08 March 2021

Pictures Explained 2

This is the second in a series of the insightful clarifications of pictures that may otherwise be misunderstood. Years of following the car industry allows such insight. The first in the series can be viewed by clicking here. So here we go a second time.

This is a factory tour of a VW plant in South Africa. What isn't known is that the above conveyance was originally intended for game parks. However, trials revealed that those in the carts felt like sitting ducks, riding a gravy train for local lions. So this prototype was snapped up by VW to do factory tours instead. Clever.

A local NZ car magazine (Autocar NZ) prides itself in getting to the point in its road tests. So while the bears in this picture may appear to be simply going along for the ride, it is in fact a subliminal message that says they keep to the bare facts. So subtle you probably missed that one. 

In some companies, the new CEO is decided with a boxing match. Here is a weigh in, all very polite but the clenched fists indicate they mean business. 

And the winner is...

Well done sir, You must have dreamed about this outcome as dreams have power.

At first appearance, this may seem like a fist bump but the medal around the lady's neck is the giveaway. She is obviously the world champion at rock-paper-scissors. The fact this is taken at a car plant is irrelevant. It's a way of celebrating this momentous achievement at her workplace.

Social distancing has been around for about a year now and many have forgotten, or feel awkward about, more normal interacting with colleagues. In this plant workers have been encouraged to practice working closer together. Erm... not too close please.

07 March 2021

Muscle Car America

When I think of what is termed muscle cars, I think of the US, especially the 1960's. They are not the sort of car I have had much to do with and they were never that popular in NZ. So some of you dear readers will more au fait with them than I am. What I can offer is a bit of insight and data. 

Ford Mustang: I loved the look of the original model which went from 1963 to 1973. Sales were initially huge but soon settled at a more modest level. The peak of US sales was 549,500 in 1967 but down to 120,500 in 1972. I collated production numbers which can be seen by clicking here. That data would include exports. 

In 2020, sales were 61,000 which is a far cry from initial sales but reflective of recent trends toward less cars and more SUVs. 2020 was a poor year for car sales anyway so it will be interesting to see if any sort of rebound will happen in 2021.

Dodge Challenger: This is a harder model to follow historically. it's first full year of sales was 1970 and that only reached 54,000 units. It went down from there and ended in 1974. The second generation surfaced in 1978 and ended in 1983 but was a rebadged Mitsubishi so not a US muscle car. 

Then it returned in 2008 as the real deal and has continued since then. It currently outsells the Camaro, which I find surprising, given the size of the respective companies. 53,000 sales in 2020 was a fine result, not that far removed from the 2019 total. 

Chevrolet Camaro: GM reacted to Ford's pony car with the Camaro. It's 1967 sales total of 206,000 wasn't a bad effort but like the Mustang it fell away pretty quickly. Only 45,000 found buyers in 1972. It has continued through to today, with only a break from 2003 to 2008. Production numbers can be viewed by clicking here.

As sales couldn't even reach 30,000 for 2020, it was a sad result. While GM has apparently committed to producing the model until at least 2026, beyond that who knows? 

GM also ran the Pontiac Firebird and shared its platform with the Camaro. It ran from 1967 to 2002 so doesn't feature in the data below.   

06 March 2021

Europe Top Premium Graph : 2010-20

2012 BMW 1-Series 
No surprises here, with the three German brands well clear of other makes. They get huge support from their home market but enjoy pan-European support. The MINI keeps BMW ahead of the rest, while Audi was more popular than Mercedes, until 2016. Dieselgate came out in 2015 (just saying). 

Volvo has its home premium market in Sweden to thank for its strong showing and is on a roll with new products like the XC40. It still has a long way to go to threaten the top three. JLR hasn't got the same support from the UK, even someway behind the top three there. It's become a very self-centred place.

Pictures: Netcarshow.

2015 Volvo XC90