20 September 2007

What Is It About Lexus?

It seems that Lexus is viewed very differently around the world. North America loves it, everywhere else not an enamoured. On the other hand, other luxury marques are viewed in a more consistent light ie. popular everywhere. In the US, it is ‘the’ luxury car in its segment. From 2001-06 it sales went as follows (000): 225, 235, 260, 290, 300, 320. Impressive. Whereas in the EU (000): 17, 21, 20, 19, 20, 21, 37.

That is a massive difference. While 2006 got a lot better for Lexus in the EU, it will struggle to do much better in 2007. Even in Japan, it only sold 30,000 in 2006, compared with BMW and Benz doing nearly 50,000 each.

So the US loves Lexus while most others prefer Euro luxury. Lexus is bland, conservative, and reliable. Euro cars are a better drive. Also, while most are affected by the longer history associated with things European, Americans are quick to embrace something new. Plus they don’t feel the need to have the ultimate driving machine.

11 September 2007

What's Up At Renault?

As late as 2004, Renault was king of Western Europe; numero uno. It sold 1.5 m cars, 50,000 more than it's nearest rival. This year, it will sell a little over 1 m cars, down nearly a third. Market share will have fallen from 10.5% to about 7.5-8%. It will be only the fourth ranked car brand. Why? It seems many manufacturers are price driven rather than product driven. In other words, sales success is due to discounting, especially to fleet buyers. It looks good on paper, but isn't very profitable. However, if the product is good enough, that will propel sales in its own right. Maybe not to fleet buyers but to private buyers.

In other words, not as many sales, but more profitable ones. Renault needs to make cars people want to buy, and paying a reasonable price for the privilege. So you can't judge a car company's success by how many cars it sells, but how profitable it is. In this, it seems Renault is going in the right direction.

My First Post

Hello to any who find this blog. It is #1 and I hope it will edify those who find cars and the associated industry of interest. I have no connection with the car industry, these will be jottings of a spirited amateur. Please feel free to leave comments.