|The competitors will be chasing Toyota, not VW|
The calendar year is about finished for 2015 so which car makers can look back with satisfaction and which ones will not? Divided into nations or regions for compactness, here we go:
USA: GM, Ford and Chrysler were all pretty neutral although Jeep did well. Tesla will be happy with progress being made so let's give them a win.
Germany: The three premium brands all did well so would be classified as winners. VW was on course to pip Toyota for top company by volume. A winning year turned into an annus horribilis in the end. It won't now be top and may never be so.
France: A few years back, the French car industry was in poor shape. It still isn't great but Renault is benefiting from it's Nissan alliance and PSA is working hard at achieving good business practice. So while there is much work to do, I would grant then a win for the progress made.
UK: Bentley and Rolls Royce consolidated so not enough to call that a win. Jaguar brought out the XE and Land Rover enjoyed success with the new Discovery Sport to say JLR were winners.
Italy: Fiat suffered from a poor situation in Brazil and not much good elsewhere. Meanwhile Ferrari has done OK but that's all. Maserati lost some ground with the Ghibli and Alfa Romeo had new models put back so losses there.
Europe (Rest of): Volvo is making progress after a flat period so a win for them. Russia is doing poorly in car sales but Lada has done not to badly out of it but overall not a win. Škoda escaped form the VW debacle relatively unscathed, as did Seat. Neither set the world alight so a neutral year.
Japan: An undervalued Yen (how do they do that?) put Japanese brands on the front foot. A win for the car industry there. Suzuki also managed to free itself from VW so a double win for them.
Korea: Nothing startling there but steady progress continues for all of them so that would be a win in my book.
China: Exports were down and domestic sales have about peaked. No real progress by local brands so I'd call it a fail. Too much haste means little or no progress.
Summary: The biggest winner was Toyota who have avoided being taken in by the vanity of being top, instead concentrating on trying to improve. There are things the Big T can do better and it is doing something about it. A model strategy for others to follow.
VW on the other hand is the opposite. It has things to improve on but instead went got sidetracked by the big prize of number one. In the process it lost sight of improvements it needs to make and has even been cheating to try get to the summit. A lesson to other manufacturers of how not to be.
|Slogan Das Auto dropped|