23 September 2021

Jaguar - Alfa Romeo Comparison : 2016-20

If you haven't read the previous one in the series, it would pay to first. It can be accessed by clicking here. 

Moving to the next phase of the comparison, we find that fortunes and direction were to swing quite drastically. Both Jaguar and Alfa Romeo were similarly sized in terms of sales but that was about to change.

Jaguar sales nearly doubled in 2016 as the company was pushing hard to move volumes upward. The new medium sized F-Pace SUV was the main reason for the sales surge but the new XE was not too far behind. The XF was holding up well too. 

The compact crossover E-Pace added impetus to the growth spurt along with the electric i-Pace crossover / hatchback. Things looked promising but it was being achieved at the expense of profit so a new CEO arrived and a new direction was decided upon.

The about to be released XJ replacement was surprisingly stopped and the marque was to become electric only by 2025. That's a tight schedule. Jaguar is to become a niche brand although talk of it ending SUVs is something I believe has since been denied. Things are moving swiftly in the car industry. 

While Jaguar was a hive of activity before a sudden directional change, what was going on at Alfa Romeo? In came the 159 replacing Giulia medium car, followed shortly after by the Stelvio mediumish SUV. It sits between the E-pace and F-Pace but much closer to the latter. 

Numbers took an upward turn as expected but not for long as they too realised the wisdom of focusing on profit rather than simply shifting metal. A second SUV like the E-Pace would have been helpful but not forthcoming neither from within Alfa Romeo nor from Jaguar (joke). 

So what's the future for Alfa Romeo with sales falling and it's now being part of the Stellantis Group? The expensive platform developed for the Giulia and Stelvio as well as a host of other models was not future proofed for electrification. With all future Alfas being electrified in some way, they will now tap into the Stellantis Group for platforms to make the transition possible. 

So in summary, the two charts show little commonality between Jaguar and Alfa Romeo. Colour coding shows the XE was matched by the Giulia, the F-Pace and Stelvio and the tenuous link between the sports cars. That's all there was. They haven't been as alike I had subconsciously thought and working together was not much of an option. With Stellantis offering much to Alfa Romeo, the marque may finally have a direction to move forward with.

Jaguar can share with Land Rover to a point but its future is also mapped out with clarity. Working with other companies seems out of the question so the marque can at least define itself without compromise.

Jaguar - Alfa Romeo Comparison : 2011-15

When a car company has many brands, they share a great deal to reduce costs and to gain benefit from other efficiencies. When dealing with separate companies, it's not so easy. The uniqueness that makes them what they are is often compromised, not to mention the challenges for engineers working with each other.

I think of Jaguar and Alfa Romeo being two brands that share a similar ethos. Both are small in volume so bringing new products to market must be difficult to justify cost-wise. So is there an opportunity being missed here to save costs and make available to the customer a reasonable range of products? 

I went back to 2011 and compared the ranges of the two. Both I must say make good very looking cars. The Alfa data is for total production and Jaguar's for total sales. Not ideal but over a series of years they will provide a clear and accurate picture.  

Back in 2011 Alfa Romeo production was 136,000 units. The MiTo mini 3-door hatchback was selling quite well but I would have thought the numbers needed to be higher to make money. The small Giulietta 5-door hatchback was selling well for the size of the brand. Strangely the medium sized 4/5-door 159 was being phased out but no replacement. 

As time passed sales dropped with only the arrival of the small 4C sports car which was very much a narrowly focused product. In five years, production numbers dropped by over half. The owners didn't seem to know what to do with the marque.

Jaguar was a mirror opposite to Alfa Romeo. In 2011 sales were just 50,000 with three models. The medium XF doing most of the volume. The large XJ was solid but that sort of car was going out of vogue. Finally, the small volume impressively styled XK grand tourer sports car. 

Over the next few years, the F-Type indirectly replaced the XK and the compact XE saloon car took over from the X-Type after a brief hiatus in that segment. The good news was that numbers were going the right way for Jaguar, 83,500 by 2015. The contrast with Alfa Romeo was stark. 

So the only commonality between the two was the 4C and F-Type yet they really were different in focus. So could they could have worked together in a complementary way? Alfa was making smaller cars and Jaguar larger. 

That could have worked but I can see why it didn't happen. It could have ended up a failed arrangement for Jaguar in particular who surely didn't need to go down the small car road. Alfa Romeo may have liked the XF but the model cycle wouldn't have worked. Would there be a chance of colaboration in the future? The next in the series can be accessed by clicking here.

22 September 2021

Poland - Toyota vs Škoda vs VW : 2010-20

Three brands each with a different emphasis yet when it comes to sales, not poles apart. It covers just over a decade and in that time, things changed quite dramatically. The obvious thing of note is the increase in registrations. In 2020, 20,000 was the benchmark for the top-selling make but that's no longer the case.

They were close in 2010, but a year later and Škoda took a decisive lead and retained it through to 2019. That left the other two battling it out for second place. Then in 2019, a sudden change. While the two VW Group marques slumped, Toyota continued its ascent. 

Extrapolating the sales figures in 2021 from January - August through to December, and Toyota is so far ahead! Of course, supply issues could change all of this by the end of the year but even so, it looks like Toyota will leave the two VW brands in its wake.