31 October 2011

BMW vs Merc vs Audi: Germany

The sales war between the three German premium brands is intense. How that battle has played out is interesting, no more so than in the domestic market. NSU and Auto Union were separate brands but combined to become Audi in 1969. I treat them as one company - Audi - throughout. The chart shows the year, then rank in the German market, sales figure and market share:



1963 5 80500 6.3%
8 31400 2.5%
4 92900 7.3%
1965 4 91500 6.0%
8 34700 2.3%
5 84800 5.6%
1970 6 145500 6.9%
8 86700 4.1%
4 158500 7.5%
1975 4 175500 9.3%
5 128600 6.1%
7 107600 5.1%
1980 4 249900 10.3%
6 138900 5.7%
5 209700 8.6%
1985 3 273500 11.5%
5 144400 6.1%
6 130200 5.5%
1990 4 261400 8.6%
5 191000 6.3%
6 167500 5.5%
1995 4 250300 7.6%
5 214900 6.5%
6 206400 6.2%
2000 3 409200 12.1%
5 237800 7.0%
6 234400 6.9%
2005 3 343900 10.3%
4 263900 7.9%
5 248800 7.4%
2010 2 281200 9.6%
3 235300 8.1%
5 226900 7.8%

MB has been the leader here since the mid 60's, and BMW has been the smoothest in its progression forward - its sales gaining in every period listed. So far in 2011, all have lost market share and BMW has fallen to 4th behind Opel.

In comparison to other premium brands, in 2010 Volvo sold 25,800 (0.9%), Jaguar only 3,200 (0.1%) and Lexus merely 2,050 (0.1%). Strong bias shown here.

In summary: Germany's three premium brands have proved most successful indeed.

Quelle: Kraftfahrt–Bundesamt

28 October 2011

VW vs Opel vs Ford: Germany

There are three brands in Germany that have been the mass production car makers. Below we see the year, sales, position in the market and percentage of the market captured:

Year VW



1963 378,000 1 29.7% 302,000 2 23.7% 198,000 3 15.6%
1965 494,000 1 32.5% 331,000 2 21.8% 278,000 3 18.3%
1970 512,000 1 24.3% 406,000 2 19.2% 310,000 3 14.7%
1975 481,000 1 22.9% 382,000 2 18.2% 287,000 3 13.6%
1980 526,000 1 21.7% 406,000 2 16.7% 252,000 3 10.4%
1985 550,000 1 23.1% 368,000 2 15.5% 255,000 4 10.7%
1990 610,000 1 20.0% 522,000 2 17.2% 299,000 3 9.8%
1995 644,000 1 19.4% 561,000 2 16.9% 376,000 3 11.3%
2000 644,000 1 19.1% 412,000 2 12.2% 239,000 4 7.1%
2005 622,000 1 18.6% 348,000 2 10.4% 247,000 6 7.4%
2010 614,000 1 21.0% 234,000 3 8.0% 198,000 6 6.8%

Opel took top spot two consecutive years in the early 70's but that didn't show on the list. VW slipped in market share over the years, but has fought back recently. Opel was a real threat to VW, but now battles to fend off premium brands. Ford has failed to keep its share and is outsold by all three German premium brands.

In summary: VW is not as good as the chart indicates, but it is the real German brand and that is patriotism. Opel has recently under invested while propping up GM North America and it shows. Ford is better than its position in Germany indicates, but it obviously suffers with its image to now be so low in market share.

Quelle: Kraftfahrt–Bundesamt
Pic: www.philseed.com/rekord-a.html

18 October 2011

Nissan vs GM vs VW: Mexico

Back in the early 1990's there were only a handful of makes selling cars in Mexico.
Gradually more brands have entered the market, which they achieved by opening production facilities. Below shows how the three main players have fared. Figures from 2005 forward are sales to the public, prior are sales to distributors.

Year Nissan
1993 120,200 2 20.9% 104,800 3 18.2% 163,700 1 28.4%
1995 42,200 1 23.1% 41,400 2 22.7% 33,800 3 18.6%
2000 175,800 2 20.2% 212,300 1 24.4% 172,000 3 19.8%
2005 234,900 2 20.8% 249,200 1 22.0% 149,100 4 13.2%
2010 189,500 1 23.1% 155,600 2 19.0% 110,300 3 13.4%

It is not very often that Nissan can out sell big car companies like GM and VW, but in Mexico it has. Even with more brands to compete with, Nissan has increased its market share over the period above. They make reliable cars and this is obviously very important south of the border.

Last word: Nissan deserves its success in Mexico.

Sources: INEGI, AMIA.

13 October 2011

Toyota vs Holden vs Ford: Australia

Traditionally, the Australian market has been between GM Holden and Ford. Chrysler tried make it a big three but didn't succeed, as did BL. Toyota then came to the party and it was all on. They all make a large car in Australia, which has been necessary to be a real player in the market. I have data listed below going back to 1995 for each brand and sales include total vehicle sales. The year, sales, market position,  and market share are all there:

Year Toyota


1995 120,900 3 18.8% 123,000 2 19.1% 137,900 1 21.5%
2000 156,400 1 19.9% 149,800 2 19.0% 113,800 3 14.5%
2005 202,800 1 20.5% 174,500 2 17.7% 129,100 3 13.1%
2010 214,700 1 20.7% 132,900 2 11.9% 95,300 3 9.1%

The large car segment has been shrinking. Ford and Holden relied too much on this and have suffered accordingly. Toyota have done well in the 4wd and SUV sales and that is where many large car buyers have shifted to. Toyota has consolidated its market share, while the other two have plummeted. Now Ford is in danger of being overtaken by other makes, such as Mazda and Hyundai. Ford has a good range of European sourced cars, but the big Falcon is on the endangered species list.

Toyota has taken a hit with the tsunami, so 2011 hasn't been a good one for them, but they are coming back now. Holden has the strong selling Commodore now ably supported by locally made Cruze. Ford's SUV Territory model finally has a diesel motor, but Ford has not been up with the play generally. The chart says it all.

10 October 2011

Proton vs Perodua

The Malaysian car market has import duties, restricting sales of cars to almost exclusively locally made or assembled. The two local brand names are Proton (lower pic with the girls) and Perodua (upper pic). Proton does its own designs based on Mitsubishis, lately with some assistance from Lotus. Perodua make Daihatsus under license. So how do they fare? Back in 1993, the earliest year I have data for, Proton sold 74,500 cars in Malaysia, accounting for a whopping 74% of the market! Perodua started selling cars a year later but soon made inroads into Proton's domination. Below is a comparison of how they have progressed since the early 90's. The figures show the year, sales, market position, then percentage share of the market:

Year Proton


1995 140,600 1 62.5% 29,900 2 17.7%
2000 179,000 1 63.4% 82,500 2 29.2%
2005 166,100 1 41.4% 134,200 2 33.5%
2010 147,700 2 28.9% 188,600 1 34.7%

You can see that Perodua has run down Proton and moved past it for a comfortable lead. It shows that Proton has to lift its game with its cars if it is to compete, not only if it has international aspirations, but even domestically. Proton tried to procure a tie up with VW but it fell through in 1996, as VW wanted to eventually take over Proton rather than just being a partner. However, Proton is still working with Mitsubishi and has had success in exporting some cars to China.

With its highly protected market, Malaysians have limited choice when it comes to buying everyday cars, hence most have to choose between these two brands. They do not directly compete with product, and the advantage Perodua has it is in the very price sensitive small car segment. Proton will have more pressure from other brands in the larger cars it sells.

07 October 2011

Lancia Returns To The UK, Sort Of

Lancia pulled out of the UK market well over a decade ago, leaving behind a poor image. Now it is back...as Chrylser; the Chrysler Delta and Chrysler Ypsilon to be precise. Interesting turn of events. You see Chryslers are now Lancias on mainland Europe but the reverse in the UK. Lancia only sells smaller cars and Chrysler bigger ones, so in that sense they are a neat fit. Lancia and Chrysler cars themselves are very different in design ethos, so it may take some time for the products to have some commonality.

Apparently they won't be big sellers, with perhaps 4,000 Ypsilon and 2,500 Delta cars to be sold per annum. The targets they set may prove optimistic as I think the Lancia name would have worked better. Obviously using the established Chrysler network and brand is a cheaper way to enter the market, but longer term it may prove the wrong option.

05 October 2011

The Problem With The RR Evoque

Land Rover's Evoque hit showrooms in September in European markets and will reach many more around the world in October. Actually, that is the problem, they won't be hitting showrooms at all. They will be going out to customers. Apparently the first six months production of 18,000 were sold before they started arriving at dealers. So that means only 36,000 will be made each year. That is not going to be enough to satisfy the demand anytime soon. In one country, the Evoque is already the top selling model for LR, in one month! Can't LR make any more than that? Engines are sourced from Ford and is that limiting numbers? Or can LR get more cars out of the factory than that, and that is just an initial production level figure?

So the problem with the Range Rover Evoque is supply and customers will have to be patient. Short supply will ensure strong resale value. Opposition marques will breathe a sigh of relief as it will give them a chance to sell to those who won't/can't wait. I mean would you seriously buy an equivalent car if the Evoque was readily available?

The question: How many can you build LR?

03 October 2011

Trade And Export, Asian Style

Trade means the business of buying and selling commodities. Export means goods and services that are produced domestically and sold to buyers in another country. Countries like to think that they all are into trade, for the betterment of world commerce and living standards. However, while outwardly espousing two way trade, some countries show they only really want to buy locally made, and to export products. The car industry has certain Asian countries as proficient exponents of this one sided mentality. Let's look at these nations.

Japan: The locals loyally buy Japanese brands and only really stray into import makes at the premium end of the market. Because of this import marques cannot get past a glass ceiling of a market share of a few percent. Exporting on the other hand has been aggressively pursued, with much success.

Korea: Imports are obstructed by import tariffs, so again imports are relatively rare. However, with fewer local brands to defend the home market, the potential to have more imported cars is there. The local product is now much better, so do they really need protection? Again vehicle exports are strong compared to what is brought into the country.

Taiwan: This Asian island has no indigenous brands but the majority of cars sold there are assembled locally. I don't know much about the situation in Taiwan, but it seems a protected car market against imported vehicles.

China: A country that has a history of export over trade. High import duties mean is isn't economically viable to import volume car models; they are all made within China. Premium brands can absorb the duty better and some are imported, but only in modest numbers. China wants to get a trade surplus in this industry segment also. Talk about greed having no bounds. The Chinese market could now sustain little or no import duty, but the duty will remain and everyone is too scared to question it. The only thing holding back vehicle exports are that Chinese brands are essentially rubbish. But they won't be for much longer.

Summary: The world wants trade, some Asian markets only want exports.