30 December 2023

Estonia Top 25 Car/LCV Models : 2008-10

This small Baltic state had a rocky ride through this period. In the early 2000's things were booming and spending reflected that. As a global recession hit, car buying was understandably affected. In 2007, new car registrations exceeded 31,000 units.

In 2008, the numbers dropped 22% to 24,600. The top 25 for that year are to the right. Japanese brands were the most popular. Toyota led the total market with 3,100 sales, Honda was next at 2,350 and Volkswagen at third with 1,750 registrations.

Mazda was fourth in total and had the leading model, the 6 exceeding the 1,000 mark. Citroën was the fifth most popular brand, followed by Škoda, Nissan and Ford. Hyundai and Kia rounded out the top ten.

Toyota had an impressive five models making the list and Honda three. Despite Volkswagen doing well overall, it only had the one model in the top 25. 

The question on everyone's mind at time would have been how will 2009 fare with the world economies in such turmoil? 

As we all now know, the news wasn't good. In Estonia, registrations slumped 67%! The best selling model was doing half of what was the case a year earlier. 

In times of change, rankings can be volatile but at the top at least Toyota remained #1 with an increased share of the total market. Renault went from twelth to second with the Mégane now the best selling model. 

Volkswagen held on to third place in the brand rankings with the Golf/Jetta, Passat and Tiguan all in the top 25.

Elsewhere, Honda slipped two pacings to fourth Mazda dropped from fourth to tenth. Peugeot came back from the nineteenth to eighth. How would 2012 go?   
The worst of the economic meltdown was over and 2010 was the start of better things. Total registrations were up 29% to 10,300 with Toyota still top but Škoda had moved into third place and looking good. 

Renault held onto second in brand ranking and still had the top model. The Škoda Octavia and Fabia had useful gains, the latter moving into the top ten for models. 

The Volkswagen brand dropped from third to seventh and again only had one top 25 model. Nissan was tenth but the Qashqai was doing so well, it accounted for 3 out of every four cars sold under that logo. 

In 2023, sales will be over 22,000 and well ahead of the 2010 but not quite up to the 2008 figure. That's a good thing if it's now at a more sustainable level. 

Data source: Transpordiamet. Photographs: Netcarshow.

22 December 2023

Romania Passenger Car Sales : 2023 (Jan-Nov)

Dacia is an ancient tribal kingdom based around modern day Romania. Today we have a car brand of that name, owned by Renault that is based in Romania. Unsurprisingly, the brand does very well here, commanding 32% of the market. Registrations were up 3% for the year. The 'Diff' column shows market share change. 

The supplier of the data (APIA) has gone all coy regarding sharing what you see below so there won't be a full year edition. Eleven months gives a reasonable picture. 

07 December 2023

VW 1960-64

This is the last in a series of four articles. It is enough to provide an insight into how VW got back on its feet after WWII. For the first in the series, just click here.

1960: More than one million vehicles were sold in Germany and VW took over a third of total sales. 866,000 vehicles were made of which 25,000 were in Brazil.  

                                    1961: The five millionth VW is built and the 1500 Type 3 was released (photo to the left). In total, 960,000 vehicles were made of which 47,000 were assembled in Brazil. 

1962: The 1500 Type 3 range is expanded with an estate version. The one millionth VW transporter arrived this year. 819,000 Beetles, 127,000 Type 3 and 166,000 Transporters were manufactured.

1963: The rapid growth of the past few years all but halted. The Beetle slipped back to 775,000, the Type 3 up to 182,000 and the transporter increased by a modest 9,000 units.

1964: Things improved again in 1964, the Beetle was back up to 867,000, the Type 3 262,000 and the Transporter 188,000. Of this, 66,400 were assembled in Brazil and 27,000 in Australia.

Data/photo source: VW AG. 

Exports to various regions are listed below. America remained at the top apart from 1962.

VW 1955-59

1955: Only 18% of the vehicle sales in Germany were to private buyers so much potential for growth. The Ghia Coupe was released this year (picture above). Total sales passed the 300,000 mark with domestic sales reaching 150,000 units. For the first time, export sales exceeded local. 

1956: A new plant in Hanover was built for the Transporter model, freeing up capacity at the Wolfsburg facility for the Beetle. Assembly of vehicles from kits started in South Africa. Sales outside of Germany passed 200,000.

1957: VW struggled to meet domestic demand with a waiting list extending to several months. Domestic sales passed 200,000 and total sales neared half a million.

1958: Exports surpassed 300,000 and globally 550,000. 3,650 Transporters are classified as made in Brazil, athough not yet offically a manufacturer.

1959: VW market share in Germany is just over 40%, the Beetle alone is over 30%! VW Brazil manufacturered 24,800 Beetles and tranporters and in Australia VW started vehicle assembly from kits. Exports reached 400,000 units. 

Data source: VW AG. For the last article in the series, simply click here.

As for overseas sales of exported vehicles, VW started releasing data from 1956. Europe was the largest but America took over as the biggest market in 1959. I'm not sure if that was just the USA. However, Germany is not included below and was still the largest market with 100,000 sales more than America. 

05 December 2023

Nissan Sunderland Sparking Along

Nissan is to build three electric cars at its plant in Sunderland, UK. The Qashqai and Juke will join the Leaf in a three pronged attack as the brand goes fully electric by 2030. There will also be three battery factories to compliment the car production. 

Of course, while Europe goes electric other parts of the world will not. I assume some car companies will still be producing ICE vehicles to meet the demand that will still exist. Sunderland presumably won't be part of that. 

For now, the plant is pushing UK car production along with its current range. In October 2023, just over 34,500 passenger cars came off the production line, a 52% increase over 2022. In ten months of '23, production volume is already 13% above the whole of '22. That compares with +24% and -10% (comparing ten months with twelve for both of those figures) when all manufacturers are included. 

04 December 2023

VW 1950-54

After the British Military Government had handed over VW to the State of Lower Saxony, the foundation for a successful company had been laid. It was now up to VW to make the most of it and they certainly did so.

1950: The VW van was introduced (see right) and production of the 100,000th post war VW vehicle was achieved. 

Exports went to 17 countries and 29,400 sales in number. The local market exceeded 60,000 units. 

The 6,000 domestic LCV sales in the chart below are an estimate. Total worldwide sales reached 90,200.

1951: Like elsewhere, material shortages hampered growth and VW was also affected. Total sales reached 105,700 but it could have been higher. Sales in Germany were up to 70,000 and exports 35,700, the latter were going to 28 countries. 

1952: The sales increase called for greater space so expansion was done to cope with the greater volume. 89,100 sales for the domestic market and 46,900 abroad added up to 136,000 global sales. Export revenue helped procure raw materials for the company.  

1953: VW built apartments to allow workers with travel issues to live closer to their work. 175,700 vehicles were sold and the 500,000th VW was produced post war. By the end of the year, vehicles were being exported to 88 countries. Arrangements were made for starting vehicle assembly in Brazil. 

1954: The car was still a luxury for many in Germany with nearly 90% of sales for businesses. The move to conveyor assembly was being utilised as VW moved to more efficient mass production. Annual sales raced to nearly 250,000 with export sales exceeding 100,00 for the first time. 

Source: VW AG. For the next in the series, please click here.

02 December 2023

VW 1945-49

Germany came out of WWII devastated. The Allies wanted Germany to prosper unlike what happened after WWI. Britain played an important role in assisting Germany to get back on its feet as soon as possible and VW was a beneficiary of that initiative.

An important part of that was getting resources to VW so as to get car production up and running again. Many systems needed to be organised to rebuild a shattered country and reestablish a car company from one producing armaments. Step by step with British support that was being accomplished. 

By 1949, VW was building just under half of all cars made in Germany and was ahead of the others in exporting. Now for a brief breakdown by year:

1945: 1,800 vehicles were made. Parts were made at Braunschweig and cars were assembled at Wolfsburg.

1946: In March, 1,000 vehicles were made in a month which was considered a milestone. 10,000 vehicles are made for the year in total. 

1947: A Works Council is set up to allow workers to have a voice in many matters affecting them. Britain should have done the same back home. Exports commence (an example to the right). 9,000 cars produced, 56 exported. 

1948: Currency reform helped create an environment for economic growth. 19,200 cars are manufactured. As for sales 15,000 were for the domestic market and 4,500 exported.

1949: A convertible model is produced for VW by Karmann with 450 built by year's end. VW was handed over by the British Military Government to the State of Lower Saxony. 46,000 vehicles are made. 38,700 are sold in Germany and 7,100 are exported. 

Source: VW AG. For the second article in the series, simply click here.

28 November 2023

Fiat Italy : 2018-2022

Fiat enters the last five years of this series going back to 1997. In that year, Fiat held 33.1% of the Italian market but it was not realistic to think that the brand could retain that percentage of registrations as the passing of time has confirmed. 

The third generation of the Panda model (pic below the chart) has been around since 2011. It still looks quite fresh but margins at that end of the market are thin hence the length of time since a new model has been released. It will be replaced in 2024 by a rugged looking electric crossover. 

In 2020, the 500e was released and that has affected sales in a positive way. The 500X is steadily slipping and 500L is departing without a replacement in sight. The Tipo has fallen quite dramatically in recent times while the Punto and Qubo have been retired.  

Nearly 2 million sales for the total market since 2017 have shrunk to just over 1.3 million in 2022. Fiat's share of the Italian market over the same period has fallen from 20.4% to 13.6%. Therefore volume has over halved since '17 to just 179,000 units as a result of these two negatives combining. 

Fiat is now part of the Stellantis Group and it will be interesting to see what direction the brand now takes. Profit will be the main driver of decisions as it has to be in a capitalist world. It's still early days as far as Stellantis' involvement is concerned. 

For the first in the series, simply click here. Pictures: Netcarshow.

Fiat Italy : 2013-2017

With registrations in Italy at a low 1.3 million in 2013, things improved to the point of nearly two million in 2017. This was hugely important for Fiat and by that time, sales exceeded 400,000. 

The Panda series three arrived in 2011 but had no effect on sales but gradually things did improve. By 2017, this one model accounted for over a third of Fiat sales in Italy. The 500 and 500L were ticking along very consistently and the Tipo (pic above) taking over from the Bravo was an improvement in volume. 

The Punto was slowly on the way out but the 500X (pic below) made up for that although not a direct replacement. The Qubo was boxing along consistently and the Freemont disappeared quietly. 

Market share was holding up just over the 20% mark, matching the upward trend in registrations. Would that be a minimum level for Fiat in its home market?

For the final in the series, simply click here. Picture Source: Netcarshow.

Fiat Italy : 2008-2012

Registrations in Italy fell dramatically over this period. In 2008, they stood at 2,160,000 but by 2012, they had slumped to 1,400,000! The fall wasn't in one hit but from 2010 to 2012 it was -10%, -11% and -20%. At the end of that unit sales were at their lowest level in over 30 years. to add to that, the market share for Fiat has fallen to 21% by 2012, not quite the lowest ever but still well down historically. 

For a brand like Fiat that relies heavily on the home market, that was no doubt tough. Total registrations for the Fiat brand in Italy by 2012 were less than half what they had been just five years earlier. The model range that expanded several years prior was now being trimmed back.   

The Qubo arrived in 2008, a very small van converted into a passenger vehicle and it did OK. For 2011 out went the Sedici, Croma, Multipla and Seicento and in came the Freemont (pic below), a Dodge Journey for Europe. In 2012 the 500L (pic above) replaced the Idea but it was too soon for it to have much impact on the sales data featured in tthe chart below. 

For the fourth in the series, simply click here. Pics: Netcarshow.

27 November 2023

Fiat Italy : 2003-2007

Fiat hit an all time low in 2003 in regard to Italian market share, which was replicated the following year. The arrival of the Croma (pic below the chart) gave Fiat a car larger than its more successful smaller offerings but that didn't sell well. A second generation Panda lifted sales in 2005 and likewise a third generation Punto a year later. 

Then Fiat created a small MPV which was named the Idea. It sold quite well too so not a bad idea. The Fiat Sedici was a collaboration with Suzuki and was much the same as the SX4. It wasn't supposed to be a big selling model so did well for what was expected. 

The interesting-looking Multipla (pic above) got a major facelift to 'normalise' its appearance and 2005 sales perked up slightly as a result. The Stillo name was dropped after one generation, Fiat returning to the Bravo label in 2007.

The 500 was introduced in 2007, a retrostyled version of the 500 that ended production in 1975. The new 500 could be classed as a replacement for the Seicento but as both sold concurrently for some years, I decided not to merge sales figures. 

Total registrations in Italy hit a record 2.5 million units in 2007. Did that and all of this model activity have a positive effect on sales? Well, yes it did with total numbers exceeding 600,000 for the first time in six years and its market share was now close to 25%. Could this positive change of fortunes now be maintained? 

For the third in the series, simply click here. Photos: Netcarshow

26 November 2023

Fiat Italy : 1997-2002

I thought I'd do a series on Fiat in Italy, going back to 1997. The data is from various sources and is sufficiently accurate to use although sources from Italy can be slightly variable. With that in mind... 

Back in 1997, Fiat commanded a third of the Italian passenger car market. Going further back to 1974, it exceeded 50% but has never reached those dizzying heights but not a realistic penetration nowadays. 

Still, we are starting over twenty years later and 33% was a strong result. The Punto was king with 375,000 registrations or 15.7% of total sales. Impressive for a single model. However, sales were dropping rather quickly after that. The second generation did uplift declining sales in the year 2000 but perhaps not by as much as one might expect. The Panda, Cinquecento and Bravo/Brava were also solid performers, highlighting Fiat's strength in smaller cars.

Over the six years covered here, total registrations were very stable but Fiat was losing ground. The total sales per annum dropped from 793,400 to 511,700. All models were part of that decline but none more so than the Punto (pic above).  

The Cinquecento was replaced by the Seicento but that didn't have any impact of note. The Stilo (pic below) was designed to improve on the Bravo/Brava with only a marginally superior result. The 22.4% share in 2002 was a third down from just six years earlier.  

For the second in the series, simply click here. Photographs: Netcarshow.

28 October 2023

French Guiana Car/LCV Sales : 2023 (Jan-Sep)

French Giana is another overseas department of France, comprised mainly of tropical rain forest. It is located on the north east coast of the South American mainland.  Despite its size, the population is only about 300,000. 

The car market is small, with 4,900 units finding new homes so far in 2023. Volume is down 7% YTD and was also down 5% in the third quarter. Dacia is popular here (the Sandero Stepway pictured above) and I was surprised to see Fiat on the top ten list. The 'Diff' column below shows market share change, comparing three quarters of 2023 with a complete 2022.   

Here are the top ten models.

27 October 2023

Guadeloupe Car/LCV Sales : 2023 (Jan-Sep)

Guadeloupe is a group of islands in the Caribbean Sea. It is a French overseas department with nearly 400,000 people living here. 

French car brands predominate as one might expect them to. Registrations are down 1% YTD and likewise -2% for Q3. Not much in it then. 

The 10,900 units sold are well short of the 17,000 for 2022 but each year there is a sizable jump during the last quarter. The 'Diff' column below shows market share change, comparing three quarters of 2023 with a complete 2022.   

As for models, the top ten are listed below.

Martinique Car/LCV Sales : 2023 (Jan-Sep)

Martinique is an overseas French territory with about 350,000 inhabitants and is quite densely populated. 10,000 cars/LCVs have been sold so far in 2023, down 4% YTD although Q3 was up 2%. Peugeot and Renault dogfight it out for the top spot, with Citroën a little off the pace. 

The 'Diff' column below shows market share change, comparing three quarters of 2023 with a complete 2022.  

The top models are listed in the chart below.

22 October 2023

Mclaren Regional Sales : H1 2023

Mclaren has had quite variable delivery figures if the last three years are an indicator. That said, 2023 looks strong with 1,292 deliveries and one gets the impression things are now on a more even keel. Total sales were up 52% for the H1 comparison with 2022. 

North America remains the largest market and sales were up 39%. Europe comes next and did even better with a 68% increase! Asia/Pacific then topped that with an 83% gain, which is presumably mainly Japan and Korea. China only increased 26% and the rest of the world +50%. 

Many countries don't publish Mclaren sales and the company itself only provides what you see in the colourful chart at the base of the article. 

Data source: Mclaren.

26 September 2023

Belgium Brand Sales : 1964

Over the past five years, passenger car registrations had doubled as prosperity gained momentum. Ford Europe held the top position for the fourth consecutive year. It took nearly 18% of the market, well ahead of Opel.  

Most of the brands were European if one counts Ford's and GM's subsidiary brands from that region. One Asian brand squeaked in but it would be a lone effort until others started to arrive two to three years later.

Data source: Statbel. 

21 September 2023

Belgium Ford Model Sales : 1955-59

Ford has been and is a popular brand in Europe. The company had assembly operations in three countries, England, France and Germany. 

Over this period covered, England was the main supplier of models until the Taunus range from Germany began to take centre stage. 

Germany: The Taunus name was used for two separate models. The 12 and 15 were medium sized cars which were eventually replaced by the TC (Cortina in the UK). The larger 17 came later and proved very popular. By 1959, it was taking nearly half of Ford of Europe's sales. 

England: This is where most of the models came from at the time. The smaller Anglia and Prefect/Popular models along with the larger Consul/Zephyr/Zodiac range. The latter were similar to the Taunus models in size so basically competing. 

France: Production in France was not as successful and the plant in Poissy was sold to Simca in 1954. Simca continued to make the large Vedette model, some sold as Fords and others under the Simca logo until the model ran out of puff.

Ford US: sales are shown in this second chart as totals by brand name. The Fairlane 500 and Custom 300 contributed most of the sales.

Summary: Total sales for Ford in Belgium dropped nearly a thousand units over this five year period and market share suffered as a result. That retreated from 19% to under 14% but in the years immediately after Ford came back strongly and was the top selling brand in Belgium for many years. 

Data: Statbel. Pics: Zephyr hemmings.com and Vedette simcatalbotclub.com