18 November 2019

NZ Premium Brand Comparison : 2017-19 (2019 Jan -Oct)

Commuting to work, NZ style. Just kidding

NZ's premium marques aren't doing too badly, almost up on 2018 with two months of trading to go in 2019! The overall market is down as well. So what's been happening in 2019?

Despite Mini's good showing, the BMW Group has slipped in its share. Mercedes is the largest brand for this segment but has fallen much more than BMW. JLR passed Audi and is already quite well ahead of 2018. Tesla has had fluctuating sales as they tend to do so hard to read much into their sales.

The data will be updated in about two months but for now something to look over and digest.

Years Brand 2019 2019 2017
17 18 19 Total 9,071 -3.4 9,386 -6.1 9,992 9.2
1 1 1 BMW Group 2,107 23.2 2,260 24.1 2,627 26.3

BMW 1,455 16.0 1,651 17.6 1,957 19.6
Mini 652 7.2 609 6.5 670 6.7
2 2 2 Mercedes 1,829 20.2 2,251 24.0 2,541 25.4
4 4 3 JLR 1,562 17.2 1,477 15.7 1,536 15.4

Land Rover 1,094 12.1 1,069 11.4 1,182 11.8
Jaguar 468 5.2 408 4.3 354 3.5
3 3 4 Audi 1,409 15.5 1,813 19.3 2,062 20.6
5 5 5 Lexus 748 8.2 808 8.6 712 7.1
8 8 6 Tesla 629 6.9 254 2.7 244 2.4
6 6 7 Volvo 527 5.8 639 6.8 540 5.4
7 7 8 Porsche 374 4.1 348 3.7 355 3.6
10 9 9 Alfa Romeo 110 1.2 153 1.6 123 1.2
- 11 10 Infiniti 48 0.5 35 0.4
9 10 11 Maserati 43 0.5 92 1.0 132 1.3
- - 12 Cadillac 3 0.0

14 November 2019

Bentley Motors : 100 Years Old

The company was founded by W.O. Bentley in 1919, who had been through an apprenticeship in the railways. When it went into liquidation in 1931, it was acquired by Rolls Royce. Bentley was eventually sold by then owner Vickers to VW in 1998 while RR then went to BMW.

Bentley cars conjure up in me thoughts of sporty, luxurious cars cruising along the Côte d'Azur or down a boulevard in sunny Los Angeles. The company's racing heritage no doubt has something to do with that. They are made at Crewe, Cheshire in England not too far from where I entered this world.

Today the four models made by the firm are the Continental grand tourer and Flying Spur 4-door variant, Mulsanne saloon and Bentayga SUV.  I have to say I'm not won over by design of the SUV but I have never seen one ion the metal so that opinion could change.

VW would like Bentley to be making the company more money, but then Bentley didn't need dieselgate. It seems to have cost Bentley the Korean market, where the marque was quite popular. As to why that should be makes no sense but Korea does seem to need little prompting to show its import averse leanings.

For Bentley's 2007-18 production details, simply click here.
Sales by nation in 2017 can be found here.
Production by model from 1998 to 2014 is available here.

12 November 2019

Citroën : 100 Years Old

The Traction Avant model

André-Gustave Citroën started making cars in 1919. He took advantage of mass production pioneerd by Henry Ford to become a volume producer of cars. Citroën developed a reputation for being innovative too. However, it was sometimes under financial pressure and eventually filed for bankruptcy at the end of 1934. Michelin became the majority shareholder.

After World War II, the 2CV was introduced and quickly became a very popular model. Then in 1955 the technically advanced DS was released to much acclaim. Despite successes, the early 1970's were problematic for the company and it again went into bankruptcy.

To protect jobs, the French Government arranged talks that eventually led to PSA (Peugeot) taking control of Citroën. Synergies were achieved between the car brands but in doing that, Citroën's uniqueness and innovation were sacrificed.

Today Citroën moves along in a crowded mainstream car market, doing well enough but not outstandingly. It's recently lost ground in China and the DS premium brand (from 2010) has been not very popular. Had Citroën been moved upmarket after 1974, maybe now it would be accepted as a premium marque in its own right. The problem was jobs would have been lost in the process, something the French government would not have tolerated.

Citroën has started releasing crossover cars which have been well received. It has a loyal following, mainly in Europe where 85% of its vehicles are currently sold. For more on the brand, simply click on the links below for past articles I have written.

Citroën production by model 1945-59
Citroën production by model 1960-69
Citroën production by model 1970-79
Citroën production by model 1980-89
Citroën production by model 1990-99
Citroën production by model 2000-09
Citroën sales by model January - June 2019
DS sales by model January - June 2019

01 November 2019


Could it sell in the US?

The Renault Nissan alliance had added Mitsubishi to its portfolio when it also attempted to get into bed with FCA. It seemed poorly timed at best, at worst an unwieldy conglomeration of brands. The French government then waded in with its demands, enough to put off any rational person having anything to do with it. FCA sensibly ran.

Now PSA and FCA have agreed to join forces in a 50/50 arrangement. It seems a much better partnership too. Fiat and PSA have worked together with LCVs and one could see much potential in other areas. Chrysler in the US is successful with light trucks but a mess when it comes to cars. If they think cars and especially SUVs still have a place in their range, surely Peugeot or Opel models could be of use. LCVs could also feature.

The alliance does have issues that will be challenging, yet it also creates opportunities. If PSA CEO Carlos Tavares can use his expertise at cost management and restructuring like he did with Opel, then there is reason for optimism. Of course, taking over a company within Europe as opposed to a merger with a company that has a large US presence is quite a different scenario. It will be interesting to see how it is handled.

This merger will establish the company as the fourth largest manufacturer. More car companies are looking at this or at least getting involved in various co-operative ventures. It saves money to work together with others and avoid costly duplication. It is a costly industry to be in.

Or maybe this?