Australia Q3 2014: Discover the Top 300 best-selling models!

October 24th, 2014 No comments

Nissan Qashqai Australia September 2014. Picture courtesy of caradvice.com.auThe Nissan Qashqai lands directly inside the Australian Top 50…

* See the Top 300 best-selling models by clicking on the title! *

Every Quarter I can share with you a complete models ranking for Australia. H1 data wasn’t available in time so for the first time in 6 months we can finally explore the Australian sales charts in detail. As a reminder the new car market is down 2% year-on-year so far in 2014 at 832,953 units over 9 months. No real surprises atop the ranking with the Toyota Corolla pushing hard resulting in a 23-unit advantage year-to-date (!) over the Mazda3, the Hyundai i30 above the Holden Commodore at #4 but #5 YTD, the Toyota Camry back up to #7, the Mazda CX-5 strong at #8 and #1 SUV and the Holden Cruze clawing its way back inside the Top 10, kicking the VW Golf down to #16.

Jeep Cherokee Australia September 2014. Picture courtesy of caradvice.com.au…as does the new generation Jeep Cherokee.

The SUV segment has been the star of the show in 2014 with its market share at an all-time high 31%. Proof is in the models ranking. Here are a few examples: the Jeep Grand Cherokee continues its relentless progression at #13 over Q3 with 4,322 sales and 1.6% share, the Toyota Kluger benefits from the new model to jump back inside the Top 20 at #20 vs. #28 YTD, the Mitsubishi ASX is up to #24 vs. #33 YTD despite its age, the Nissan Qashqai (now adopting world-wide naming and replacing the Dualis) lands directly at #42 with its first 1,841 sales in Australia over Q3, the Jeep Cherokee also breaks into the Top 50 thanks to the new model at #46 with 1,628 units and the Ford Kuga is up to #49 vs. #59 YTD and #72 in 2013. And that’s just for the Top 50!

Peugeot 4008 Australia September 2014. Picture courtesy of themotorreport.com.auThe 4008 is Peugeot’s best-seller in Australia in 2014.

Other vehicles showing interesting progressions include the Mitsubishi Lancer back up to #26 with a symbolic 1% market share, the Hyundai Accent up to #33, the Renault Clio breaking into the Top 100 with sales up 7.5-fold so far this year (!), the Nissan Altima finding its way up the ladder at #108 over Q3 vs. #202 in 2013 and the Renault Koleos getting a welcome boost at #112 with 519 sales, 654% year-on-year. Finally let’s note that Australia is the only country in the world where the Peugeot 4008 is the French manufacturer’s best-seller, ranking at #144 so far in 2014 with sales up 12% to 965 units.

Isuzu MU-X Australia September 2014The Isuzu MU-X is the best-selling all-new model in Australia in 2014.

There are no less than 25 all-new models in the Australian ranking, 8 of them being SUVs. Notable performances include the Isuzu MU-X well inside the Top 100 at #67 over Q3, the Subaru WRX up to #71, BMW 4 Series at #89, Ford Ecosport at #93, Suzuki S-Cross at #118, Mercedes GLA at #134, the Porsche Macan ranking in 145th position over Q3 and thus becoming the brand’s best-seller in Australia above the Cayenne at #161, the Foton Tunland finally entering Australian sales charts at #162 in Q3 and #196 YTD and the Lexus NX selling its first 32 units in the  country for a #240 spot.

Previous post: Australia September 2014: Jeep among Top 10 for first time ever

One year ago: Australia 9 months 2014: Discover the Top 297 best-selling models!

Full Q3 2014 Top 300 models Ranking Table below.

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Categories: Australia

China 9 months 2014: Discover the Top 370 models ranking!

October 24th, 2014 1 comment

Wuling Hongguang China September 2014. Picture courtesy of cheshi.com2The Wuling Hongguang will sell upwards of 800,000 units in China this year – an all-time record.

* See the Top 370 All-local PCs and Top 55 All-local models by clicking on the title! *

As is the tradition on BSCB, after detailing September sales, we explore the year-to-date ranking in China to try and extract longer-term trends. Due to a dent in its explosive growth at just +3% in September due to LCV dropping 16%, new light vehicle sales in China are now up 7% year-on-year after 9 months to a record 14.4 million vehicles, compared to a 5.5% growth rate in the USA. Just today, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) cut its 2014 forecast to 23 million units, a 5% increase on 2013 which would be the lowest year-on-year increase since 1990! Last July, the CAAM had already lowered  projected sales increase to 8%, down from the 10% percent increase it had predicted in January.

First let’s have a quick look at the culprits of this cooling off: Light Commercial Vehicles, with data courtesy of LMC Automotive. The Wuling Rongguang ranks 5th with 29,530 sales vs. #4 year-to-date, the Wuling Mini Truck is very impressive at a best-ever #11 overall thanks to 23,697 units vs. #22 so far in 2014 and #28 in 2013, the Wuling Sunshine continues its descent to hell at #14 vs. #5 year-to-date and #2 in 2013, the Chana Minibus is #18 vs. #9 YTD and the Foton Forland ranks #25 vs. #12. A major step back for Light Commercial Vehicles can indeed be clearly observed in China.

Toyota Vios China September 2014. Picture courtesy of autocina.com.cnThe new generation boosts Toyota Vios sales 48-fold compared to last year!

Back to the Passenger Cars ranking over the first 9 months of 2013. The Wuling Hongguang is up a mammoth 87% on 2013 to 543,811 units, already an all-time annual record for any Passenger Car sold in China. The previous best was its own 448,484 units in 2013, a record it smashed last month. Adding in the units counted as LCV before it began being officially reported as a PC, the Hongguang sold 530,050 units in 2013, just beaten this month also. Keeping in mind the end of the calendar year is always stronger in China, we are now looking at around 835,000 annual sales in 2014 for the Wuling Hongguang.

 

Chana Honor China September 2014. Picture courtesy of auto.ifeng.comThe Chana Honor is one of four Chinese MPV inside the 2014 Top 50.

This would be well ahead of the all-categories record of 754,961 sales hit by the Wuling Sunshine in 2010… If you still need any convincing that budget MPVs are the way of the future for Chinese manufactures, you only need to look a little further down: the Chana Honor at #29 (+72%), Dongfeng Future (+17%) and Joyear (+66%) make it 4 Chinese MPVs inside the Top 50 out of 9 Chinese models overall. The Baojun 730, already #14 for its 2nd month of sales in September, will join them soon enough – for now it is #123.

VW Santana China September 2014 Picture courtesy of bitautoVW Santana sales are up 88% year-on-year so far in 2014.

Volkswagen once again shows its might in China, placing four sedans in the 2014 Top 6: the Lavida is up 13% to a record 378,643 units in 2nd place overall, the Sagitar is up 13% to #4, the Santana up an explosive 88% to #5 thanks to the new generation and the Jetta is up 20% to #6. After MPVs, SUVs are the second most dynamic segment in China and here too their best-seller is a local: the Haval H6 has posted no less than 11 monthly records over the past 15 months and earns a 7th spot year-to-date thanks to sales up 49% to 223,116 units. The VW Tiguan could well become the 2nd SUV to break into the Chinese Top 10 by the time 2014 comes to an end: it is up 25% to #11 and 188,540 units.

BMW 3 Series L China September 2014. Picture courtesy of auto.ifeng.comBMW 3 Series L sales are up 53% in 2014.

Other notable progressions towards the top of the ranking include the VW Golf simply doubling its sales year-on-year to climb 30 spots to #19, the Honda Crider up 180% to #26 but launched just over a year ago, the Ford Kuga up 52% and 24 ranks to #32, the Toyota Vios increasing its sales 48-fold (!) to #38 thanks to a new generation much more adapted to the Chinese market price and size-wise, the Nissan X-Trail up almost 8-fold to #49 and the BMW 3 Series L up 53% to #55.

ChangAn Eado XT China September 2014. Picture courtesy of xcar.com.cnChangAn Eado XT

An increasing headache for Chinese manufacturers is their decreasing market share at home, now dropping frequently below 30%. The top Chinese sellers are doing magnificently but they are too few at the top: only 9 inside the Top 50 vs. 29 inside the Top 100. Below the Hongguang and Haval H6, the ChangAn Eado cements itself as this year’s local success story: helped by unusually strong sales of its sporty XT hatchback variant in a country overwhelmingly preferring sedans, it is up a gargantuan 87% and 36 spots year-on-year to #25 and 117,285 units, dislodging the Emgrand EC7 (-25% to #34) from its sedan pedestal. Two SUVs complete the Top 50 Chinese force: the ChangAn CS35 at #48 (+44%) and the BYD S6 at #50 (+19%).

Chery Tiggo 5 China September 2014. Picture courtest if sinaimg.cnThe Chery Tiggo 5 is the best-selling new Chinese nameplate so far in 2014.

Demonstrating the extraordinary – I will go as far as saying once in a century dynamism of the Chinese new car market, we have welcomed no less than 53 all-new locally produced models in the ranking over the past 12 months. A slight worrying sign though: only 4 of them feature inside the Top 110, and only 5 Chinese in the Top 150… The Hyundai Mistra comes on top at #36 with 96.221 sales, ahead of the Chery Tiggo 5 at #63, Toyota Yaris L at #72, Peugeot 301 at #73 and Zotye T600 at #112.

Previous post: China September 2014: Focus on the all-new models

September post: China September 2014: Baojun 730 instant sales blockbuster

Previous month: China 8 months 2014: Discover the Top 366 models ranking!

One year ago: China 9 months 2013: Discover the Top 335 All-models ranking!

Full September 2014 Top 55 All-local models incl. LCVs and 9 months Top 370 All-local PCs below.

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Categories: China

Europe 8 months 2014: Dacia and Skoda help lift market up 6%

October 23rd, 2014 5 comments

Dacia Duster Europe August 2014. Picture courtesy of largus.frEuropean sales of low-cost manufacturer Dacia are up 31% so far in 2014.

* See the Top 60 brands and Top 340 models rankings by clicking on the title! *

After detailed data for August, we now explore the year-to-date European sales charts to try and extract longer-term trends. If in 2013 the sales trend in Europe was a very clear “Low-cost or Premium” with very little mainstream brands standing out, in 2014 this has smoothed out a little. However looking at the manufacturers gaining the most ground so far, a clear picture still takes shape. Budget brands are still the ones making the most progress in Europe this year. Superstar of the market for almost a decade now, Renault-owned low-cost manufacturer Dacia doesn’t seem to be nearing any sales plateauing, up another 31% over 8 months to 250,231 sales and overtaking Kia and Seat in the process. There are many reasons to this as I detailed in my exclusive Dacia interview Paris Auto Show.

Skoda Yeti Europe August 2014. Picture courtesy of largus.frSkoda is up 19% and now flirting with the Top 10 most popular brands on the continent.

Skoda is the other manufacturer behaving exceptionally well this year at +19% to 382,202 units, mainly thanks to the Octavia testing new highs all across the continent, and given the new generation Fabia is just about to be launched, expect Skoda sales to spike up for a little while more. The Volkswagen-owned Czech manufacturer now ranks just outside the Top 10 brands on the continent (#11), although it has managed to break into the monthly Top 10 a few times already in 2014 (#9 both in July and August) and should, if all goes well, pass Fiat to establish itself in the Top 10 in 2015. Think: Dacia and Skoda together account for 120.000 additional European sales so far compared to the same period in 2013, or 1 in 4 additional sales overall in Europe!

Renault Captur Europe August 2014. Picture courtesy of largus.frThe Captur helps Renault deliver the strongest year-on-year gains in the Top 10 at +11%.

In an overall ranking extremely stable compared to one year ago (Top 10 unchanged), the list of other manufacturers frankly outperforming the market is a lot more diverse than it was last year when it was roughly confined to the premium German brands. Renault is up 11% thanks to the Captur and the Clio IV still on the up, Seat benefits from the exceptional success of the Leon to grow by 12%, Volvo is up 10% thanks to an performance of a new addition to its range the V40, Mazda is up 21% thanks to the new 3 and Suzuki gains 12% thanks to the SX4 S-Cross. That’s for the Top 20 brands. Outside, Mitsubishi is up 26% thanks to the Outlander PHeV doing well in countries favouring electric cars such as the Netherlands and Norway, Porsche is on fire at +20% thanks to the Macan, Jeep is up 42% and should continue on this trajectory with the Cherokee reaching cruise level and, most importantly, the Renegade bring the Italian-American brand down to European size by hitting the boo most compact SUV segment.

Tesla Model S Europe August 2014. Picture courtesy of motortrend.com P26,200 Tesla Model S have found a buyer in Europe so far this year.

Premium-prestige brands are doing well: Tesla is up 1988% to 6.201 sales but really only launched one year ago with the Model S, Maserati is up 388% thanks to the Ghibli, Lexus is up 25% to 17.523 units, Infiniti up 89% to a still anecdotal 2,454 sales, Bentley is up 13% to 1.662 units and Rolls Royce is up 51% to 454 sales.

Model-wise, below the usual suspects in the Top 10, 9 vehicles stand out in the Top 50 with year-on-year gains superior to 30%: the Peugeot 2008 (+368%) and Renault Captur (+210%) of course, but also the Peugeot 308 and Seat Leon both up 62%, the Opel Mokka up 61% and earning a spot in the Top 35, the Citroen C4 Picasso up 56% and now segment leader, the Dacia Duster up 46% to enter the Top 25, the Fiat 500L up 41% thanks mainly to its success at home in Italy and the Opel Insignia (+34%) enjoying a second wind and return inside the European Top 50 at #41 thanks to its facelift.

Mercedes GLA Europe August 2014. Picture courtesy of largus.frThe Mercedes GLA is the most successful new nameplate in Europe so far in 2014.

Further down, let’s salute the Nissan Note up 146% to #62, the Dacia Logan up 177% to #74 both thanks to their new generations, the BMW 4 Series landing at #87 and the Mazda3 up 119% to #90. The Mercedes GLA has been the most successful all-new nameplate over past 12 months, climbing up to #101 with 25,779 sales this year (and already knocking on the monthly Top 50’s door), ahead of the VW Golf Sportsvan at #117, BMW 2 Series at #156, Citroen C4 Cactus at #157, Peugeot 108 at #180, Ford Ecosport at #199 and Mercedes V-Class at #206.

Previous post: Europe August 2014: Now with Top 330 models and Top 55 brands!

Previous monthly post: Europe September 2014: VW Golf and Polo biggest gainers in Top 10

Previous month: Europe August 2014: 12th month of year-on-year gains

One year ago: Europe August 2013: BMW 3 Series and Audi A3 smash records

Full 8 months 2014 Top 60 brands and Top 340 models Ranking Tables below.

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Categories: Europe

Europe August 2014: Now with Top 330 models and Top 55 brands!

October 23rd, 2014 1 comment

VW Golf Sportsvan Europe August 2014. Picture courtesy of largus.frThe VW Golf Sportsvan breaks into the European Top 30 this month.

* See the Top 333 best-selling models and Top 55 brands by clicking on the title! *

As is the tradition on BSCB, after studying the Top 10 models and brands in Europe we now go into the full ranking. We backtrack a little bit this month with August data finally available. First a bit of memory refresh. In August, the European new car market celebrates 12 consecutive months of year-on-year growth at +3%, with the year-to-date total up 6% on 2013 to 8.6 million units. In the models ranking, the Top 10 highlights were the VW Golf selling double any other model on the continent for the first time in the history of the nameplate and the VW Passat back among Europe’s 10 most popular vehicles for the first time since November. Beyond this, there is as always a lot of movement in the sales charts. Boosted by the tremendous success of its SW variant (41% of orders Europe-wide), the Peugeot 308 is up 59% to #14, the Dacia Sandero is up 6 spots on July to #16 and the Dacia Duster is up 43% on August 2013 to #18.

Renault Twingo Europe September 2014. Picture courtesy of largus.frRenault Twingo

Outside the Top 20, the Seat Leon does not slow down: up another 42% at #24, while the VW Golf Sportsvan spectacularly breaks into both the Top 50 and Top 30 for the very first time, up 23 ranks on July to land at #29 with 6,531, also instantly leading its category above the perennial leaders: the Citroen C4 Picasso (#35) and Renault Scénic (#53)! The Mini continues to climb the European ladder now that the third generation is establishing itself, up a further two ranks to #36 vs. #58 year-to-date, the Renault Twingo is already feeling the effects of the new model piping in: up a huge 46 spots on last month to #41 and the Skoda Rapid can thank its hatchback variant for another record ranking in Europe at #46.

BMW X5 Europe August 2014. Picture courtesy of largus.frEuropean BMW X5 sales are 6 times what they were in August 2013.

The Mercedes GLA is getting closer to the Top 50, gaining another 13 ranks to a best-ever #59 with 4,094 sales, the Mazda3 takes off at #67 vs. #90 year-to-date as do the Peugeot 108 up 37 ranks to #77, the Citroen C4 Cactus up 21 to #84, delivering a second consecutive month above the C4 (#97) and the BMW X5 up 6-fold on August 2013 at #86. The Porsche Macan is still by very far the brand’s best-seller on the continent at #136 with 1.115 sales vs. #163 and 662 units for the Porsche 911. Brand-wise, Skoda (22%) is the biggest gainer in the Top 20 this month, with Mazda (+15%), Volkswagen, Ford and Volvo (+14%) also performing well. Below, notice Mitsubishi up 60% thanks to the Outlander PHEV, Porsche up 43%, Jeep up 47%, Tesla up 80% and Maserati up 202%.

Previous post: Europe September 2014: VW Golf and Polo biggest gainers in Top 10

Previous August post: Europe August 2014: 12th month of year-on-year gains

Previous month: Europe July 2014: Peugeot 308 and Dacia Duster strongest in Top 50

One year ago: Europe August 2013: BMW 3 Series and Audi A3 smash records

Full August 2014 Top 333 models and Top 55 brands Ranking Tables below.

Read more…

Categories: Europe

USA 9 months 2014: Discover the Top 275 best-selling models

October 23rd, 2014 No comments

GMC Yukon USA September 2014. Picture courtesy of motortrend.comGMC Yukon sales are up 62% so far in 2014 thanks to the new model.

* See the Top 275 best-selling models and Top 40 brands by clicking on the title! *

As is the tradition on BSCB, after exploring the US sales charts for September (now with separate models and brands updates), we look into the year-to-date rankings to try and extract longer term trends. As a whole the US new light vehicle market is up a very satisfying 5.5% so far in 2014 to 12.43 million units, helped by another strong score in September (+9%). In the brands ranking, Ford keeps going against the market at -1% so far in 2014 to 1.8 million units, burdened by another 3% loss in September. Thanks to sales up 20% this month, Chevrolet is now 14.900 units above Toyota year-to-date vs. just 2.300 one month ago. However the long-term trend still favours Toyota (+5%) over the American carmaker (+3%). Just below Honda in 5th place, Nissan’s impressive run sees no sign of slowing down, lifted by a 22% surge in September to a record 978.392 units in 9 months, up 14% on 2013. Other great gainers this year include Jeep up 45%, Subaru up 20%, Ram up 25%, Mitsubishi up 30% and Maserati up 307%.

Ford F150 USA September 2014. Picture courtesy of motortrend.comThe transition to the new gen F-150 means Ford F–Series sales are stagnant in 2014 so far.

Model-wise, the Ford F-Series manages to remain at -0.4% on 2013 to 557.037 units in spite being in the midst of changing over to the new aluminium-bodied F-150. For the second straight month GM full-size pickups outsold the F-Series with the Chevy Silverado above 50,000 sales in September and for only the second time in 6 years. Nothing to be worried about at Ford with the F-Series a huge 175.000 units above the Silverado so far this year vs. 199.000 one year ago.Despite ranking third this month with a 8.000 sales advantage over the Toyota Camry, the Ram Pickup remains in 4th position year-to-date just under 320.000 sales (15.000 below the Camry), up 22% year-on-year mainly thanks to the addition of ecoDiesel versions to its 1500 base model. A Full Year 2014 third spot for the Ram is still in the cards, pending how smoothly the transition to the facelifted Camry goes. If that were to happen it would be only the second time in the past two decades (along with 2003) that pickup trucks monopolise the annual podium. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves…

Kia Soul USA September 2014. Picture courtesy of motortrend.comThe new generation lifts Kia Soul sales up 28% this year.

Inside the Top 50, a few changes on top: the Honda CR-V overtakes the Ford Fusion to rank #9 year-to-date while the Hyundai Elantra passes the Ford Focus to #15. The biggest gainers don’t change much: the Nissan Sentra up 44% to #22, Subaru Forester up 40% to #27, Mazda CX-5 up 29% to #49, Kia Soul up 28% to #28, Toyota RAV4 up 26% to #13, Hyundai Santa Fe also up 26% to #48, Nissan Rogue up 24% to #19, BMW 3&4 Series up 21% to #40 and the Nissan Versa up 20% to #32. The trend at play here is a simple one: out of 10 models gaining 20% or more in the Top 50, only one (the Ram Pickup) is American, there rest are either Japanese (6), Korean (2) or German (1). Far from being an isolated case, this trend replicates itself when we enlarge the count to the Top 100, adding another 6 Japanese and just one American – the Buick Encore up 59% to #92.

Ram ProMaster USA September 2014. Picture courtesy of motortrend.comAt #172, the Ram ProMaster is one of only 4 all-new models in the 2014 US Top 200.

We have to go down to #107 to find an American model gaining over 60%: the GMC Yukon takes full advantage of its new generation to grow 62% and 26 spots year-on-year to #107. The Chevrolet Corvette up 231% to #115 and GMC Savana up 101% to #120 also register significant sales movement, as do the Mercedes S-Class (+122%) and Fiat 500L (+137%). It’s a very lonely road at the top for the Jeep Cherokee, the only all-new model inside the Top 170 at #25 and 128,572 sales… The Ram ProMaster follows at #172, while the Lincoln MKC (#190) and Acura TLX (#197) break into the year-to-date Top 200 for the first time, with the Porsche Macan (#206, +1) not far off. The Ford Transit (+14 to #221) and BMW i3 (+11 to #225) also leap up.

Previous post (models): USA September 2014 Chevy Silverado and Nissan Sentra on fire

Previous post (brands): USA September 2014: GM fleet, Jeep lift market up 9%, Big 3 back to Top 3

Previous month: USA 8 months 2014: Discover the Top 273 best-selling models!

One year ago: USA 9 months 2013: Discover the Top 276 best-selling models!

Full 9 months 2014 Top 275 models and Top 40 brands Ranking Tables below.

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Categories: USA

South Korea August 2014: Now with Top 190 All-models ranking!

October 23rd, 2014 No comments

Jeep Cherokee South Korea August 2014. Picture courtesy of motorian.krFirst appearance of the new Jeep Cherokee in the South Korean rankings.

* See the Top 190 All-models and Top 30 All-brands by clicking on the title! Thanks Falkonz *

120,104 new cars were registered in South Korea in August. Brand-wise, below the 5 locals (Hyundai, Kia, GM-Chevrolet/Daewoo, SsangYong and Renault Samsung), BMW (2.7%), Mercedes (2.6%) and Audi (2.3%) all improve their market shares vs. July, knocking Volkswagen down to #9 overall. However these are the only manufacturers above… 0.5% market share! Below Toyota at 0.5%, Lexus, Mini, Ford and Land Rover all follow at 0.4% share. Model-wise, the Mercedes E-Class remains the most popular foreigner, up one spot to #25 while the Audi A6 overtakes the BMW 5 Series to take the 2nd foreigner spot at #27 vs. #29. These three models are the only ones from a non-Korean brand to sell over 1,000 units this month, and the VW Tiguan at #30 makes it only 4 strangers in the Top 30. The first non-German foreigner is the Lexus ES at #56, ahead of the Range Rover at #61, Toyota Camry at #62, Infiniti Q50 at #66 and Nissan Altima at #68. We welcome 4 all-new models in the South Korean ranking this month: the Jeep Cherokee at #96, Mercedes GLA at #130, BMW X4 at #143 and BMW i3 at #144.

Previous post: South Korea Full Year 2013: Now available with Top 25 brands

Previous monthly post: South Korea September 2014: New Kia Sorento shoots up to #3

Previous All-models post: South Korea July 2014: Now with all-models and all-brands!

Full August 2014 Top 190 All-models and Top 30 All-brands Ranking Tables below.

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Categories: South Korea

Latvia: Dartz Prombron Black Shark to be produced at 10 units

October 23rd, 2014 1 comment

DartZ Prombron Black SharkDartz Prombron Black Shark

Think you are looking at one of those vehicles used by the South African police or in Northern Ireland a few years ago, or even an anti-terrorist weapon used on some delicate regions in the world? Not so. This is one of the most exclusive private vehicles on sale at the moment, and as I am conscious of mainly focusing on the highest selling nameplates around the globe here at BSCB, I have prepared this little interlude in the world of super-exclusive tanks of wheels. Introducing the Dartz Prombron Black Shark.

Dartz Introduction featuting founder Leonard Yakelowich

Dartz Motorz Company, a Latvian car manufacturer founded by crazy man Leonard Yankelowich that specialises in high performance armoured vehicles. I have to confess (shock! horror!) I was not familiar with this brand before today, and always get fascinated when discovering new automotive players with such an extravagant yet unique story to tell. Yankelowich says his cars are based on 3 (non-lethal) bullets: Russian Imperial opulence in the interior, Soviet military power in armouring and German engineering perfection as a platform. All there is to know about the brand can be found on the tidy little documentary above, entirely shot in the city I grew up in: Cannes, France. It features the Prombron Red Diamond and details its specs, including an… interesting fuel ‘economy’ of 25 to 30L per 100km or 6 to 10 mpg… How I missed that enormous Red Diamond driving around on the Croisette Boulevard I will never know.

Dartz Prombron Aladeen Edition

2012 Dart Prombron Aladeen Edition

The video above also mentions the Dartz ‘Gold Bullet Wheel Edition’ Prombron, complete with gold bullet-adorned wheels, three free bottles of the world’s most expensive vodka RussoBaltique and, wait for it… each vehicle shipped with a complimentary gun (!?). Want more bizarre? The original Kombat model was going to be available  in upholstered leather that was made from the foreskin of whale penises… before Dartz backed off after receiving flak.The Kombat line of Prombron vehicles has appeared in a number of movies over the years, such as Sacha Baron Cohen’s The Dictator, for which Dartz smartly released an Aladeed edition (above), Die Hard 5 and The November Man.

CGI promo animation for the Dartz Prombron Black Shark

Dartz has been on the news in the past week because it just unveiled the new Prombron Black Shark, based on the Mercedes Benz GL 63/65 AMG platform. Traditionally the Prombron family of SUVs  can be equipped with various levels of armor protection ranging up to ballistic level B7 (using the Soviet Capsule technology), specifically designed to withstand attacks from rocket propelled grenades and land mines. Two available engines: a V8 5.5 L with at least 585 horsepower or a V12 6.0 L with up to 1.500 horsepower. Standard colour options are limited to black, gold, gray, white or camouflage but buyers can also request custom jobs. One of the build slots for the Black Shark has already been claimed, with the owner requesting a Tiffany Blue exterior with Swarovski crystal embedded in the hood and tailgate.

Dartz Prombron. Picture courtesy of hispotion.com

But wait there are more features. Lightless driving (like a paratrooper) is possible, and if you happen to be on the road and in spontaneous need of an international flight (who doesn’t?), you can book a private jet from any major airport directly from the car with BlackJet. The body is made from bullet resistant Kevlar-titanium, to prevent the use of magnetic mines, and also available with military tech like a road analyzer, distance explosive detector and signal jammer. The door handles disappear into the body and have an “anti-paparazzi shock-device.” as well as fingerprint and retina scanner for opening the car. Most buyers won’t be driving the car themselves, so it comes equipped with a “driver vigilance telemetric control system, capable of constant monitoring of the driver’s psycho-physiological condition and overall awareness”. In other words making sure the driver does not fall asleep. Such complicated word for such a simple thing…

Full article below.

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Categories: Latvia, World

China September 2014: Focus on the all-new models

October 22nd, 2014 4 comments

Hyundai ix25 China September 2014. Picture courtesy of huanqiu.comHyundai ix25

* See the Top 325 All-local models ranking by clicking on the title! *

As usual after exploring the monthly Chinese ranking we detail the all-new models making their first appearance in the world’s biggest car market this month. After a crazy August that saw 8 new nameplate hit the sales charts, we are down to a more reasonable 3 in September, one Korean compact SUV and two Chinese sedans.

The first is the much anticipated China-only Hyundai ix25, one of the stars of the last Beijing Auto Show, landing directly at #121 with 3,972 sales. The ix25 is based on the platform of the Kia Soul and is the second model launched by the Korean manufacturer in the past 12 months that will only be sold in China (with the Mistral) – clearly showing the scale of Hyundai’s ambitions for this market. It gives the carmaker its first entry into the very competitive compact SUV market and is priced from 119.800 to 179.800 yuan (US$19.600-29.400), competing with the likes of the Ford Ecosport (#68 so far in 2014), Peugeot 2008 (#90 in September) and Chevrolet Trax (personal best at #78). Its inaugural ranking already places the ix25 as Hyundai’s #2 SUV below just the ix35 (#40) but above the Santa Fe (#122) and Tucson (#204). A Top 100 monthly ranking seems a done deal, a Top 50 would seal the ix25 nameplate as a new household name.

BYD G5 China September 2014. Picture courtesy of qc188.comBYD G5

Much lower in 237th position with a shy 610 sales for now we find the BYD G5 which also debuted in April at the 2014 Beijing Auto Show. The G5 fits between the F3 and the G6 (no logic there) in the BYD range and is priced from 75.900 to 102.900 yuan (US$12.400-16.800). A hybrid variant, starting around 130.000 yuan ($21.200) will become available in 2015. According to Carnewschina, one interesting feature of the G5 is its ‘CarPad’ infotainment system where users can surf the internet, check microblogs such as Weibo (very important in China), find their way, watch movies, and listen to music played from the on-board flash drive. CarPad runs on Google Android.

Dongfeng Fengshen A30 China September 2014. Picture courtesy of jllmjt.comDongfeng Fengshen A30

The third and last all-new model in China in September is the Dongfeng Fengshen A30 arriving at #246 with 487 units sold. Fengshen is the mid-priced sub-brand/subsidiary of Dongfeng that is carefully extending its range. After the S30 sedan in 2010, the H30 and H30 Cross hatchbacks in 2011 and the A60 sedan in 2012, Dongfeng is now clearly accelerating Fengshen with the A30 and soon the AX7 SUV and a full-size luxury sedan. The A30 adopts a decidedly more modern design and is the largest Fengshen sedan so far, priced from 67.500 to 85.700 yuan (US$11.000-14.000).

This is mid-level price is the right place to be in for the Fengshen A30, as Chinese sedans have been struggling on the budget end of the market lately: only the BYD F3 (49.900 to 63.900 yuan or $8.140-10.400) sells in significant numbers at #54 year-to-date and the Chery E3 (52.900 to 67.900 yuan or $8.600-11.100) is a flop at #120 in September. Moreover, the two best-selling Chinese sedans in the same price range as the Fengshen A30: the ChangAn Eado (#25) goes from 73.900 to 94.900 yuan ($12.100-15.500) and the Emgrand EC7 (#34) is priced between 69.800 and 100.800 yuan ($11.400-16.500). So Dongfeng is holding the right end of the market with the A30, but it will be tough to impose this model in a very competitive market where foreign brands are dominant and becoming more so every month. A Top 150 ranking would almost certainly mean the A30 is the best-selling Fengshen, so a good objective to have, keeping in mind the the S30 ranks around #155 in 2014, the A60 at #164 and the H30 around #200.

Previous post: China September 2014: Baojun 730 instant sales blockbuster

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One year ago: China September 2013: Focus on the all-new models

Full September 2014 Top 325 models Ranking Table below.

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Categories: China

Malaysia September 2014: Honda and Nissan strong

October 22nd, 2014 No comments

Nissan Sylphy Malaysia September 2014Nissan Sylphy

* See the Top 50 All-brands ranking by clicking on the title! *

New car sales in Malaysia are down a harsh 13% year-on-year in September to 47.771 registrations, however the year-to-date total still stands at a record 492.302 units, up 1% on 2013. Both local manufacturers Perodua and Proton, while still comfortably leading the market, post market shares below their year-to-date levels at 25.4% and 16.9% respectively vs. 28.5% and 18.4% so far in 2014. Reversely, Toyota (15.6%), Honda (12.9%) and Nissan (7.1%) and all well above their 2014 level.

Previous month: Malaysia August 2014: Perodua solid in stable market

One year ago: Malaysia September 2013: Market up a shiny 14%

Full September 2014 Top 50 All-brands Ranking Table below.

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Categories: Malaysia

China September 2014: Baojun 730 instant sales blockbuster

October 22nd, 2014 6 comments

Baojun 730 China September 2014. Picture courtesy of auto.sina.com.cnBaojun 730

* See the Top 326 All-models ranking by clicking on the title! *

Is the Chinese new light vehicle market finally experiencing the much talked about slowdown that has supposedly been looming for years? In September, sales are up only 3% year-on-year – the slowest growth rate in the past 19 months – to 1.98 million units. Passenger Cars rose 6% while commercial vehicles decreased by 16%. This brings the year-to-date total to 14.4 million, up 7% on 2013 compared to a 14% annual growth in 2013. Automotive News quotes Li Xiangfeng, an analyst at Shanghai-based consultancy ISE: “China already has a huge auto market, and with more cities restricting auto sales to fight pollution, it’s natural for growth to slow down – double-digit pace cannot go on forever.” Nissan (-20%) and Honda (-20%) both lodge their third consecutive monthly decline, while Audi (+13%), BMW (+18%) and Mercedes (+31%) continue to shine. 

Buick Excelle China September 2014. Picture courtesty of modiauto.com.cnBuick Excelle

As always the models ranking is full of surprises in China. Below the Wuling Hongguang (+18%), VW Lavida (+8%) and Ford Focus (-11%), the Buick Excelle is up 5 spots to 4th place, its highest ranking since May 2013. The Haval H6 stays at a record 5th position, bettering its monthly score to an all-time high 27,744 sales, its 11th monthly record in the past 15 months. The Chevrolet Sail is also back in shape: up 8 ranks on August to #7 while the Hyundai Elantra Langdong is strong again at #8 vs. #13 year-to-date.

Dongfeng Joyear China September 2014. Picture courtesy of dyfdgs.comThe Dongfeng Joyear smashes its monthly volume and ranking records this month…

Just outside the Top 10 at #14 with 21,016 sales, we have what has now become the most successful new nameplate launch since the VW Lavida: the Baojun 730. The low-cost MPV is up 75% for its 2nd month in market and single-handedly lifts the Baojun brand to blockbuster status. It is the third MPV to ever top 20,000 monthly sales in China (others: the Wuling Hongguang and Chana Honor at 20,259 units last March), illustrating further the strong long-term sales trend I’ve detailed on this site before: micro vans are being replaced by low-cost MPV in rural areas: they are larger, more practical and sold at a similar price.

Dongfeng Fengguang China September 2014. Picture courtesy of qc.com…as does the Dongfeng Fengguang.

Unsurprisingly, the MPV segment is currently the fastest-growing in China and this is where Chinese manufacturers can catch up part of the market share they have given away to foreign carmakers. In the same vein this month, both the Dongfeng Joyear and Fengguang double their sales vs. September 2013 to smash their volume and ranking records at #33 and 12,037 sales, #50 and 9,281 units respectively. The Toyota Corolla is above 20,000 sales for the first time since August 2011 at #17 and 20,238 units, up 43% year-on-year, the VW Golf posts the nameplate’s 2nd all-time highest monthly score at 18,697 units (best: 19,116 last April), up 3-fold on September 2013 and the Emgrand EC7 is back up 13 ranks to #19, reclaiming the title of best-selling Chinese sedan off the ChangAn Eado, up 82% to #23.

Haval H2 China September 2014. Picture courtesy of chexun.netThe Haval H2 is inside China’s Top 60 most popular vehicles for its 2nd month in market.

The SUV segment is the other main engine of growth in China right now. The Nissan X-Trail (+746% to 12,968 sales), Chery Tiggo 3 (+150% to 12,877 units) and ChangAn CS35 (10,594 sales) all breaking their monthly volume records are prime examples. But it doesn’t stop there. A few recent launches are becoming instant blockbusters too: the ChangAn CS75 is up 60% and 24 spots on its August record to finish the month just outside the Top 50 at #52 and 9,239 sales, the Haval H2 doubles its August score to 8,288 sales and #60 (now the brand’s 2nd best-seller in between the H6 and H5), the Beijing Auto Hansu S3 is up 42% for its 2nd month of sales to #67, the JAC Refine S3 triples its inaugural August figure to 6,103 sales at #89 and the Luxgen 6 SUV is up a further 4 spots to a record #92, the highest a Luxgen model has ever ranked in China.

Toyota Levin China September 2014. Picture courtesy of pcauto.com.cnOnly two months and the Toyota Levin is already one of China’s 50 favourite vehicles.

We also have a bunch of heroes in the sedan category: the Toyota Levin imposes itself as a new nameplate to be reckoned with by breaking into the monthly Top 50 as early as for its 2nd month at #46 and ending the month only 12 units shy of the symbolic 10,000 monthly sales milestone. An extremely impressive start indeed. The Audi A3 takes off thanks to the sedan variant, up 32 spots on August to #76, the Mazda3 Axela is up 10 ranks to #82, the GAC Trumpchi GA5S shoots up 47 ranks and 92% on its first month to #110 and the Kia K4 is up 49 spots and 106% to #114. There are 3 all-new nameplates making their first appearance in the Chinese ranking this month, but this will be the subject of a next post as is the tradition on BSCB.

Previous post: China 8 months 2014: Discover the Top 366 models ranking!

Previous new models post: China August 2014: Focus on the all-new models

Previous month: China August 2014: Baojun 730 directly above 12,000 sales

One year ago: China September 2013: Discover the Top 313 All-models ranking!

Full September 2014 Top 326 All-models Ranking Table below.

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Categories: China