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 

17 September 2023

Tata Motors Prod / Sales : 2001/02 - 2022-23

Most people have never seen a Tata vehicle before, yet production and sales were close to 1,000,000 in the 2022-23 year. The reason is that Indian vehicle makers have an extremely protected domestic market and that is where virtually all of them are sold. Countries that have their own vehicle manufacturing will not open their markets unless they can access to the Indian market in return.

So if India allowed better access to its market, it would have better access to many more overseas ones. The issue is are the vehicles made in India of a suitable standard? Up to now not quite but they are not far off. India can export to markets where they do have free access and that is starting to happen.

In the last year on the chart below, of the 954,600 vehicles sold, only 22,700 were exported. That represented just 2.4% of the total. That means that volume can move up and down more dramatically with all the eggs in one basket. Low wages reduce the financial impact of this.

Tata is heavily reliant on commercial vehicles, with a return to more emphasis on passenger cars taking place. Back in 2000-01, PCs made up 51% of units sold, but that had halved by 2015-16. It's now back up to 56.7% and climbing. 

The Indian government wants to reduce protection but manufacturers in general are very much against it. I think the local market wouldn't be swamped with imports if tariffs were reduced or eliminated. The price of a vehicle is still an important factor and domestic manufacturers have a low wage structure as an advantage. 

The problem is trying to sell vehicles in mature markets with products that still need to improve in their quality. 

So with little chance to improve exports with better trade deals, manufacturers will naturally want to protect their home patch. That despite the likelihood of their being overrun at home is zero.  

In summary, Tata has an expansive range of trucks with an increasing range of passenger vehicles. The time to push toward a greater export focus is surely planned as quality improves. 

Data source: Tata Motors.

16 September 2023

Belgium 1,000 Club : 1964

There were at least 37 models that exceeded 1,000 sales in 1964. I say "at least" because I couldn't get a model breakdown for Volvo which would have had representation here otherwise. Chevrolet may have too. 

The chart is rather colourful but they are broken down by where the brand originated. It's handy if you want to focus on a country of origin in particular. All the cars listed would have been made in Europe and there were no sales of Asian brands at all, a contrast with today. 

The data wasn't presented on a platter so some work was required in some cases to sort it out. That's not a criticism by any means, it's nice to have access to it at all. It's just occasionally a bit of estimating was used. 

I'll mention a few examples. The Ford Taunus had about 1,100 sales not differentiated between models so using data from surrounding years, I estimated how to allocate them. The NSU figure was just a total and I think only one model was available at the time so all sales went to the Prinz model. ┼ákoda also had some unallocated units but likely for the 1000 model. 

Overall, an insight into a time when many of you were very young or not yet born. The model ranges were less extensive, the cars far less complicated and owning a car at all was still a relatively new experience for many. 

The pictures are at top the Renault 4, then the BMW 1500 and finally the ┼ákoda 1000. In the last pic, an interesting way to flag down a passing motorist.  

Data source: Statbel. Pictures: Netcarshow.

13 September 2023

Renault Group Europe Sales : 2020-22

This region is the home turf for Renault and it shows. It's very popular in France and was in Russia but Russia is no longer in the picture in 2023. In 2022, the company pulled back on volume which brought sales down that year. I've noticed it's springing back in 2023, especially in France. 

Lada was the main part of the group's presence in Russia and while the brand continues, it's no longer under the Renault Group. It had recently been grouped with Dacia but obviously, that didn't work out. Events were already conspiring against Renault in Russia during 2022, causing the sales listed below to fall. The figure for Russia doesn't cover a full year so that muddies the water a bit but such are the problems humans create. 

Data source: Renault Group.

Renault Group South America Sales : 2020-22

It may not be well known that the Renault Group has a solid presence in this part of the world. It's based around Dacia models which are ideal for the region. It also includes Central America in case you were wondering about some of the countries listed below. 

Despite trying circumstances around the world, sales have held up well in the region. Some of the countries below are impossible to get data for so this offers an insight not otherwise found. 

It seems Renault will no longer be releasing this sort of data in the future. That's a shame but seeing no one else does, it was perhaps only a matter of time before this happened anyway. 

Data source: Renault Group.

10 September 2023

Safer Driving

How to make vehicle traffic safer is something that has been attempted for years with little if any success. What are some of the ways we could potentially improve road safety?

Technology: Some say that driving will become safer through technology. Handing the driving of a car over to computers will make things safer it is often stated. In certain scenarios such as travel between airport terminals and even motorway traffic, I can see benefits. 

Reality: However, when artificial intelligence comes across something it cannot interpret, it is useless or worse still dangerous. Take cars into suburban environs with all the unpredictability that involves and the term artificial intelligence becomes a misnomer. 

Conclusion: Limited application benefits.


Lower speed limits: That presumably allows more time for a driver to judge and react as well as reducing the impact when an accident does occur. 

Reality: Real world results don't appear to bear out the benefit of reduced speed. It seems poor driving isn't helped by this measure.

Conclusion: Little if any benefit.


Tougher driving tests: This varies from country to country but one would think this must help. 

Reality: It probably has some benefit but less so as time passes.

Conclusion: On its own not enough to make much difference.


Periodic retesting/education: This would surely improve safety to some dgree.

Reality: It would be costly and inconvenient to carry out as well as unpopular with many. Once we have a drivers licence, do we feel we need to prove again and again we are competent motorists?

Conclusion: In the too hard basket.


Our attitude: Most drivers (especially men) overrate their driving skills and assume an accident won't happen to them.

Reality: Careful drivers are safer as they are not over confident. Patient drivers are less likely to take risks or hurry. Respectful drivers show consideration to other motorists, even allowing them to go ahead of themselves, thereby reducing road rage and impatience. Drivers lacking any of these attributes would need to be humble enough to admit they could improve and then actually try to do so.

Conclusion: We can all make motoring safer by the way we view driving, other motorists and safety. It has real potential but do enough people care to make it happen? 


Summary: The problem is human nature. We have such amazing abilities as humans to drive and interpret scenarios quickly. Yet overconfidence and lack of respect for road safety ensures that injuries and fatalities will be far greater than they need to be. 

07 September 2023

Renault Group Central Asia Sales : 2020-22

These countries have volatile sales volumes and of late they have been not so great. I believe Renault sales ceased in Kazakhstan at the end of 2022 and halted assembly in Uzbekistan due to component supply issues. With Renault leaving Russia as well, it certainly hasn't been a great time for the brand in the area to the west of Europe. 

I'm unsure what the prognosis is either but there is enough of the rest of the world to focus on to keep Renault gainfully employed. The picture above is or should I say was the Uzbeb assembly line.

Data source: Renault Group. Picture credit: The President. 

02 September 2023

Belgium Brand Sales : 1959

                                        Refining this information has had its challenges but overall an accurate portrayal of the situation back then in Belgium. For brands was surprisingly stable considering things were still settling down after an horrific conflict was still having an impact, albeit less so as each year passed.

                                          Trends were evident though. Passenger cars imported from the US dropped from 12,000 in 1955 to 5,375 in 1959 despite overall sales increasing. That was a drop from 15.4% to 5.3%. I assume that was due to European supply improving and since US manufacturing was not as disrupted, it inflated US penetration after WWII for a period of time. 

Over the same period, Geman brands increased from 33,600 to 45,275 (43% to 45% of the total). England went from 11,200 to 9,100 (14.4% to 9%). With a commonwealth of nations eager for cars, England had to balance the two with the ability to supply a challenge.

France increased strongly over this period, up from 16,800 to 32,300 units (21.7% to 32%). Peugeot and Simca increased the most of the leading French brands. Even so, Citroen was much stronger in Belgium than Peugeot was back then.

Of the other countries (mainly Sweden), sales went up over the five years being considered here from 1.8% to 3.9% and reached 3,900 units by 1959. In total sales went up from 77,800 in 1955 to 100,800 in 1959. That wasn't outstanding but solid nonetheless and the next five years would see registrations double. 

Data source: Statbel. Pics: netcarshow.com