26 June 2023

One Million

One million hits! It started back in 2007 without any idea if there was much demand for this sort of thing. The first articles were basic in content and I have done nothing of note to promote the site. It picked up organically and at one stage was really humming. 

Then something happened to the site some years back where for a time posting new articles was all but impossible and popularity slipped. The traffic flow never quite returned to those highest levels but it still has ticked along. 

I've often talked about quitting but I have kept at it. From the beginning, no advertising was activated through Google ads. Comments that try to promote business are treated as spam. The principal behind the blog has been about sharing freely without personal gain. It's a shame there isn't more of that in the world. 

I don't have any connection with the car industry so I can write freely. The information is sourced by myself and no one has ever provided any information or data to assist me other that what can be sourced online. Many car manufacturers don't want to share much and that trend has increased. I would welcome anything I could use but of course without strings attached. 

The figures above show where the visitors have come from. The 'Others' figure seems high but some choose to hide that and I assume that would be the reason. Countries like Russia and France have exceeded my expectation while the likes of Canada and Australia the opposite. 

So for those who have enjoyed the ride, you are welcome.

Take care.  

25 June 2023

UK Passenger Car Production - Top 20 Models : 2022

When I was learning Spanish many years ago a friend would always reply when asked how he was doing by saying "Estoy con vida". In other words, I am alive. The UK car industry isn't what it was but it is still alive. Is it worth keeping though?

It suffers from massive local apathy and at times wilful avoidance of support due to erroneous attitudes. I would have thought that people should be grateful for what they have rather than wishing for what they'd like. Wallowing ruefully over past glories isn't a way forward. Making the best of what you have is.

Anyway, the top 20 list has a broad mix of models, from a few mass volume ones down to some hand built luxury models. The Land Rover Defender would be a helpful contributor except it isn't made in the UK. The Honda Civic would likewise be featured prominently but production has been moved elsewhere. Europeans don't want Honda cars in the sort of numbers to support production in the region. 

The MINI hatch/convertible is the top model for the second year now although that is under threat. That figure is an estimate, based on the percentage share of Clubman sales for the MINI brand. This percentage was applied to the known production total. 

The Nissan Qashqai (picture below the production data) had been the leading model for over a decade but not so the last two years. Production is down as the transition from the second series to this new one was disjointed and it is yet to fully recover. The Juke is fourth but descending as it passes along its model cycle and the Leaf is holding up well at eighth. 

Toyota's sole entry is third and surely a second model on the production line would make economic sense. The Suzuki Swace (picture to the right) is near the bottom of the list, made by Toyota and it is the same car as the Corolla. With a bit more effort, that could sell better.  

Land Rover then provided a solid list of models while Jaguar is to be repositioned in a higher quality bracket and isn't getting the love it could due to the more profitable Land Rover brand getting that instead. (The Bentley Bentayga is pictured to the left).

Then comes a group of models from premium marques that all proved very popular, especially the SUVs. The Aston Martin DBX (pictured to the right) is one of them and the only car produced in Wales,  possibly the only one that ever has been. 

The Stellantis Opel/Vauxhall Astra was phased out of UK assembly in 2022, hence its low figure. It's being replaced by light commercial models. 

Summary: How will 2023 go. I'm expecting the final figure to be similar to 2022 but in these unusual times, predicting anything is a risky proposition. The Qashqai regaining the top spot is my pick for 2023. And yes, UK manufacturing is worth keeping.

The data below is a mix of definite figures and quality estimates. 

23 June 2023

Eveasy Model Sales : 2023

Renault is all at sea in China. It was a late arrival in an already established market and immediately sailed into headwinds. It got involved with the brands Shineray, Jinbei, Mianyang Huarui, Brilliance and Eveasy. They all sank quickly with the exception of Eveasy and that one seems to be treading water. 

Eveasy is a joint venture with JMC and another entity. The main model is the GSE small saloon car which accounts for half of sales so far in 2023. 

Data source: Renault.

The Ev2 is a tiny hatchback that is selling well in 2023, relatively speaking. Then the Ev3 mini hatchback (picture above) which looks like it may soon sink without trace going by sales so far this year. 

As recently as 2020, these joint venture arrangements were yielding over 150,000 sales per annum. Then as one by one they were scuttled, the numbers fell to what is 1,962 in H1 2023. What the future of Eveasy is I can't say but with heavy discounting currently going on in the Chinese market, some brands may fold. There are rough seas ahead. 

Another brand Renault has created is Mobilize, a car share company arrangement. The plan is or was to have mostly a fleet of taxis and chauffeur driven cars in Europe. The car they have created is called the Limo (picture below). It's a new field that may need time to catch on, as almost non existant units moved so far would indicate. 

UK CV Production : 2022

We're not talking big numbers here but it was an increase of nearly 40%. All brands had increases bar one and the gains were impressive. Leyland DAF had its best year since the early 1990s when they also made vans. Stellantis' Vivaro van is to the right.

LEVC had its third consecutive year of production increase, the all electric brand specialising in a taxi and van. The black cab taxi (picture below data) has legendary status while the van (to the left) is a relatively new addition to the company.

I have a soft spot for Dennis Eagle (picture to the right), a small brand known for its fine refuse trucks. 

Alexander Dennis  -ADL - (bus pictured just below) and Wrightbus are doing well, each producing a strong range of buses. As to why they don't seem to sell in Europe I have no idea.  

Data source: SMMT, others.

21 June 2023

Thai Pickup/SUV Production : 2015-22

Thailand is a major manufacturer of pickup trucks and their SUV derivatives. The trucks are the big selling side of the business but using them as a basis for an SUV is cost effective. They do lose some refinement but they are getting better in that regard.

Between 2015 and 2019 (not shown here due to display limitations), volume was consistently in the 1 to 1.1 million units. 2020 dropped to just over 800,000 with GM, Mazda, and Fiat departing as well as a general downturn. 

In 2021, the million mark was nearly reached and 1.2 million in 2022. They are listed below in descending volume. It needs to be noted that this data is for production in Thailand so in this doesn't necessarily represent global output.

Toyota has produced over 3 million units since 2015, 91% were the Hilux model (top picture) and 9% the Fortuner SUV. Isuzu is next at 2 million with a similar mix of volume. The MU-X SUV is pictured just above. Mitsubishi follows at 1.6 million and with a quarter of the production for the Pajero Sport SUV. The Triton or L200 is shown below. 

Ford reached 1.2 million units with 87% for the Ranger pickup truck. The Everest SUV is pictured below the chart. GM had an 80-20 split with its quarter of a million vehicles made, but that finished in 2019 so just five years of production. Mazda was similar in timeframe and without an SUV option. Finally, the Fullback from Fiat which two years before being phased out. 

Summary: Love them or hate them, they sell. In some countries, the pickup variants are the best selling models. I certainly do not aspire to own anything like these vehicles but for many, they are just the ticket. 

19 June 2023

Toyota Model Sales Japan : 2021-22

Staying on top is never easy, especially when the success has been so great that there is no realistic opportunity to grow further. That's the position of Toyota in Japan. That's even more so when one considers that while Kei cars regularly take a third of all Japanese sales, Toyota doesn't even compete in that segment beyond making a token effort. 

Toyota's market share in 2022 dropped from a very healthy 33.6% to 30.7%. Still a strong position although down from its 50% share of non Kei car sales it enjoyed in 2021. It's hard to comprehend that sort of popularity but such is the reputation Toyota has in Japan. Impressive indeed.

The Models: The best selling car was a medium MPV that has been under three names but the Esquire is being dropped, leaving the Voxy and Noah. The Roomy is a Daihatsu Thor but Toyota sells almost ten times the number the donor brand does. Daihatsu does many Kei cars and this isn't one so that could be the reason.

The Raize small SUV is taken from Daihatsu (Rocky) and again outsells the latter, four to one this time. I thought the Yaris Cross may have done better. The Corolla Cross arrived last year and did well enough for the full year. The Crown Cross (yes, another Cross) made its debut but couldn't make up for the drop in Crown sales.

Summary: Toyota is reshaping itself in Japan as the market gradually contracts but doing this always comes with risk. Mind you, doing nothing can also hurt more in the longer term. The harrier is just above and the Crown below the chart. 

18 June 2023

Suzuki Model Sales Japan : 2021-22

Registrations were down but market share was up, both marginally. 79% of cars sold are of the Kei kind, highlighted in yellow. It was third ranked brand for the year and has been since 2014.  

The Models:
The Spacia crossover MPV tops the list but was down by over 28,000 units. The Wagon R hatchback was next and made up for the loss that the Hustler crossover SUV experienced. The Solio minivan was the first regular car followed closely by the Kei Jimny mini SUV. 

                      Summary: To be this popular, Suzuki must be doing something right. It has a reputation for value and reliability so not a bad combination that will always get you far in any business venture. 

16 June 2023

Subaru Model Sales Japan : 2021-22

Subaru is big in North America and Australasia but is a minor brand among Japanese marques at home. It enjoyed a slight gain to 2.7% market share. 

It's never going to be anything more than that, relying on the above mentioned export regions to provide much needed volume. Kei models are sourced from other manufacturers and only achieved 12% of total sales for them. 

The Models: 

The Forester crossover SUV (pictured above) is now the main model, with the Levorg sports tourer drastically dropping sales. The Outback wagon (pictured right) did at least pick up many of those. 

The Rex (pictured left) is a new model which is coming from Daihatsu which is sold by that brand as the Rocky. It has just been introduced hence the minute sales thus far. 

The Chiffon Kei car (see below the chart) is also taken from the Daihatsu Tanto and has that popular boxy shape. This sort of collaboration is important with cars that presumably don't have the biggest of margins and little export potential.

Summary: Subaru is not reliant on its home market but the sales here are still very welcome. Its recent tie up with Toyota will no doubt assist Subaru in many ways. 

15 June 2023

Nissan Model Sales Japan : 2021-22

Nissan's domestic market share went from 10% to 11% so a more than useful improvement. Nissan's Kei car range gained a model but still slipped slightly to 38% of all Nissan sales. The minus in Others is minimal but with two data sources converging...

The Models: 

Of note was the..er..Note (pictured above) which went up 20,000 in sales. The crossover MPV Roox did well but did fall back somewhat. The Serena MPV held steady but the Dayz hatchback followed the Roox. 

The new Sakura EV (pictured above right) is basically an electric Roox and is shared with Mitsubishi (as the eK Cross EV). Then the Kicks and X-Trail are in the 18,000 bracket and the Leaf about 5,000 shy of that. The new Ariya (picture below the chart) is another electric vehicle that's been added to the range.

Summary: The brand is not the serious challenge it once was to Toyota but its nevertheless a strong performer among the brands that look up to the Big T.  

14 June 2023

Mazda Model Sales Japan : 2021-22

With overall registrations down, Mazda's sales upturn meant its market share increased from 3.9% to 4.4%. It doesn't rely on Kei cars like some do with only 16% of sales coming from that segment. It therefore has to do battle with Toyota and that is an immense task in Japan. 

The Models: 

The CX-5 SUV is now the leading model, having taken over from the 2 hatchback. After that, it filters down quite evenly to the Scrum minivan. The CX-60's arrival (picture at the top) gave a little impetus to total sales. The Flair (picture above) sells in small numbers as does the MX-30 (picture under the chart). 

Summary: A brand fighting hard for market share in Japan. Toyota taking a monetary share in the company will help with both image and technology. 

13 June 2023

11 Million Nissans

The Nissan Sunderland, UK, plant may not have happened if a minister who tried to stop the government grant to sweeten the deal had got his way. The person within government responsible for the backtrack was overruled by PM Thatcher and the promised assistance was delivered.

The first cars rolled off the production line in 1986. The Bluebird was the first model which became the Primera in 1990. The Micra became the second model in 1992 and the one million mark was reached at the beginning of 1995. The Almera hatchback became the third model in 2000.

In 2006 the Primera and Almera were retired and were replaced by the Qashqai and Note models. Micra production was moved to France, replaced by the Juke and a couple of tears later the Leaf was introduced. The Note was phased out, leaving three models in 2017 and that is the case today. 

The plant today services 137 markets, directly employs 6,000 ithe another 30,000 in the UK supply chain. Nissan also makes the Qashqai and Juke hybrid models along with a move to 100% renewable energy being used by Sunderland plant and suppliers. The Qashqai hybrid is shown below. 

For production by model up until 2014, please click here.

12 June 2023

Lexus Model Sales Japan : 2021-22

Lexus didn't do that well in 2022 and from being about the same as Mercedes-Benz in 2021, was over 10,000 sales behind in 2022. At least in 2023 things are much better for Toyota's premium marque. 

Lexus doesn't do Kei cars as you might have guessed. Its range is mainly SUV's (models ending with an X), saloon cars (ending with a S) and sports cars (ending with a C for coupe or convertible). The odd one out is the now discontinued CT hatchback but I presume the T meant touring. 

The Models:

The newly released second generation NX (Top picture) led the charge with 12,000 registrations. Not much stood out from the rest with four models above 5,000 units but not much above that. The IS (just above in red) came next with 6,700 sales. The LC (bottom picture) saw its volume reduced by over half.

Summary: Lexus is a safe car to buy. Reliable and comfortable with a desire to be sporty but I'm not entirely convinced of the latter quality.