27 November 2011

The Minor Car Brand

I wrote an article recently and it featured car sales in Sweden from the 1950's. I asked for help as I was looking for a German brand, not Czech and found nothing. I made a mistake of reading Tj (Tjeckien - Czech) as Ty (Tyskland - Germany). Then I got this email shown below. A big thanks to Roul for his kind assistance:

Dear Mr. RayCee,

With pleasure I follow your blog and read your question about the Minor. I could remember the Minor from some old car magazines I own. In a solid car book I also found some additional information about the brand.

There are several car brands with Minor in the name. It turned out that all those names are related: Jawa Minor. The car was by the way not German, but built in the Czech Republic between 1945 and 1950. Aero was an (sports)aircraft factory, that started (sports)car production in 1928. During WW2 and without de knowledge of the German oppressor it had been working on a new car: the Aero Pony/P and the 1500/R.

In 1947 till the end of the car brand its successor at first was called Aero-Minor II and later on just Minor. It was a car with front wheel drive, a two stroke engine of 616 cm3 that produced 20 HP at 3500 rpm. Back in ‘48 it was the first car who concurred the Sahara dessert without any technical problems!

From that car I could not find a review or a proper photo, but I did find a few (hilarious) Dutch adverts. I include two scans of those adverts in this mail.

The first one is dated 1948 (November 3). A translation of the text: “It came, saw and conquered, this elegant car mend for four persons, with a three speed gearbox, an overdrive and front wheel drive. Hydraulic brakes and independent springs on all four wheels. The exceedingly strong 20 hp engine, economical as a Scotchman (1 -liter- to 12 -kilometers-), can take you over a distance of 90 kilometers. Price f (Dutch Florin) 3535 (in that time a VW Beetle was priced at NFL 3460); from stock deliverable”.

The second one is dated 1950 (October 7): the price has risen and the fuel consumption went down. Together enclosed this advert make you believe that it is your choice: less mileage with your current car or a Minor with a low fuel consumption! It appears to me, that nothing has changed since then, only the number of car brands.

How many cars Minor in totally could sell, I don’t know.

I hope this is (a part of) the information you were looking for.



17 November 2011

Car Sales In Sweden From 1950 Forward

The car market in 1950 was very different from today. WW 2 had devastated Europe, although neutral Sweden didn't feel it the same way. What was then Nuffield (mainly Morris) had 6.8% of the Swedish market in 1950 and Austin had 6%.

Standard/Triumph had 5.3%, Rootes (Hillman, Humber etc) had 3%, a German car brand Minor? (can anyone help with that one?) had 1.8%, Jowett 1.1% and Borgward 1.0%. All those names are consigned to history but were strong sellers in Sweden back in 1950.

As for the big guns, their their rank in the Swedish market and sales for that selected year is below. A big thanks to bilsweden:

Year Volv
1950 3 7,400 2 8,250 1 10,100 15 950
1960 1 25,000 2 30,800 4 16,400 5 13,750
1970 1 53,850 4 20,675 5 14,550 2 34,750
1980 1 50,550 3 18,700 5 16,900 2 27,600
1990 1 47,600 5 17,550 2 23,400 3 19,550
2000 1 54,900 3 30,550 4 18,100 2 27,100
2010 1 53,700 2 35,700 4 17,850 13 8,675

Toyota, an unknown brand of 1950, was 3rd in 2010 with 21,600 sales. The Fords of 1950 were 70% sourced from the UK, and as you can see the top selling brand back then. Volvo soon took that spot and has held it for decades now.

The world car industry was so different then. Popular car makes have gone and small or yet to exist makes are now successful. Change is gradual, so scarcely noticed. However, when taking a leap back in time, we realise that things are always changing - and quite radically in some ways.

Jowett pic: http://www.cartype.com/pages/2400/jowett_brochures

13 November 2011

The Trekka

In 1960's New Zealand, there were restrictions on car availability to reduce imports and therefore protect the balance of payments. By locally making an agricultural vehicle, they could make as many as the market would take. This lead to the Trekka vehicle.

The running gear was sourced from communist Czechoslovakian company Skoda. It wasn't any good off road but as a runabout for farmers and tradesmen, it had some merit. A joke going around at the time was that it couldn't pull a skin off a rice pudding*.

It sold in modest numbers until import restrictions were eased, and punters went for superior vehicles that were now available. Between 1967 and 1973, about 2,500 were made, with a few exported to nearby pacific nations.

Often protected markets leads entrepreneurs to create novel ways to get cars to the public, and the Trekka was a fine example of a NZ effort in that regard.

*A rice pudding is a creamy desert which forms a nice skin over the top whilst cooking.

Pic: http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/cars-and-the-motor-industry/2/4

11 November 2011

Car Sales In Finland From 1956

When looking back on car sales for the land of a thousand lakes, you realise how different things were in the 1950s and 1960s. Thanks to the good folk of AKE, we can get a glimpse of that time.

For the period between 1956 and now, the lowest sales were in 1958 when under 14,500 were sold, while it peaked at almost 176,800 in 1989.

Due to not having a local car maker, Finns have no particular allegiance to a brand, as you can see by the frequent changing of the best selling marque in the country. Below is the top car make, followed by the consecutive years it was the leading brand:

Moskvitch 56 57
Volkswagen 58
Moskvitch 59 60 61 62
Ford 63 64
Volkswagen 65 66 67
Ford 68 69 70
Fiat 71 72 73 74 75
Saab 76 77 78
Nissan 79 80 81 82 83 84
Toyota 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93
Opel 94 95 96
Volkswagen 97
Opel 98 99
Toyota 00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10
Volkswagen 11

Fifteen switches of leader, covering seven makes. It must be some sort of record. Of the brands, have you heard of the Moskvitch? It was a Russian car brand that after WW2, made a car based heavily on the Opel Kadet and they proved to be sturdy, affordable cars. As seen above, it was popular in Finland for a time. Toyota has had the longest stretches of leadership, but is about to lose it to VW this year.

Finland: a fascinating country, with an equally interesting car market.

Pic: http://www.apexreplicas.com.au/road-car/640122613-moskwitch-408e.html

03 November 2011

Triumph UK Car Sales: 1965-1985

Triumph motor cars were nice cars, a step up from the everyday personal transport. Quality saloon cars and stylish sports cars made up the range. The main market for them was the UK, and they sold well there. Unfortunately, BL didn't invest in the brand and it gradually died out. Below are UK sales and market share from 1965 to its demise:

1965 * 61,200 5.3%
1966 * 70,900 6.5%
1967 * 86,900 7.6%
1968 * 80,600 7.0%
1969 * 64,700 6.7%
1970 * 64,000 5.9%
1971 * 86,500 6.7%
1972 * 91,900 5.6%
1973 * 90,700 5.5%
1974 * 69,200 5.4%
1975 * 47,100 3.9%
1976 * 49,100 3.8%
1977 * 45,900 3.5%
1978 * 29,200 1.8%
1979 * 21,700 1.3%
1980 * 17,400 1.1%
1981 * 14,600 1.0%
1982 * 44,500 2.9%
1983 * 38,500 2.1%
1984 * 10,500 0.6%
1985 * * * 180 0.0%
1986 * * * 90 0.0%

The peak year of '67 saw 33,100 Herald/Vitesse, 1300 model 28,700, 2000/2500 17,000 and 8,100 sports cars sold in the UK. A sales spurt in the early 80's for the Acclaim model (based on a Honda Ballade), but then the curtain fell.

I see Triumph as a car that lived up to its name, but ultimately poor British management led to it becoming a name consigned to history. BMW currently own the name I believe, and I cannot see them doing anything with it. For those who still own one, enjoy.

To read about the Triumph car company  click here 

Pic 2500: http://triumph2000register.co.uk
Pic Dolomite: www.little-triumphs.de
Pic GT6: www.allposters.co.uk