Poland February 2017: Toyota #1 brand for the first time

The C-HR helps Toyota to pole position in Poland this month. Picture quattroruote.it

* See the Top 15 brands and Top 50 models by clicking on the title *

The Polish new light vehicle market is up 12.6% year-on-year in February, lifting the year-to-date tally to 85.076 units, up 14.8% on the same period a year ago. The big surprise this month is the pole position of Toyota in the brands ranking. It is the first time since BSCB has been following the Polish market in 2010 that Toyota achieves this ranking – and potentially the first time ever. The Japanese manufacturer frankly outpaces the market with deliveries up 22% year-on-year to 4.771 units for a 11.1% market share, outselling Skoda at 4.525 (+3%) and Volkswagen at 3.978 (+19%). Toyota places the Auris at #4 (+9%), the Yaris at #5 (-13%) but most significantly it is the success of the C-HR at #11 for the second month running with 723 sales that enables Toyota to take the brands lead.

Further down the brands charts, Renault (+20%), Opel (+22%), BMW (+24%), Fiat (+37%) and Dacia (+44%) all progress faster than the overall market while Peugeot (-8%) is the only brand in negative territory inside the Top 15. Model-wise, the Skoda Octavia reclaims the top spot despite sales down 6% year-on-year and should see its volume improve now that the facelift is hitting Polish dealerships, yet this month it is only 10 units above the Opel Astra (+28%) and 20 above the Skoda Fabia (+18%). Other great gainers this month include the Renault Clio (+83%), Dacia Duster (+24%), Toyota RAV4 (+43%), Opel Corsa (+47%), Renault Clio (+83%), Megane (+84%) and Volvo XC60 (+128%). The Honda HR-V makes its 2nd ever apparition inside the Polish Top 10 after last April (#44) at a record #39.

Previous month: Poland January 2017: Toyota C-HR up to 11th place

One year ago: Poland January-February 2016: Skoda Fabia edges past Octavia

Full February 2017 Top 15 brands and Top 50 models below.


Photo Report: Driving a Haval H9 to the middle of nowhere, Australia – Part 3: Broken Hill to Tibooburra

Ivanohe just about to land on the Emergency Landing Strip after Packsaddle NSW.

This is Part 3 of our adventure to the middle of nowhere Australia with a Haval H9, which we baptised Ivanhoe. See Part 1: Melbourne to Mildura here and Part 2: Mildura to Broken Hill here. We are now saying goodbye to Broken Hill, and that’s not easy because every inhabitant we got to meet showed us loads of kindness and generosity. It is now time to go into the unknown. I have never travelled on the road north from Broken Hill before. We now it has rained copious amounts until a few days before we engage but all dirt roads are open at this stage so we are taking the bet.

Our itinerary for Part 3 of this trip is 100% desert. 

We are leaving Broken Hill in the hope of reaching Cameron Corner tonight as today is December 31st so the NYE celebrations are, well, tonight. Yet the speediness of our progression will rely solely on how good (bad) the dirt roads are, or even if they are passable in the first place. Stunning sunshine as we leave early in the morning  to give ourselves the best chance of arriving at our planned destination by sunset, so even a puncture shouldn’t impact on our timing too much. Ivanhoe’s odo indicates 5.050km, that’s just under 1.000 km since our departure from Melbourne.

In PacksaddlePacksaddle Roadhouse – and the only building in town.

The good news is the road is sealed all the way up to Packsaddle, the only building/pub/servo – I cannot say town on this occasion – on the way to Tibooburra at a mere 174km (!) north of Broken Hill. I have used the time since Broken Hill as a passenger to update BSCB, so weirdly I feel I have just been tele-transported into Packsaddle. My question of whether there is wifi in the pub is met with raised eyebrows as I swallow my words. Thankfully, the Telstra phone network is available here – my co-drivers, not on Telstra, and couldn’t get any signal – so my updates could go ahead. This series is not supposed to be an ad for Telstra, but when you hit the Australian countryside it sure is the only network left available when others fail. Talk to any countryside Australian and they will agree.

Now out onto the unknown, 4WD only tracks to Tibooburra

We are not leaving Packsaddle without fueling up both our 20L jerrycans as well as the tank. My motto in the Australian Outback is: “Never leave a petrol station without a full tank and full jerrycans.” You never know what may happen and which detours you will have to take through tough terrain which drinks a hell of a lot more fuel. So, we leave Packsaddle fuelled up to the brim. And this is where things may get a little difficult. The dirt track to Tibooburra is open, but for 4WD only. That still suits us but it also means we need to brace ourselves for some hairy driving.

Big skies and dirt roads: welcome to Australia
Gobi desert-proof

As opposed to Damo, the Haval H8 we drove through the Birdsville Track, our H9 Ivanohe is what Aussies call a “real” four-wheel-drive with 4WD and low range modes as well as different settings depending on the surface you are going through (mud, sand, snow…). Technically, this means any mud passing should equate to child’s play, but we’ll wait and see. Looking into the car’s manual explains a little bit more: the sand mode is described as “suitable to driving in the Gobi desert or in other deserts”. Well if my exploration of the Gobi desert in 2013 (see full Trans-Siberian series here and the Mongolian part here) is any indication, this should be more than enough to attack any sandpit that is thrown at us.

Ivanhoe mudding it up before Tibooburra.

Approaching Tibooburra, we get stopped by yet local police for an breathalyser. “Count to ten!” I oblige, a little confused as to why this is needed in the middle of the desert. Then I remember the New Year’s Eve rodeo that’s scheduled to take place today in town…

Underbody failure and Tibooburra Police sponsored fix.

But we’re far from Tibooburra just yet. Indeed, a few too many mud baths proved fatal to Ivanohe’s underbody protection which dislodged itself the same way the H8 did on the way to Birdsville. Problem is, it now rattles against the ground, requiring us to re-attach it. We sacrifice a couple of t-shirts to from a makeshift cord (Survivor here we come) but it fails to maintain the underbody attached to the vehicle (maybe no Survivor after all). Then, as a divine apparition or just straight from the movie Fargo, the local policeman that stopped us half an hour ago is back, and parks just in front of us. “What seems to be the issue here?” We show him, and he pulls a couple of bungee straps to help fix the underbody. Thank you Tibooburra police. We’ll return them to him and buy new ones in Tibooburra. We are now set.

Ivanohe has arrived in Tibooburra.

We have now arrived in Tibooburra, pronounced “Teeb’barrah“. The air is suffocatingly hot and flies abound. This is the north-westernmost town in the whole of New South Wales, located 1.187km/738 miles north-west of the state capital Sydney, 843km/524 miles north of Adelaide and 332km/208 miles north of Broken Hill which we departed from this morning. With a population of just 262, Tibooburra is the only town on our way to Cameron Corner and further west to the Strzelecki Track. There is one lonely service station that also acts as supermarket and grocery store. We find bungee straps there and our quest for lunch leads us to what seems to be the only pub in town, the Tibooburra Hotel, whose kitchen has now closed. We find our policeman here and can return his bungee straps…

Instead of this……we got this. But it was entertaining all the same.

The Tibooburra Hotel directs us to the “Stadium” for some food. And this is where it all starts to click together. All through our journey from Mildura to Broken Hill and onwards we have heard about a New Year’s Eve rodeo happening in Tibooburra. Here we now are, right in the middle of Tibooburra action, or more accurately Tibooburra Gymkhana and Rodeo New Year’s Eve. Cow-boy hats, checkered shirts and jeans are the norm here despite the heat and it truly is the event that brings the community together, a heartwarming sight. A handful of steak sandwiches get us back on track, and we are explained that the rodeo part of the festival won’t be happening as the cattle got stuck on the way because of the floods. Instead, we got to watch the gymkhana of motorbikes and were entertained all the same.

Tibooburra car park, Land Cruiser ute hitting iconic level

How about the cars in Tibooburra? Given the road was almost completely paved on the way, Tibooburra isn’t strictly a 4WD town per se, with a few 2WD and AWD spotted such as the Nissan X-Trail pictured above. But these are the exception and most vehicles in town are heavily modified 4WD with a preference for the Toyota Hilux, Ford Ranger and the icon of the region, the Toyota Land Cruiser ute.

It’s now time to go. Only 140km and we are in Cameron Corner. Can’t be that hard can it? Turns out, it can be. A long evening awaits…

Stay tuned for Part 4 of this series coming shortly!


Malaysia February 2017: Perodua up to 39.1% share in market up 12%

The Bezza pushes Perodua just under 40% market share at home.

* See the Top 45 All-brands by clicking on the title *

After edging up just 0.1% in January, the Malaysian new vehicle market is definitely more colourful in February, posting a 12% gain to 42.455 and lifting the year-to-date tally up 5.6% to 87.122. Market leader Perodua reinforces its domination, outpacing the market at +18% to a stunning 39.1%, the brand’s second-ever highest market share below the 40.6% it hit last August. Like last month, Honda (+37%) thanks to the BR-V and HR-V and Toyota (+55%) potentially thanks to the new Sienta and new gen Vios are the biggest mass market gainers in the Malaysiam Top 10 this month. Premium brands Mercedes (+38%) and BMW (+16%) also shine inside the Top 10 whereas Nissan struggles at -35%. Below, notice Scania up 53%, Chery up 55%, Volvo also up 55% and Kia up 77%.

Previous month: Malaysia January 2017: Honda BR-V lifts market into positive (+0.1%)

One year ago: Malaysia February 2016: Discover the Top 80 models (BSCB Exclusive)

Full February 2017 Top 45 All-brands ranking below.


Europe February 2017: Fiat Panda and Citroen C3 shine, market up 1.2%

The Fiat Panda is up to a best-ever European 5th place in February.

* See the Top 10 groups, Top 50 brands and Top 50 models by clicking on the title *

After a stunning 9.4% gain in January linked to extra selling days, new passenger car sales in Europe dramatically slow down their growth in February, edging up 1.2% to 1.105.435 units and bringing the year-to-date tally up 5.2% to 2.3 million units. This is the second highest February score since 2008. PSA Peugeot-Citroen’s takeover of Opel/Vauxhall makes the new entity the 2nd largest carmaker in Europe with 16.9% share below just the Volkswagen Group (23.2%) but above fellow Frenchman Renault-Nissan/Mitsubishi at 14.8% – see Top 5 ranking below and Top 10 ranking below the jump.

Europe February 2017 – Groups:

Pos Brand Feb-17 %
1 Volkswagen Group 255,997 23.2%
2 PSA-Opel 186,280 16.9%
3 Renault-Nissan/Mitsubishi 163,164 14.8%
4 FCA Fiat Chrysler Automobiles 87,822 7.9%
5 Ford Motor 71,021 6.4%

Brand-wise, Volkswagen keeps the lead but drop 8.3% followed by Renault up 3.3% year-on-year and two spots on January to #2, Ford (-3.4%), Opel/Vauxhall (-1.9%) and Peugeot (-4.9%) all in decline. Fiat (+7%) traditionally benefits from a strong Italian market relative to the rest of Europe in the first two months of the year. Indeed Italy accounts for 16.6% of the 29-country European market in February vs, 12.2% over the Full Year 2016. Accordingly, Fiat ranks at a stellar 6th place. After ranking third in January, Audi (+0.4%) reclaims the luxury crown off Mercedes (+4.6%) and BMW (-0.4%) yet remains in second place year-to-date at 121.358 units (+0.9%) below Mercedes at 123.649 (+10.4) but above BMW at 116.070 (+5.2%). Further down, Toyota clings onto its Top 10 ranking thanks to deliveries up 17.1% to 52.062 helped by the new C-HR, while Seat (+13.7%), Alfa Romeo (+25.8%), Jaguar (+43.8%), Suzuki (+50%), Maserati (+89.8%) and Tesla (+100.5%) post some of the most spectacular year-on-year increases in the Top 50.

The Citroen C3 ends February just 224 units off a Top 10 ranking. 

Model-wise, despite losing a hefty 12% year-on-year, the VW Golf celebrates 83 consecutive months in pole position: the last time it did not rank #1 in Europe was in March 2010. If the Golf holds out onto next month – there are no reason why it wouldn’t – it will then be able to show off seven full years of domination.  The Renault Clio (+13.3%) outsells classmates the VW Polo (-13.4%) and Ford Fiesta (-4.8%) to claim the 2nd spot year-todate thanks to 49.310 units so far in 2017. Boosted by the increased relative weight of the Italian market, the Fiat Panda is up 6 spots on January to break into the Top 5 for the second since the Panda nameplate relaunched in 2003, the first one being exactly 8 years ago in February 2009. Better still: preliminary figures show the Panda only 525 sales below the third-placed VW Polo and just 96 units above the 6th-placed Nissan Qashqai, so a lot could still change by the time final figures are released in early April.

Mercedes remains the #1 luxury brand in Europe so far in 2017 YTD. 

Just like the Volkswagen Group (Golf, Polo, Octavia), the newly formed PSA-Opel group places three nameplates inside the Top 10: the Opel Corsa (#7), Peugeot 208 (#8) and Opel Astra (#9). Just outside the Top 10, we find two surging nameplates: the Citroen C3 boosted up 59% by the new generation to #11. As a reminder the C3 ranking record is #10 hit in June, November and December 2010 as well as March 2011. This record should be beaten shortly as the new gen C3 is only starting to gain momentum. Yet again the C3 stands just 224 units off the Top 10 so could be in it when final data comes in. The VW Tiguan for its part is up 59.8% year-on-year but drops 7 spots on January to #12 and #2 SUV below the Nissan Qashqai (#6) and above the Peugeot 2008 (#13) and Renault Captur (#14). Notice also the Renaulty Mégane up 48% to #24, the Toyota C-HR us three spots on last month to a record #31, the Fiat Tipo up 287.1% to generation best #32, the BMW X1 us 38.2% to #38 and the Mercedes E-Class up 45.1% to #46.

Previous post: Europe January 2017: Discover the Top 340 models and Top 57 brands

Previous month: Europe January 2017: First ever Top 5 ranking for the VW Tiguan

One year ago: Europe February 2016: 30th consecutive month of year-on-year gains

Full February 2017 Top 10 groups, Top 50 brands and Top 50 models below.


Australia February 2017: SUVs above passenger cars, market dips 7.7%

The Toyota C-HR has finally landed in Australia and should push Toyota further up this year.

* See the Top 50 All-brands and Top 295 All-models by clicking on the title *

Based on VFACTS data, new vehicle sales in Australia offer an unusual picture in February: down 7.7% to 89.025 registrations, the weakest February score since 2014, pulling the year-to-date tally into negative territory at 173.935 units, down 3.8% over the same period in 2016. The big news this month is SUVs outselling passenger cars for the first time in Australian history. Although down 3.7%, the recreational vehicles sell 35.497 units for a 39.9% market share vs. 34.740 and 39% for passenger cars, down 12.2%. Passenger cars still edge out in the lead year-to-date at 69.660 (-6.8%) vs. 69.624 (-0.4%) for SUVs, but this leadership should be crushed within the next few months. Meanwhile Light Commercial Vehicles – mainly pickup trucks, nicknamed utes in Australia – are down 5.6% to 16.512 and Heavy Commercial Vehicles down 9.7% to 2.276. FCAI Chief Executive Tony Weber says “the low February 2017 has to be put into context, [with February 2016 having] one extra selling day and seeing a lot of activity in the market that resulted in a 6.7 per cent surge over February 2015. Also to be kept in mind, heavy hailstorms damaging stocks in New South Wales and contributed for that state’s drop this month.

Kia sales are up 36.1% in February with the Cerato hitting an all-time high #11 spot. 

For once private sales outpace the market at -3% to 45.661 units (these include novated leases), with business sales down 11.5% to 33.939, rental sales down 23% to 4.013 and government sales down 8.5% to 3.126. Looking at the various States in the country, the three largest roughly follow the market : New South Wales (30.221) is down 7.4%, Victoria (24.917) down 7% and Queensland (17.474) down 6.6% while South Australia (5.354) is down 10.6%, Northern Territory (760) down 10.7% and Western Australia (7.526) down 13.7%. Only two States are up: the Australian Capital Territory (1.439) at +0.1% and Tasmania (1.334) up 1%. Looking into the origin of cars sold in Australia, Japan comes up first at 26.299 units, followed by Thailand (21.469) where most utes sold in Australia are manufactured, South Korea (12.832), Germany (7.171), USA (3.591), Australia (2.986) set to come to zero by the end of the year, England (2.904) and Hungary (119).

66 Maserati Levante found an Australian buyer in February. 

In the brands ranking, Toyota defies the surrounding gloom and posts a 0.7% year-on-year increase, even becoming the only brand gaining ground inside the Top 8. Year-to-date sales are up 0.8% to 28.862. Better still : the Japanese carmaker’s situation should improve further quite drastically over the next few months now that the compact SUV C-HR has hit Australian dealerships: it lands directly at #74 this month. Australia is one of th leading markets for SUVs and the C-HR falls right into the soft spot Australian consumers have for this type of vehicles, so expect a Top 10 ranking for Toyota’s newest nameplate sometime this year. Below Toyota, Mazda (-2.8%), Hyundai (-9.1%), Mitsubishi (-13.8%) gaining two spots to #4, Holden (-22%), Ford (-14.8%), Volkswagen (-6.2%) and Nissan (-26.1%) are in tow but all lose ground. Mercedes (+5.7%), Subaru (+5.9%), Renault (+22.9%) and Kia (+36.1%) are the biggest (and only) gainers in the Top 20. Jeep (-53.6%) and Peugeot (-47%) struggle, while among smaller brands Bentley (+87.5%), Maserati (+100%) and Infiniti (+138%) take off.

The MG6 Plus lands directly as #2 Chinese model in Australia. Picture caradvice.com.au

This month we welcome a “new” brand inside the Australian charts. MG, or Morris Garages, makes its grand return into Australia now under Chinese ownership: the brand now belongs to Shanghai Auto/SAIC. MG lands directly at #30 with 108 sales. Among Chinese manufacturers, this places MG below LDV (#28) but above Foton Light (#32), Haval (#35), Great Wall (#36) and Chery (#48). MG comes armed with three nameplates: MG6 Plus sedan (#145), MG3 hatch (#238) and GS SUV (#260). This is a great opportunity to take a more detailed look at Chinese models sales in Australia this month (see below).

Pos Pos Model Feb-17 % /16 2017 % /16 Pos Pos
1 122 LDV G10 135 0.2% 52% 250 0.1% 62% 1 127
2 145 MG6 Plus 90 0.1% new 90 0.1% new 3 174
3 152 Foton Tunland 77 0.1% 3% 135 0.1% -5% 2 159
4 184 LDV V80 35 0.0% -17% 58 0.0% -32% 4 192
5 191 Great Wall Steed 30 0.0% new 51 0.0% new 5 200
6 218 Haval H2 19 0.0% new 33 0.0% new 6 222
7 222 Haval H6 18 0.0% new 30 0.0% new 7 230
8 238 MG3 12 0.0% new 12 0.0% new 8 258
9 260 MG GS 6 0.0% new 6 0.0% new 9 271
10 268 Haval H8 3 0.0% new 6 0.0% new 10 269
11 273 Haval H9 3 0.0% new 3 0.0% new 11 282
12 295 Chery J11 1 0.0% 0% 1 0.0% 0% 12 302

Over in the models ranking, the Toyota Corolla reclaims the monthly lead off the Mazda3 with 3.392 sales vs. 3.143 but the Mazda remains #1 year-to-date for now at 6.616 units vs. 6.335 for the Corolla. Sliding in-betweem the two compact cars is the Toyota Hilux which ends the month only 6 units off the first place at 3.386. However the Hilux once again loses the lucrative 4×4 ute market to the Ford Ranger at 2.380 vs. 2.497. The Hyundai i30 (-19%) rounds up the Top 5, eagerly awaiting the arrival of the next generation. The Mitsubishi Triton is back up 10 spots on January to #6 in spite of diving 8% year-on-year, distancing a slew of three SUVs: the Mazda CX-5 keeping the lead despite the imminent arrival of a new model, the Toyota RAV4 (+14%) and Hyundai Tucson (-14%). The Holden Commodore (-33%) plunges to #10 while the Kia Cerato is up 65% year-on-year and two spots on last month to break its Australian ranking record at #11.

Like the Toyota C-HR, the Audi Q2 lands directly inside the Australian Top 100 in February. 

Among recent launches, the Ford Escape – replacing the Kuga – is up 36 ranks on January to #67, the Toyota C-HR lands at #74 as detailed above, the Kia Picanto is down 17 spots to #86, the Suzuki Baleno up 16 to a record-breaking #87 and the Suzuki Ignis up one to #89, also the nameplate’s personal best. Along with the Toyota C-HR, the Audi Q2 is the other all-new nameplate to land directly inside the Australia Top 100 at #91, and it’s no coincidence that it also belongs to the compact SUV segment, the one truly on fire here. Luxury SUVs are also one to watch: the Jaguar F-Pace remains at a very high level at #124, the Maserati Levante is up 10 spots to #159 and 66 sales and the Bentley Bentayga up 17 to #257.

Previous month: Australia January 2017: SUV sales only 800 units below passenger cars

One year ago (1): Australia February 2016: Mazda, Hilux and Ranger shine in record month

One year ago (2): Australia February 2016: Now with Top 285 All-models (BSCB Exclusive)

Full February 2017 Top 50 All-brands and Top XXX All-models below.


USA February 2017: SUVs above passenger cars again, market at -1.1%

Nissan Rogue sales are up 54% to #4 overall (picture caranddriver.com)

* See the Top 15 groups, Top 40 brands and Top 290 models by clicking on the title *

February sales in the U.S. are almost a duplicate of January: the market is down slightly at -1.1% to 1.333.637 registrations, meaning the year-to-date tally now stands at 2.477.186, down 1.4% after two months. Last month, SUV/crossover segment outsold passenger cars for the first time in history. In February, the same situation happens with SUV/crossovers registering a 9.3% spike to 540.042 units and +9.6% to 1.015.324 year-to-date whereas passenger cars as a whole continue to freefall at -12.1% to 502.300 and 929.896 so far in 2017. As it has now become the norm, light trucks (+6.9%) – including SUV, Crossovers and pickup trucks – account for over 60% of the market at 62.3% in February vs. 62.6 in January and 60.7% over the Full Year 2016 which was a record.

The Ford Escape is up 16% to #6 overall (picture caranddriver.com) 

Group-wise, General Motors is the only one in positive territory in the Top 4 at +4.2% to 237.388 units, while Ford Motor drops 4%, Toyota Motor is down 7.2% and FCA Fiat Chrysler Automobiles crashes 10.1% to 4th place. Nissan North America sales now include Mitsubishi and are up 5.7% to 146.664, a fair way above American Honda at 121.686 (+2.3%) while Hyundai-Kia closes the Top 7 as usual with 95.693 units (-6.9%). The Volkswagen Group signs the second largest year-on-year gain in market at 13.3% albeit off a very low base a year ago when its emission scandal and stop-sale orders hit deliveries full frontal. Daimler AG is up 6.8% but the BMW Group is down 2.5%. Jaguar Land Rover tops them all at +16.4%.

The Chrysler Pacifica is up to a best-ever 37th spot this month in the U.S. 

In the brands ranking, Ford dominates as usual but skids down 4.5% to 198.720 units whereas Chevrolet gains 3.4% to 164.095. GM’s strategy of less reliance on artificial sales such as fleet deliveries seems to slowly be paying off. Toyota (-1.9%), Nissan (+1.2%) and Honda (4.3%) follow while Volkswagen (+12.7%), GMC (+17.2%) and Audi (+17.3%) post the strongest year-on-year gains in the Top 20. On the other hand, Kia (-14.2%), Jeep (-14.7%), Lexus (-20.6%) and Chrysler (-28.1%) deliver that largest losses. Among smaller brands, Infiniti (+32.5%), Mitsubishi (+38.8%), Tesla (+43.7%), Maserati (+49.3%), Jaguar (+130.4%), Alfa Romeo (+843%) make themselves noticed.

Three Ford GT found a buyer in the U.S. this month.

Model-wise, the Top 6 best-sellers are all in positive territory  in another case of market concentration on the tried and tested nameplates available. The Ford F-Series gains 9% to 65.956 units, the Chevrolet Silverado surges 17% to 50.504 and the Ram Pickup is up 5% to 39.046 to make the podium 100 pickup truck as it has oe become the routine. It’s outside the podium that things are getting very interesting indeed. The Nissan Rogue posts another out-of-this-world 54% surge to rank 4th overall and #1 SUV in the country It is followed closely by the Honda CR-V (+26%) and Ford Escape (+16%) meaning the Top 6 is 100% light trucks. The Toyota Camry (-15%), Corolla (-11%), Honda Civic (-2%) and Nissan Altima (-6%) follow in order for passenger cars to save face and place four in the Top 10 but they are all in negative. The Toyota RAV4 (+3%) has let itself distanced by the three aforementioned SUVs at #11 overall.

The Hyundai Ioniq makes its first appearance in the U.S. sales charts in February. 

Among recent launches (<12 months), the Chrysler Pacifica continues to climb up the U.S. charts now that the Town & Country has all but disappeared from the ranking: up another 13 spots to a best-ever #37. The Pacifica is one of only two recent launches inside the Top 10 along with the Cadillac XT5 down one spot on January to #83. Below, we find the Honda Ridgeline at #104 (+5), the Buick Envision at #105 (+12) and the Infiniti QX30 at #124 (+49). Launched last month, the Kia Niro goes from 42 sales in January to 2.143 now, allowing it a spoy inside the Top 150 (#133). The Chevrolet Bolt for its part is down 18 ranks to #190 but the Alfa Romeo Giulia is up 36 to #216. In February we welcome the Ford GT at #280 and the Hyundai Ioniq at #284.

Previous month: USA January 2017: SUVs outsell passenger cars in market down 1.7%

One year ago: USA February 2016: Market up 7% to best February in 15 years

Full February 2017 Top 15 groups, Top 40 brands and Top 290 models below.


Media post: Buying A Used Car Online Safely

Buying a car online comes with certain risks and often we write it off as a bad idea. But like everything else within the car industry, there are pros and cons attached.  Surprisingly buying a used car online is more common than you may think, thanks to websites like eBay and Gumtree.

However, it is important to protect yourself and take extra caution as you won’t have the same sort of customer services, rights or protection offered buying privately that you would get when buying from a registered dealer. On the plus side, there are serious bargains to be had on eBay motors and it is definitely worth taking a look when the time comes to buying a new (used) car.

Read on for some helpful guidelines to follow when buying a car online that will help keep you safe from being conned and ensure you don’t end up with a written off banger.

First of all, when it comes to using eBay always check the seller’s feedback. This will give you a general idea of the type of person the seller is and if you see anything suspicious it is best to avoid this person (plenty more sellers online).

Always examine the photos and descriptions in depth for any discrepancies and ask the seller as many questions as possible. This will also give you a good indication of what type of person you are dealing with and if they are not forthcoming with answers this should raise red flags.

When you do find a car online that suits your needs and budget, always purchase a full car history check. For the sake of a few quid, this will save you a lot of trouble in the long run. Purchasing a car history check will tell you: the car’s legal status (if it’s ever been written off or if there is outstanding finance on it), MOT history, mileage and the running costs of the car.

If you do buy a car that has finance on it, that car will belong to the finance company and you will run the risk of it being repossessed.

If you are satisfied with the background check ask to view and test drive the car. Never exchange money for a car that you haven’t viewed! If the car isn’t as described you are under no obligation to go through with the purchase.

When it comes to test driving the car, remember don’t test drive a warm car as the seller may be trying to cover up a fault. Take someone with you when test driving to help you look out for any faults with the car such as strange noises when driving etc.

Japan February 2017: Toyota Prius leads, C-HR climbs onto podium

The Toyota C-HR is the third best-selling car in Japan in February. 

* See the Top 55 All-brands, Top 30 regular cars and Top 33 kei cars by clicking on the title *

The Japanese new vehicle market has started 2017 in a very healthy way: up another 7.4% in February to 484.725 registrations which leads to a year-to-date tally up 6.3% to 886.375. Boosted by the tremendous success of the C-HR (see further down), Toyota takes off at +29.2% to 147.739 units and 30.5% share, while below Honda (-3.3%) and Nissan (+4.4%) fail to match the market growth. Suzuki is up 10.3% thanks to a new Wagon R as detailed further down, Subaru is up 10.2% thanks to the success of the new Impreza and Isuzu is up 15.7%.

Abarth sales are up 51.2% year-on-year in Japan in February. 

Mercedes (+0.6%) remains the most popular foreign brand at #11 ahead of Volkswagen (+2.2%), BMW (+5.1%), Audi (+1%) and Mini (+10.7%). The largest year-on-year gainers in market this month include Land Rover (+12.1%), Jaguar (+19.7%), Citroen (+23.9%), Porsche (+27.4%), Renault (+33.3%), Maserati (+45.3%) and Abarth (+51.2%) thanks to the new 124 Spider pictured above.

The Toyota Roomy confirms it is a blockbuster at home (#11). 

After dropping to a paltry third place in January, the Toyota Prius is back on top of the Japanese regular car sales charts in February in spite of dropping 16% year-on-year to 15.958. The Nissan Note lurks not far behind at 14.850 (+52%) and holds onto the year-to-date pole position at 28.972 vs. 25.841 for the Prius. But the big news this month is the arrival of the Toyota C-HR onto its home podium for its second full month in market thanks to a stunning 12.985 sales. This is to be compared with the 6.293 sales of its direct rival the Honda Vezel all the while the Mazda CX-3, #24 a year ago in February 2016, has now disappeared from the monthly Top 30 best-sellers. The prospect of the C-HR taking the lead of the Japanese market within a matter of month is now possible.

The Mazda CX-5 is back among Japan’s 30 best-sellers thanks to its facelift.

Below, the Toyota Aqua regains three spots on January to #4 but loses 19%, distancing a series of five nameplates all posting double-digit gains: the Nissan Serena (+67%), Honda Freed (+214%), Toyota Sienta (+22%), Toyota Vitz (+53%) and Voxy (+10%). The Toyota Roomy (#11) and Tank (#15) confirm their blockbuster status. Great performers outside the Top 10 include the Subaru Impreza (+58%), Toyota Harrier (+78%), Vellfire (+70%), Passo (+46%), Suzuki Swift (+109%) and Toyota Alphard (+42%). The Mazda CX-5 returns to the Top 30 after almost a year of absence thank to its facelift now hitting Japanese dealerships.

The Honda N-BOX is the best-selling vehicle in Japan in February. 

In the kei car ranking, the Honda N-BOX gains 9% to cement its donation, and with 19.429 sales this month the N-BOX is in effect the best-selling vehicle in the country. The Nissan Dayz drops 2% year-on-year but gains two spots on January to #2, distancing the Daihatsu Tanto (-16%). The Suzuki Wagon R surges 63% year-on-year to 12.585 sales and 8 ranks on last month to #4 thanks to an entirely new lineup launched this month (pictured below). Just below the Wagon R, the Daihatsu Move (+40%) and Suzuki Spacia (+45%) deliver the 2nd and 3rd largest year-on-year gains in the entire kei car market. Notice finally the Subaru Chiffon nudging up one spot to #18.

The all-new Suzuki Wagon R lineup

Previous post: Japan Full Year 2016: Now with exclusive Top 170 All-local models

Previous month: Japan January 2017: Nissan Note leads, Toyota C-HR up to #4

One year ago: Japan February 2016: Toyota Prius stays put in market down 6%

Full February 2017 Top 55 All-brands, Top 30 regular cars and Top 33 kei cars below.


Canada February 2017: New light vehicle sales do not weaken at +3.2%

Honda Civic sales are up 37% thanks to the new hatch variant… 

* See the Top 15 groups, Top 35 brands and Top 265 models by clicking on the title *

After a 2.3% year-on-year gain in January, the Canadian new car market confirms it may be on the way to a fifth consecutive annual record with February deliveries up another 3.2% in February to 123.294, a record for the month. This brings the year-to-date total after two month to a record-breaking 234.496 units, up 2.8% on the same period in 2016. For the second month running, FCA Fiat Chrysler Automobiles takes the groups lead but fails to match the market with a slim 1.5% year-on-year increase to 19.115 sales, followed by Ford Motor Co. up 3.1% to 18.965 and General Motors up 5.1% to 16.528. Toyota Motor (-6.2%) and Hyundai-Kia (-11.2%) disappoint but the rest of the groups ranking is entirely in positive territory, with Jaguar-Land Rover (+14.2%), Daimler AG (+16.6%) and Honda Motor (+21.2%) in particularly great shape.

…as do Toyota Corolla sales now including the iM hatch (Scion model pictured). Picture caranddriver.com 

Brand-wise, Ford remains comfortably in the lead, outpacing the market at +2.9% to 18.427 sales, with the Top 7 best-sellers unchanged on February. Chevrolet (-1.5%), Toyota (-6.5%) and Hyundai (-12.7%) are in difficulty whereas Nissan (+6.5%), Mazda (+15%) and Dodge (+26%) frankly outsmart the market. Outside the Top 10, note Jeep trundling down 21.3% to #11, Subaru up 16.6%, Mercedes up 22.5%, Lexus up 22.9%, Audi up 27.8%, Buick up 55.3% – lifted by the Encore and Envision crossovers, Jaguar up 238.3% and Maserati up 429.2%.

The Levante boosts Canadian Maserati sales up 429% in February.

Following the same trend as Mexico this month, the models ranking concentrates on the tried and tested best-sellers, a common reaction in the current uncertain times – both politically and economically – brought by the Donald Trump election. The Top 7 best-sellers all outpace the market, with the Ford F-Series and Ram Pickup both gaining 3% at the top. The Honda Civic is boosted up 37% by the arrival of the hatchback variant while similarly, the Toyota Corolla (+36%) now benefits from additional sales of the iM hatchback previously known as Scion iM.

The Alfa Romeo Giulia makes its first appearance in the Canadian charts this month.

The GMC Sierra ranks 5th at +6%, distancing the Dodge Grand Caravan (+30%) and Honda CR-V (+19%), best-selling SUV above the Toyota RAV4 (-4%) and Nissan Rogue (+41%). Among recent launches (<12 months), the Chrysler Pacifica is up 54 spots on January to break its ranking record at #62 (previous best: #84 last October) and the Cadillac XT5 is up 8 ranks to #78, also the nameplate’s ranking record (pb: #82 last December). These are the only two newcomers in the Canadian Top 100 this month. Finally, we welcome three new nameplates into the Canadian charts this month: the Volvo V90 at #243, the Alfa Romeo Giulia at #257 and the Kia Niro at #259.

Full February 2017 Top 15 groups, Top 35 brands and Top 265 models below.


Mexico February 2017: Kia breaks into Top 5, market up 6.5%

First Top 5 ranking for Kia in Mexico, the Sportage is up to a record 15th spot.

* See the Top 40 All-brands and Top 220 All-models by clicking on the title *

After slowing down to just +3% in January, the Mexican new car market steps up again in February at +6.5% to 117.985 registrations, lifting the year-to-date tally up 4.7% to a record 241.254 units after two months. February figures establish a new record for the month, and Mexico has now posted year-on-year gains for 34 consecutive month and monthly records for the 26th time in a row. The deceleration of the market isn’t to be disputed though: January and February mark two consecutive months of single digits year-on-year gains, a feat that had not occurred in almost three years: since May (+0.8%) and June (+0.5%) 2014. Market leader Nissan follows the market at +5% to 29.907 deliveries ad 25.3% share, ahead of Chevrolet at 15.7% (+8%) and Volkswagen at 13.3% (-2%) thus making the Mexican podium identical to both FY2016 and YTD2017 rankings.

The Nissan Versa remains the best-selling nameplate in Mexico.

Toyota soars 16% to return to the 4th place it held in 2016, but once again the best performer atop the Mexican market is recent newcomer and local producer Kia: more than doubling its sales year-on-year (+104%), the Korean marque establishes a new market share record at 5.4% but most impressively breaks into the Mexican brands Tpp 5 for the very first time, distancing Ford (-12%), Honda (-2%) and Mazda (-8%). Sister brand Hyundai is also in great shape at +44%, ahead of Dodge (+23%) and Ram (+20%). Further down, biggest gainers include Volvo (+18%), Mercedes (+27%) and Fiat (+51%) whereas at the other end of the stick Chrysler (-24%), Jeep (-42%), Isuzu (-44% and Land Rover (-61%) struggle.

The Chevrolet Spark is up 39% to third position in February. 

Model-wise, like in January Nissan manages a 1-2, placing the Versa in pole position at 6.776 sales (+5%) and the Pickup in 2nd place at 6.363 (+33%). The Chevrolet Spark leaps up two spots on last month to land on the podium thanks to deliveries up a fantastic 39% to 6.246 thanks to the new model. In fact, the entire Top 6 best-selles list double-digit gains this month, indicating a slight concentration of the market around ‘tried and tested’ nameplates. The Chevrolet Aveo surges 59% to 4th place, the VW Vento is up 12% at #5 and the Nissan March up 24% to #6/ The Nissan Sentra (+15%) and VW Gol (+13%) also shine inside the Top 10 while the discontinued Nissan Tsuru logically sinks 28% at #9. Just outside the Top 10, the Ford Figo gains 113% to 2.087 units while the Nissan Kicks signs its 2nd month among Mexico’s 20 best-sellers at #20, the previous occurrence being last November (#19).

The Renault Captur finally reaches Mexican shores. 

Now looking at Kia’s stellar performance in the detail. This month, the brand’s best-seller in the Sportage up 45% year-on-year to 1.753 sales and 14 spots on January to a record-breaking 15th place – previous best was #16 in July 2016. As a reminder, the Sportage ranked at #19 over the Full Year 2016. Just below the Sportage, the Kia Forte is up 122% to 1.744 deliveries and four ranks on last month to #16, also breaking its ranking record – previous best was #20 last month. 100% of Kia Forte sold in January are made in Mexico. The Kia Rio is the brand’s third best-seller this month, up a gigantic 244% to 1.178 sales at #26. This month marks the start of local Mexican output for the Rio with 746 sales or 63.3% of its total produced locally. Finally, we welcome the Renault Captur at #140 and the Jaguar F-Pace at #215.


Previous month: Mexico January 2017: Nissan Versa and Pickup top market up just 3%

One year ago: Mexico February 2016: Nissan Versa sails off in market up 13.5%

Full February 2017 Top 40 All-brands and Top 220 All-models below.

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