10 April 2021

VW Brand Global Model Production : 2019-20

Like most companies, VW had a rough 2020 with the pandemic. In addition, they are still fighting class actions regarding dieselgate. Mind you, if they reached settlements with these outstanding claims as they did in the US, they could then just move on. It's not a good look.

Total production was 4,966,000, -19% on 2019. SUVs now make up 37.5% of the tally, beating the previous year's 31.9%. Back in 2016, it was just under 10% so while late for the SUV party, VW is making up ground with haste. 

I combined some models into categories as the proliferation of similarly sized vehicles can be confusing. China, in particular, is where much of this takes place. Some of the names will be unfamiliar too. That arrangement puts the medium car grouping at the top, from the Tiguan/Tharu SUVs and large cars in third place. 

Further down is JETTA, last year combined with Jetta figures by VW but this year they have separated them. The reason is JETTA is a new China-only brand, with the VA3 car along with the VS5 and VS7 SUVs making up the range. 

However, VW didn't break down production numbers by model for JETTA. As they still have a listing for the Jetta model along with the Sagitar, I found this a grey area. Is there still some Jetta car production under the VW brand and also under the JETTA logo until the separation is completed? Either way, having a car in the JETTA range will slightly inflate the SUV figure I have at the bottom of the chart.  

What has been confirmed is that VW is heavily reliant on the Chinese market. A profitable situation no doubt but the old saying of too many eggs in one basket is something VW will be only too well aware of.  

09 April 2021

Renault Model Production : 2016-20

In the last instalment of the Renault production series, all Renault, Dacia and Samsung models are listed below. In addition, MOB's or models for other brands are listed at the bottom. They are included in the total. Clearly, 2020 was a trying twelve months and the next twelve may be just as trying. The 2.6 million units were -27% compared to 2019. 

The Clio is the most popular model, with 400,000 manufactured. That represented 16% of the total or nearly one in six. It was 9% lower than the year before. The Sandero and Duster followed but lost ground to the Clio.

08 April 2021

Renault Production Partner Plants : 2016-20

Partner plants are an excellent way of getting around import duties. Here are a host of them below which will briefly touch on each one. Nissan Mexico makes a few Alaskan pickup trucks but not worth a chart, just a mention. 

India: The factory is a joint Renault-Nissan plant in Chennai. The Renault side of the business centred mainly around two models in 2020, the Triber and Kwid. The compact Kiger model (above) will play an important role too as volume is increased.   

China: The Shengyang LCVs and Nanching (electric cars) will continue to be made but all Renault models are being withdrawn from China completely. 

Russia: These two models are made at the huge Lada Togliatti facility. 

07 April 2021

Lada Production : 2016-20

The models in the chart below are made at two facilities, one at Izhevsk making the Vesta and the rest sourced from Togliatti. Two models based on Ladas and made for Nissan are also made at Togliatti but are being phased out. In addition, two Renault models are also made there but not counted here. They appear in the Renault partner plant post. 

Few Ladas make it beyond Russia and the Dacia brand is similar in target audience so there seems no point in both going head to head for the same customers. So Lada may remain a brand destined largely for local consumption. 

06 April 2021

The Beauty of Simplicity

Picture source: https://driving.ca

I had a wristwatch that on each occasion I needed to change the time, it required my getting out the instruction book. I then had to press or hold various buttons until I got through several sub-menus and could actually change the time. That's a basic function needed whenever daylight saving comes around, yet whoever designed the watch didn't seem to think that feature should be easily accessible! I now have a watch with a crown that is pulled out and the hands are turned to the desired position. The beauty of simplicity.

Unfortunately, the car industry doesn't offer simplicity as an option. I recently took my car in for a warrant of fitness and it passed yet again. I mentioned to the technician my car has never failed a warrant over many years. He replied that it was a simple car. He said one man comes in with a late model Mercedes and it is constantly having to be returned for issues around the electronics of the car. 

Why can't I buy a simple car? I don't want an iPad stuck to the dashboard with endless sub-menus that need to be traversed in order to do a simple task. I can presently action required functions with a nonchalant push of a button or an effortless twist of a knob. 

This move to compting power within a car was presumably in preparation for the switch to autonomous driving. That noble yet laughable goal is now seen as a lifetime away, if ever achievable. Now we don't need to have an iPad on the dashboard anymore, can we please return to the saner button and knob arrangement? If car manufacturers by chance read this blog, I challenge you to convince me that any of your current crop of technologically complicated vehicles is worth my exchanging an older, simple car for. 

Manufacturers are scrambling to get enough microchips. Car prices are going up. Simplicity isn't only more reliable and user friendly, but cheaper too. It is time for a return to what many people surely want, reliable and uncomplicated driving. It's called the beauty of simplicity.  

05 April 2021

Renault Production Asia : 2016-20

The only Renault plant in this region is in Busan, Korea. The country always seems to be looking for ways to limit imports so theoretically a facility here would be ideal. The problem is the local brand Samsung isn't that popular, dwarfed by both Hyundai and Kia. 

What helped immensely was Nissan supplying the Rogue to North America from the Busan facility but that deal has ended. That meant the total number of cars made in 2020 was just over 100,000. As the workers have been somewhat militant, it's not a low-cost labour force and the current volume low, something needs to be done to make the plant a more attractive proposition. 

As things stand, it posted a sizable loss last year. Exports of the Arkana model (picture above) has been actioned for some European markets and later to the Middle East and Pacific regions. However, it still remains a challenge to making it profitable. 

04 April 2021

Renault Production Africa : 2016-20

There are two plants in Africa, both in the northern part of the continent. One is going really well, the other a disaster. We'll look at the reasons for the contrasting fortunes as we look at the charts below.

Morocco: Dacia models are made here and Dacia is a top brand in the country. Outside of Europe, Renault or Dacia are used but not together. Here both brands are used and it works well. 

There are two plants, the much larger in Tangier and a smaller operation in Casablanca. Volume is a 75/25 split. Tangier is the home of the Dokker, where virtually all of them are made. Vehicle exports have become an important part of the economy.  

Algeria: The plant in Oran started production in 2015, peaking at 70,500 units assembled in 2018. Two other brands followed. However, the government was unhappy with the lack of local content, banning imported parts and effectively shutting down the industry. When the issue will be resolved is yet to be determined.  

03 April 2021

Renault Production Americas : 2016-20

This region accounted for 247,000 units, well down on previous years as expected. These countries have tariffs on imports so local production has worked well for Renault. Dacia models are sold under the Renault brand and have proved popular. 

Argentina: The factory is located in Córdoba in the centre of the country. Numbers have been steadily dropping as the market contracts. Four Renault models and one for Nissan are assembled but the volume is low. Import duty makes such an operation possible. The Dokker goes under the Kangoo moniker here. 

Brazil: The plant is situated at Curitiba, in the state of Paraná and in the south of the country. 2020 was disappointing with all seven models affected, down nearly 44% and the total was the lowest since 2009. The Kwid model pictured above has been a strong performer. 

Colombia: As already mentioned above, the same applies here. The Duster has been cleaning up here with strong sales. That said, the picture above is more about mud than dust. The assembly takes place at Envigado, in the north-west and is located in the Antioquia Department.  

02 April 2021

Renault Production Russia, Romania & Slovenia : 2016-20

This is an eclectic mix of nations, but it wraps up the European region. They represent Renault and Dacia branded cars along with Nissan and smart. It covers 477,000 units made, understandably down a fair bit. 

Romania: Dacia is part of the Renault Group and here is where European production is centred, on their home turf. Three models run off the Mioveni production line. The fact a budget brand succeeds in a market such as Europe is quite a coup. A positive response from the Top Gear Show some years back could have helped too.

Russia: The factory in Moscow makes three Renault models and one for Nissan. The numbers aren't huge but they are mainly for local consumption so as expected.  

Slovenia: It may surprise that this small nation makes cars, at Novo Mesto. The vehicles are small too, nothing larger than a Clio. As Renault doesn't separate smart from the Twingo, I have to estimate the numbers, hence why smart figures are rounded. I'd like to think I'm not too far wide of the mark.

The Twingo shares its platform with smart cars so it reduces costs and allows for modest numbers to be made. The Clio is assembled in several places as well as here. 

01 April 2021

Renault Production Spain & Turkey : 2016-20

Renault has plants in these two southern European nations. In 2020, they made 650,000 cars, down from 900,000 just five years ago. Perhaps comparing 2016 with last year (819,000) would be a fairer way to analyse things. There is also a plant in Portugal making gearboxes.  

Spain: 2020 was tough on volumes, enduring a 28% fall. The two car plants are in Palencia and Valladolid, just 60km apart. I'm not sure what the rationale was behind that decision but it seems strange. Three models are made there, including all Captur and Kadjar. 

Turkey: The factory is at Bursa, in the north-west of the country. Volume has been quite consistent here over the past five years. There was a switch back to the Mégane model from the Fluence but that didn't seem to affect the flow of vehicles. The Clio is the mainstay of production here.