31 January 2024

Nissan/Infiniti Prod/Sales (By Nation/Region) : 2021-23

Nissan and Infiniti's production was +6% and sales were +5%. With most manufacturers increasing post Covid, this doesn't sound very good. However, there is a good reason for it as we will see.

Production: There are five main producing nations Nissan separates data for, the rest coming under Other. China is the largest but volume was -26% and it was nearly toppled as the largest producer for Nissan. Japan was +28%, the U.S. +12%, Mexico +58%, the U.K. +37% with the remainder -14%. China could have put a real damper on things but all the other mentioned nations negated that with strong growth. 

Data Source: Nissan. 

Sales: North America has moved swiftly past China, the former with a sales surge of +26% and the latter -24%. The days of huge sales success for Western car makers in China are coming to an end as they become increasingly marginalised. As for the rest, Europe was +20% with Japan up 7% and Others +12%. 

Summary: Nissan China has slumped while the rest of the world is doing well. Its share of Nissan's global sales have fallen from 34% to 24% in just two years. Put another way, sales dropped by 251,600 in China but the total was up 149,400. Is it a big deal to lose sales in China? Personally, I think that is a good thing although Nissan may see that differently. 

UK Vehicle Production : 2023

UK vehicle manufacturing is currently steadily rising. Manufacturers have exited and no new ones have replaced them for some time now, yet a reasonable gain has taken place. Most vehicles are exported which keeps the plants viable. More local support would help but the will to do that simply isn't there.

Car: Production for domestic consumption was 191,250 (13.7+%) and exports increased to 713,900 (+17.6%). The total figure was 905,100, an increase of 16.8%. Only 10% of UK passenger car sales were met by locally made vehicles, the second lowest since 1946 when my records start. Presumably, the lowest since UK car manufacturing began.  

As for the monthly average, that increased from 64,600 to 74,400. I am curious as to where the increase came from but without a full breakdown by manufacturer, I can't be certain. It was probably spread across the various manufacturers. 

What I do know is that until recently, Nissan's and Toyota combined were just short of half of the total. Nissan makes the Qashqai, Juke and Leaf. Toyota the Corolla hatch and wagon. Toyota needs another model to better utilise the factory. 

Data source: SMMT.

Commercial Vehicle: Production for the local market was 43,400 units (+7.5%), exports were 77,000 (+25.8%), and combined 120,400 (+18.5%). After hitting a low point in 2020, CV production lifted and I assume Ellesmere Port van production will give it some sort of boost. 

The average numbers have improved slightly, from 8,500 to 10,000. CV production may be plateauing unless more investment in that area is forthcoming.

Combined: Production for the local market was +12.5% to 234,700 while production destined for export was +18.4% to 790,900. In total, 1025,500 vehicles were made (+17%). The totals could and should be better but it is for now moving in the right direction. Mind you, most production around the world is. 

As for average per month production, it has increased from 73,100 to 85,500 units. That is the best since 2019, when Honda and Vauxhall were still making cars in the UK. Vauxhall (Stellantis) is switching over to vans but even when that transition is fully up to speed, the number of vehicles made by Vauxhall will be less than what they achieved with passenger cars. 

Singapore Passenger Car Sales : 2023

With registrations down 14% at the three quarter mark, things were looking grim for the market here. With a new purchase licensing system keeping sales very low and favouring more expensive cars, it does create a distorted market. With the volume of cars so low, there weren't enough certificates available to lift registration. 

Whatever happened late in the year certainly helped though. Sales were up 10% in November and 98% in December or double last year in the latter instance. It still made it the lowest total since 2014 but it could have been much worse. 

Toyota/Lexus are combined but I'm curious what the sales ratio between them would be. If shown separately, would Toyota be at the top? Probably this year but not everyone. Mercedes is popular and was at the top of the ranking briefly in 2013. BMW was for the two years before that. 

The certificate system (COE) favours premium car purchases. The COEs also limit sales so the roads aren't clogged with cars. Premium car owners can then waft along the streets without being caught in excess traffic. Interesting concept. 

The 'Diff' column shows market share change. Data source: LTA.

Hyundai Factory Sales By Country : 2022-23

Hyundai brand factory sales were up 8% for the year, despite closing their assembly plant in Russia. Hyundai has a broader manufacturing footprint than Kia, both in volume and the number of countries involved.

3.8 million passenger cars left plants in 2023, up 8%. Of the commercial vehicles (not included in the list below) there were 228,400 made, all but about 10,000 from Korea. The Others figure is CKD units.

Data source: Hyundai.

Countries: Korea is the main supplier, with 39% of total PC production from there. India is a strong second with over 750,000 cars assembled in that country. The US and the Czech Rep are in the 350,000 region. Turkey, China and Brazil make around the quarter of a million mark. 

In addition to the Russian closure, Kia was making the Accent model for them in Mexico but that arrangement has ceased. Singapore surprisingly arrived in 2023, the Ioniq 5 being the vehicle they have started to make there. 

Summary: A good showing overall, with over 4 million vehicles made with the Hyundai badge.  

30 January 2024

Land Rover Japan / Korea Sales Comparison : 2009-2023

Two and a half years ago I did an article on this which included Jaguar. I'm updating this but for this one, it's just Land Rover. Have the past 30 months added much? Indeed it has so let's take a look at each country separately. 

Korea: There was progressive increases up until 2018. What happened then I don't know. I do know that in Korea importers can't be too successful or authorities get shall we say watchful. I don't have an inside story but sales tumbled without an obvious cause. 2023 saw a useful increase and 2024 will interesting.

Japan: Sales were neck and neck until 2014 when Korea bolted but Japan had modest gains. Japan's avoidance of a sales collapse stands in contrast to its regional neighbour. With supplies of the Defender in particular improved in 2023, a sudden jump not seen before occurred. 

Summary: What happened in Korea will never become common knowledge and it doesn't have to. It's their business and I'd rather hear nothing than be fed half truth or misleading spin. What we can say with absolute confidence is that 2023 was good for Land Rover in both countries. 

Kia Factory Sales By Country : 2022-23

Sales from plants increased by 9% in 2023, despite closing its operation in Russia. So an impressive return I would have thought. Just over 3 million vehicles left facilities, just over 3% light commercial vehicles and the rest passenger cars. 

Data source: Kia.

Countries: Korea is the main supplier, with 53% of total production out of there. The US, Slovakia and India are all in the third of a million area with Mexico at a a quarter of a million. China is now the smallest manufacturing nation for Kia which is a little surprising. It had a sudden drop in 2021 but 2023 was a positive.

Summary: Kia is doing well, aided in no small part by its captive home market. But it has worked hard at exporting too and is a now strong brand around the world. 

29 January 2024

Europe Top 50 Model Sales : 2023

The overall market grew 14% so anything less than that was losing ground. It also accounts for why so many models had increases. It wil beinteresting to see if 2024 can maintain that momentum. Most will be saying no to that as pent up demand from shortages over the past few years has for most models been met. 

Who would have thought a Tesla would be the top selling model in Europe? Incentives for electric cars have played a major part but it's still quite a feat. Budget brand Dacia coming second is also something that may surprise. They offer value and a sensible product that appeals against a backdrop of excess offered by other brands. Are you tired of the ever increasing complication of modern day life? Then check out Dacia. 

Data source: ANE.

28 January 2024

Europe Top 10s

The Top Ten passenger car models are to the right (source: ANE) and Tesla got its first car in that list ever. Not only that, it did it by going to the top as well. No point in messing around. 

The Dacia Sandero made second spot and I say bravo for that. It's nice to see a brand that majors on value - and not bling - doing so well. If you spotted that I'm no fan of the stuff cars are full of today, give yourself a pat on the back. The modern world has lost the art of simplicity and I think that's a shame.

In the twenty eight years of Top Tens The VW Golf has always been there. Twenty times #1 but not so for the last two years. 

Its sixth place in 2023 is the lowest ranking so may be a sign its best days have passed. 

The Renault Clio was fourth in 2023 but has graced the list on no fewer than twenty six occasions. Despite its success, it has never been the number one seller. 

The Opel/Vauxhall Corsa is another long term favourite but hasn't been higher than fourth. 

I don't know why they don't just keep the Opel name in Germany and use Vauxhall elsewhere. 

Peugeot have graced the top of the leaderboard on four occasions through the small car range currently known as the 208. 
Combine all the models and we have what's to the right. VW leads from Vauxhall/Opel with Renault and Ford not too far back. 

In all fourteen brands have been involved, some are new and others will have to work hard to achieve it again. It's not easy to make it there. I wonder how long before a Chinese brand is listed. With the tariff advantage they enjoy, I'd say sooner rather than later. 

27 January 2024

Europe Passenger Car Sales : 2023

What constitutes Europe varies slightly by source, so comparing doesn't bring identical results. In the data below registrations were up 14%. The 'Diff' column shows market share change. So brands showing smaller minus results were actually up in volume. 

Over the last few years, VW has retained its top spot but with a gradually reducing market share. Audi is working hard in increasing its slice of the pie but Mercedes and BMW have decided to pull back on volume. A stated intention by them that looks like it's being carried out. Tesla and MG are both on dramatic improvement.

Honda and Mitsubishi both look like they're winding down in Europe. Electric cars may be about to slow as well with VW cutting production temporarily during this year. Manipulating the market only goes so far if the product doesn't fit most people's needs.

Data source: Autonews Europe.

UK Vehicle Manufacturing : 2022-23

After years of poor treatment at all levels of operation plus public indifference, the fact that the UK even has a car industry is amazing. It even managed to grow in 2023! Wonders never cease. So what has the SMMT provided in terms of data?

Passenger cars: 905,100 were assembled in 2023, up from 775,000 in 2022 and a 17% increase. Average monthly production went from 64,600 to 75,400. 79% of all cars made were exported.  

Commercial vehicles: 120,400 were manufactured in 2023, up from the 2022 figure of 101,600 and an 18.5% increase. The average monthly figure of 8,450 went to 10,000 in '23. 60% of cvs made were exported.

Combined PC and CV production: 1,025,500 left factories in 2023, up from 876,600 and a 17% rise in volume. The average monthly figure went from 73,100 to 85,500. 77% of vehicles assembled were exported. 

So we can see a positive improvement in what has to be an unnecessarily poor situation. In higher wage countries, its hard to attract new investors. There is no easy fix, even more local support would only go so far. Not that shouldn't be an objective as it would be helpful. But once apathy grips people, it's hard to change. The road ahead will certainly have a few twists and turns.

26 January 2024

Mercedes-Benz Global Deliveries : 2022-23

Mercedes-Benz passenger car sales were the same in 2023 as the year before, well a tad lower but nothing in it. China held up to be the top region again but with a reduced lead. North America was up but Asia (less China) and the rest were down.

Light commercial vans were up 9% with Europe and North America doing the best. However, all regions improved. Vans now make up 18% of deliveries, up from 16.7% in 2022. Adding vans to the total gave Mercedes -Benz a 1.5% overall increase. 

Electric cars increased from 117,800 deliveries to 222,600. That was an increase of 73% on a year earlier. They now contribute 11% of total passenger car sales, up from just under 6% in 2022. 

BMW Group Global Deliveries : 2023

The BMW Group set a new sales record in 2023. The BMW brand was up 7%, MINI 1% and Rolls Royce just above even for a 6% overall gain.

Regionally, Other was the most successful, followed by the USA and Europe. China and Saia were up but less so. Many foreign brands have slipped in China but not BMW. 

Everyone talks electric these days and BMW delivered 330,600 of them in 2023. That was up 92% and nearly 15% of the total BMW brand. Fully electric MINI's came to 42,300, which was up 3.5% and just over 15% of the total. Rolls Royce has just joined the electric car club with the new Spectre arriving during Q4 of the year. 

Audi Global Regional Deliveries : 2023

The Audi brand deliveries increased 17% in 2023, which was a good result. They seem to have been pushing quite aggressively to increase volume. In comparison, the BMW brand increased 7% (2,254,000) and Mercedes-Benz cars 0% (2.043,800). So the gap was reduced. Of course, there is more to the picture than just numbers but that is what we see.

Regionally, Europe is the largest, overtaking China in the process. After China comes the USA and the Rest.

252,060 deliveries were for Germany so the second largest market but well behind China. Model sales that Audi chose to mention were the Q5 (332,000), A6 (267,000) and A4 (237,000). 178,000 fully electric cars were delivered or 9% of total volume. 

Austria / Switzerland Brand Comparison : 2023

Two car markets in the middle of Europe are compared in a brand head to head. Market share is compared and a percentage figure favouring one country appears in that country's side of the charts. Some predictable outcomes and the odd surprise.

Overview: Austria isn't a poor country but Switzerland through various means (some good, others not so) is on another level of affluence.

German brands:
 VW is the big brand here and it heavily favours Austria to the tune of 25%. It doesn't sound like a game changer but considering the volume involved, yes. 

It effectively pushes the majority of brands into the Swiss side. All the German premium brands are there apart from Opel.  

UK Brands: None make the Austrian side, in part because they are premium anyway. Nevertheless, there is huge disparity for most, Jaguar being the closest to Austria. 

French Brands: Renault and its budget brand Dacia do better in Austria as does Citroën and Peugeot is a marginal case. A win to Austria in this case. 

Japanese brands: Mazda is strongly for Austria, Mitsubishi solidly and Suzuki marginally. The rest are on the other side. 

The rest: Korea is much stronger in Austria but Ssangyong didn't get the memo. The USA is leans to the Swiss and the Italian marques very much. I wonder if the Italian speaking part of the country helped there? 

Summary: VW is extremely popular in Austria while the premium and luxury makes were the other way. The latter was assumed correctly but I thought VW may have been evenly split.  

25 January 2024

Réunion Car/LCV Sales : 2023

Réunion is an island in the Indian Ocean to the east of Madagascar. About 860,000 people live there and it is a French overseas department. There was a 1% decrease in 2023 in registrations for the year.

In the list below, the 'Diff' column shows market share change. The data shows the top 20, then premium marques. It's the same through the four years of rankings as there are only twenty listed, then blanks. 

Two French brands are the leading ones and four of the top five are that or French owned so no surprise there. Toyota is the interloper. The Korean duo of Hyundai and Kia are next.