensis was also with three body styles for the next two generations as sales went along very nicely. For the third generation Avensis, the liftback version was dropped. Volume didn't reflect a new model and the model ended in 2018 as buyers deserted the medium car segment. In all 1,936,500 were made in total over three generations. 

Turning our attention to the Corolla / Auris column, which started in 1997 through to today. At first, the numbers were low but by the introduction of the Auris nameplate in 2006 volumes were much stronger. In 2010, a hybrid version was added to the range which has its own column below and the production figure is already included with the Corolla. Initially not that influential but after few years it climbed. By 2020, it accounts for nearly all the production of the Corolla.

4.6 million cars have left the assembly line so far, although current production is below the yearly average of 163,000. It would be more cost effective to have a second model at the plant as has been the case for much of its existence but many factors are involved in such a decision. Maybe in due course a fully electric model will be added.