28 February 2022

Renault India Model Sales : 2012-2021

The Triber

Cracking the Indian market isn't easy with long time leader Maruti Suzuki well established and unbelievably successful. It is hard to get past such success when entering the market especially as Renault was quite late to the party and it was already in full swing.

First, you have to manufacture locally because of the high duty on fully built imported cars. Then you have to design vehicles specifically for this and similar countries. Many of these models will not be seen in more mature markets. 

Renault started manufacturing in 2011 with 1,400 units sold. 2012 was much better with over 35,000 units delivered and 1.3£ of the total market. The Duster SUV was initially the mainstay of the range with limited sales of cars.

By 2016, the Kwid crossover hatch had become the volume model with 80% of all deliveries. The Lodgy MPV was now also part of the range but not well received. The car range was quickly being phased out. Still, a 4.5% share was attained.

The Lodgy was discontinued along with cars and the Captur crossover came and went. With the Duster in decline, the range was being reshaped. Basically, three models were doing the work by 2021. The Triber compact MPV, the aforementioned Kwid and the new Kiger compact crossover. 

With cars, small works in India and now all the range is basically just that. 3.1% of the market isn't much but realistically more established brands have a strong presence and aren't inclined to let go of what they have worked hard for. Renault has taken a small slice of the local market and along with exports has a viable operation by the look of it. 

The Kiger

26 February 2022

Lotus Sales : 2021

Assembling data for Lotus is difficult. Their press releases are basically total sales and not much else. Sources don't usually agree either. The data below is collected from numerous sources and is provided to give a glimpse as to where the cars were selling best. Some of the numbers are estimates but always with some rationale behind them. 

Selling sports cars below the super luxury level is very difficult and the fact that Lotus exists today is probably due to its engineering expertise as a source of income. 

The company is now under Geely and they have plans for the brand. Electrification of the future range of vehicles is obviously the first port of call. An SUV to be built in China is the first step. Apparently, Lotus is aiming to emulate Porsche and expects to rival the range of vehicles it has. Sounds like a plan.

As for 2021, sales figures spell out why what the company has been doing isn't enough. 1,700 vehicles sold even with a 24% increase is far too small to ever make a business case for. Porsche moved away from being a just a sports car company to save itself. Lotus is about to do the same.

If anyone wishes to improve what's below, feel free to leave a comment or contact me by email at rdc1234@gmail.com. 

25 February 2022

Singapore Luxury SUV Sales : 2016-21

It's impossible to get data by model for Singapore but I did manage to find a few drops of data for luxury SUVs. The four below are relatively new and as they have arrived they joined the chart below. The numbers are modest but the total market is small and all things considered actually quite sizable numbers.

The first thing I noticed was how the segment has grown. From just eleven sales in 2016 to about a hundred in 2021. Has this impacted advesely on luxury saloon and sports car sales? In Singapore, data shows they haven't. What it has done is increase the overall registrations for vehicles in this price range. 

How many units SUVs have added to the sales varies by marque? For Rolls Royce, the Cullinan accounts for 27% of sales, the Bentley Bentayga 32%. They both sell saloons and coupes as well. For the two that in addition just make sports cars, the Aston Martin DBX takes 44% of all its registrations and Lamborghini's Urus 62%. 

Ferrari will be joining them with an SUV with the bizarrest of names, the Purosangue meaning pure blood. Hmmm. However, Mclaren insists they won't deviate from being an exclusive sports car marque. A bold stance. 

24 February 2022

Ferrari Regional Sales : 2012-2021

I've not made much of a fuss about luxury car sales as they are limited in detail. They don't need the publicity as their clientele know who they are and how to order. So here is a typical list of sales, broken down into four regions...and that's it.

EMEA is Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The others are the Americas, China/Taiwan and all others come under "Rest Of" as you may have deduced already. Then a total column is followed by increase or decrease. 

For some time Ferrari capped its production to just under 8,000 units to ensure exclusivity and strong residual prices. That became a contentious issue but eventually it was decided volume could lift without 'flooding' the market. Sales are now around the 10,000 mark. 2022 was certainly a strong one.

Data source: Ferrari.

23 February 2022

France Production Top 15 Models : 2021

When you think of production in France, you may be thinking of French Brand names but no. There are many others too sometimes due to connections they have with local brands. 

I think Renault builds the Nissan Micra at a factory in France to appease the French government who were unimpressed with Renault not building enough cars at home. Renault has a controlling interest in Nissan. Opel/Vauxhall coming under PSA ownership led to models being made here. Toyota gets vans made for it in Europe, hence the Proace. 

22 February 2022

GM Korea Plant Sales : 2020-21

I thought GM would be making tracks
but instead, they are still making Trax

According to GM's Chevrolet pressroom, the Korean operation is substantial. I assume it's essentially up to date but some of the detail is not current. So here is what it states when it comes to facilities. 

At the Bupyeong HQ, the Trax, Trailblazer and Malibu are assembled. There is also an engine shop. The Changwon plant makes the Spark, Damas, Labo and engines. At Boryeong are made transmissions, testing is done at the Cheongna Proving Ground. There is also a technical centre, stated as GM's second largest. 

So what does all of this produce? Below we see 225,000 cars 3,500 light commercial vehicles. That's 36% down on 2020. The passenger car figures are a mixture of domestic sales and export plant sales. The LCVs are local sales only and I believe are being discontinued.

GM has recently been decisively active in pruning its global operations. Looking at the Korean wing I wondered why the hatchet hadn't fallen here as well. Rather, it is seen as an opportunity to increase production, mainly for export. 

Recently GM showed what it wants to do. A new compact crossover is to be made here and in future electric vehicles. It needs to use what is here to greater effect and this is the strategy going forward. 

21 February 2022

Why The Electric Car Push?

The obvious answer would be it's better for the environment, especially air quality in cities. The downside is limited range and recharging time. That simple summary doesn't explain why hydrogen fuel cell cars have been hyped as a real environmentally friendly possibility and then downplayed. 

First, the switch to BEVs that is taking place. Sales were 2.2 million in 2019 and 6.6 million in 2021, now close to 9% of the global total. China sold 3.3 million, or 53% of the total. Many of the China sales are tiny city cars but still an impressive achievement.

So what is wrong with hydrogen fuel cell passenger cars? Sales in the US for 2021 were 3,341 (the Toyota Mirai nearly 80% of that total). Chicken feed numbers. Hydrogen is being pushed for commercial vehicles though. Buses and lorries are seen as the area where fuel cell propulsion will be most successful in the more immediate future.

Commercial vehicles can have a filling station back at a depot or a long haul trucking firm some strategically placed filling points along a regular route. Filling up is quick too. A city based bus service would be pollution free and in future, that may be a mandatory standard for new bus purchases.

The problem is that the vast majority of the world's passenger cars are still using fossil fuels and service stations are doing just fine with their patronage. The setting up costs for hydrogen is not worth it for a few customers. With an absence of filling stations, people will not be buying them. A catch 22 situation. 

So hydrogen fuel cell passenger cars can have a future but they need to be made in large enough numbers to bring the price down. There aren't enough refueling points to sell them in big enough numbers. Car makers have done the maths and virtually all of them are not bothering until that impasse is negated. 

20 February 2022

European Hybrid Car Sales (By Nation) : 2020-21

There are HEVs that have their battery charged by a petrol motor and PHEVs that plug in to charge the battery, although they too have a motor to supplement the electric propulsion. They are much more popular here because they can be driven a goodly distance without waiting for a long recharge as with fully electric (BEV) cars. 

Below we see the number of HEVs and PHEVs combined. Hybrid sales are about 3:1 over BEVs. They both increased by about the same percentage so that ratio didn't change from 2020 to 2021. Toyota has until now pushed hybrids over electric due to this obvious numerical superiority. 

So how are hybrid sales going compared to the size of the market? Finland has the highest ratio of hybrid registrations, which are 67% above its market share for all sales. Iceland, Hungary and Lithuania also are some way ahead when it comes to their relative sizes. 

It may surprise to see Norway below average but as they push full electric and have been hugely successful in that, an understandable result. So many countries that are lowly ranked are there because they have a high BEV uptake. Then there are others that have some catching up to do. 

If I was buying a new car I would definitely have a hybrid at the top of my list, a PHEV particularly. Of course, if you run an economical petrol car as I do, then there is no urgency to do anything as maintaining such a car is the best thing to do for the environment anyway. 

So the hybrid is clearly the preferred vehicle in Europe when it comes to some sort of electric car. Legislation will be deciding factor in causing more to go to BEVs but they still have usability compromises that many are not prepared to accept. I'm in that category. 

Data source: ACEA.

19 February 2022

Romania Car Production : 2015-21

Romania has two manufacturers of cars, Dacia and Ford. The volume has been steady over the past several years, with Dacia down slightly and Ford up. For a country that needs employment, the industry will be a great help to the economy.  

Dacia: Since 1968 the Mioveni plant has produced Dacias starting with the 1100 model. Initially, older models from Renault were made and with the take over by Renault they became uniquely styled budget cars. Since the Duster's launch in 2010, 2 million have been made. 

In January 2022 the seven millionth car rolled off the assembly line, a Duster. Something like 85% of production is exported, as you would imagine for a country of this size. The total Dacia figure for 2021 is accurate but individual models are estimates. 

Ford: The company took over the Daewoo Craiova plant and in 2008 commenced assembly of Transit vans. In December 2021, the one millionth car was assembled, a Puma. The Puma and Ecosport models are currently made here, with a new light commercial model to be added in 2023. Below the totals are accurate but the model breakdown for the past two years are estimates. 

18 February 2022

European Full Electric Car Sales (By Nation) : 2020-21

I have been reading some car magazines lately and they all had the theme of electric cars on the cover. Are they trying to tell us something? With sales in Europe up 107% in 2020 and 63% in 2021 they (BEVs) are making inroads. Mind you that's still only 10% of the total even with strong financial support for their acquisition. 

Of course, we are only looking at full electric cars and not hybrid vehicles so 10% may be considered an excellent result. I wonder if a ceiling will be reached as not everyone wants or is suited for BEV ownership. I know in a single car family such as mine a BEV is simply not going to happen regardless of incentives. 

That aside, what's below is what has transpired over the past two years. In the 'Diff' column green shows countries that are switching to BEVs faster than the Euro average and yellow slower. Germany has been ahead for the past two years, as has the UK. In fact, the UK has moved up from 5th to 2nd over the last three years. 

Data source: ACEA.

The data above doesn't explain which countries have the best BEV penetration. Increases are all very well but it doesn't take into account how far a country has already gone to successfully promote BEVs. 

A case in point is Norway which has increased less than the Euro average for the two years shown above. To the right is another chart showing the percentage a nation is above or below that average. Norway's BEV sales volume for 2021 is over 500% above its percentage of total European sales. 

As to why countries vary so much will depend on various factors such as how much they can afford when offering incentives, charging infrastructure and the degree of the inconvenience of BEV ownership in that place. 

Each chart highlights a different angle. The top total volume and to the right BEV penetration. The data is certainly not provided to praise or criticise. As mentioned there are too many factors that affect the take up of BEVs. 

I have briefly driven an electric car in a town environment and liked it. Yet it isn't an option for our family and there would be many others in the same boat. So why is the industry so focused on BEVs as apparently the only realistic way forward for private transport? That's for another article.

16 February 2022

UK Net Production : 1971-2021

We had one as a family car. It was good

When I was a lad, our cars were all of UK origin and they served our family well. Gradually things changed and eventually Japanese brands replaced them. The British car industry wasn't the same as it once was and manufacturers from Japan took full advantage of that. The UK car industry has made a comeback but it was never really supported by the UK public.

We had one of these too, except it was a Leyland model. A good car

At this time I recall more than once raising online the poor record of support for the UK car industry within the UK. In each case, I was told that it made no difference to the local economy where the car was made. I asked how could design studios and large assembly facilities employing large numbers make no difference? They all pay tax and spend the rest within the country. 

As they tried to justify their actions, they would inevitably reply the manufacturers are all foreign owned so it puts nothing into the economy. I replied that buying imported cars offers nothing compared to the benefits of buying locally made. They insisted it made no difference. 

The people concerned weren't stupid, they were exhibiting intellectual dishonesty. Their illogical reasoning justified their selfish actions. Of course, people should buy as they feel fit and I'm all for free trade. However, to ignore local workers en masse as now happens in the UK undermines local manufacturing.

I hired one of these in the UK. Nice car to drive

To show how the UK public has changed within a generation, the figures below paint a clear and sobering picture. If you are from the UK and don't want to face reality, I suggest you leave at this juncture. If you are prepared to see the facts, read on. 

1971: There were not that many manufacturers but they all produced well, supported in the local market and exporting strongly. The country was a net exporter to the tune of 456,000 units or 35.5% over imports.

1981: What a difference a decade makes! Domestic sales were up but BL was in decline, Peugeot had taken over from Chrysler and the transition wasn't pretty, while Ford and GM Vauxhall were importing more rather than they were building more in the UK. Now a net importer by 530,000 (-36%). 

1991: BL was now MGR and along with Ford had stabilised. Nissan arrived, Vauxhall had bounced back although Peugeot had slumped in volume. Net importing was down to -355,000 (-22%).

2001: More manufacturers but not a good end result. Nissan, Land Rover and Jaguar were fine and Toyota and Honda were now on board. Even Peugeot had got numbers up. On the flip side, BMW was already messing up MGR, Vauxhall was relying more on imports and Ford was all but gone. 

Production was actually up over the decade but sales were booming in the UK and local production hadn't kept up. Net importing was now close to a million (-39%). 

2011: Nissan was flying and a settled group of manufacturers had reduced the import deficit. The SMMT was bullish about future prospects too although I couldn't see where growth would come from. An improvement to just 596,000 net imports (-31%). Who could foresee what was about to happen?

2021: MINI was a rock surrounded by quicksand. JLR had moved production of new models offshore and suddenly local manufacturing of aging models went from full capacity to surplus. Nissan decided against maintaining volume and slashed production. Toyota kept up the production numbers but was now importing more. Honda closed its plant during the year and Vauxhall was down to a trickle with the unloved Astra its only model made in the UK. Smaller manufacturers were doing well though.

It's hard not to wince while reading the above. The decline of the 1970s was based on underinvestment and militant unions undermining an industry that flourished in the 1950s and 60s. The public turned off and hasn't returned even when things were on the up from the late 1980s.

It's now on a decline again and one has to wonder can it reinvent itself? It's not too late but the outcome is by no means certain. As the industry rapidly changes, will the investment required be forthcoming and public support for local manufacturing return? It's not something I need to concern myself with as it's up to others to make things work, but I will watch with interest. 

14 February 2022

Vietnam Top 50 Sales By Model : 2021

I colour coded the list to show where brands historically originated. Japanese brands don't have a stranglehold it has in some other markets in the region. Hyundai is the equal of Toyota and Kia isn't far behind. Local brand Vinfast has burst onto the scene over the last two seasons and the Fadil city car is already top of the pops. They have big ambitions but hopefully aren't moving too quickly.  

Philippines Top 50 Sales By Model : 2021

I colour coded the list to show where brands historically originated. Japan is the main provider with an increasing presence from other Asian makes. Some brands don't report sales but whether it would have an effect on this chart is a moot point. Probably not.

The numbers fall away quickly as is the case in protected markets. Toyota took the top five rankings. They got into the market early, established a good record which is now being rewarded. So even if a car maker opens a plant, prising away customers from Toyota is a tough ask. Positioning product at a low price point will get some traction but few can do that and then that will only get a brand so far anyway. 

Indonesia Top 50 Sales By Model : 2021

I colour coded the list to show where brands historically originated. It's a protected market and Asian brands are in control. A couple of Euro models sneak in and the US is nowhere to be found. I separated Japan from the rest of Asia just to add some sort of comparison.

Having done so, Japanese brands are only now being threatened by Chinese and Korean brands. Wuling is owned by SAIC-GM-Wuling and started out in the early 1980s making vans.It was soon it assembling a Mitsubishi sourced van. It has obviously moved a long way from that and is assembling a range of vehicles here in Indonesia.  

As we can see, unless vehicles are made here, there isn't any chance of having a meaningful presence so the numbers fall off dramatically and once below 40th position, don't even reach the 1,000 mark. 

13 February 2022

Hyundai / Kia Factory Sales : 2021 (By Nation)

To find out from which factories/countries the cars came from for both Hyundai and Kia, I've put together two charts. It's worth a mention that Hyundai made 3.4 million cars but also 200,000 for Genesis in Korean plants which are not included below. 

Hyundai: Just over a third of Hyundai branded cars were made at home. India grew an impressive 22% and got close to one in five of all cars made globally. China was clearly the fly in the ointment. Some say since Korea set up a missile defence system a few years back, sales have been harder to come by. In Korea too import brands can fall out of favour so to speak, so nothing new there. 

Overall a 3% increase so a good result. Semiconductor chips don't seem to be too big a problem either but I have no idea about how they are allocated in a period of shortage as we have now. 

Data source: Hyundai.

Kia: 2.5 million cars produced in seven countries, three less than Hyundai. Only China and Russia had reversals, elsewhere good news for the company. A 6% gain in units produced and sent out is not to be sniffed at. Korea still accounts for just over half of Kia's volume with a huge gap down to Slovakia. 

Data source: Kia. 

Renault Group Top 50 Nation Sales : 2021

The top fifty nations for the Renault Group represent many parts of the world. Some major markets such as the U.S. aren't represented but for the most part a wide coverage. France remains the leading market from Russia and then a drop to number three. The UK moved into the top 10, courtesy of a dramatic fall in China. 

Data source: Renault Group.

Nissan/Infiniti Production : 2020-21 (By Nation)

The number of vehicles made has dropped by nearly 2 million in four years.  Nissan has clearly made a decision to reduce volume post-Ghosn era. Finding the right balance between shifting metal and maximising profit is a fine line, one too many companies in the car industry have got wrong in the past. 

There does seem a move in the industry generally to change things and the fact that in 2021 production didn't drop more than 1% suggests Nissan is happy where it is now. That doesn't mean they won't aim higher at some point but make sure next time it's product driven. I'd like to sit down with Mr. Ghosn and ask how he seemed to push volume and still be profitable because few can manage it. 

Seeing where the shifts have come, China has been least affected, moving up from a quarter to well over a third of total production since 2018. The UK and Spain have been badly hit but Nissan is in the process of selling a Barcelona facility to Great Wall Motors.