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Matt Gasnier’s Global Annual Ugliest Automotive Vehicles for 2015

March 21st, 2015 4 comments

Top 10 UglyBut what were they thinking?

My first Global Annual Ugliest Automotive Vehicles list is here.

Why such a list? Because we at BestSellingCarsBlog haven’t read an exhaustive critic of the most unsightly cars that disfigure the roads of this planet in a long time. In fact, we never have. And when you get stuck behind some vehicles at the lights you do wonder what the qualifications of their designers were, and what exactly they were thinking at the time. Also because through this website’s worldwide readership, we have been receiving a constant flow of requests by various locations around the globe to start compiling a list of automotive eye sores, with the view of letting car manufacturers know the world thinks these are poor designs.

Pontiac AztekPontiac Aztek. The ugliest car ever made?

How did a Pontiac Aztek make it past hundreds of management approvals all the way to production lines and American dealerships in July 2000? How could General Motors be surprised at the commercial failure of this nameplate as well as its twin the Buick Rendezvous? We want to start a dialogue with automotive customers, manufacturers and designers to eradicate bad car design. Good car design is not a luxury, and it is not restricted to the more expensive vehicles on offer: if a decade ago Renault-owned low-cost manufacturer Dacia made a lot of eyes roll with the poor design of the first generation Logan, it has since totally revamped the low-cost model’s design, that now has nothing to be ashamed of compared to cars 3 times its price. Budget cannot be put forward as justification of bad design any longer.

To be eligible for the first iteration of my Global Annual Ugliest Automotive Vehicles list, a car needs to be available as new as of January 1st, 2015, or have been launched during the 2014 calendar year for an on-sale date in 2015 in at least one country in the world. This list is an unabashedly subjective selection of the eye sores of today’s automotive world. Here are, ladies and gentlemen, my Global Annual Ugliest Automotive Vehicles Top 10 for 2015.

Chevrolet Spin10. Chevrolet Spin. Designer: Matt Noone

Most of you will remember the defunct 2004-2013 Ssangyong Rodius. Were it still in production today, it would have fought for first place and may very well have won. But it’s got a design descendant, albeit a little less offensive: the Chevrolet Spin, a mini MPV assembled in Brazil and Indonesia based on the same platform of the Chevrolet Agile, itself design-wise a rushed facelift of the previous generation Opel Astra.

Chevrolet Spin

The Spin does indeed look like like someone blew into an Opel Astra and made it bloat unevenly from various angles. The overall shape of the car is… actually there is no shape of the car. The bonnet is too fat, the attempt at sculpting the sides of the car in a symmetrical way add unnecessary chunky shapes and, by far the worst: the rear end and its hatch look like they come from a completely different vehicle and were just stuck there as an after-thought. Despite all these flaws, the Spin sells relatively well in Brazil, fulfilling its destiny as a Meriva and Zafira replacement there. However its production will end and its factory will close in June 2015 in Indonesia due to poor sales. Indonesian customers get it, but Brazil deserves better.

2014 Jeep Cherokee9. Jeep Cherokee. Designer: Greg Howell

The Jeep Cherokee’s front-end design as already very unpopular with the press when the new SUV was unveiled at the New York Auto Show in March 2013. However a lot of its detractors have gone increasingly silent since the model was met with tremendous commercial success, some admitting that the design has “grown on them”. It has not on me. The Cherokee breaks with all Jeep rugged codes to offer this neither here or there front-end with * split headlights *. Let me get something very clear very early on: split headlights are not good design. I have said this before on this website and I will say it again as long as designers persist in exploring this avenue.

Being taller, SUVs have a lot more front-end space to fill with convoluted bumpers, extravagant grilles and various bits of chrome, but split headlights are not the right way to fill that space. Jeep lead designer Greg Howell pulls the age-old “engineering told us to” card to justify this design, saying the manufacturer had aero targets that required a different design to be met: “The science and reality of the industry were telling us we couldn’t do things the same way,” adding that the Cherokee was “designed to appeal to a much younger audience.” So in Jeep terms, targeting a younger audience means we can let ourselves go and opt for a design that makes the Cherokee look like Japanese blandness? I stand by my disapproval and I really, really hope that non-existent – i mean split – headlights isn’t a new automotive trend but unfortunately, the next car in this list is already proving me wrong…

Citroen C4 Cactus New Caledonia September 2014. Picture courtesy of largus.fr8. Citroen C4 Cactus. Designer: Mark Lloyd

When I spoke with Citroen Director of Marketing Julien Montarnal at the last Paris Auto Show, I was impressed by the ‘pragmatic smarts’ philosophy underpinning the new C4 Cactus. But there was one hiccup. Pragmatic is apparently the politically-correct way of saying unsightly. This pseudo-crossover looks like a lazy bulldog sleeping cross eagled on its belly. And snoring very loudly. The car looks slow. The side-door padding makes it look cheap, and Citroen is another messy headlight culprit with the Cactus, the photo above showing the full extent of the damage. But at least we were warned: the new generation C4 Picasso, preceding the Cactus by a year, already had similarly depressing headlight work. Both the new gen Picasso and Cactus have clocked up very strong sales figures across Europe over the past few months. That shouldn’t relax Citroen into thinking they are producing world-class designs with these two nameplates. They’re not.

C4 Cactus R14

To top it off, the rear of the C4 Cactus looks like a modern-dat version of the 1976 Renault 14. If you were born outside Europe and/or after 1970 you may not be familiar with this other French design mistake, but you now can’t unsee this image…

Mitsubishi Outlander. Picture courtesy Mitsubishi Outlander. Designer: Olivier Boulay

Mitsubishi had achieved a pretty sporty design with the 2nd generation Outlander and decided to ruin it all with the 3rd generation of the nameplate unveiled at the 2012 Geneva Auto Show. The new design actually looks more old-fashioned than the previous one, a very rare occurrence in the automotive design world, yet an unsurprising one for Mitsubishi, a manufacturer that has been delivering shocking new designs over the past couple of years. Similarly to the Jeep Cherokee, too much space to play with the front-end has resulted in awkwardly-shaped lines. Call me obsessive, but I just can’t get my eyes off the bumper line prolonging the headlights down. Complicated, unnecessary and clashing with another line going up towards the grille. It took a plug-in hybrid version and aggressive government tax rebates in the Netherlands notably to propel Outlander sales in Europe to an acceptable level.

Geely Emgrand GX9 Pride China November 2014. Picture courtesy of Geely GX9 Pride. Designer: unknown.

Chinese manufacturer Geely has nothing to be proud of with this GX9 Pride originally unveiled as the Emgrand EX8 at the Shanghai Auto Show in… 2009! Fast forward almost 6 years and this cumbersome SUV finally launches on the Chinese market completely unchanged. Its design, reminiscent of bulbous-shaped Japanese atrocities from the early nineties (think Mazda 626), was already frankly outdated when it was unveiled all these years ago, let alone in 2015. Oversize wheel arches dampen a look that wants to believe itself dynamic, and the rear of the car is just one big fat lump of butter. Thankfully, one of the advantages of Geely now owning Swedish brand Volvo is that it has hired Peter Horbury, Volvo’s former vice president in charge of design, as its chief designer. If the all-new GC9 unveiled in March 2015 is a sign of things to come, Geely could rapidly disappear from this Global Annual Ugly list…

Nissan Versa 025. Nissan Versa. Designer: unknown.

Also baptised Latio at home in Japan and Sunny in China, this Nissan sedan has been a hit for the brand despite its very questionable design. Its facelifted front-end for the 2015 Model Year does nothing to balance the silhouette of the Versa, whose rear-end is an insult to design enthusiasts worldwide. There is nothing right about this model’s oversized booty. Too tall, elongated, cascaded down into slumpiness by two lines running along the entire length of the vehicle, and with taillights shaped to make the side rear bumpers look enormous. Granted, its most popular market is China where sedans are still and by far preferred to hatchbacks, but that’s no reason to dress the Versa up with that ridiculous booty. Please revoke for the next generation Nissan.

Mahindra Reva E2O India. Picture courtesy motoroids4. Mahindra e20. Designer: unknown.

Indian car manufacturers have rarely featured in beauty contests, but this Mahindra e2o is taking it one step further. Here too the technology excuse is put forward: this e20 is an electric car that comes with its own solar-charging system. And how exactly does that make it ok to produce a car that looks like it has been rear-ended by a truck at high speed? It does not. The wheel arches and door relief details make the car appear built out of cardboard. The rear side windows plunging down into the tail lights are at odds with a general design rule that dictates dynamic lines to go up towards the rear of the car. The result: the e20 looks sad to see you even before you take the wheel. Plus the head- and taillights design is borrowed from America circa 1973, looking like proper bricks. Not your best moment, Mahindra.

Nissan Juke 013. Nissan Juke. Designers:  Seiji Watanabe, Takashi Noguchi

The Juke is the second Nissan in my Global Annual Ugliest Top 10 list. Nothing personal against the Japanese manufacturer, but its designers have been particularly uninspired in recent times, with this trend set to intensify over the next few months thanks to particularly frumpy new generations Murano and Maxima… But that’s for the 2016 list and for now let’s focus on the Juke, hailed as a trendsetter since its international launch in 2010. The Juke by and large created the small SUV segment now being flooded by the likes of the Honda HR-V, Renault Captur and Peugeot 2008. Well done Juke. However, rarely in the history of automobile had such a messy car design seen the light of day. It is as if each member of the Nissan design team stuck one element onto the Juke’s body before running for cover.

Nissan Juke 02

Its biggest claim to ugliness, the Juke features two sets of headlights with mismatching shapes: one located horizontally on the bonnet and another one melting the grille into a goofy lump. Oversized wheel arches that grossly distort the back doors, boomerang-shaped taillights and a pear-shaped rear round up the unbeliveably unattractive design of the Juke, described by Nissan as “Robiotic”. A mix of robotic and biological representing the combination of mechanical and human elements, meaning that when people see the Juke, they look at it more as a pet than a mechanical object. But who would want a blobfish as a pet?

2014-bmw-i3-edrive-rear-end-in-motion2. BMW i3. Designer: Richard Kim

In Australia where I live, the BMW i3 was awarded Car of the Year by Wheels Magazine, the most popular automotive magazine in the country. Well well well. Putting aside the agreeable drive, refined interior and masterful handling of electric technology, there is one giant detail that was left unchecked, the white elephant in the room that no-one seems to have the courage to bring up: its design! The i3 looks like it was put together from mismatched body parts by a drunken, senile welder, painted different colours on each side and dropped from a cliff. What’s with the different sized/shaped side windows? The half third door? The flat rear? The compressed size? The conflicting design lines everywhere on the body? The ridiculous tail lights? There is absolutely nothing working in the i3 design. BMW you are doing it all wrong and you are starting to scare me just a little bit right now. Ok you are scaring me A LOT. Please get back to spitting out lovely-looking 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 Series OR inspire the next designs of your i-Series from the extraordinary i8. No more i3. Ever.

2016-toyota-mirai-front-three-quarter-in-motion1. Toyota Mirai. Designer: unknown.

Why is it that alternatively-fuelled vehicles always have to be ugly? I know manufacturers tend to revert to the easy excuse of saying the new technology is so ground-breaking that it had to dictate the shape, as it had previously been the case for the Prius. I’m not buying that argument. Engineers spend a large part of the time developing a new vehicle trying to find new ergonomically-pleasing ways to retrofit a new technology in an approved design. The Mirai wins this year, and will be well placed for the entirety of its career, that Toyota hopes to be very long. Were the Mirai not in pole position, I would have felt obliged to sneak in the Toyota Prius, an ex-avant-guard concept, somewhere inside this Top 10.

Under no angle is the Mirai good-looking: the front is unbalanced with its thin lights that could be acceptable were they not prolonged towards the front windows by black lines reminiscent of a rushed Mazda Biante. The oversized fins on the front bumper could at the very extreme suit a large Lamborghini SUV – I’m pushing it here – but on a compact sedan? No Sir. The rear, featured in the first picture of this article, looks like it has melted under the sun, then froze halfway through hitting the ground. A forever sad face is watching you from behind. Toyota is the #1 manufacturer in the world and it didn’t get there with innovative design, granted, but what it touts as its most promising technology-to-date deserved better. Much better.

Historical Data available for 100 markets

March 18th, 2015 3 comments

The Wartburg 353 was among the best-sellers in East Germany in the sixties.

Best Selling Cars Blog now covers detailed Historical Data for a round 100 markets.

Highlights include France since 1894Germany for each year since 1946UK for each year since 1965, Sweden since 1950Brazil since 1954 and Norway and Italy since 1956. The next batch of updates will include complete USA data all the way up to the 1920s, complete France data since 1950, and much more.

Below you will find direct links for you to explore all Historical Data available for the countries listed.


Algeria since 2004

Argentina since 1965

Australia since 1948

Austria since 1977

Bahrain since 2005

Belarus since 1970

Belgium since 1989

Bosnia & Herzegovina since 2008

Botswana since 1985

Brazil since 1954

The VW Beetle was #1 in Germany from 1946 to 1973.

Bulgaria since 1980

California (USA) since 2011

Canada since 1984

Chile since 2004

China since 1980

Colombia since 1990

Croatia since 2003

Cyprus since 2005

Czechoslovakia 1969-1993

Czech Republic since 1993

The Renault 4CV was #1 in France from 1949 to 1955

Denmark since 1992

Dominican Republic since 2005

Ecuador since 2006

Egypt since 2005

England (UK) since 2013

Estonia since 1970

Europe since 1972

Europe (Central & Eastern) since 2002

Finland since 1971

France since 1894

The Moskvitsh Elite was #6 in Finland in 1971

Germany since 1946

Greece since 1932

Gulf Cooperation Council since 2005

Hong Kong (China) since 2010

Hungary since 1998

Iceland since 2001

India since 1950

Indonesia since 1976

Ireland since 1974

The Hindustan Ambassador is likely to have been #1 in India from 1950 to 1984

Iran since 1967

Israel since 2005

Italy since 1956

Japan since 1969

Kazakhstan since 1970

Kenya since 1997

Kuwait since 2005

Latvia since 1970

Lithuania since 1970

Luxembourg since 2001

The Ford Model T was #1 in the US (and the world) potentially from 1910 to 1926

Macedonia (Rep of) since 2007

Malawi since 2013

Malaysia since 2000

Mauritius since 2011

Mexico since 2003

Moldova since 1970

Monaco since 2011

Morocco since 2004

Netherlands since 1982

New Caledonia (France) since 2003

The Saab 96 was #2 in Sweden from 1966 to 1970

New Zealand since 2000

Northern Ireland (UK) since 2011

Norway since 1956

Oman since 2005

Pakistan since 1995

Paraguay since 2011

Peru since 2005

Philippines since 1995

Poland since 1992

Portugal since 1989

The Lada 2101-3 was #1 car in USSR in the seventies

Puerto Rico (USA) since 1990

Qatar since 2005

Romania since 1969

Russia/USSR since 1970

Saudi Arabia since 2005

Scotland (UK) since 2008

Serbia since 2007

Singapore since 2006

Slovakia since 1993

Slovenia since 2003

The Chevrolet Chevette was the last Passenger Car to dominate the US ranking – in 1981.

South Africa since 1973

South Korea since 1997

Spain since 1973 

Sweden since 1950

Switzerland since 1970

Taiwan since 2005

Tanzania since 2009

Thailand since 2004

Tunisia since 2010

Turkey since 1993

The Austin Mini ranked within the UK Top 10 up until 1981

Uganda since 2013

UK since 1965

Ukraine since 1970

United Arab Emirates since 2005

Uruguay since 2010

USA since 1908

Venezuela since 1997

Vietnam since 2003

Wales (UK) since 2013

World since 1960

Zimbabwe since 1958

Categories: Featured Category, World

Full Year 2014 Reports: 89 markets now available

January 13th, 2015 No comments

2. Ford F-250 GallupThe Ford F-Series lodges its 33rd consecutive winning year in the US in 2014.

See last year’s Full Year 2013 Reports for 107 markets here

This article is the portal to all Full Year 2014 Reports, you can find below all updates already live. This list will be updated as new Reports get published.

World updates:

World Full Year 2014: Toyota still #1, BMW leads luxury sales

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

Big 3 world markets:

China Full Year 2014: Growth cools to 7% to record 23.5 million sales

USA Full Year 2014: Podium 100% pickup trucks for the first time in 11 years

USA Full Year 2014: Exclusive rankings State by State now available

California (USA) Full Year 2014: Now with detailed data available

Europe Full Year 2014: Sales up for the first time in 7 years, Octavia and A3 in Top 10

Europe Full Year 2014: Discover the Top 360 All-models and All-brands

All other markets available in alphabetical order:

Algeria Full Year 2014: Dacia Logan stays #1 in market down 20%

Argentina Full Year 2014: VW Gol new leader in market down 29%

Australia Full Year 2014: Toyota Corolla holds onto top spot

Australia Full Year 2014: Discover the best-sellers State by State

Austria Full Year 2014: VW Golf leads, Hyundai i20 on podium

Bahrain Full Year 2014: Toyota Land Cruiser edges Prado out

Belarus Full Year 2014: VW Polo and Renault Sandero on top

Belgium Full Year 2014: VW Golf, BMW 3 Series and Renault Clio lead

Bosnia & Herzegovina Full Year 2014: Skoda Octavia #1, Opel Astra above VW Golf

Brazil Full Year 2014: Fiat Palio ends 19 years of VW Gol reign

Brunei Full Year 2014: Toyota stays on top

Bulgaria Full Year 2014: Dacia Dokker tops again, Skoda Octavia #2

Canada Full Year 2014: Ford F-Series and Ram Pickup break records

Chile Full Year 2014: Chevrolet leads in market down 11%

Croatia Full Year 2014: Skoda Octavia back in charge

Cyprus Full Year 2014: Nissan Qashqai snaps last minute top spot

Czech Republic Full Year 2014: Skoda Rapid #2 in record market

Denmark Full Year 2014: VW Up leads in 4th straight record year

England (UK) Full Year 2014: Audi A3 even higher than in UK

Egypt Full Year 2014: Chevrolet TFR edges out Hyundai Verna

Estonia Full Year 2014: Skoda Octavia outsells Honda CR-V to #1

Finland Full Year 2014: Skoda Octavia overtakes VW Golf to pole position

France Full Year 2014: Renault Captur on podium

Germany Full Year 2014: VW Golf celebrates 39 years in top spot, Audi A3 shines

Germany Private Sales Full Year 2014: Mercedes C-Class up to #4

Greece Full Year 2014: Toyota Yaris resists Opel Corsa assault

Hong Kong (China) Full Year 2014: Toyota monopolises podium with Hiace, Noah & Crown

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

India Full Year 2014: Datsun Go underwhelms in market back up

Indonesia Full Year 2014: Toyota Avanza resists Honda Mobilio assault

Ireland Full Year 2014: VW Golf leads, Toyota Corolla up to #5

Israel Full Year 2014: Toyota Corolla takes the lead

Italy Full Year 2014: Podium 100% Fiat for the 2nd time in 15 years

Japan Full Year 2014: Kei cars surge, Daihatsu Tanto outsells Toyota Aqua

Japan Full Year 2014: Now with exclusive Top 189 All-local models

Kasakhstan Full Year 2014: Lada Granta catches up on Priora

Kuwait Full Year 2014: Toyota Prado dominates Hilux and Camry

Latvia Full Year 2014: Skoda Yeti and Nissan Qashqai take the lead

Luxembourg Full Year 2014: VW #1, Renault jumps 16% to #2 overall

Malawi Full Year 2014: Toyota above 50%, Hilux on top

Malaysia Full Year 2014: Perodua leads in record year

Mauritius Full Year 2014: Toyota holds Nissan and Kia off

Mexico Full Year 2014: Chevrolet Aveo leads, VW Vento shines, Hyundai lands

Moldova Full Year 2014: Dacia Logan leads, Hyundai Santa Fe lands at #5

Monaco (brands) Full Year 2014: Mercedes #1, Porsche remains third

Monaco (models) Full Year 2014: Mini leads, Porsche 911 on podium

Morocco Full Year 2014: Dacia monopolises Top 4!

Myanmar Full Year 2014: Suzuki Super Carry and Toyota Hiace estimated best-sellers

Netherlands Full Year 2014: VW Golf #1 for third time ever

New Caledonia (France) Full Year 2014: Ford Ranger cements lead

New Zealand Full Year 2014: Ford Ranger ends 32 years of Toyota Hilux as #1 ute

Northern Ireland (UK) Full Year 2014: Renault Captur in Top 10

Norway Full Year 2014: Tesla Model S doubles sales to land in Top 5

Oman Full Year 2014: Toyota Hilux resists Land Cruiser Pick-up assault

Pakistan Full Year 2014: New generation keeps Toyota Corolla #1

Paraguay Full Year 2014: Toyota Hilux stays #1, Hyundai i10 on podium

Philippines Full Year 2014: Toyota leads in record market up 27%

Poland Full Year 2014: Skoda Octavia reclaims top spot

Portugal Full Year 2014: Renault Clio resists VW Golf is market up 35%

Puerto Rico (USA) Full Year 2014: Toyota Corolla leads, Mitsubishi Mirage #3

Qatar Full Year 2014: Toyota Land Cruiser leads, Nissan Patrol up 81%

Republic of Macedonia Full Year 2014: VW Golf resists Skoda Rapid attack

Romania Full Year 2014: Dacia Logan celebrates one decade on top

Russia Full Year 2014: Lada Granta survives foreign push

Russia Full Year 2014: Now with the Top 434 All-models ranking

Saudi Arabia Full Year 2014: Toyota Hilux #1, Yaris in Top 5

Scotland (UK) Full Year 2014: Ford Fiesta ends 6-year Vauxhall Corsa domination

Serbia Full Year 2014: Skoda Fabia overtakes Fiat 500L

Singapore Full Year 2014: Toyota Corolla new best-seller

Slovakia Full Year 2014: Skoda Octavia holds off Fabia and Rapid for #1

Slovenia Full Year 2014: Renault Clio leads, Captur up to #5

South Africa Full Year 2014: Toyota Hilux #1, Ford Ranger and Toyota Corolla shine

South Korea Full Year 2014: Hyundai Sonata reclaims leadership

Spain Full Year 2014: First ever year of reign for the Seat Leon

Sweden Full Year 2014: Volvo V70 celebrates 18 consecutive years on top

Switzerland Full Year 2014: VW Golf and Skoda Octavia ultra-dominant

Taiwan Full Year 2014: Toyota Corolla leads, Luxgen shines

Tanzania Full Year 2014: Pickups and Toyota Hilux rule

Thailand Full Year 2014: Toyota Hilux leads, Yaris on podium

Turkey Full Year 2014: Renault Fluence edges Fiat Linea out

Uganda Full Year 2014: Toyota Hilux and Land Cruiser lead

UK Full Year 2014: Market up 9% to highest level in a decade

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

United Arab Emirates Full Year 2014: Toyota Hilux overtakes Prado

Uruguay Full Year 2014: Chevrolet leads, Suzuki up 50% to #2

Venezuela Full Year 2014: ZNA Rich leaps up to #1 in market down 76%

Vietnam Full Year 2014: Toyota Vios best-seller for the first time

Wales (UK) Full Year 2014: Ford Kuga leaps up to 5th place

Zimbabwe Full Year 2014: Isuzu KB should be the favourite

Categories: Featured Category, World

Follow all my USA Coast to Coast 2014 Photo Reports here

September 20th, 2014 No comments

STRATEGY: How can Chinese brands unlock their home market? (Part 5)

June 30th, 2014 1 comment

GAC Trumpchi GS5 China May 2014. Picture courtesy of yiche.comGAC Trumpchi Transformers The GAC Trumpchi GS5 features in the Hollywood blockbuster ‘Transformers – Age of Extinction’

* See the Top 76 All-models and Top 43 All-brands rankings by clicking on the title! *

This is Part 5 of my special Strategy Series on Chinese manufacturers at home. You can check out previous parts of this series here: Part 1: Introduction and Medium & Heavy TrucksPart 2 :Small, Medium & Large Buses and Light TrucksPart 3: Pick-ups, Mini Trucks and MinivansPart 4: Commercial Vehicles summary and MPVs.

Today we explore the SUV segment, one of the fastest growing in China. Over the Full Year 2013, just under 3 million SUVs found a buyer in the country – 2,988,329 exactly –  and 1.2 million of them or 39.8% were Chinese models. So far in 2014 after 5 months, Chinese penetration of the SUV segment is stable year-on-year at 39.6%. In May, Chinese SUVs grew 32% to 122,143 registrations in an overall SUV market growing 38% at 318,190 units, resulting in a weaker 38.4% market share. April was at 40.2%. To put these market shares in perspective, Chinese penetration is around 37% at the moment across all segments.

Haval H9 2014 Beijing Auto ShowHaval H9 at the 2014 Beijing Auto Show

So this means Chinese manufacturers are doing slightly better in the SUV segment than they are overall, but also that they have managed to maintain their share in this fast-growing segment, doing a good job at countering the multitude of new foreign SUVs that keep being launched in the Chinese market. And this is no mean feat. A lot of Chinese manufacturers are starting to show great skills at making (almost) world-class SUVs.

Haval Dakar Rally 2014. Picture courtesy of bitautoHaval Racecar at the Dakar Rally 2014

Chinese carmakers wouldn’t be a near 40% market share in the SUV segment if if wasn’t for Haval, formerly one of Great Wall’s sub-brands that was promoted to full-scale SUV-specialised brand in 2013. Haval claims it has been the best-selling SUV brand in China for the past 11 consecutive years, which is technically correct if we take into account its sales as a sub-brand up until 2013. In May Haval holds 25% of the SUV market in China with just under 30,000 sales, above Toyota (22,840) and Hyundai (20,304).

ChangAn CS35 China May 2014ChangAn CS35

Haval was by far the most impressive Chinese brand at the 2014 Beijing Auto Show with world-class stand, models and staff (see Beijing Auto Show 2014: The most impressive carmaker: Haval). The H6 is currently the most popular SUV model in China with a whopping 118,700 sales in just 5 months so far in 2014, ahead of the VW Tiguan (107,300) and Honda CR-V (78,800). Illustrating its commitment to premiumise the Haval brand, Great Wall has postponed the launch of H8 twice amidst quality concerns, and the huge H9 (picture above), unveiled at this years’ Beijing Auto Show, will launch in H2 2014.

10. Chery Tiggo 5Chery Tiggo 5 in Chongqing, China – April 2014

Chery is the only other Chinese manufacturer to rank among the Top 10 SUV brands in May at #8 in-between Audi and Honda thanks to the Tiggo which has now developed into a range. The Tiggo used to be the best-selling Chinese SUV years ago but has weakened in recent times. The arrival of the Tiggo 5 could reverse the trend: it ranks #14 SUV model this month with 7,650 sales while the original Tiggo, now facelifted, is #17.

Zotye T600 Ürümqi April 2014Zotye T600 in Ürümqi, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region – China April 2014

The Haval H6 is followed by no less than 7 foreign SUVs before we find the 2nd best-selling local model: the ChangAn CS35 at #9 with 8,977 units (+57%),  spotted my times during my recent trip to China, especially in the countryside. The BYD S6 ranks #15 (+47%) while the GAC Trumpchi GS5 is #18 (+20%), managing to snatch its own Transformers character in Michael Bay’s Hollywood blockbuster movie released just a few days ago. Interesting evolutions include the FAW Besturn X80 at #26 (+97%), the Zotye T600 landing at #29 and the Landwind X-Series at #37 (+51%).

Landwind X8 China May 2014. Picture courtesy of bitautoLandwind X8

All-in-all, for now only Great Wall with its Haval brand is playing in the ‘premium’ SUV segment, with all other Chinese manufacturers competing in the budget end of the market. FAW with its Besturn sub-brand and Zotye are slowly but surely distancing themselves from the budget stigma and could join Haval in the quality stakes shortly. Design and quality have improved greatly over the past couple of years but the Chinese will need to continue to work very hard to hold off a continuous flow of new foreign SUVs and keep their market share at around 40%, let alone improve it. Big SUVs are especially successful in remote areas, so Haval’s strategy to go bigger, better and more expensive could pay off nicely. More local manufacturers need to follow these unbeaten tracks to ensure a prosperous future in the SUV segment.

Next Part in this Strategy series will be Passenger Cars, by far the segment where Chinese manufacturers perform the poorest.

Full May 2014 Top 76 All-models and Top 43 All-brands Ranking Tables below.

Read more…

STRATEGY: Understanding the Indian car market

April 7th, 2014 13 comments

Datsun Go India March 2014. Picture courtesy of What Car? IndiaThe Datsun Go starts at US$5,340. Only in India is such low pricing possible at the moment.

Staying in India for a couple of days has enabled me to get a much better understanding of the Indian new car market and its dynamics which have very unique characteristics. In fact, not only is India very different from any other new car market in the world, but its logic pre-empts that of many future developing markets, at the centre of which most of Africa. With the main notion to remember being ‘bottom-up innovation’ to achieve even lower selling prices, understanding India is essential in today’s worldwide automotive scene.

1. Why India matters

Ever wondered why so many India-exclusive new cars were unveiled at the Delhi Auto Show in February compared to the relative small size of its new car market (2.5 million units in 2013 vs. 20.9 million for China)? That’s because on top of the enormous growth potential, making and selling cars in India requires a very different set of skills. And the manufacturers that are getting good at it are taking a decisive advantage into succeeding in tomorrow’s developing markets, because they will know how to make cars so cheap they can sell at a profit even in Africa – which is, believe it or not, the new China (a much more detailed analysis of this last point will be published soon).

To be successful in India, cars need a price tag so much lower than in most other markets, that new thinking is needed. An Indian trademarked way of innovating that is adapted to local conditions, constraints and revenue levels. The ‘old ‘way of creating low-cost was to engineer down from more sophisticated products by cutting cost through tried-and-tested platforms and economies of scale. The new way is to engineer up from scratch a product that is game-changingly cheaper with a mix of bare bones elements and latest tech features. Example: the $100 laptop. This process has been dubbed ‘frugal engineering‘ (achieving more with fewer resources) by Carlos Ghosn, or ‘bottom-up innovation’.

Datsun Go What Car March 2014bNo radio and CD player in the Datsun Go

2. Bottom-up innovation at play

Indian manufacturer Tata was the first to bring bottom-up innovation to the car industry with the Nano, ‘the cheapest car in the world’ at US$1,700 when unveiled in 2009. The Nano turned a lot of carmaking conventions on their heads. It uses a modular design that theoretically enables a knowledgeable mechanic to assemble the car in a suitable workshop. It also includes numerous lighter components, from simple door handles and bulbs to the transmission and engine parts, enabling a more energy efficient engine. The Nano is one of the shortest four-passenger cars on the market, yet it allows for ample interior space. The fact that the Nano didn’t succeed doesn’t question this trend, as we’ll see below.

These ‘ultra-low cost’ cars can end up being more user-friendly, if sophisticated. One case in point that stroke me: the new Datsun Go does not have a radio or CD player (even optional), only an aux-in port and USB charging point, which means you can only listen to music stored on a portable device. On one hand I can hear you say “no radio? blasphemy!” After all, even Tata kept it optional on the Nano. On the other hand, most cars manufactured over 5 years ago don’t have these functionalities (even premium ones!), making listening to your favourite music without burning it on a CD impossible. See what I mean? All in all, for the target market, the Go driving experience as far as music is concerned is potentially more user-friendly for a fraction of the cost.

But just how low are car prices in India?

Renault Duster India March 2014What Car India says the Renault Duster ‘doesn’t feel premium enough’ for the price. Wait what?

3. Low cost is premium is low cost

Car prices are on a drastically different scale in India:  they are not just a little cheaper, but in a different ball game altogether.

This strategy analysis continues below.

Read more…

Full Year 2013 Reports: 107 markets now available!

March 31st, 2014 13 comments

Toyota Corolla World 2013The Toyota Corolla is the best-selling model in the world in 2013.

This article is the portal to all Full Year 2013 Reports, you can find below all updates already live. This list will be updated as new Reports get published. Enjoy!

World updates:

World Full Year 2013: Toyota Corolla or Ford Focus #1? BestSellingCarsBlog has spoken

World Full Year 2013: Discover the #1 models in 160 countries

World Full Year 2013: Now with Top 25 best-selling brands

World Full Year 2013: Now with Top 20 biggest manufacturers

World Full Year 2013: Total sales now available for 143 countries

World Full Year 2013 – The 20 biggest cars markets: China, Indonesia, Australia and Argentina beat records

Big 3 worldwide markets:

China Full Year 2013: Wuling Hongguang and VW Lavida on top

China Full Year 2013: Discover the Top 10 best-selling LCVs

China Full Year 2013: Discover the Top 30 best-selling vehicles (PC+LCV)

USA Full Year 2013: Ford F-Series at best since 2006 in market up 8%

Europe Full Year 2013: VW Golf leads, Renault Clio on podium for first time in 7 years

Europe Full Year 2013: Discover the Top 353 best-selling models!

All markets in alphabetical order:

Algeria Full Year 2013: Dacia Logan #1 for first time, Peugeot 301 lands at world-best #2

Angola Full Year 2013: Hyundai i10 most popular

Argentina Full Year 2013: Chevrolet Classic #1, Renault Clio Mio on podium in record year

Australia Full Year 2013: Toyota Corolla finally tops record market

Austria Full Year 2013: VW Golf, Polo & Tiguan on top, Hyundai #2 brand

Bahrain Full Year 2013: Toyota Prado dislodges Land Cruiser

Belarus Full Year 2013: VW Polo new best-seller, 2 Renaults on podium

Belgium (brands) Full Year 2013: Volkswagen resists Renault assault

Belgium (models) Full Year 2013: VW Golf and Renault Scenic on top

Belgium (lease cars) Full Year 2013: BMW 3 Series in pole position

Bolivia Full Year 2013: Chinese carmakers hold world-best 26% share!

Bosnia & Herzegovina Full Year 2013: Skoda Octavia king

Brazil Full Year 2013: VW Gol distant leader, Chevrolet Onix edges Hyundai HB20 out by 13 units

Minas Gerais (Brazil) Full Year 2014: Fiat Uno in the lead

Brunei Full Year 2013: Toyota and Kia on top again

Bulgaria Full Year 2013: Dacia Dokker surprise leader

Canada Full Year 2013: Ford F-Series breaks all-time record in strongest market in 10 years

Chile Full Year 2013: Chevrolet Sail confirms top spot

China Full Year 2013: Wuling Hongguang and VW Lavida on top

China Full Year 2013: Discover the Top 10 best-selling LCVs

China Full Year 2013: Discover the Top 30 best-selling vehicles (PC+LCV)

Colombia Full Year 2013: Chevrolet Sail takes the lead

Croatia Full Year 2013: VW Golf new leader

Cyprus Full Year 2013: Ford Fiesta keeps lead in market down 32%

Czech Republic Full Year 2013: Skoda Octavia leads, Skoda Rapid lands at #3

Denmark Full Year 2013: VW Up confirms supremacy in record-breaking year

Ecuador Full Year 2013: Chevrolet Sail leads, Kia Rio Stylus lands

Egypt Full Year 2013: Geely Emgrand 7 jumps onto podium!

England (UK) Full Year 2013: Ford Fiesta leads, BMW 1 Series up to #8

Estonia Full Year 2013: Honda CR-V snaps up top spot

Europe Full Year 2013: VW Golf leads, Renault Clio on podium for first time in 7 years

Finland Full Year 2013: VW Golf back in charge

France Full Year 2013: Renault Clio IV new leader, Captur and 2008 superstars

France LCV Full Year 2013: Renault Kangoo and Master on top

Germany Full Year 2013: Golf marks 38 years at #1, Audi A3 and Skoda Octavia reach new heights

Germany Private Sales Full Year 2013: VW monopolises podium, Mercedes A-Class up 67%

Greece Full Year 2013: Toyota Yaris reclaims lead

Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Full Year 2013: Toyota Hilux down, Corolla and Prado up

Hong Kong (China) Full Year 2013: Toyota Hiace dominates

Hungary Full Year 2013: Skoda Octavia reclaims top spot

Iceland Full Year 2013: Skoda Octavia back in pole position

India Full Year 2013: Maruti Alto #1, Swift, DZire and Wagon R break records

Indonesia Full Year 2013: Toyota Avanza tops new record market

Iran 2013-2014: Discover the Top 90 best-selling imports

Iran Full Year 1392: Now with Top 20 most produced models!

Ireland Full Year 2013: VW Golf best-seller for the first time!

Israel Full Year 2013: Kia Picanto leads ranking for the first time

Italy Full Year 2013: Fiat Panda leads, Fiat 500L lands at #5, Top 5 All-Italian for 1st time in 30 years

Ivory Coast Full Year 2013: Hyundai ix35 triumphs

Japan Full Year 2013: Toyota Aqua celebrates first year in pole position

Japan Full Year 2013: Now available with Top 165 All-local models ranking!

Japan Kei cars Full Year 2013: Honda N-BOX takes control

Japan Imports Full Year 2013: VW Golf #1, BMW 3 Series up 69% to 2nd place

Kazakhstan Full Year 2013: Lada Priora tops world’s fastest-growing market

Kenya Full Year 2013: Toyota and Mitsubishi dominate

Kuwait Full Year 2013: Toyota Prado leads, up to record 10.3% market share

Latvia Full Year 2013: VW Golf and Ford Focus on top

Lithuania Full Year 2013: Fiat 500 remains best-seller, or is it?

Luxembourg Full Year 2013: 3 premium Germans in Top 10

FYR of Macedonia Full Year 2013: VW Golf and Ford Fiesta win

Malawi Full Year 2013: Toyota Hilux official leader with 22% share

Malaysia Full Year 2013: Perodua tops, Nissan and Honda jump

Mexico Full Year 2013: Chevrolet Aveo and VW Clasico on top

Mexico Full Year 2013: Now with All-models ranking for the first time

Moldova Full Year 2013: Dacia Logan and Duster on top

Monaco (brands) Full Year 2013: Audi and Mercedes reign supreme

Monaco (models) Full Year 2013: Audi A4 passes Mini to rank #1

Morocco Full Year 2013: Dacia Logan, Dokker and Sandero in Top 4

Mozambique Full Year 2013: Only 13% of imported cars are new

Netherlands Full Year 2013: VW Up snaps up biggest market so far

Netherlands (lease cars) Full Year 2013: Renault Megane Estate #1

New Caledonia (France) Full Year 2013: Ford Ranger and Toyota Hilux dominate

New Zealand Full Year 2013: Toyota Corolla marks 6 years at #1 in strongest market since 1984

Nigeria Full Year 2013: Toyota at 37% share, Kia up 27%, Chinese hold 12% of market

Northern Ireland (UK) Full Year 2013: Ford Fiesta leads, VW Golf on podium

Norway Full Year 2013: VW Golf leads, Nissan Leaf on podium in eventful year

Oman Full Year 2013: Toyota Land Cruiser PU/HT at world-best #2

Pakistan Full Year 2013: Suzuki Mehran catches up to Toyota Corolla

Panama Full Year 2013: Toyota Hilux and Hyundai Accent on top

Paraguay Full Year 2013: Toyota Hilux and Kia Rio dominate

Peru Full Year 2013: New gen pushes Toyota Yaris above Hilux

Philippines Full Year 2013: Toyota and Mitsubishi top record market

Poland Full Year 2013: Skoda Fabia edges past Octavia for the first time in 5 years

Portugal Full Year 2013: Renault Clio takes the lead for the first time in 5 years

Puerto Rico (USA) Full Year 2013: Toyota Corolla takes the lead

Qatar Full Year 2013: Toyota Land Cruiser and Lexus LX shine

Reunion (France) Full Year 2013: Peugeot most popular

Romania Full Year 2013: Dacia Logan and Duster dominate

Russia Full Year 2013: Lada Granta celebrates first year at #1

San Marino Full Year 2013: Audi edges past Volkswagen to rank #1

Saudi Arabia Full Year 2013: Toyota Corolla catches up on Hilux

Scotland (UK) Full Year 2013: Close call for the Vauxhall Corsa

Senegal Full Year 2013: Toyota Hilux leads, Lifan in Top 10

Serbia Full Year 2013: Locally produced Fiat 500L grabs top spot

Singapore Full Year 2013: Mercedes leads for the first time

Slovakia Full Year 2013: Podium 100% Skoda

Slovenia Full Year 2013: Renault Clio up 36%, Kia Cee’d on podium

South Africa Full Year 2013: Toyota Hilux takes the lead, Etios up to #4

South Korea Full Year 2013: Hyundai Avante’s slim win over Kia Morning

Spain Full Year 2013: Seat Ibiza marks 10 years in the lead

Sweden Full Year 2013: Volvo V70 #1 again, V40 lands at #5, still lukewarm

Switzerland Full Year 2013: VW Golf leads, BMW 3 Series up 53% to #4

Taiwan Full Year 2013: Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V storm into Top 5

Thailand (Pick-ups) Full Year 2013: Toyota Hilux #1, Ford Ranger up 43%

Turkey Full Year 2013: Fiat Linea #1 again, Renault Symbol up 70% to #2

Tunisia Full Year 2013: Renault Symbol #1, Peugeot 301 lands at #5

Uganda Full Year 2013: Toyota reigns supreme at 45% share

UK Full Year 2013: Ford Fiesta marks 10 years at #1, BMW places two models in Top 10 for 1st time

Ukraine Full Year 2013: ZAZ Sens new leader, Geely CK up to #3

Ukraine (brands) Full Year 2013: Hyundai #1, Geely up 36% to #3

United Arab Emirates Full Year 2013: Toyota Prado edges Hilux out

Uruguay (brands) Full Year 2013: One in 4 new cars is Chinese!

Uruguay Full Year 2013: Now with Top 10 best-selling models

USA Full Year 2013: Ford F-Series at best since 2006 in market up 8%

Venezuela Full Year 2013: Chevrolet Aveo and Mitsubishi Lancer on top

Vietnam Full Year 2013: Toyota monopolises Top 5, Fortuner holds onto top spot

Wales (UK) Full Year 2013: Ford Fiesta and Suzuki Alto over-perform

Categories: Featured Category, World

best selling cars blog Video Introduction

June 25th, 2012 66 comments

Check out my new BestSellingCarsBlog Introduction video, it goes through the main functionalities of the site and tells you a little bit about why and how I created BestSellingCarsBlog. A huge thank you to my friend David Curry and Con Filippidis for producing this video.

— There is also the ‘written’ version of the video below —

Bonjour and welcome to BestSellingCarsBlog!

I’m Matt, originally from France and now based in Sydney, Australia. Studying and analysing car sales figures around the world is something I have done meticulously for the last 25 years. I founded BestSellingCarsBlog in October 2010 in order to set up one destination that houses as much car sales data as possible, currently the tally stands at 177 countries and territories. This blog features almost all the sales data I have managed to get my hands on during my “car-data-nerd” life. If you want to share more data or need more info, contact me at

BestSellingCarsBlog is only one part of what I do in the automotive sector, I am also available for short-term projects or ongoing consultancy, typically in the following areas:

–       Radio and TV commentary

–       In-depth analysis of any of the countries covered by the blog

–       Industry forecasting

–       Communication and sponsorship strategy

–       Digital marketing strategy

Also, if you need some additional information, sales-related editorial for your website or magazine, or a point of view about the car sales situation in any specific country on the planet, you can contact me at

Some of my past and current work aside from BestSellingCarsBlog can be seen below.

I have been writing a weekly column called ‘Best Selling Cars Around The Globe’ on the US website The Truth About Cars since February 2011. You can check out the list of all my articles here: Matt’s articles for The Truth About Cars.


In November 2012 I have started collaborating with L’Automobile Magazine, the best-selling car magazine in French language, starting with an article about the Chinese carmakers present in New Caledonia. Check out

Starting in November 2012 as well, BestSellingCarsBlog now collaborates with Auto India, India’s oldest and best-selling car magazine, featuring sales figures in the “India’s best-sellers” section of the magazine.


I was recently interviewed by Alex Helmick from World Radio Switzerland about the evolution of the new car market there. You can listen to the September 2012 interview here and the October 2012 interview here and the January 2013 interview here.

Categories: Featured Category