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Kazakhstan February 2015: Lada Granta & Hyundai Accent on top

March 30th, 2015 No comments

Lada Granta Kazakhstan February 2015The Lada Granta cements its newly acquired leadership of the Kazakh market.

* See the Top 40 All-brands and Top 189 All-models by clicking on the title *

I give you the rankings for now, complete analysis will follow shortly.

Previous month: Kazakhstan January 2015: Podium 100% Lada

One year ago: Kazakhstan February 2014: Complete change of guard atop the ranking!

Full February 2015 Top 40 All-brands and Top 189 All-models below.

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Categories: Kazakhstan

New Caledonia (France) February 2015: Ford Ranger + Fiesta on top

March 30th, 2015 No comments

Ford Fiesta New Caledonia February 2015. Picture courtesy of largus.frFord Fiesta

* See the Top 35 best-selling models and Top 30 All-brands by clicking on the title *

After dropping by a harsh 28% in January, new car sales in New Caledonia, a French overseas territory located North-East of Australia, stabilise in February: down just 3% to 747 registrations which brings the year-to-date total to 1,369 units, down 15% on 2014. Ford remains ultra-dominant with 15.2% share, even placing two models in the Top 2 positions: the Ranger at 8.9% and Fiesta at 5.3%. Peugeot (9.6%) and Toyota (9%) pass Dacia, still very strong at 7.7% above Kia, Renault (both at 6.9%) and Suzuki up 7 spots to #7 and 6.1%. Model-wise, let’s salute the Hyundai ix35 back up 9 spots to #6, the Renault Clio up 26 to #9, Suzuki Swift up 12 to #10 and the Suzuki Grand Vitara making a reappearance in the ranking directly at #11.

Previous month: New Caledonia (France) January 2015: Dacia bypasses Renault, Peugeot and Citroen to #2

One year ago: New Caledonia (France) February 2014: Dacia Duster up to #2

Full February 2015 Top 35 models and Top 30 All-brands below.

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France 1 to 16 March 2015: Renault Mégane back in shape

March 29th, 2015 No comments

Renault Mégane vs Peugeot 308 France March 2015. Picture courtesy largus.frBoth the Renault Mégane and Peugeot 308 are inside the French Top 8 so far.

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

Is this good news? The French new car market is up by an extremely shy 0.2% year-on-year in March after 16 days. Positive territory, granted, but on a slow base in 2014. Peugeot keeps the lead of the brands ranking for now despite sales down 3%, with Renault (+13%) and Citroen (+4%) behind. Toyota and Ford, both up 14%, also shine in the Top 10. Model-wise, the Renault Clio IV already holds its traditional top spot despite Renault always backloading its monthly sales and thanks to deliveries up a fantastic 38% year-on-year, the Peugeot 308 is up 36% to #3, the Renault Captur up 14% to #7 and the Renault Mégane is back in shape at #8 and +35%.

Previous post: France 1-9 March 2015: Nissan Qashqai in Top 10

Previous month: France February 2015: Renault Twingo III breaks into Top 5

One year ago: France 1-19 March 2014: Peugeot 308 holds onto podium spot

Full 1-16 March 2015 Top 10 models and brands below.

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Categories: France

Media post: America needs more truck drivers

March 29th, 2015 No comments

Truck Driver. Picture courtesy pixgood.com

The U.S. economy is back to its very dynamic self with the 2009 recession now a definite thing of the past. Along with economic growth comes rising consumer demand and housing and as a result trucking companies are starting to struggle to find drivers to bring goods to market. According to industry lobby group the American Trucking Associations (ATA), the industry is short about 35,000 truck drivers, and this shortfall could grow to around 240,000 drivers by 2020 if it is not addressed – a very significant and daunting number. The over 1 million of trucking jobs currently listed on employment sites attest to the challenges of attracting and retaining drivers for long-haul trucking companies.

Shortages of truck drivers often occur when the economy accelerates because some drivers opt for construction and factory work that don’t require living on the road. But this time it’s different, as the current shortfall is also triggered by regulatory and demographic changes. 2013 federal regulations have limited the hours truckers can drive, and a government system tracking driver records since December 2010 has deterred drivers with checkered safety records. Also, the average truck driver is now 55, more drivers are retiring and not enough younger workers are signing up.

Higher wages can fix the problem. According to ACT Research, in 1980 the average trucker earned four times the wage of a food service worker. But the $40,940 the average truck driver makes today is just 1.8 times that of food service workers. “You’re paying someone not very much to live in a box in a parking lot,” Kenny Vieth, president of ACT Research said. “This isn’t a truck driver shortage, it’s a truck driver pay shortage.” Trucking companies are starting to cover the up to $7,000 cost of obtaining a license for drivers who commit to driving for a fixed period, others offer signing bonuses, ranking from $500 to $12,000, depending on geography. Bonuses are higher in energy states like Texas or Pennsylvania, where competition for drivers is intense. Bob Costello, the American Trucking Associations’ chief economist, said recent pay increases across the industry have averaged 10 to 15%. But he expects pay to keep rising.

Parts of this article were first published on Reuters.

Categories: Uncategorized

World Full Year 2014: Total sales data now available for 144 countries

March 26th, 2015 No comments

Tehran IranIran is the best performing market in the Top 50 this year. Photo © Ricardo Fernandez

* See the Top 50 biggest car markets in the world by clicking on the title! *

Thanks to the International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers (OICA), I can share with you the overall Full Year 2014 sales figures for 144 countries/markets in the world. Below the jump you will find the Top 50 biggest markets in the world, however please note – as it was the case last year – this ranking classifies countries based on their overall vehicle sales. That’s Passenger Cars and Commercial Vehicles, including Light, Medium and Heavy ones, putting all countries on a level-playing field, as some countries traditionally report monthly PC car sales only and other overall sales. The files released by the OICA (and linked to below) also feature Passenger Cars only and Commercial Vehicles only figures so you can see the split.

Beijing ChinaChina hits 23.5 million units in 2014, an all-time record for any single country.

For the 5th consecutive year, worldwide new vehicle sales hit an all-time record: up 3.2% on 2013 to 88.164.642 units. Previous all-time bests were 75.06 million (in 2010), 78.20 million (2011), 82.20 million (2012) and 85.47 million (2013), keeping worldwide sales on track to hit 90 million in 2015 and 100 million in 2017 potentially. Already the dominant region in the world, Asia/Oceania/Middle East is getting closer to accounting for half of worldwide new vehicle sales thanks to sales are up 5.1% to reach 42.65 million or 48% of the worldwide marketplace. Africa is the 2nd most dynamic region with sales up 3.3% to 1.56 million, America is up 1.8% to 25.48 million (NAFTA up 6.1% contrasting Central & South America down a harsh 11.1%), and finally Europe is up just 0.8% to 18.48 million, the region’s first year of growth since 2011.

London UKThe UK is the fastest-growing market in the Top 10. Photo © Matthew Roberts

Looking into the ranking by country, China continues to reign supreme, exploring new heights for any single market in the history of automobile: thanks to sales up 7% (still a very dynamic growth rate despite a lot of pessimistic analysts), China hits 23.5 million units and is still on track to reach 25 million this year. The USA impress with +6% to 16.8 million units and should in all likelihood get back above 17 million units for the first time since 2006 this year. Japan increases by 3% in third place (5.56 million) but Brazil (-7%), India (-2%) and most strikingly Russia (-15%) all lose ground in the Top 10. The UK continues to show insolent health: it is the fastest-growing market in the Top 10 in 2014 at +10% to 2.84 million units.

Halong Bay VietnamVietnam new vehicle sales are up a fantastic 38% in 2014. Photo © Badz Manaois

Rounding up the Top 10 is Canada with a record 1.89 million units, but the most significant breakout in 2014 is the return to shape of Iran: back up a spectacular 60% year-on-year to 1.29 million sales at #13 vs. 0.8 million and #20 in 2013. The record to beat for Iran is 1.69 million units in 2011. Other notable improvements – following the ranking order – include South Korea (+12%), Spain (+20%), Saudi Arabia (+10% to a record 833,711 sales), Egypt (+18%), Philippines (+27%), Czech Republic (+16%), Portugal (+36%) and Vietnam (+38%). At the other end of the scale, a few countries fall flat in 2014: the hardest hit at the top is Ukraine (-55%) leaving the Top 50, followed by Argentina (-36%) and Thailand (-33%).

Previous year (All data): World Full Year 2013: Total sales now available for 143 countries

Previous year (Top 20): World Full Year 2013 – The 20 biggest cars markets

Full Year 2014 Top 50 biggest car markets and data for 144 countries below.

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Categories: World

Hungary Full Year 2014: Octavia #1, Opel Mokka at world best

March 24th, 2015 No comments

Opel Mokka Hungary 2014. Picture courtesy of autobild.deOpel Mokka

* NOW UPDATED with the Top 200 best-selling models – Click on title to see *

The Hungarian new light vehicle market is up a robust 23% year-on-year in 2014 to 83,413 registrations including LCVs. Ford dominates with 13% share above Opel at 12.2% and Volkswagen at 8.5% and the Skoda Octavia is the most successful nameplate in the country for the 2nd year running with just under 4,000 deliveries, followed by the Ford Focus like in 2013 while the Opel Astra is back on the podium thanks to sales up 36%, knocking the Dacia Duster down to #4.

Suzuki SX4 S-Cross Hungary 2014. Picture courtesy of largus.frSuzuki SX4 S-Cross

The Opel Corsa is up 55% to #6, the Skoda Rapid up 76% to #8, the Opel Mokka breaks into the annual Top 10 of its first country in the world thanks to 1,259 sales, excellent start of the Suzuki SX4 S-Cross at #11 with 1,197 deliveries and the Ford Mondeo is reborn: up 47% to #13. Now that Light Commercial Vehicles are included in the models ranking we welcome the Fiat Ducato at #8, the Ford Ranger at #18 and the Ford Transit at #19.

Previous month: Hungary November 2014: Fiat 500 on podium

One year ago: Hungary Full Year 2013: Skoda Octavia reclaims top spot

Two years ago: Hungary Full Year 2012: Previous gen Opel Astra new #1

Full Year 2014 Top 5 brands and Top 200 models Ranking Tables below.

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Categories: Hungary

Ukraine Full Year 2014: Toyota and Geely on top, market down 54%

March 24th, 2015 1 comment

 

Geely Emgrand EC7 Ukraine 2014The Geely Emgrand 7 misses out on the models #1 spot for 207 sales.

* NOW UPDATED with the Top 389 All-models ranking – Click on title to see *

Impacted full-frontal by the Crimea crisis, Ukrainian new car sales plunge 54% year-on-year in 2014 to just 97,020 registrations. In a turbulent year, the brands ranking is turned on its head, with the Top 4 most popular in reverse order compared to 2013. Toyota is the main beneficiary in 2014, up 3 spots to top all brands sold in Ukraine thanks to sales down ‘just’ 33% to 10,296 for a 10.6% market share vs. 7.2% a year ago. Chinese manufacturer Geely is going from strength to strength in Ukraine, up to a fantastic (and world-best) 2nd place overall in 2014 with 9,365 units sold and 9.7% share vs. 7.7% in 2013. Local carmaker ZAZ (-55%) rounds up the podium above Hyundai (-69%), Volkswagen (-58%) and Renault (-54%).

Toyota Corolla Ukraine 2014. Picture courtesy autocentre.uaToyota is the most popular carmaker in Ukraine in 2014.

A handful of other marques frankly outperform the market ithis year, led by Mazda (-7%), Daewoo (-22%), Subaru (-22%), Suzuki (-24%), Audi (-35%) and BMW (-37%). Reversely, others fall flat: Fiat (-64%), Chevrolet (-68%), BYD (-68%), Kia (-71%), Lada (-72%) and Opel (-84%). In addition to Geely, there are 7 Chinese manufacturers inside Ukraine’s Top 40 this year: Chery (#26), Great Wall (#30), BYD (#31), MG (#32), JAC (#33), Lifan (#38), and FAW (#40). Notice also Iranians Saipa at #44 and Iran-Khodro at #53.

ZAZ Sens Ukraine 2014. Picture courtesy of zr.ruThe ZAZ Sens remains the best-selling nameplate in Ukraine this year, but just.

Model-wise, the locally-produced ZAZ Sens tops the charts for the second year running, following the market closely at -56%, but the hero of the year is without a doubt the Geely Emgrand 7, up 7 spots on 2013 to a fantastic 2nd place with 3% market share, even holding the overall pole position up until October… Other great performers this year include the Renault Logan up two ranks to #3, the Geely MK is up 20 to #5, the Toyota Corolla up 10 to #7 and the Toyota RAV4 up 11 to #9.

Previous year: Ukraine 2013: ZAZ Sens new leader, Geely CK up to #3

Two years ago: Ukraine 2012: Skoda Octavia and Kia Rio shine

Full Year 2014 Top 60 All-brands and Top 389 All-models vs. 2013 figures below.

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Categories: Ukraine

Europe February 2015: VW Passat at highest in 3 years

March 22nd, 2015 No comments

VW Passat Europe February 2015. Picture courtesy autobild.deThe VW Passat hits its highest European ranking since August 2012.

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

For the second month in a row, the recovery in European new car sales is stronger than expected with a 8% year-on-year surge in February to 956,419 registrations, pushing the year-to-date total up to 1.985.713 units, up 7% on 2014. Volkswagen does even better than the market with sales up 12% on a year ago to 118,781 units and 12.4% share, with other Top 10 manufacturer delivering 10%+ gains being Renault in 2nd place with 69,617 sales (+15%), BMW at #8 and 48,278 units (+15%) and Mercedes at #9 with 45,087 sales (+12%). In fact the entire Top 10 is in positive territory this month, demonstrating the return into shape of the market.

Renault Volkswagen BMW Europe February 2015. Picture courtesy autoevolution.comRenault, Volkswagen and BMW are among the biggest gainers in Europe this month.

In the models ranking, Volkswagen monopolises the Top 2 for the second straight month and the 4th time in the past 5 months with the Golf (+6%) and Polo (+7%) in the lead. The Peugeot 208 is up 3 spots to break back into the monthly Top 5 for the first time in a year at #5, the Skoda Octavia (+12%), Nissan Qashqai (+20%) and Audi A3 (+11%) post very dynamic performances due to their recent renewals, but the hero of the month is without a doubt the VW Passat, up to its highest ranking since August 2012 in 8th position thanks to sales up 64% year-on-year to 15,711 units.

Previous post: Europe January 2015: Now with Top 335 All-models and All-brands

Previous month: Europe January 2014: Now with Top 334 All-models and All-brands

One year ago (models): Europe February 2014: Skoda Octavia up 39%, Fiat Panda in Top 10

One year ago (brands): Europe February 2014: Renault and Peugeot on podium

Full February 2015 Top 10 models and brands below.

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Categories: Europe

France 1-9 March 2015: Nissan Qashqai in Top 10

March 22nd, 2015 No comments

Nissan Qashqai France March 2015. Picture courtesy of largus.frThe Nissan Qashqai is up to #9 in France so far in March.

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

March is traditionally the second biggest month for new car sales in France below June, so it is a critical time to shine for car manufacturers. Renault, traditionally backloading its sales across the month, comes third after 9 days into March with sales up an impressive 16% below Peugeot (-1%) and Citroen (+7%). Note French carmakers have been particularly helped by sales to rental companies, accounting for 22% of Renault totals so far this month and 26% at Peugeot… Toyota (+17%), BMW (+19%) and Ford (+8%) impress, whereas Dacia is down a harsh 35% year-on-year to #7 with 1,388 sales.

BMW X3 France March 2015. Picture courtesy autobild.deFrench BMW sales are up 19% year-on-year so far this month, earning it a #9 spot.

Model-wise, the Peugeot 208 temporarily holds the pole position but is down 20% on the same period a year ago whereas the Peugeot 308 is up 37% to #2 and the Renault Clio up an even more impressive (and surprising given the model’s career stage) 41% to 1,455 units. Notice also the solid performances of the Citroen C4 Picasso at #5 (+14%), Peugeot 2008 at #6 (+13%) and Renault Captur at #10 (+31%). Finally, March seems to be the Nissan Qashqai’s favourite month in France: in 2013 it broke into the Top 10 for the first time over a full month and over the same period last year it made its reappearance among the country’s 10 most popular nameplates. It does so again in 2015 at #9 with sales up 14% to 720 units in 9 days.

Previous post: France February 2015: Renault Twingo III breaks into Top 5

One year ago: France 1-12 March 2014: Peugeot 308 up to #2, Nissan Qashqai in Top 10

Full 1-9 March 2015 Top 10 brands and models below.

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Categories: France

China February 2015: Focus on the all-new models

March 20th, 2015 No comments

MG GS China February 2015The MG GS Rui Teng is one of the best Chinese designs so far.

* See the Top 350 All-local models by clicking on the title. Pricing info from Carnewschina *

As is the tradition on BSCB, we first explore the monthly Chinese ranking, then detail the all-new models that make their entrance in the biggest car market in the world, in other words models that have kick-started local production as imports data is still a very well-kept secret in China. If you though the Chinese market was panting in 2015, think again. In February 2014, only one new entrant (the Qoros 3) hit the sales charts, this year they are 6, also up from 4 in January. Once again the new entrant illustrate perfectly the current trends at play in the Chinese market: none is a passenger car, 4 are SUVs, 2 MPVs and 5 out of 6 are Chinese. Only disappointment: all the new nameplates hitting the sales charts in February do so with less than 1,000 sales and beyond the 200th position – for now.

Lifan Lotto China February 2015. Picture courtesy auto.sohu.com

1. Lifan Lotto (#221 with 848 sales)

There is still room in the Chinese market for Wuling Hongguang lookalikes: after Chery resuscitated the Karry brand last month for the K50, Lifan now has its own low-cost MPV: the Lotto. Price goes from 39.800 to 50.800 (US$6.400-8.200), thus clearly undercutting the Hongguang priced at 44.800-60.800 yuan ($7.200-9.700). One of the main reasons behind the tremendous success of the Wuling brand has been its cut-throat pricing, and the Lotto is rather lonely with its price positioning below ground level. Lifan goes against the overall trend upsizing from microvans (Wuling Sunshine) to low-cost MPVs (Hongguang) to more refined low-cost MPVs (Hongguang S), but this could also be a sign that the MPV growth is about to stop: there are now 38 nameplates in this segment and sales are up by ‘just’ 17% so far in 2015 vs. +47% over FY2014. Pricing the Lotto below the Hongguang may be the only way Lifan can hope to gather some momentum with this late entry into the segment. Plus Lifan has been struggling at home lately, at least up until this year with the arrival of the X50 SUV (#136), one of only 3 reps inside the February Top 200 with the X60 (#94) and 720 (#172).

Bar for success: #150 or 3,000 monthly sales

Beijing Auto Huansu H2 China February 2015

2. Beijing Auto Huansu H2 (#248 with 456 units)

Beijing Auto could learn a lesson or two from the likes of Geely, Great Wall or even Chery in terms of brand management: after launching the Beijing Auto Weiwang M20 18 months ago and the rebadge Changhe Freedom M50, a third carbon copy hits the ground this month: the Beijing Auto Huansu H2. Only difference: this time the price is a notch higher at 58.800-66.800 yuan (US$9.500-10.800), to be compared with 49.800-51.900 yuan (US$ 7.900-8.300) for the Freedom M50 and 46.800-53.800 ($7.500-8.600) for the Weiwang M20. The reason: the H2 is slightly more refined, and also 12cm longer. I’m giving the H2 an equivalent bar for success as I did to the Changhe Freedom M50 last month. The fact that it is the third iteration of the same model is compensated by the Huansu sub-brand having seen a lot of showroom traffic lately with the S3 SUV peaking at 16,414 sales last month and the S2 hitting 6,220 deliveries in December.

Bar for success: #125 or 4,000 monthly sales

Beijing Auto Senova X65 China February 2015. Picture courtesy auto.ifeng.com

3. Beijing Auto Senova X65 (#259 with 349 deliveries)

The X65 is the first SUV bearing the Senova sub-brand name from Beijing Auto. Its official launch was on March 21, so these are pre-sales to dealerships. The X65’s platform is derived on that of the Saab 9-3. BAIC, the mother company of Beijing Auto, bought the rights to the platforms for the Saab 9-3 and 9-5 from General Motors in 2009. The deal included the Saab-developed 2.0 turbo and 2.3 turbo engines, and we find the 2.0L turbo in the X65, an engine it also shares with the Senova D70. Its pricing is anticipated to hover between 120.000 and 160.000 yuan (US$19.400-25.800), pretty sharp for access to Saab-derived technology. The Senova brand, since its much-publicised Nicholas Cage-sponsored launch in May 2013, has been met with various fortunes depending on the nameplates: the original D70 culminated at #151 and 3,194 sales in December 2013 but has since fallen to beyond the 300th position (#315 in February) while the D50 has managed to regularly find its way into the monthly Top 100 over the past year, peaking at #81 last August and 8,000 sales last December. Can the Chinese market absorb yet another sporty-ish SUV? I say hell yes.

Bar for success: #125 or 4,000 monthly sales

ZX Auto GX3 China February 2015

4. ZX Auto GX3 (#278 with 219 sales)

Unveiled as a concept at the Guangzhou Motor Show last November, the ZX Auto GX3 has not lost any time hitting the country’s dealerships: it already appears in the sales ranking this month. The GX3 is a more up-market version of the C3 Urban Ark with the same 1.5L petrol engine delivering 104hp, and the 2nd inroad into the SUV market from this manufacturer known for its pickups – namely the Grand Tiger. The GX3 comes with trendy headlights, a new grille, a new bumper with LED lights, classy alloys, and an improved interior, with pricing at 63.800-69.800 yuan (US$10.300-11.300), just topping the most expensive C3. Given the C3 Urban Ark peaked at #150 and 2,549 sales during its 12 month-career, it is fair to expect at least the same sales level for this SUV looking a lot more expensive than it is. Whether the C3 or the GX3 will end up being the most popular will have a critical impact on the future direction of the brand in this segment: bare bones low-cost (C3) or trendy affordable (GX3)…

Bar for success: #150 or 2,500 monthly sales

Infiniti QX50 China February 2015. Picture courtesy auto.sohu.com

5. Infinti QX50 (#281 with 196 units)

This is not a new model per se, but it is a new entrant in the Chinese ranking because its local production has just kicked off, a few months after the Q50L. The Chinese model sits on a wheelbase extended by 8 cm and is powered by a 2.5L V6 engine mated to a 7AT. It is priced between 359.800-459.800 yuan (US$58.100-74.200). February sales are just 196 units, but given the Q50L has been stuck around the 220th place since its launch last November, there are no real reasons to believe this much older model can do a lot better for now.

Bar for success: #200 or 1,800 monthly sales

MG GS China February 2015b

6. MG GS Rui Teng (#287 with 161 deliveries)

The GS Rui Teng (Chinese for “vigorous rise”) is the very first SUV to be launched under the famous MG brand, now in the hands of Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC). Thanks to a deal between the two companies during the time SAIC owned a controlling stake in SsangYong Motor between 2004 and 2009, the GS is based on the third generation (2010) SsangYong Korando, it is priced between 135.000 and 190.000 yuan (US$21.500-30.300) and powered by a 2.0 turbocharged petrol four with a six-speed DCT. Officially launched on March 18, these February sales are to dealerships only, and expect the GS to climb up the ladder rather quickly. In fact, given the current craze for compact SUVs and given a very interesting design for a Chinese SUV, it could very well become the brand’s best-seller by far in a matter of months, a title held in February by the GT at a very achievable #185 and 1,469 sales. The GS could also unlock a few overseas markets as it has nothing to be ashamed of design-wise next to the über-successful Korean SUVs. An exciting – yet to be defined as vigorous – rise to follow indeed…

Bar for success: #175 or 2,500 monthly sales

Previous month: China January 2015: Focus on the all-new models

Previous China post: China February 2015: Ford Escort and VW Lamando impress

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Categories: China