Japan September 2015: Toyota Sienta hits record volume again

Toyota Sienta Japan September 2015. Picture courtesy blog.livedoor.jpThe new Toyota Sienta smashes the nameplate’s monthly volume record at 11.277 units.

* Click on title to see the Top 65 All-brands, Top 30 cars, Top 35 kei cars & Top 20 imports *

This report was created in collaboration with Stephen Bloom.

After rebounding a little last month the Japanese market hit a bump in September with sales of new vehicles down 8% year-on-year to 479,375 registrations, bringing the year-to-date total to 3,908,150 units, down 10% from 2014. The kei segment continues to be the biggest factor with sales down 15% to 173,573 units after the tax increase earlier this year wheras regular cars are down only 3% to 305,802 units. For the first time since March foreign brands are also in the red, down 2% to 32,304 units potentially due to diesel-connected Volkswagen weakness (-9%). Mazda (+16%), who has been spearheading clean diesel technology in Japan as an alternative to the hybrid technology, came out after the news to reaffirm that it abides with emissions regulations. Other domestic automakers were down this month with Subaru (-24%), Suzuki (-16%), Honda (-14%), and Daihatsu (-12%) posting the biggest losses.

In the regular models ranking, Toyota holds the top four positions led again by the Aqua at #1 with 18,345 units. In its second month at #2 the new Sienta is up an whopping 729% on the previous model a year ago to 11,277 and sets a record for monthly volume, smashing its previous best of 7.736 established just last month. The Nissan X-Trail climbs 6 places this month to re-enter the top ten with 6,944 units, and the Honda Shuttle sees its best month since losing the Fit branding selling 6,273 units.

Daihatsu Cast Japan September 2015The Daihatsu Cast lands in Japan this month.

Despite losing some of their tax advantage over regular cars, the kei segment remains incredibly popular with three models outselling all but the Toyota Aqua. The Honda N-BOX (+2%) leads the chart again, followed by the Nissan Dayz (-16%) who edges out last month’s #2 the Daihatsu Tanto (-33%) by just 6 units. Daihatsu can’t complain though as its newest model, the Cast, debuts solidly at #11 with 6,698 units after going on sale on September 9. Daihatsu is aiming the Cast at the popular kei-SUV segment that has been dominated by the Suzuki Hustler so far.

Mercedes C Class Japan December 2014. Picture courtesy of response.jpThe Mercedes C-Class is up 30% year-on-year to rank #2 foreign model in Japan.

The recent damage to Volkswagen’s reputation happened too late to weaken the Golf, remaining Japan’s bestselling foreign model and up 14% this quarter to 6,767 units. The Mercedes C-Class (+30%) retakes the #2 spot from Mini (+10%). Mercedes continues to lead in monthly and YTD sales thanks in particular to the CLA-Class which is up 156% to 2,884 units. Entering the chart at #15 is the VW Passat whose eighth generation went on sale in Japan this summer.

Previous month: Japan August 2015: Toyota Sienta improves 8-fold to #2 overall

One year ago (cars): Japan September 2014: New Mazda Demio starts its climb

One year ago (kei): Japan Kei cars September 2014: Daihatsu Tanto improves 88%

Full September 2015 Top 65 All-brands below. More data will be uploaded shortly.


France September 2015: Peugeot 208 #1, Renault Kadjar leads segment

Renault Kadjar France September 2015. Picture courtesy largus.frThe Renault Kadjar leads its segment at home for the first time.

* NOW UPDATED with the Top 50 All-brands and Top 330 All-models – see title *

Good news coming from the French market: sales are up 9% year-on-year in September to 164.774 units, the best September score since 2011 and well above the scores of the past 3 years. This is historically a very solid month of September with only the years boosted by scrappage schemes doing significantly better. An encouraging “back to school” result in France, lifting the year-to-date total up 6% to 1.421.440 deliveries. Reassuringly, all channels display virtually the same growth with private sales up 8.9% – still at a historical low of 50% of the overall market – sales to companies up 9.3% and tactical sales up 9%, boosted by short-term rentals up 33%. The three main domestic manufacturers Renault (+4%), Peugeot (+6%) and Citroen (+2%) all gain less ground than their home market but locate themselves at various levels vs. their year-to-date share: Renault is above (20.8% vs. 19.7%), Peugeot is level (17.3%) and Citroen is below (10.2% vs. 10.7%).

Skoda Fabia France September 2015. Picture courtesy honestjohn.co.ukThe Fabia lifts Skoda up 28% in France in September.

The Volkswagen brands are not handicapped by the diesel scandal for now: Volkswagen is up 12%, Skoda up 28% thanks to the Octavia and Fabia and Seat up 22% thanks to the Leon and Ibiza, while Audi is up 6% but relegated to #3 luxury brand at #13 overall below BMW up 20% to #9 and Mercedes up 2% to #10. Dacia gains 11% but remains below its YTD level but Nissan is up 20% year-on-year and two spots on August to #6, Ford is up 18% and Toyota up 19%. Notice also Fiat (+23%), Suzuki (+26%), Mazda, Honda (+45%), Porsche (+105%), Jeep (+148%) and Smart (+170%) and all posting spectacular gains. Among smaller manufacturers, Infiniti (+171%), Jaguar (+290%) and Tesla (+326%) impress.

Peugeot 208 France September 2015. Picture courtesy largus.frThe Peugeot 208 is the best-selling vehicle in France in September.

In the models ranking, the Peugeot 208 gains a splendid 23% thanks to its mid-life refresh and overtakes the Renault Clio for the second time in the past three months at 5.5% share vs. 5.3%. The Renault Captur (+13%) is back above the Peugeot 308 (+7%) at #3 but remains 4th year-to-date while the Peugeot 2008 (+6%) is back inside the Top 5 like in the year-to-date ranking, the Renault Scenic back up 9 spots on August to #7, the Renault Twingo up to #8 and the VW Polo (+25%) is the only foreigner in the Top 10 at #9 followed by the Golf (-29%) at #15.

Renault Espace France September 2015. Picture courtesy largus.frRenault Espace

The Renault Kadjar is up four spots to lead its category at #14 with 2.766 sales vs. 2.609 (+20%) for the Dacia Duster at #16 and 2.355 (+25%) for the Nissan Qashqai at #17 – that’s considering the fact that the Peugeot 3008 isn’t a true SUV. Notice also the Toyota Yaris up 25%, the Nissan Juke up 23%, Mini hatch up 48%, the Toyota Auris up 57% thanks to its facelift, the VW Tiguan in runout mode up 32%, VW Passat up 154%, Skoda Fabia up 56% and Nissan X-Trail up 61%. Among recent newcomers, the Renault Espace is up 18 ranks on August to a fantastic #31 spot, while the Fiat 500X is up 7 to #34 and the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer holds itself within the Top 50 at #49.

Skoda Superb France September 2015. Picture courtesy largus.frThe new models pushes Skoda Superb sales up 3-fold year-on-year.

Further down, the Hyundai Tucson breaks into the Top 70, the Skoda Superb is up 3-fold year-on-year to thanks to the new model, the Opel Karl, Mercedes GLC, GLE and Mazda CX-3 are all getting closer to a Top 100 ranking, the Honda HR-V and Jaguar XE are now around the Top 150 and the Ssangyong Tivoli breaks into the Top 100. Finally, we welcome into the French charts the all-new Renault Talisman at #233.

Previous post: Photo Report: The cars of the South of France

Previous month: France August 2015: Renault and Clio reclaim control

One year ago: France September 2014: Renault Twingo III up to 8th place

Full September 2015 Top 50 All-brands and Top 330 All-models below.

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Australia September 2015: Hyundai i30 leads for 2nd time in 4 months

Hyundai i30 Australia September 2015. Picture courtesy carsguide.com.auThe Hyundai i30 beats both market leaders – Corolla and Mazda3 – for the 2nd time this year.

* See the Top 20 best-selling models and Top 50 All-brands by clicking on the title *

Now with a new Prime Minister, Australia sees its new car market fly off towards an all-time record year in 2015. September is up a robust 7% year-on-year to 101.392 registrations, lifting the year-to-date total up 4% or 30.000 sales to a record 862.832 units, eclipsing the previous 9 month-best of 849.449 deliveries established in 2013. The three biggest states population-wise are the engines of national growth: New South Wales/Sydney is up a flamboyant 12% to 33.983 sales, Victoria/Melbourne up 8% to 27.675 and Queensland/Brisbane up 8% also, to 20.387. Western Australia/Perth is down 9%, South Australia/Adelaide down 4% and Northern Territory/Darwin down 13%. Note the Australian Capital Territory/Canberra (+14%) and Tasmania (+20.5%) post strong growth but their volumes remain very low in a national context. The SUV segment continues to be responsible for essentially the entire market gain: up 23% to 36.698 registrations, while passenger cars are up just 2% to 46.084 and light commercials down 9% to 15.476.

Mercedes C Class Australia March 2015. Picture courtesy of caradvice.com.auAustralian Mercedes sales are up 31% year-on-year in September.

Brand-wise, Toyota drops 7% but remains by far the most popular brand in Australia with 16.4% share, while Mazda stays 2nd with sales shooting up a beautiful 14% year-on-year to 10.7% share, the Japanese carmakers’s 2nd best this year below the 11% hit in January. Overtaken year-to-date by Hyundai last month, local brand Holden is back on the podium in September with a meagre 15-units advance on the Korean carmaker, meaning Hyundai is still #3 so far in 2015 at 77.426 sales vs. 76.828 for Holden. Mitsubishi is up a cool 14% in 5th place, Volkswagen up 15% (no dieselgate impact yet), Subaru up 13% and Honda up 32%. Outside the Top 10, German luxury brands are still on cloud nine: Mercedes (+31%), BMW (+14%) and Audi  (+26%) all grow at at least double the rate of the market. Notice also the fantastic performances of Skoda (+39%), Kia (+45%), Volvo (+48%), Isuzu (+52%) and Porsche (+131%). Reversely Jeep pays two years of unbridled growth by falling heavily at -27% this month.

Mazda CX-3 Australia April 2015. Picture courtesy drive.com.auThe CX-3 consistently keeps Mazda above 10% share this year in Australia.

In the models ranking, the big news this month is the pole position of the Hyundai i30, its second time ever after last June and only the third month in history a Hyundai tops the Australian sales charts after the Excel ranked first back in June 1998. The i30 sells 4.490 units, a mammoth 77% improvement on September 2014 partly due to an aggressive pricing campaign. With the 2015 facelift, the i30 now absolutely looks like an Elantra hatchback, and if we add Elantra sales its tally becomes 5.170, far above its two competitors the Mazda3 at 3.588 (-11%) and the Toyota Corolla at 3.530 (-9%), both benefiting from hatch and sedan variants, and in the case of the Corolla looking rather distinct.

Toyota Camry Australia July 2015. Picture courtesy caradvice.com.auThe Toyota Camry is the best-selling local model in September, above the Holden Commodore.

Another great performer in September is the Toyota Camry, bolstered by its recent facelift and up 16% year-on-year to jump to 4th place overall vs. #10 so far in 2015. This is the Camry’s best Australian ranking in almost two years (since December 2013 when it ranked #3), and most significantly it means the Camry is the best-selling locally-produced car in Australia – a species nearing extinction, granted – overpowering the Holden Commodore (#6 and 2.348 sales). In the pickup aisle, the Ford Ranger is solid in 5th place now that the new model is gearing up above the Mitsubishi Triton at #8 while the Toyota Hilux (-42%) is waiting for the new generation to kick in in October. As usual, the Mazda CX-5 is the most popular SUV in the country, with the Toyota Prado shooting up 23 spots on August to #11 and #2 SUV, distancing the Toyota RAV4 (#12), Mazda CX-3 very impressive again (#14) and the Mitsubishi ASX up 37% (#15).

Previous month: Australia August 2015: Hyundai overtakes Holden year-to-date

One year ago: Australia September 2014: Jeep among Top 10 for first time ever

Full September 2015 Top 20 models and Top 50 All-brands below.


Mexico September 2015: Nissan Versa confirms top spot

Nissan Versa Mexico September 2015The Nissan Versa is the most popular model in Mexico for the 2nd straight month.

* See the Top 10 best-selling models and Top 30 manufacturers by clicking on the title *

Simply extraordinary. This is how we can describe 2015 for the Mexican new car market. September marks the 9th consecutive monthly record at 111.330 registrations, up a stunning 25% year-on-year: absolute slam dunk for Mexican car sales this year. The year-to-date total now stands at an all-time high 944.907 units, u 20% on 2014 and well on track for a record year. For once market leader Nissan improves slightly slower than the market at +17%, resulting in a lower market share vs. a year ago at 25.3% – still a world best for the Japanese carmaker. General Motors compensates for a surprisingly weak August score (-14%) by gaining 33% in September to 20.160 units and 18.1% share, distancing Volkswagen (+17%). FCA Mexico (+33% – note this includes Mitsubishi), Ford (+35%), Hyundai (+68%), Mercedes (+31%) and Lincoln (+88%) also outpace the market, while newcomer Kia improves again for its third month in market to 1.711 sales and 1.5% share at #12.

Nissan Chasis Largo Mexico September 2015. Picture courtesy Nissan MexicoNissan Chasis Largo

In the models ranking, the Nissan Versa manages to hold onto the pole position it snapped for the very first time last month, thanks to 4.982 sales and 4.5% share vs. 4.791 and 4.3% for the Chevrolet Aveo which remains in the year-to-date lead at 51.531 deliveries vs. 43.524. The VW Nuevo Jetta remains on the podium and above 4% share for the fourth consecutive month with a sparkling 4.517 sales – it ranks 6th so far in 2015, the VW Vento is back up 3 spots to #4, the Nissan March posts another solid performance at #5, up 48% so far in 2015, and the Nissan Chasis Largo shoots up to #8 with 3.685 units and 3.3% share vs. 2.1% year-to-date.

Previous post: Mexico August 2015: Now with Top 225 models (BSCB exclusive)

Previous month: Mexico August 2015: Nissan Versa topples Chevrolet Aveo

One year ago: Mexico September 2014: Chevrolet Spark confirms podium spot

Full September 2015 Top 10 models and Top 30 manufacturers below.


UK nations September 2015: First Top 10 for the Hyundai Tucson

Hyundai Tucson UK September 2015. Picture courtest autoexpress.co.ukThe Hyundai Tucson already ranks #8 in Northern Ireland in September.

* See the Top 10 best-selling models for each nation by clicking on the title *

After the overall UK Top 10, thanks to SMMT and as is the tradition on BSCB we can now share with you the Top 10 best-sellers for each UK nation for September. Detailing each nation shows that once again England is the engine of UK growth at +9% equaling the national growth rate this month, whereas all other nations show weaker gains: Northern Ireland is at +5% (and now back into positive territory year-to-date), Scotland at +4% and Wales at +3%.  September being one of the two strongest months of the year and by very far, the leaders in each nation are logically identical to the year-to-date standings, namely the Ford Fiesta in England, Northern Ireland and Wales and the Vauxhall Corsa in Scotland where the Fiesta ranks #2.

The Ford Focus ranks #2 in Enland and the Corsa #2 in Wales but the surprise comes from the VW Polo up to a shiny 2nd place in Northern Ireland where the Golf ranks #3. The Polo justifies its #5 national September ranking by a 4th place in both Scotland and Wales and a 6th place in England. Excellent performances also from the Renault Clio #3 in Scotland and #6 in Northern Ireland, Seat Ibiza #5 in Northern Ireland, Renault Captur #9 in Scotland and Northern Ireland and the Dacia Sandero #10 in Scotland. Note the Vauxhall Mokka misses out on an English Top 10 whereas it ranks #9 in the UK overall, lifted by solid results in Scotland (#8) and Wales (#7). Last but not least, along with starting up with a bang in Germany the Hyundai Tucson debuts at an impressive 8th place in Northern Ireland in September.

Full September 2015 Top 10 models for each nation below.


Norway September 2015: BMW i3 hits best-ever #7

BMW i3 Norway September 2015. Picture courtesy of autozeitung.deThe BMW i3 is at its highest in the world in Norway.

* See the Top 33 All-brands and Top 100 models by clicking on the title *

The Norwegian new car market is up an energetic 7% year-on-year in September to 12.421 registrations, lifting the year-to-date total up 4% to 111.811 units. Volkswagen remain the most popular manufacturer but its 14.2% September market share is 3.6 percentage points below its 2015 year-to-date level, Toyota ranks 2nd at 12.3% vs. 11.3% so far this year and Nissan rounds up the podium at 7.9% thanks to sales up a splendid 39% year-on-year. Notice also BMW up 16% to #5, Mazda up 15% to #6 vs. #10 year-to-date, Mercedes up 35%, Hyundai up 42% and Renault up 102%.

Mercedes GLC Norway September 2015The Mercedes GLC lands directly inside the Norwegian Top 40.

The VW Golf continues to dominate the Norwegian models ranking with 8.9% share and 52% of its customers this month going for the e-Golf electric version. The Toyota Auris ranks #2 while the Nissan Leaf sees its sales shoot up 34% year-on-year to 492 units for a third position overall. The BMW i3 for its part is up a mammoth 79% to hit a world record 7th place, the Mazda CX-3 is up 9 spots on August to #11, the Hyundai Tucson up 35 to #13 and the Suzuki Vitara down 4 to a still very impressive #14. Further down, the Tesla Model S is down 13 ranks to #26 and falls from #2 to #4 year-to-date, the Mercedes GLC lands directly at #39, the Honda HR-V appears at #62, the Subaru Levorg at #66 and the Mercedes GLE at #95.

Previous month: Norway August 2015: Suzuki Vitara breaks into Top 10

One year ago: Norway September 2014: Mitsubishi Outlander back up to #5

Full September 2014 Top 33 All-brands and Top 100 models below.


U.S. North to South 2015: Prudhoe Bay, Alaska

1. Ford F-350 Prudhoe BayFord F-350 in Prudhoe Bay, AK

After starting in Barrow, the northernmost settlement in the United States, our second stop takes us 200 miles (320 km) south east to Prudhoe Bay, again on the Arctic Ocean. As I detailed in the opening report, there are no roads linking Barrow to Prudhoe Bay, only barge transport during the summer (the barge season had already ended by the time I visited) and ice roads when the ice layer on lakes is thick enough to drive, generally only in March.

2. GMC Sierra Prudhoe Bay OversizeGMC Sierra in Prudhoe Bay, AK

Therefore, the only option right now is to travel by plane, which explains why there are no less than three flights per day connecting Barrow to Prudhoe Bay (two during the week) even outside summer, all operated by Alaska Airlines. Flight time: 35 minutes.

3. Prudhoe Bay AirportPrudhoe Bay/Deadhorse airport

To be more exact, I flew to Deadhorse, located 10 miles inland from actual Prudhoe Bay. I arrived on a cloudy, snowy day for a four-hour stopover and the sky and ground were uniformly white. In fact, it snows in Prudhoe Bay more often than not — about three-quarters of the time. Even if we are located south of Barrow, the climate here is even harsher because of its geographic situation at a crossroads between the Ocean on the north side and a mountain corridor to the south. Prudhoe Bay also gets one of the longest nights in the country. There are a total of 54 days between November 24 and January 18 when the sun doesn’t rise. Inversely, it also sees one of the longest daylights: 63 sun-filled days between May 20 and July 22.

4. Prudhoe Bay 5Prudhoe Bay AK

The mean annual temperature in Prudhoe Bay is 12° F (−11° C), with the warmest month, July, not exceeding a daily average temperature of 46° F (8° C). In the coldest days (rather, continuous nights) of winter, temperatures below −40° F/C are to be expected.

11. Prudhoe Bay 1Prudhoe Bay AK

Let’s shiver for a minute: The highest recorded temperature in Prudhoe Bay is 83° F (28° C) on June 21, 1991, while the lowest is −62° F (−52° C) on January 27, 1989. That’s lower than in Barrow. Where it gets really tricky is when you start calculating wind chill. Prudhoe Bay, due to its location’s heavy winds, recording an official wind chill low at a horrifying −102° F (−74° C) on January 28, 1989, when the air temperature of −54° F (−48° C) combined with wind speed of 36 mph (57 km/h).

7. Prudhoe Bay 3Prudhoe Bay oil fields

These beyond extreme conditions are suitable for only the hardiest wildlife. Prudhoe Bay is home to large herds of caribou and, if you’re lucky, you may spot Arctic foxes, grizzly bears and polar bears. Unfortunately, I wasn’t lucky. If it’s so harsh, why would humans want to live in such a forsaken environment? One word: Oil.

5. Prudhoe Bay 2Typical Prudhoe Bay prefabricated module

The permanent population of Deadhorse ranges between 25 and 50 residents. However, no household was considered permanently occupied during the 2010 Census. At any given time, up to 3,000 transient workers are based here to support the surrounding Prudhoe Bay oil field, the largest in the United States, as well as the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) that transports oil from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez in south central Alaska. The airport, lodging and general store servicing the oil field are all located in Deadhorse, with facilities almost exclusively consisting of pre-fabricated modules shipped here via barge or air cargo. The drilling happens in Prudhoe Bay itself.

8. Ford F-350 Prudhoe Bay 2Ford F-350 in Prudhoe Bay AK

Something very interesting happened during my short stay here. When you put a bunch of strangers together in such an inhospitable environment, they will look out for each other. It only takes 10 minutes to walk a loop from the airport and explore all of Deadhorse, but in that time three trucks stopped to enquire whether I needed a ride anywhere and if I was alright. Everyone driving past waves to you with the biggest smile they can muster.

6. Prudhoe Bay HotelPrudhoe Bay Hotel

Get inside the Prudhoe Bay hotel and customers and employees alike are fighting for the title of friendliest person in town. The hotel has a cafeteria where all food is included in the lodging price but also accepts outside diners, charging a mere $6 for a full lunch-worth of food and free drinks refillable at will. The hotel itself is rather unique, consisting of pre-fab units put together to form a very large structure criss-crossed by endless corridors, all on ground level.

9. Ford F-250 Prudhoe Bay 3Ford F-250 in Prudhoe Bay AK

As I was there toward the end of September, there weren’t many workers staying in the hotel as the high season here is winter. The only time the surface is hard enough to support heavy equipment is when temperatures drop low enough to strengthen the permafrost. That’s when full-time drilling occurs.

10. GMC Sierra Prudhoe BayGMC Sierra

Prudhoe Bay, unlike Barrow, is connected to Alaska’s main transport artery, the Dalton Highway. From here, it reaches Fairbanks 500 miles (800 km) south, a 14- to 18-hour trip. As such, Prudhoe Bay is the unofficial northern terminus of the Pan-American Highway, although this highway isn’t continuous all the way to Ushuaia at the southernmost tip of South America.

12. Ram 5500 Prudhoe BayRam 5500

As tempting as it is, I won’t be driving down the Dalton Highway for lack of time and budget (I would have needed to ship the Ram 2500 from Seattle to here during the summer). Also, there’s another element to consider: safety. As winter approaches, road conditions deteriorate and become only passable by road trains and large trucks, as featured in the first episode of the BBC’s World’s Most Dangerous Roads. I doubt the folks at Ram would have let me drive on this road…

13. Ford F-250 Prudhoe Bay 4Ford F-250

But before we get to the rest of Alaska, let’s have a look at which cars sell best in Prudhoe Bay. As was the case for Barrow, the best-sellers here are not representative of Alaska as a whole, so we’ll cover Alaskan figures when we reach Anchorage. In the meantime, you can check out the FY 2014 best-sellers in all 50 States here.

14. Prudhoe Bay PolicePrudhoe Bay Police

Understandably given the demographic composition of the area, there were no private vehicles that I could see. The entirety of Prudhoe Bay comprises of fleet vehicles in one form or another. I also did not spot a single car. Light, medium and heavy trucks were the norm. A handful of Ford E-Series and GMC Savana vans worked a route between the Prudhoe Bay oil field and Deadhorse airport. There were also a couple of Ford Expeditions, including one owned by the local police, and two Audi Q7s acting as “luxury minivans” to transport higher-ranking oil field officials. I also spotted two now-defunct Ford Excursions — based on the Super Duty line of Ford pickups — produced from 2000 to 2005. Coincidentally, the Excursion was dubbed the Ford Valdez due to its atrocious fuel economy.

Prudhoe Bay 6

Oil drilling companies are purchasing full-size pickups by the truckload (literally) for their workers based in Prudhoe Bay, a majority of them being the Flex Fuel variant repurposed to also use natural gas when needed. Very similarly to the situation in Barrow, Alaska, Ford is king here and accounts for no less than two-thirds of the pickup population in Prudhoe Bay. The F-250, F-150 and F-350 pickups are the most frequently purchased in this order, a few F-550s can also be seen roaming the lonely pair of streets in town, and I also spotted a new generation aluminium F-150, the very first one I’ve seen on this trip.

Prudhoe Bay pickupsPrudhoe Bay is the kingdom of full-sized pickups.

Ram comes second with a healthy count of Ram 2500 pickups and even a couple of Ram 5500. The Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and 2500 pickups are markedly less popular with local companies than the previous two brands, followed closely by GMC Sierra pickups. Almost all pickup trucks feature the ubiquitous power plugs sticking out from the front grille we saw in Barrow, to which is added a front grill cover, all this to keep the battery and fluids in the engine from freezing in place at −40° F/C.

Ford F-250 Prudhoe Bay 2

I can sense your face starting to freeze just by reading this article, so without further ado we will fly off to Anchorage, the largest city in Alaska for the next stop…

The Full Photo Report is below.


Germany September 2015: Podium 100% VW, Hyundai Tucson shoots up

Hyundai Tucson Germany September 2015The Hyundai Tucson is an instant blockbuster in Europe’s largest market.

* See the Top 50 best-selling brands and Top 300 models by clicking on the title *

If the German auto industry is still reeling from the Volkswagen AG diesel scandal, new car sales in the country are up 4% year-on-year in September to 272.479 registrations, lifting the year-to-date total up 5.5% or 126.000 deliveries to 2.407.938. It is too early to read any impact of the VW crisis into sales: this month Volkswagen follows the market at +4% to 20.9% market share vs. 21.4% year-to-date and places three nameplates on the podium: the Golf (-3%), Passat (+15%) and Tiguan in runout mode (+91%). Audi is up 2% to 8% vs. 8.6% YTD with the A4 in runout mode (+34%) but the A3 struggling (-31%). Skoda is up 3% to 6.1% vs. 5.7% pushed by solid performances by the Octavia at #6 (+12%) and Fabia at #12 (+9%) and Seat outpaces the market at +8% to 3% share, identical to the brand’s 2015 level so far.

Mercedes GLC Germany September 2015The Mercedes GLC is already approaching the Top 50 at home.

Mercedes keeps the luxury crown at 8.4% of the market, placing the C-Klasse at #4 while the CLA is boosted up 135% year-on-year by the new Shooting Brake variant, the GLC is up to #57 and the GLE up to #64 – including residual sales of the GLK and M-Klasse respectively. BMW remains above Audi – albeit by just 29 units this month – with the 1 Series reclaiming the brand’s best-seller title thanks to a Top 10 ranking in September vs. #13 for the 3 Series and #14 for the 2 Series. The award of best performer of the month goes without hesitation to Hyundai with sales up a stellar 25% year-on-year. The new Tucson is an instant blockbuster in Germany, clocking up no less than 4.268 deliveries in September only (including the outgoing ix35) which is good enough for a record 15th place. The i30 is up 9 spots on August to #19 and the i10 up 16 to #35.

Mazda CX-3 Germany September 2015The Mazda CX-3 sells 1.096 units in Germany in September.

Other noticeable gainers within the main 20 brands present in Germany include (in ranking order) Ford up 10%, Nissan up 17%, Mazda up 27% thanks to the CX-3 up to #71, Peugeot up 11% thanks to the 308 up to #50 and the 2008 up to #69, and Volvo up 23% thanks to the XC60 up 50% and the XC90 up 7-fold year-on-year. Further down, let’s salute Subaru (+21%), Porsche (+33%), Lexus (+46%), Jeep (+48%), Ssangyong (+50%), Ferrari (+59%), Jaguar (+61%), Smart (+104%) and Tesla (+138%).

Previous month: Germany August 2015: BMW 2 Series shoots up to third place

One year ago: Germany September 2014: New Renault Twingo strikes a chord

Full September 2015 Top 50 brands and Top 300 models below.


Russia September 2015: Momentous shift to Korean models taking root

Hyundai Solaris Russia September 2015. Picture courtesy carscope.ruThe Hyundai Solaris is victorious in Russia for the 4th time in the past 5 months.

* See the Top 54 All-brands and Top 25 models by clicking on the title *

As predicted last month in the wake of another drop in the value of the Ruble, the Russian new car market returns to abysmal decline rates in September at -29% to 140.867 registrations, pulling the year-to-date total down 33% to 1.192.723 vs. 1.779.961 over the same period a year ago. Homegrown carmaker Lada falls much faster than the market once again at -41% to 21.658 sales and 15.4%, just four percentage points above shining star Kia, up a mesmerising 11% to an all-time record 11.4% market share, up from 7.4% a year ago. This means Kia is now also #2 year-to-date with a round 10% market share, edging past stablemate Hyundai, also impressive in September at -2% to 10.7% share. Within the Top 10, Volkswagen (-23%), GAZ (-15%) and most impressively Ford (-9%) gain market share year-on-year, the latter ranking at an excellent 9th place with 3.4% share vs. #14 and 2.2% so far in 2015.

Porsche Cayenne Macan Russia March 2015Russian Porsche sales are up an astounding 119% year-on-year in September.

As improbable at it may seem in such a dark context, a handful of brands manage to improve their volume year-on-year: UAZ benefits from an all-SUV lineup and is up 13%, Audi is up 2%, Geely up 30% – cementing its newfound status of #1 Chinese manufacturer in Russia, Mercedes Vans is up 54% and Porsche more than doubles its sales vs. a year ago thanks to the addition of the Macan at +119%. Datsun (#17) is off-limits as it celebrates one year of presence in the market. On the other end of the performance scale, Mitsubishi (-52%), Suzuki (-54%), Chery (-58%), Citroen (-59%), Honda, Peugeot (-62%), Subaru (-64%), Opel (-72%), Jeep (-80%), Great Wall (-83%) and Ssangyong (-91%) all implode.

Kia Rio Russia September 2015The Kia Rio is up 70% on September 2014.

In the models ranking, it’s time to draw a line in the sand and declare the implacable domination of Lada on the Russian sales charts is well and truly over after starting 45 years ago in 1970 with the Lada 2101, the carmaker’s first model. In September and for the 4th time in the past 5 months, the Hyundai Solaris is the best-selling nameplate in Russia thanks to sales up 10% year-on-year to 11.006 and 7.8% vs. 5.1% a year ago. The Kia Rio is up one spot on August to rank #2 with deliveries up an incrediuble 70% on a year ago to 10.822 and a record 7.7% share vs. just 3.2% in September last year. Both models easily outsell the Lada Granta, down a devastating 49% to 8.597 sales and 6.1% share. The Granta only owes its 2015 year-to-date pole position to scrappage scheme-boosted scores in March and June. At the current rate, the Granta should keep the lead in the Full Year, but just. 2016 will be another ballgame altogether.

Lada Granta Russia September 2015End of an era: the Lada Granta has only led Russian sales twice in the past 6 months.

This ‘Korean revolution’ was the subject of a full-blown article in Russia’s #1 car magazine/website Za Rulem, quoting BestSellingCarsBlog analysis, and it all happened in less than a year: only last November the Kia Rio was the first foreign model to rank #1 in Russia. If you are a long-term BSCB reader, the astonishing progression of the Hyundai Solaris and Kia Rio over the past five years isn’t a surprise, and definitely not a freak event. My 2013 Trans-Siberian coverage brought to light the exceptional regularity of both the Solaris and the Rio in every corner of the country, from Tatarstan to far-East Siberia and Lake Baïkal. This success was built on word-of-mouth from rural regions to the bigger towns, and is the result of meticulous dealer network expansion across the largest country in the world by both Korean manufacturers.

Toyota Land Cruiser Prado Russia September 2015First Russian Top 20 ranking for the Toyota Prado.

In other model news, the VW Polo takes advantage of a solid month (-5%) to overtake the Renault Logan year-to-date and rank at a best-ever 4th place, while the Lada Largus is in a similar situation (-6%), passing its stablemate the Lada Kalina to rank #7 YTD. The Chevrolet Niva impresses at +2% and #10, the Hyundai ix35 jumps back up 27 ranks to #14 (no sign of the new Tucson yet in Russia), the UAZ Patriot shoots up 22% to a splendid 16th place, the Mazda CX-5 is up 1% to #19 and the Toyota Prado brilliantly breaks into the Russian Top 20 for the very first time thanks to deliveries up 20% to 1.797.

Previous post: Russia August 2015: Now with Top 315 All-models (BSCB exclusive)

Previous month: Russia August 2015: Hyundai Solaris outsells Lada Granta again

One year ago: Russia September 2014: Lada Granta hits best share, Datsun lands

Full September 2015 Top 54 All-brands and Top 25 models below.


Hungary September 2015: Vitara triumphs, lifts Suzuki to #1 brand

Suzuki Vitara Hungary September 2015The Suzuki Vitara single-handedly lifts the brand to #1 in Hungary.

* See the Top 10 best-selling models and brands by clicking on the title *

The Hungarian new car market is up 12% year-on-year in September to 7.582 registrations, lifting the year-to-date total to 67.068 units, up 11% on 2014. The big event this month in Hungary is the pole position in the brands ranking of local manufacturer Suzuki. The Japanese carmaker was the most popular in its ‘European home’ each and every single year from 1997 to 2009 before falling apart in 2010 at the time of the global financial crisis. For the first time since then, Suzuki manages to rank #1 in Hungary in September with 928 sales and 12.2% market share vs. #5 and 7.5% so far in 2015. This performance is due to one model, fast becoming the default choice for Hungarian car buyers: the Vitara. Launched at the start of the year, the Vitara is the #1 car in the country for the second time in the past three months, accounting for 64% of the brand’s sales here in September. It also overtakes the Opel Astra to rank #2 year-to-date below just the Skoda Octavia, #2 this month. Notice also the Fiat Ducato up to #4, the VW Passat solid at #9 and the Ford Ranger up to #10.

Previous month: Hungary August 2015: Skoda Octavia edges past Suzuki Vitara

One year ago: Hungary September 2014: Suzuki Swift and Ford Kuga shine

Full September 2015 Top 10 models and brands and 9 months Top 20 models below.