World: The Top 10 highlights of 2013
On this last day of the year, I thought it would be appropriate to pick my Top 10 highlights for 2013 in terms of worldwide sales. Do you agree? Do you have more highlights? Please let us all know by commenting on this article.
1. China becomes first country above 20 million sales
As of end November, 19.9 million new light vehicles had found a buyer in China, a 12% increase over 2012 and a new record. This also means that the 20 million unit-mark was passed in the first days of December, making China the first country in the history of automobile to clock over 20 million new car sales in a single year. It is predicted China will cross another milestone, the 30 million sales one, by 2020… The significant trend in the Chinese passenger car market in 2013 is the return to grace of local models: the Wuling Hongguang, newly moved out of the LCV category, leads the overall ranking at end November, while the Haval (ex-Great Wall) H6 reached a record 7th place in July and the Emgrand EC7 double-dipped in the Top 10...
The US are back to their old habits: buying pick-up trucks in droves.
2. US market back to pre-recession levels
2013 is the year the US market returned to its pre-recession levels and habits: buying over 15 million new light vehicles annually including heaps of pick-up trucks. In May, with 71,604 sales the Ford F-Series crossed the 70,000 monthly units milestone for the first time since March 2007, hitting its best May figure since 2005 and its best month overall in almost 7 years, since August 2006 when it sold 76,804 units… In June, the SAAR (Seasonally Adjusted Annual Sales Rate), a key barometer of long-term sales trends, surged to just under 16 million, compared to 14.4 million a year ago, officially bringing the industry back to its late 2007 level. Finally in October, for the first time since February 2006, the top 3 most popular vehicles in the USA are all XXL pick-up trucks. The Ford F-Series leads,followed by the Chevrolet Silverado and the RAM 1500/3500. In the same vein, the Ford F-Series had already beaten the all-time annual sales record in Canada by end October at 106,861 sales.
3. Tesla Model S and Nissan Leaf superstars in Norway
Norway was the theatre of a couple of amazing sales events in 2013. In September, the Model S did what no electric car ever managed before in the world: finish a month in pole position in any country. Selling an incredible 616 units for a 5.1% market share vs. 561 and 4.6% for the VW Golf, the Model S is the first model to beat the VW Golf in a Norwegian monthly ranking so far in 2013. With notoriety comes criticism and Tesla has had to endure the repercussions of a couple of its models setting fire after an accident, which didn't prevent it to place the Model S back up to a huge 2nd spot in Norway in November! The other big winner in Norway is the Nissan Leaf: it topped the sales charts in October thanks to 716 units for a splendid 5.6% market share!
A big tick of approval for the Renault Captur and Peugeot 2008 in 2013.
4. Renault Captur and Peugeot 2008 revive French manufacturers
A lot was relying on the two new French mini SUVs this year as both manufacturers had been struggling profit-wise since the global financial crisis. And both hit the market on the nail. The Renault Captur brilliantly broke into the French Top 5 for the first time in June at #4 and has not left it since, peaking at #3 in September. For its part the Peugeot 2008 was among the 10 most popular cars in France in July for the first time before stepping up to #4 in October and remaining there in November. Both models have also garnered solid sales figures all through Europe, with the Captur sometimes even passing the Clio IV and the 2008 passing the 208! I'm betting on one of them breaking into the overall European Top 10 briefly in 2014.
5. Toyota minis succeed in Indonesia
The minis Toyota Agya and Daihatsu Ayla twins were launched 'under the radar' in September in Indonesia as Toyota's answer to a new government law. In a country obsessed by low cost MPV, it was a daring move indeed. The Low Cost Green Car (LCGC) regulation exempts from the luxury tax models made up from at least 60% domestic components, priced between Rp 50-85 million with a maximum displacement of 1,200cc and fuel efficiency of at least 20 km/l. Only two months after their first appearance in the Indonesian sales charts, in November the Toyota Agya is up to an incredible 2nd place with 6,591 sales and 5.9% share, up 2 ranks and over one percentage point on its October score. Its twin the Daihatsu Ayla is up one spot to #4 with 5,095 sales and 4.6%, its best so far as well. This means the two locally produced models already account for over 10% of the Indonesian new car market, only two months after launch! 2014 scores will be fascinating to follow indeed.
6. Nissan SUVs continue to conquer Europe
In 2013 Nissan confirmed it has changed the car market forever with its Qashqai and Juke SUVs… The Qasqhai reached a record overall #5 spot in Europe in February, up 4% year-on-year in a market down 10% in spite of its 6 years of age, and remained #5 in March thanks to a massive 29,116 sales, delivering the highest ever ranking for a Japanese model in the continent. The Qashqai also broke its ranking, volume and share records in Italy in March at #6 and became only the 2nd Japanese model to ever crack the monthly French Top 10 in March at #9, repeating this feat in May at #10 and equalling the French-produced Toyota Yaris which did so in January and March 2007. The smaller Nissan Juke, also produced in the UK, also reaches new heights in 2013: it breaks into the UK Top 10 for the very first time in January (#9) and manages that feat 3 more times during the year! It ranks #10 in February, #9 in July before hitting a record 7th position in October. The Juke also breaks into the Spanish Top 10 for the first time ever at #9.
7. The Hyundai HB20 invades Brazil
Launched in late 2012, the Hyundai HB20 reached a record 4th place in Brazil in February thanks to 10,179 sales, the first time a Korean model manages to sell over 10,000 monthly units win Brazil and the first Korean model to ever rank within the Brazilian monthly Top 5. The HB20 broke its monthly volume and share records one more time in March to 12,537 units and 5.6% share. Unveiled at the same time, the Chevrolet Onix reaches a very similar sales level over 2013.
8. Success of Renault's low-cost range
2013 confirmed Renault is definitely on the right track with its low-cost range inaugurated by the Logan back in 2004. Sold under the Dacia or Renault brands depending on the country, the most successful models of the range this year were the Duster and Sandero, breaking records and passing significant milestones across the planet. Notably, the Duster climbed onto the Russian monthly podium for the first time in November and ranked inside the Indian Top 10 for two consecutive months. For its part the Sandero took the overall lead in Spain in January & August and jumped inside the French podium in July and August for only the second and third times ever, the firsts for this generation.
9. Is Peugeot back to Africa?
Why the French (and specifically Peugeot) lost the African continent is one of the 10 things I don’t understand… in the worldwide car industry today. Well this dumbfounding fact may be about to be overturned thanks to the success of the Peugeot 301, conceived specifically for emerging markets. After 10 months in 2013, the 301 ranks #2 below only the Dacia Logan in Algeria with just under 20,000 sales and #5 in Tunisia, while it managed a 4th place in Egypt in July. Could these performances signal the rebirth of Peugeot in Africa?
10. The Audi A3 and Skoda Octavia break new ground in Europe
This year Audi places a second model inside the monthly overall European Top 10: the A3 is among Europe's top 10 most popular cars in April at #9 thanks to 16,787 sales. Before the A3, only the A4 managed to rank inside the European Top 10, peaking at #2 in August 2008. But the A3 didn't stop there: thanks to an all-time high 2nd place in Germany, it hit a record 6th spot Europe-wide in August and #2 in its segment behind only the VW Golf and above the Ford Focus and Opel Astra. A lot of records in 2013 for a 17 year-old nameplate!
The other VAG Group model (re)launched in 1996 to break new ground in Europe this year is the Skoda Octavia, jumping into the Top 5 best-sellers for the first time in October and repeating this performance in November, whereas it had only managed two lonely European Top 10 rankings in the past (in January 2012 and last August when it both ranked #10). This is the first time a Skoda ranks inside the European Top 5, with the only other Skoda to achieve a Top 10 finish being the Skoda Fabia (#10 in August 2008 and #8 in August 2009). In other Skoda news, the Czech brand managed to place its entire range (7 models!) inside the Top 10 at home in Czech Republic for the first time in history.
What are your worldwide sales highlights for 2013? Comment on here to let us all know.