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World Full Year 2012 Roundup: Last year’s Top 5 highlights

February 3rd, 2013

A Chinese man burnt his own Honda on 13 September 2012 to protest against Japan.

* See the direct links to all 2012 monthly World Roundups by clicking on the title! *

This world update is brought to you by exclusive detachable Mercedes emblems from Libelle

Now that all World Roundups for 2012 are complete, it is time for a Full Year summary, and I have listed below what were for me the 5 highlights of the year as far as worldwide car sales are concerned. Do you agree these were the highlights of the year? Do you disagree? Have I missed anything? Please let me know by commenting on here. To check out all monthly World Roundups for 2012, just click on the title of this article and scroll down, and for more details on a specific highlights, just click on the title of the paragraph.

1.  Anti-Japanese sentiment impacts Japanese carmakers’ sales in China

If in 2011 the main external events impacting the worldwide car market were the deadly Japanese tsunami and Thai floods, in 2012 it is the Diaoyu Island dispute between China and Japan that had the most significant impact. It altered the structure of new car sales in China for 3 months of the year between September and November. The crisis was at its worst in October, when Honda was down 54% year-on-year, Toyota down 44% and Nissan down 41%. That month, Volkswagen sold twice as many cars as all Japanese carmakers put together, Hyundai sold more cars than Nissan, Toyota and Honda put together and Audi sold more than any Japanese brand… There was only Japanese model in Chinese Top 50 in October… Things seem to have returned to normal in December and despite seeing its Chinese sales decrease for the first time ever, this crisis didn’t prevent Toyota to finish 2012 at #1 worldwide.

The Great Wall Steed ranked #1 “at home” in Bulgaria in December 2012.

2. The Chinese invasion has started

It all started in February when Great Wall opened the first manufacturing plant for a Chinese carmaker in Europe in Lovech, Bulgaria,  planned as the focal point for Great Wall’s expansion throughout Europe. Making its way up the ladder all through the year, Great Wall finished 2012 on a high, ranking #2 brand in December behind only Volkswagen and placing the Great Wall Steed at #1 in the Bulgarian models ranking that same month with 6% market share! In Ukraine the Geely CK historically grabbed the pole position in July and repeated that extraordinary feat in December. Finally in Venezuela, on the back an unprecedented 4,000-unit batch specifically exported to the country, the DongFeng S30 took the lead of the models ranking in December with over 7% market share…Yes the Chinese invasion has now well and truly started. In 2013, expect many more countries to succumb to the charms of cars that keep improving year after year.

Toyota Prius C

3. The Toyota Prius family breaks a leg

With the arrival of the MPV and small car versions, respectively called Prius Alpha/V/+ and Aqua/Prius C, the Toyota Prius family suddenly got much bigger and its sales reflected it in spades in 2012. At the start of the year when Prius family sales weren’t split, the nameplate reached a record 5th place in the USA. In Japan the Prius hit a record 45,496 sales in March while the Aqua hit a best-ever 29,156 units that month, later on snapping the Japanese pole position away from the Prius in October and for the rest of the year. At the end of 2012 and for the first time in the history of automibile in the country, the 2 most popular vehicles in Japan were hybrids.

Hyundai HB20

4. Hyundai may have cracked Brazil with the HB20

Following the same trajectory as in Russia and India where it now regularly places a locally-produced model on the podium, Hyundai launched the HB (for Hyundai Brazil) range in Brazil in October with the HB20 hatchback aimed directly at the VW Gol and Fiat Palio. The range will be extended in early 2013 with the H20 sedan and HB20X crossover and will be produced at Hyundai’s new plant in Piracicaba in the Sao Paulo state. With its new plant, Hyundai aims at going from #9 and 2.6% share in 2012 to #4 and 10% by the end of 2013, passing Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Renault and Ford in the process! What seemed like wishful thinking when this outlandish target was announced quickly became much more real. For its first full month of sales, the Hyundai HB20 broke into the monthly Brazilian Top 10 for the first time for a Hyundai in that country at #9 with 8,077 sales, with the HB20 single-handedly pushing Hyundai up to #6 carmaker at 4.7% share… The HB20 hype seems to have recessed a little as at mid-January 2013 but it will still be fascinating to follow its progression all through the year.

Subaru XV

5. Subaru XV topples the Golf in Switzerland

The Swiss car market went through a massive earthquake in August when the Subaru XV took the lead of the models ranking for the first time, relegating the VW Golf at #3. The XV finishes 2012 at #14. Then it was the turn of the Skoda Octavia to hop into pole position not once but twice inSeptember and October, finishing the year at a record 10,424 sales and 3.2% share. This means the Golf was away from the #1 spot for 3 consecutive months, which potentially hasn’t happened in Switzerland in almost 20 years, since the Opel Astra ranked #1 in 1993

See below for more highlights and the direct links to all 2012 monthly World Roundups.

Libelle’s removable hood emblem for Mercedes is the result of incorporating a mechanism to the original emblem so it splits into two separate parts. The base is placed into the car body like the original hood emblem is, and the detachable star part is easily removed with a simple twist. Its main purpose is to avoid the constant Mercedes hood emblem theft and our removable emblem is made from de original Mercedes hood emblem and incorporates a detachable mechanism made of zamac, an injected ally of zinc, aluminium and magnesium. The detachable mechanism is guaranteed for life.

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