South Korea June 2017: Hyundai Grandeur leads, Kia Stinger in Top 30

The Kia Stinger is inside the South Korean Top 30 for its 2nd month of sale at home. 

* See the Top 6 All-local brands and Top 57 All-local models by clicking on the title *

Sales of local models in South Korea are down a harsh 13% in June to 139.842 units, pulling the year-to-date total down 4% to 779.694. Market leader Hyundai follows the market with a 13% drop to 43.4% share, identical to its YTD level while sister brand Kia fares a little better with a 10% decline to 33.6%, 0.8 percentage points above its 2017 share. GM Korea (-37%) and Genesis (-60%) are the hardest hit while Renault Samsung also trails the market at -16%. Only Ssangyong is in positive with an 8% gain to 7.5% share thanks to the new G4 Rexton, reclaiming the YTD 4th spot off Renault Samsung.

In the models ranking, the Hyundai Grandeur cruises towards its 7th consecutive month in the lead, doubling its sales vs. the previous generation a year ago. Its year-to-date total is over 18.000 above the #2 and up 141%. It’s not very hard to predict which nameplate will win the 2017 race in South Korea. Below, the Hyundai Porter goes against the grain at +1% as does the Hyundai Sonata up 6% and now #3 year=to-date above the Hyundai Avante, freefalling 48% this month. In fact, the entire Top 5 is in positive territory in June with both the Kia Morning and Carnival gaining 11% year-on-year. Further down on the other hand, the ranking resembles a hunting board: the Hyundai Santa Fe (-50%), Tucson (-34%), Chevrolet Spark (-31%), Samsung SM6 (-47%) and Chevrolet Malibu (-54%) all but implode. Launched last month, the aggressive Kia Stinger is up 257% and 12 spots to break into the Top 30 at #29.

Previous month: South Korea May 2017: Ssangyong Rexton G4 and Kia Stinger land

One year ago: South Korea June 2016: Hyundai Avante up 76%, Kia Niro in Top 20

Full June 2017 Top 6 All-local brands and Top 56 All-local models rankings below.

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USA First Half 2017: Rogue, CR-V and RAV4 outsell Altima, Civic and Camry in crossover rush

The Nissan Rogue is up 30% to #4. 

* See the Top 15 groups, Top 40 brands and Top 310 models by clicking on the title *

Halfway through the year, the U.S. new light vehicle market shows a disappointing picture with sales down 2.1% on the same period in 2016 to 8.452.134 registrations, a drop of almost 185.000 units. If U.S. sales have clearly peaked, let’s keep in mind the comparison base is unusually harsh: 2016 marked a second consecutive record year and 7th consecutive year of growth, a pace that couldn’t be sustained forever. The thorn in the side of the U.S. market this year has more than ever been “classic” passenger cars, with the U.S. customer accelerating its migration towards light trucks, namely crossovers. Passenger cars are down a debilitating 11.4% over the First Half of 2017 to 3.224m units, with midsize cars down 14.2% to 1.42m, small cars down 9.8% to 1.35m and luxury cars down 6.3% to 0.453m. Reversely, light trucks gain 4.6% to 5.229m sales, with crossovers the engine of growth of the U.S. market at +8.6% to 2.516m, SUVs up 2.4% to .883m and pickups up 4.4% to 1.337m. A new element has reinforced the truck domination in the U.S. this year: the combined sales figure for SUVs and crossovers now outpaces passenger cars, up 7% to 3.398.585 vs. 3.223.549. This is a very symbolic overtaking as we’ll see further down this analysis.

The Honda CR-V is up 18% to #5. Picture caranddriver.com

Group-wise, the Detroit Three drop 4.1% to total 3.776m sales, with General Motors (#1) down 1.7%, Ford Motor (#2) down 3.8% and FCA (#4) down a harsh 7%. The “Japan There” resist better at -0.8% to 2.767m sales. Toyota Motor drops 3.6% and Honda Motor is down 0.1% but Nissan Motor manages to go against the grain with a 2.7% improvement to just under 820.000 sales. Hyundai-Kia suffers at -8.6% but Volkswagen Group (+9.1%) and Jaguar Land Rover (+18.6%) shine.

In the brands ranking, Ford remains comfortably in the lead despite a 4.2% decline while Toyota (+1.3%) steps away from Chevrolet (-3.8%) keeping in mind all ex-Scion models are now Toyota-branded. Nissan (+1%) and Honda (+0.7%) keep their head above the water, rounding out the Top 5. Just below, Jeep (-13.2%), Hyundai (-10.1%) and Kia (-9.9%) struggle while Subaru continues to march ahead at +9.1%, the largest year-on-year gain in the Top 20. Ram (+8%), Volkswagen (+8.2%), Buick (+5.9%) and Audi (+6.6%) also post solid gains. Outside the Top 20, notice Infiniti (+21.8%), Tesla (+42.7%), Jaguar (+88%), Maserati (+35.6%) and Alfa Romeo (+1152%) all posting spectacular gains.

The Toyota RAV4 is up 11% to #6. Picture caranddriver.com 

Over in the models ranking, the Ford F-Series sails off with a stunning 9% gain to just under 430.000 units in just six months. This is the second-highest H1 volume ever delivered by the F-Series, only a couple of thousand sales below the 432.939 hit over H1 2014 which ended up being the best year ever for the F-Series at 939.511 units. This means Ford’s best-selling pickup is in position to beat its all-time record this year, as it would only need a slightly higher H2 result to do so. Keep in mind though that the F-Series’ 2004 score was help by near-100.000 unit-months in both September and December… In 2nd place, the Chevrolet Silverado is in difficulty with a 4% drop to just under 263.000 units. It was outsold during three consecutive months (March to May) by the Ram Pickup, itself up 7% to a little over 250.000 sales.

The Ford F-Series posts its second highest ever H1 volume. Picture caranddriver.com

It’s just below that we witness the most symbolic changeover the U.S. market has witnessed in the past decade, no less. Now that all manufacturers have reorganised their factory allocation to quench the never-ending thirst for crossovers and SUVs of the American public, the inevitable has happened. All “Japan three” manufacturers have a crossover for best-seller, not a passenger car anymore. What is remarkable about this trend is that it has happened simultaneously for the three carmakers. Nissan replaces the Altima (-15%) by the Rogue, up an incredible 30% and 8 spots year-on-year to #4 overall. Honda replaces the Civic (-7%) by the CR-V up 18% and five ranks to #5 and Toyota replaces the Camry (-11%) by the RAV4 up 11% and three spots to #6. If you were still in doubt that crossovers were the engine of U.S. growth, here is your proof.

The Chevrolet Cruze is up 22%. Picture caranddriver.com

In the passenger car battle, the Toyota Camry is now feeling the heat from its smaller sibling the Toyota Corolla (-8%) now that the ex-Scion iM sales are added into the Corolla’s total as the Corolla iM. Good performers inside the Top 20 include the Chevrolet Equinox (+10%), the Jeep Grand Cherokee (+16%), Chevrolet Cruze (+21%) and Toyota Highlander (+22%). As far as recent launches are concerned, there are no all-new nameplates in the Top 130 but the Chrysler Pacifica (+440%) climbs up to #36, the Cadillac XT5 is up 313% to #81, the Nissan Titan up 301% to #95 and the Buick Envision up 15-fold to #100. The Kia Niro lands at #138, the Infiniti QX30 at #157, the Genesis G80 at #170, Chevrolet Bolt at #172, Lincoln Continental at #188 and the Toyota C-HR at #192.

Previous post: USA June 2017: Market down 3% for 6th consecutive month of decline

One year ago: USA First Half 2016: Is this the first soft landing in a decade?

Full H1 2017 Top 15 groups, Top 40 brands and Top 310 models vs. Full H1 2016 figures below.

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USA June 2017: Market down 3% for 6th consecutive month of decline

The Chevrolet Equinox shoots up 49% to #10, symbolising the U.S. rush to crossovers.

* See the Top 15 groups, Top 40 brands and Top 289 models by clicking on the title *

It’s a sixth consecutive month of decline for new light vehicle sales in the U.S. with 2017 yet to see a positive month. June is down 3% year-on-year to 1.474.041 units, pulling the year-to-date tally down 2.1% to 8.452.134. The weakness of passenger cars we’ve seen for the past couple of years accentuates this month with a harsh 13.2% decline to 540.590 units. In the detail, midsize cars are down 14.3% to 230.061, small cars down 15.9% to 228.289, luxury cars down 0.8% to 82.158 and large cars down 56.1% to just 82. The picture in the light truck segment is almost diametrically opposed: up 4.2% to 933.451 or a record 63.3% share. The SUV/Crossover combination continues to outsell passenger cars, something that never happened before this year, up 5.4% to 599.500. In the detail, crossovers are up 7% to 447.501, SUVs up 1% to 151.999 and pickups up 5.6% to 240.732.

The Atlas is already Volkswagen’s best-selling truck in the U.S. 

All Detroit Three carmakers lose more market share this month as they all drop faster than the market: General Motors reclaims the top spot but drops 4.7%, Ford Motor is down 5% and FCA down 7%. In contrast, the “Japan Three” all gain volume: Toyota Motor is up 2.1%, Nissan Motor up 2% and Honda Motor up 0.8%. Hyundai-Kia tumbles down 14.9% but the Volkswagen Group is up 10.1%.

Brand-wise, 6 in the Top 10 post declines, starting with market leader Ford down 5.4%, Chevrolet down 6.4%, Honda down 1.3%, Jeep down 11%, Kia down 10.3% and Hyundai down 21.7%. Toyota bucks the trend with a splendid 7% gain, Nissan is up 1.2%, Subaru posting the largest gain in the Top 10 at +11.7% and Ram up 6%. Further down, notice Volkswagen up 15%, Buick up 16.4%, Acura up 23.7%, Infiniti up 11% and Tesla up 25.8%. Alfa Romeo is up 28-fold (!) thanks to the Giulia and Stelvio.

The Chrysler Pacifica breaks into the U.S. Top 30 

Still ultra-dominant in the models ranking, the Ford F-Series increases its advantage over its followers with a 10% year-on-year gain, signing its fourth consecutive month above 70.000 sales. The Chevrolet Silverado, outsold for three straight months by the Ram Pickup, reclaims the 2nd spot in June, gaining 2%, while the Ram is up 5% to third place. The Toyota RAV4 (+25%) posts another stellar month – its fourth straight above 30.000 sales – ahead of the Nissan Rogue (+11%) once again very impressive at #5. The Toyota Corolla leads passenger cars at #6 above the Honda Civic and Accord while the traditional leader, the Toyota Camry (-10%), awaiting the new generation, is relegated to #9 overall. The Chevrolet Equinox, shooting up 49%, is inside the Top 10 for the first time since April 2015. The Chrysler Pacifica continues to climb, reaching a record #30 and 12.399 sales, the Toyota C-HR is up 32 spots on May to #118 and the VW Atlas is up 28 to #132 and already the brand’s best-selling SUV.

Previous month: USA May 2017: Market down 0.5% despite strong light truck sales

One year ago: USA June 2016: Trucks pull market up 2% but SAAR is down

Full June 2017 Top 15 groups, Top 40 brands and Top 289 models below.

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Media post: Vehicle Glovebox History

Automotive makers have put gloveboxes in cars for a number of decades. Some gloveboxes that are an opening in the dash just above the feet of the front passenger, but the large majority have doors, that with a simple twist or push of a pushbutton latch, will open or close.  Today, most glove boxes can be locked so valuables can be safely stored.

The “glovebox” name comes from the compartment’s original purpose – glove storage. In motoring’s early days, many car models were open; meaning that they had no tops, or just had partial convertible tops.  With cars like these, a car operator’s hands could be subjected to fast-moving air’s cooling effects, and this could get uncomfortable.

Historians trace the start of glove boxes to the Packard Motor Company, which made items like the modern-day gloveboxes in the 1900s. The term “glove box” isn’t universal, though. In Britain, they are referred to as “cubby holes.” In the Northwestern United States, glove boxes are “jockey boxes”.  “Glove compartment” is an alternative term in the western world.

For decades, glove boxes had internal lights that turned on when one opened up the unit.  This was a great help to those who had to dig around in the glovebox at night to get documents or other items. At least the team at this Roswell, GA Dodge dealer thinks so!

In the 1960s and 1970s, glove boxes came with an embossed area on their doors. When one folded down the embossed area, cups could have been placed on the door.  However, these shallow impressions didn’t stabilize cups well when cars were being driven. It’s a logical conclusion to say they these soft drink stabilization attempts lead to the design and implementation of the cup holders you see in almost all cars these days.

And glove boxes have received technology features, too. For the 2008 model year, Dodge put “Chill Zone” glove compartments in their Avengers. The Chill Zone was a big refrigerated storage bin in the passenger’s side upper dash.  The Chill Zone had many folding doors and could hold up to four twelve-ounce cans of a soda of your choosing. Also, Nissan has glove compartments on some vehicle models. Targeting young drivers, the Sentra sedan and Rogue SUV both have glove compartments deep enough for laptops. That capability has been put in cars to help drivers who would like a secure and safe place to secure their laptops while driving.

As you can gauge, a glovebox’s purpose has changed throughout the years.  You do not need gloves to drive anymore, so gloveboxes serve as a predictable space in a vehicle for item storage.  Today, glove boxes have turned into the place to store automotive documents, such as car registrations, and other things.  As for the automotive future, it is hard to tell where we may see the glove box evolve, but we are only able to predict that they’ll be around for a long while!

Media post: Maintaining an Old Car

Today’s vehicles run a lot longer than they used to. It wasn’t long ago that a car with 60,000 miles on it was “getting old.” Today that is just 1/3 of the way through your average cars useful life. This is due to a ton of engineering advances and designs but the point is that cars can last a long, long time today -that is with proper maintenance! Here’s what to know:

Things you can do yourself

There are several maintenance items that you can perform yourself that will help keep your car running well.

  • Change wipers when they are worn
  • Vacuum the interior and keep it free of debris (keeps animals out)
  • Clean up spills right away and consider a good steam cleaning occasionally
  • If you have a leather interior, maintain it with a good leather conditioner (twice a year)
  • Check tire pressure of all tires (including the spare) once a month
  • Keep your windshield reservoir filled with window washing solution

What your mechanic will do

Your mechanic will know the maintenance schedule for the important maintenance items on your car. If you have your car repaired at an independent repair shop, you may want to keep track of maintenance items yourself.

  • Change oil and oil filter routinely as per manufacturers recommendations
  • Keep all fluids topped off properly
  • Replace coolant and flush the coolant system at the appropriate mileage
  • Replace spark plugs at the appropriate mileage
  • Rotate tires as recommended by the tire manufacturer

Especially important maintenance items

We have two maintenance items here flagged as “especially important.” Both of these just require that you simply pay attention to them and take action if necessary.

 #1 – Repair any paint scratches before they rust.

Paint scratches tend to appear out of nowhere. People brush up against your car in parking lots; people open doors next to you and bump your car; hail, road gravel and sand – they all contribute to paint scratches.

When scratches occur, it is quite important to get some touch up paint over them before the underlying metal starts to rust. While nothing says you can’t put any color paint on your car, it will look better with paint that matches your car’s factory color. You can get touch up paint that matches your car from various sources. For an “exact color match,” go to your car dealer. They may have to order it but it will be an exact color match. For convenient “approximate match,” go to your local auto parts store. They will have a rack of small touch-up paint bottles some of which should be very close to the color of your car.

#2 – Know when your timing belt needs changing

A critically important maintenance item involves your engine’s timing belt. The timing belt (or chain) in your car’s engine connects the crankshaft to the camshaft and it controls the timing of the valves. Timing belts are made of rubber and if they break, they can cause engine damage. Thanks to Federico Kia of Wood River, a local Kia dealer in Wood River, IL, we have the complete story: There are two types of engine designs: interference and non-interference. If you have an interference engine and the timing belt breaks, you will do massive damage to it because pistons will slam into moving pistons. Vehicles that don’t have an interference engine will not suffer any damage when a timing belt breaks. It will just stop running.

Important note: when you have your timing belt changed, ask your mechanic to: change all the accessory belts, change the water pump, and flush the cooling system too. This will save you money in the long run since your mechanic will have to remove all the accessory belts anyway to get to the timing belt. The same logic goes for the water pump. While the timing belt is being changed, the labor is already included.

Summary

Instead of buying a new car, you can keep your old car for a bit longer if you maintain it properly. Sure, there will be some repair bills along the way but that’s just part of the process. Drive that old car for a few more years and then you are good and ready for a new car.

Media post: Can You Separate America from the Automobiles?

Ford Model T

The automobile is synonymous with American life. Look around, shopping malls and office buildings were all built with car travel in mind. The emergence of the car as a consumer product has changed the United States landscape.  But, how did the car become so essential in American life?  Why not subway systems, trains, or other kinds of public transportation?  It was a matter of timing…and pioneers like Henry Ford.

It is difficult to think of a time when there weren’t roads in North America, but that is how it was. Up until towards the end of the 19th century, there were very few roads, and many people traveled via horse-drawn coach on what were basically big pathways. By the century’s turn, coaches started to fade in popularity and railroads became the main method of travel over long distances and it wasn’t long before the U.S has many railroad lines. In cities, streetcars and subway systems also emerged, changing residents’ lifestyles by offering them the chance to easily get around.

Between 1900 and 1915, the number of cars in America jumped from only 8 thousand to more than 2 million. This is what happened according to this Temecula, CA RAM truck dealership. The person given the most credit for this increase in automobiles is Henry Ford, who founded the Ford Motor Company.  It is said that Ford coined the term “assembly line. Ford also applied mass production principles to the process of building automobiles. Because of this, the Ford Motor Company built 14 million Model T Fords between 1913 and 1927. This is one car for every ten Americans; a concept that was almost impossible to believe at the time.

By the early 1930s, cars were becoming an important part of American life and there were so many companies making automobiles.  Before long, America’s very structure was beginning to be shaped by this consumer product.  Perhaps the top indication of that came in 1956, when President Eisenhower signed the Interstate Highway Act. The Act created more than 42,500 miles of highways across the country. This cemented the dominance of the automobile as a component of what it means to live in the United States.

Nowadays, with oil’s rising price driving the cost of gasoline up and up, many drivers are seeking out alternative transportation means. People who’ve moved out to the suburbs to avoid urban living, for example, are now think about moving closer to their jobs in the city in order to save money at the gas pump and cut down on commute time. Will this begin a downward trend in automobile ownership?  It doesn’t seem likely.  America is a car culture and is likely to stay that way for decades to come.  What we are seeing now is a shift in what passenger vehicles are used for.  As people move closer to the city and look to drive less, the automobile only gets used less than before for casual travel and more for specialized travel such as holidays or trips to visit family. There is really no question about this.

Media post: Finely Tuned Car Mufflers?

Believe it or not, your car muffler is as finely tuned as a musical instrument.  No, it doesn’t make music like a musical instrument, it is tuned to eliminate the loud exhaust sounds that your engine makes. Let’s take a look at how this works:

First, let’s take a look at what “sound” really is. The phenomena of sound comes from pressure waves formed from pulses of alternating high and low air pressure. In an engine, these pulses are created when exhaust valves open and bursts of high-pressure gas pump into the exhaust system. The molecules of this gas collide with the lower-pressure molecules already in the exhaust pipe causing them to push on each other. In this way, the sound waves make their way down the pipe and when they eventually reach your ears, your eardrums vibrate back and forth which creates the sensation of “sound.”

Now comes the interesting part. As any physicist will tell you, it is possible to produce a sound wave that is exactly the opposite of another sound wave and if the two hit each other, they cancel out. Located inside a muffler is a set of tubes and baffles that are designed to do exactly this. A muffler is essentially a device to cancel engine sound waves.

However, when designing mufflers, engineers have to be careful to understand how much backpressure they produce in their designs. Because of all of the twists and turns the exhaust gas has to go through, mufflers like those just discussed produce a resistance to exhaust flow. According to David Stanley Chrysler of Midwest City, a local Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram dealer in Midwest City, OK, this can rob a little power of the engine which affects the vehicles gas mileage.

For those who modify their own cars, there are special types of mufflers that are designed to reduce backpressure. One type, sometimes called a “glass pack muffler,” uses only absorption techniques to reduce the sound. On a muffler like this, the exhaust goes straight through a pipe that is perforated with holes. No wave cancellation is involved.

To enjoy the best of both worlds – easy flowing yet quiet mufflers- several car manufacturers have been experimenting with active noise-canceling mufflers. These systems incorporate electronic components that measure the exhaust sound level and generate counter-balancing sound waves to quiet the exhaust sound. These are being used on some large industrial engines but not yet on cars, at least not just yet. In the constant search for increased efficiency and mileage, we may be seeing this type of muffler in the future.

Media post: How to Be A Super Efficient Driver

It’s not that some drivers don’t understand automotive things, it that people are so busy that they simply do not have time to fuss over their car or change their driving technique. We believe there are a few things for you to be aware of. You can save a great deal of money by knowing those things. We have put together this article to explain some of those habits! We hope you enjoy it!

Inflate your tires

According to this Norco, CA Jeep Dealer, AAA says over half of the cars on the road roll with under-inflated tires. Under-inflated tires cost you money in tire wear, and gas mileage. This one is a no-brainer too, you lose about 5% gas mileage when tires are low on air. This is an easy situation to rectify, just pump them up!

Not Cleaning Out Your Car Regularly

Did you know that hauling extra stuff around can also worsen your gas mileage? That’s right. Take the big TV out of the back seat, and store it in your garage or in a spare room; it really doesn’t need to be there!

Fast driving

Driving quick is a big waste of gas.  People can easily gain a whopping 8-10% by slowing down just ten miles per hour when they are on longer trips. That is right, 8-10% and it is simple why this is. It takes tons of energy to move objects through air. See how that’s true by putting your hand out the window when you are driving around. You can feel the force pushing it back. Now multiply the hand’s surface area by about one hundred times and you’ll understand how much force the front of your car has to overcome.  Save money and drive slow!

Don’t Idle

This one is probably a given, but it is amazing how much people idle. If you are parked and waiting for someone, turn off the engine. Restarting the vehicle only takes about ten seconds worth of fuel. You might wonder if you should idle in cold weather to “get it warmed up” but the truth is that it is not necessary.

Instead, car makers say that you should just drive a vehicle slowly for 30 seconds after starting it up during any cold weather. This will warm up your vehicle quicker than simply letting it sit there. And if you live on a busy street or road where this is difficult, then we recommend doing it anyway—other drivers can deal with this.

Get your fluids changed

Many drivers ignore their vehicle’s fluids until they run low and a warning light illuminates. Not a smart thing to do. Fluids become contaminated over time and will wear out! It is in your best interest to keep fresh fluids flowing throughout your car’s engine. Your car’s manual will give you a schedule to follow. It is best that you pay attention to the schedule, particularly with your transmission fluid.

Don’t feel bad; everybody has bad automotive habits. However, it’s been costing you money!

Japan First Half 2017: Toyota C-HR storms into third place, Prius #1

The Toyota C-HR is the first SUV to lead the monthly sales charts in Japan (in April).

* See the Top 60 All-brands, Top 30 cars and Top 20 foreigners by clicking on the title *

Japanese new car sales are up a very robust 9.2% or 235.000 sales over the First Half of 2017 to 2.782.542 units. Toyota outpaces its home market with a 11.4% gain to break through the 30% market share barrier at 30.3%. The podium is unchanged on a year ago with Honda in 2nd place (+1.7%) but losing one percentage point of market share at 13,5% while Suzuki is close to the market at +8.5% to 12.9% share. Nissan benefits from a low base in 2016 when some of its kei cars were handicapped by stop-sales, as well as the success of the Note to gain 22.9% and overtake Daihatsu (+7.6%). Subaru posts the second highest gain in the Top 10 at +20.9%. Mercedes (+1.4%), Volkswagen (+2.1%), BMW (+3.2%), Audi (-4.8%) and Mini (+5.6%) dominate foreign manufacturer but all lose market share.  Jeep (+14.3%), Jaguar (+23.1%), Abarth (+49.1%), Maserati (+49.2%), Citroen (+51.3%) and Renault (+65.3%) all shine.

The Nissan Note leaps up to 2nd place in the regular cars ranking.

Recently threatened by the new Nissan Note (#1 in November 2016, January and March 2017), the Toyota Prius manages to hold onto its pole position in the regular car ranking despite a harsh 36% decline, slipping well under the 100.000 unit-mark at 91.246. The Note for its part is up a whopping 63% on the same period in 2016 to land in 2nd place. But the main event of this First Half of 2017 in Japan is the explosive start of the Toyota C-HR, setting new benchmarks for SUVs in Japan. Toyota’s urban crossover is the first SUV to take the lead of the monthly sales charts in Japan: it did so in April. Even though it has since receded to 2nd place (both in May and June), the C-HR ends H1 2017 in third place of the regular car sales charts with just under 80.000 units, an incredible achievement.

The Toyota Roomy makes its way to #12 in Japan halfway through 2017.

The Toyota Aqua (-28%) is bumped down from #2 to #4 while the Honda Freed is boosted up 3-fold by a new generation to brilliantly round out the Top 5, becoming the brand’s best-selling regular car. The Nissan Serena is up 54% and four spots to #6, the Toyota Vitz up 40% to #8 and the Subaru Impreza almost doubles its sales compared to the same period a year ago, jumping from #19 to #11. Along the C-HR, there are two additional new nameplates making their entrance inside the Japanese Top 15 so far in 2017: the twins Toyota Roomy (#12) and Toyota Tank (#15) both exceeding the manufacturer’s expectations. Notice also the Toyota Harrier up 57%, the Mazda CX-5 up 77%, Mazda Axela up 53% and the Suzuki Swift up 106%, all due to facelifts.

The Mini remains above the VW Golf in the foreigner charts. 

The Mini managed to end 13 years of VW Golf domination in 2016 and confirms it is the new foreign favourite in the country with sales up 7% year-on-year to just under 12.500. Note this figure includes all Mini variants (Countryman, Clubman and Hatch) and arguably isn’t a fair comparison set. The VW Golf (-7%) and Mercedes C-Class (-6%) complete the podium while the Mercedes E-Class is up 3-fold and 13 spots to #4 thanks to the new model. Other strong performers include the BMW 1-Series (+12%), X1 (+38%) and Audi A4 (+18%). The VW Beetle reappears inside the Top 20 at #18.

Kei cars data will be uploaded when available.

Previous post: Japan June 2017: Toyota Prius, C-HR, Vitz lead in market up 13.4%

One year ago: Japan First Half 2016: Japan victim of fuel economy scandal

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Japan June 2017: Toyota Prius, C-HR, Vitz lead in market up 13.4%

The Toyota Vitz is boosted up 80% to #3 by its facelift. Picture autoc-one.jp

* See the Top 53 All-brands, Top 30 cars and Top 20 foreigners by clicking on the title *

Another excellent result for the Japanese new car market, up 13.4% year-on-year in June to 477.470 registrations, lifting the half-year tally up 9.2% to 2.782.542 units. Market leader Toyota trails the market but still posts a solid 11.8% year-on-year gain to 32.4% market share. It distances Honda (stable), with Daihatsu soaring 17% in third place and Suzuki up just 9% to #4. Handicapped a year ago by stop-sales on their kei cars, Nissan (+46.1%), Mazda (+20%) and Mitsubishi (+117.8%) catch up on lost time. Inside the Top 10, Subaru (+39.6%) is by far the best performer in normal conditions. Mercedes (+3.5%) dominates foreign carmakers at #9 overall, ahead of BMW (+5.6%), Volkswagen (+2.2%) and Audi (-8.6%). Renault (+46.9%), Smart (+26.3%), Citroen (+83.1%) and Maserati (+71.7%) post some of the largest gains whereas Lexus struggles at -34%.

The new Subaru Impreza continues to climb the ranking: it is now #8. 

In the “traditional” cars ranking, the Toyota Prius confirms it has reclaimed the lead of its home market by posting a third pole position this year, despite sales freefalling 38% on June 2016. The Toyota C-HR confirms it is an instant blockbuster with another stunning score in 2nd place, while the Toyota Vitz benefits from its facelift to jump 80% year-on-year to #3. The Nissan Note still progresses vs. a year ago (+46%) but is falling further from the top spot each month. The Honda Freed (+278%) and Subaru Impreza (+190%) are both boosted by new models, as are the Toyota Harrier (+92%), Suzuki Swift (+113%) and Mazda CX-5 (+89%). The Daihatsu Thor manages to remain inside the Top 30 at #30.

Its facelift propels Toyota Harrier sales up 92% in June.

In the foreigners aisle, the Mini reclaims the top spot off the VW Golf with a significant 1.100 unit-margin, earning the YTD top spot as well as we’ll detail in a separate update. The Mercedes C-Class remains in third place despite a 19% fall and is now teased by its larger stablemate the Mercedes E-Class up 6-fold year-on-year thanks to the new model. The BMW 3 Series also gains one spot to #5 thanks to deliveries up 20%. The BMW X1 (+55%), BMW 5 Series (+56%) and Mercedes GLC (+24%) also impress while the VW Up makes a return inside the Top 20 at #17.

Kei cars data will be uploaded when available.

Previous month: Japan May 2017: Toyota Prius back to top spot, C-HR #2

One year ago: Japan June 2016: Nissan, Mazda & Mitsubishi pull market down

Full June 2017 Top 53 All-brands, Top 30 cars and Q2 2017 Top 20 foreigners below.

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