World August 2012 Roundup: Subaru topples Golf in Switzerland
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With most August data now out in the open, it’s time for our much awaited monthly rendezvous: the World roundup, now in its 6th instalment. Last month all eyes were on Ukraine where the Geely CK notched the top spot in a world first for a Chinese manufacturer in a large export market. In August, Switzerland, Brazil and Denmark are the epicentres of world car sales.
The biggest earthquake this month undoubtedly occurred in Switzerland: like Germany and Austria it is the kingdom of the VW Golf, #1 there since the nameplate’s original launch in 1974. Although no monthly ranking was available before this year, looking at the margin it has had over the #2 each year the Golf has likely been in pole position most months in the last 38 years, bar potentially a few odd ones when it was #2 (this is not confirmed). This month it is down to #3 while the Subaru XV, after holding a world-best 4th place in the country in July, shoots up to an incredible first place in Switzerland with 722 sales and 3.3% share.
Switzerland has been the best performing European market for Subaru for decades, starting with the Subaru Leone (#7 in the eighties) and the Subaru Legacy (#11 in the nineties) but the XV by far exceeds the success of these previous models. Can it confirm and keep the pole position next month? It will be fascinating to see where the XV stabilises once the ‘honeymoon’ with consumers, traditional in the first few months of sales, is over. You can see the Subaru XV’s Swiss TV commercials here. Note also that Switzerland is not an isolated case: the XV is also up to a fantastic 6th place in Norway this month.
The Brazilian new car market is now in unchartered territory, passing 400,000 monthly sales for the first time ever at 405,511 units (+32%), installing it in third position worldwide below only the USA and China, and ahead of Japan at 370,777. Such massive volumes mean records broken. For the first time in the 113 year-history of the brand, Renault’s #1 country in the world is not France but Brazil, mainly thanks to Dacia models sold as Renault: the Sandero is #9 at a record 11,743 sales, the Duster #20 and the Logan #31. Note that both Volkswagen and Fiat have long been delivering higher sales in Brazil than in their native countries. In August, VW sold 88,761 vehicles in Brazil vs. 47,931 in Germany and Fiat had 98,210 Brazilian buyers vs. just 12,165 in Italy…
As a result lot of models hit their highest monthly volume, either ever, or in a while in Brazil this month: among them the VW Gol is at a 12-year high with 32,632 sales, its record being 34,964 in August 1997, the Fiat Uno is above 30,000 monthly units for the first time at 30,373, with its previous record at 28,828 in November 1995, the VW Fox/CrossFox beats its volume record for the third consecutive month at 23,318 sales, its first time above 20,000. Notice also the Chevrolet Spin landing directly at #26.
The third star of the month is the VW Up!, back in the spotlight after a first appearance in the March 2012 World Roundup. The Up! holds the pole position in Denmark for the third time in the last 6 months at a world-best 8.2% market share, and is now also #1 year-to-date. This makes Denmark the first country in the world to crown the Up! in a year-to-date ranking… There is a big difference between a one-off pole position and regularity at that level, and the VW Up! has now achieved the latter in Denmark. The Netherlands could be next: the Up! ranks third there with a strong 4.1% share and is now #10 year-to-date. But perhaps the most promising score for the Up! so far is its 5th place with Private Buyers in Germany this month, showing it is a true hit with ‘real’ consumers.
It is not just the Up! that Danish buyers are fans of, its two twins are also extremely successful there: the Seat Mii ranks at a world-best #7 (compared to #116 in Spain!) and the Skoda Citigo is up to #8, only slightly lower than in its native Czech Republic where it is #6 this month. All in all, the Bratislava sisters (all 3 models are manufactured there) sell 2,150 units in Denmark in August for an out-of-this world 12.9% share which could go up even further in the coming months.
Relatively unknown worldwide (unless you’ve been a regular reader of BSCB), the Suzuki Ertiga is shaping up to be a runaway hit in the two countries it launched in so far: it is up to a brilliant 4th place in Indonesia thanks to 3,477 sales and 4.6% share and up to #6 in India with 6,643 units and a record 3.9% share.
The good news keep coming month after month for the Dacia/Renault Duster. Let’s first salute its amazing launch in India: up a brilliant 15 spots to sit in 21st place for its second month of sales in the country at 3,184 units, enabling Renault to pass both Nissan and Skoda there with 4,036 sales vs. 482 last May! The Duster also confirms its incredible spot in the Top 10 best-selling models to Private Buyers in Germany at #9 and ranks at a superb #15 in Russia with 4,308 sales, while maintaining itself in the Top 10 in France and on the podium in Romania and potentially in Morocco.
The Dacia Lodgy brilliantly breaks into the French monthly Top 10 only 5 months after its launch at #10 with 1,914 sales and 2% share. Since the brand was relaunched by Renault in 2004, all Dacias have broken into the French monthly Top 10 at some stage, with the Logan peaking at #7 in December 2007, the Sandero at #2 in March 2010 and the Duster at #5 in November 2011. The Lodgy is however the fastest of them to reach the Top 10. Finally, the latest addition to the range, the Dacia Dokker, is starting to make waves also, selling 100 units in August in Morocco where it is manufactured.
‘The Nissan Qashqai continues to impress’ is probably the sentence I wrote the most on BSCB in the last 2 years… This month it confirms the Spanish pole position it already held in July and stays #1 twice in a row for the first time there. It is also #1 in Finland for the third time ever but somehow misses a spot in the European Top 10.
While it continues to fly above the competition in the Middle East (July figures only available at this stage) but got beaten by the Ford Ranger for the first time in Argentina, the Toyota Hilux manages to stay in pole position for the 5th consecutive month in Australia, a feat only the Ford Falcon and Holden Commodore had achieved in the last 35 years!
Mercedes has another strong month, and it should only get better now that the all-new A-Class is hitting dealerships all across Europe (it is already #52 in France). The B-Class beats its market share record in Germany for the 2nd consecutive month at 2.4%, staying at a record 5th place, and delivers its best ever ranking in France at #22, beating the #28 it hit in January 2007 and lodging the highest ranking of any Mercedes in France since the C-Class hit #19 in August 2004…
Read the rest of the World August 2012 Roundup by clicking on ‘Read more’ below!
(including more highlights from Germany, India, Italy, the USA, China, Russia, Japan, France, the Netherlands, Australia, Austria, South Korea, Bulgaria, Mexico, Indonesia and Venezuela)
Previous World Roundups: