First Half 2015 Reports – Top 20 world markets

Mercedes C-Class UK June 2015. Picture courtesy C-Class – the UK market evolves at all-time record heights in 2015.

See also: First Quarter 2015 updates for the Top 12 markets in the world

See also: Full Year 2014 Reports: 134 markets now available

Here you will find the direct links to the Special 1st Half 2015 Full Reports for the Top 20 markets in the world. This page is updated each time a new Report is pushed live.

World 1st Half 2015: Volkswagen outsells Toyota for the first time

China 1st Half 2015: Domestic carmakers regain ground in shy market

USA 1st Half 2015: Nissan Rogue, Chrysler 200 and Chevy Colorado game changers

Europe 1st Half 2015: Recovery now firmly in place – albeit artificial?

Japan 1st Half 2015: Mercedes impressive in market down 11%

Germany 1st Half 2015: Golf, Passat and Polo further Volkswagen domination

UK 1st Half 2015: Registrations up 7% to highest-ever half year score

India 1st Half 2015: Maruti, Hyundai and Honda impress

Brazil 1st Half 2015: Fiat Palio #1, models ranking turned upside down

France 1st Half 2015: Shaky recovery lifts market up 1 million units

Canada 1st Half 2015: Pickups lift market up to record level

Italy 1st Half 2015: SUV craze energises market up 15%

South Korea 1st Half 2015: Hyundai Porter takes control

Russia 1st Half 2015: Hyundai and Kia winners in damaged market

Mexico 1st Half 2015: Nissan surfs on record wave, Hyundai in Top 10

Australia 1st Half 2015: Mazda graduates to #2 in record market

Spain 1st Half 2015: Seat Leon ahead of Ibiza in market up 23%

Indonesia 1st Half 2015: Pickups winners in market down 18%

Iran 1st Half 2015: Coming soon

Turkey 1st Half 2015: Fiat Linea reclaims pole position

Saudi Arabia 1st Half 2015: Coming soon

Thailand 1st Half 2015: Toyota Hilux transitions, Honda HR-V makes a splash

The Top 20 markets in the world:

Pos Market H1 2015 /14 H1 2014 Pos FY14
1 China 11,850,000 1% 11,735,000 1 1
2 USA 8,523,058 4% 8,160,000 2 2
Europe 7,410,510 8% 6,833,692
3 Japan 2,676,634 -11% 3,005,806 3 3
4 Germany 1,618,949 5% 1,538,268 5 5
5 UK 1,376,889 7% 1,287,265 6 8
6 India 1,321,367 5% 1,259,109 7 6
7 Brazil 1,269,853 -20% 1,582,569 4 4
8 France 1,017,235 6% 957,696 9 9
9 Canada 933,439 3% 909,186 10 10
10 Italy 876,447 15% 762,744 12 12
11 South Korea 850,946 7% 798,237 11 11
12 Russia 782,094 -36% 1,229,931 8 7
13 Mexico 609,825 22% 500,360 15 14
14 Australia 578,427 3% 559,951 14 15
15 Spain 560,110 23% 459,479 16 17
16 Indonesia 525,479 -17% 629,393 13 13
17 Iran (e) 520,000 30% 400,000 19 18
18 Turkey 432,550 51% 286,861 22 20
19 Saudi Arabia (e) 422,000 3% 408,073 18 19
20 Thailand 369,109 -16% 440,911 17 16

Note: China, USA, Japan, Brazil, Canada, Russia, South Korea, Mexico, Australia, Indonesia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Thailand data include LCV sales, the others don’t.

Discover the Top 1000 best-selling cars in the world

Toyota Corolla World 2014. Picture courtesy of Corolla World 2014 GenI-XIAbove: the Toyota Corolla is the best-selling car in the world in 2014.
Below:1st gen Corolla with the three 11th gen Corolla variants (Japan/NA/World)

* See the Top 1116 best-selling cars in the world by clicking on the title *

The much awaited worldwide models ranking is finally here, and it is exclusive to BestSellingCarsBlog. For the first time we have added notes for each car so it is crystal clear what variants are included in the worldwide sales figures, as often a car can be sold under various names and/or brands depending on the region of the world. Hopefully this makes it easier to gauge what really are the best-selling cars in the world in 2014. Both in 2012 and 2013 we witnessed a cutthroat battle for world supremacy between the Toyota Corolla and the Ford Focus. This year the situation is drastically different, and the Toyota Corolla marks one full decade in the worldwide #1 spot. On one hand, Focus sales are softening in all 3 large sales poles: in the U.S (-6%), China (-3%) and Europe (-1%), and took a hit in Brazil and Russia, resulting in a 8% worldwide drop to 1.026 million units. On the other hand, the two-pronged launch of the 11th generation Corolla in China (Corolla/Levin) has boosted worldwide sales of the nameplate 8% to 1.352 million units, now completely out of reach of the Focus, and that is even when excluding the Japanese Corolla (110.931).

VW Golf World 2014The VW Golf is the 4th best-selling nameplate in the world in 2014.

Below the Hyundai Elantra regular at the highest level and graduating to the worldwide podium this year at #3 (+2%), thanks to the Mk7 generation now on sale in every corner of the globe the VW Golf is up 3 spots on 2013 to #4 with sales up 18% to 922.800, knocking the Ford F-Series down to #5 (-1%). Helped by its success in Russia and a number of emerging markets, the Hyundai Accent delivers an excellent performance this year: up 10 ranks and 27% on last year to #6 with just above 800.000 worldwide deliveries, above the Toyota Camry (-4%).

Wuling Hongguang World 2014The Wuling Hongguang is #8 worldwide in 2014 – almost solely thanks to China.

But the award of the most spectacular progression in the entire worldwide Top 30 this year goes to the Wuling Hongguang, the best-selling vehicle in the #1 market in the world, China, and up 15 spots to 8th place overall thanks to sales up 40% to 763.526 including a handful of rebadged Chevrolet Envoy sold in India and South America. Adding up a multitude of various nameplates under which it is sold, the Renault Logan breaks into the worldwide Top 10 this year thanks to sales up 7% to 760.385 units. Other great gainers in the Top 20 include the Nissan Sentra (+16%), Toyota RAV4 and Ford Kuga (both at +15%).

Hyundai Grand i10 India 2014. Picture courtesy of motorbeam.comHyundai i10 worldwide sales are up 77% in 2014 with a boost from India.

If we extend the scope to the Top 100, the most impressive nameplates worldwide going down the ladder include the Ram Pickup (+21%), Honda Fit (+20%), VW Lavida (+22% thanks to the arrival of the Gran Lavida hatchback), Nissan X-Trail (+68% with the new generation’s success in China and most parts of the world), Hyundai i10 (+77% with the arrival of the Grand i10 and Xcent sedan in India), Mazda3 (+25%), Haval H6 (+45%), the Audi A3 up a splendid 53% thanks to the addition of the sedan variant and its launch in China and the U.S., Peugeot 308 up 23%, Opel Mokka up 59%, Ford Ecosport up 34%, Chevrolet Onix up 95% thanks to the addition of the Prisma and the Jeep Cherokee up 481%.

Peugeot 2008 Renault Captur World July 2013. Picture courtesy of LargusThe Peugeot 2008 outsells the Renault Captur worldwide in 2014.

Outside the Top 100, notice the Skoda Rapid up 136% to #111, the Peugeot 2008 up 175% to #112, Renault Captur up 107% to #116, Toyota Noah up 150% to #121 thanks to its and its twin the Voxy’s facelifts and the addition of the Esquire, the Honda N-WGN up 13-fold to #167 for its first full year, the emerging markets version of the Toyota Yaris up to #168, Honda Vezel up to #193, BMW 4 Series up to #205 and the Mercedes S-Class doubling its sales year-on-year to #237.

See also:

Full Year 2014 Reports: 133 markets now available

World Full Year 2014: Discover the #1 models in 177 countries

World: 1960-2014 Historical Data now available

Previous year: World Full Year 2013: Discover the Top 1000 best-selling models

Two years ago: World Full Year 2012: Discover the Top 1000 best-selling models

Full Year 2014 Top 1116 worldwide best-sellers vs. Full Year 2013 figures below.

The rest of this content is for 1 Year members only.
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STRATEGY: Is Africa the new China?

Smile Nigeria. Picture by Devesh Uba via FlickrThe future car buyers of Nigeria. Picture © Devesh Uba, all rights reserved.

Africa is progressively shedding its image of a continent embroiled in poverty, corruption and never-ending wars. Yet the dramatic Ebola outbreak in Western Africa is a harsh reminder that the road to development is a long and tortuous one. Three years ago, I created the Africa Project to jump start the collection of new car sales data in a region still very secretive. From only a couple of countries in 2012, official sales data for Africa on BSCB now covers 23 nations, and its scope is expanding every month. New car sales on the continent are still for the most part in their infancy, making Africa the last frontier in terms of automotive development. If the economic growth we have witnessed in the past decade continues at the same rate, could Africa become the new China and replace it as the world automotive sales engine of growth? As is often the case in such generalist questions, the answer is multi-faceted, and some carmakers are already in a much better place to benefit from future African development.

Street scene in Djenne, Mali. Picture © Leonid Plotkin, all rights reserved. 

1. Economic and demographic background

In 2014, roughly 1.9 million new vehicles were registered in Africa for 1.1 billion inhabitants, that’s only 1.67 new vehicle per thousand inhabitants (NVPT), to be compared to 2.56 in India and 18.16 in China. Geographically, the market distribution is however very uneven: 8 out of 10 new cars are sold in just four nations (South Africa, Algeria, Egypt and Morocco), the remaining 50 countries adding up to less than 400.000 registrations, equivalent to the number of vehicles sold in China in… 6 days. Among the 30 African markets with available total market data, the NVPT rates vary greatly: from 30.63 in Reunion and 17.19 in Botswana to just 0.04 in Ethiopia and Burundi. So we are still very, very far from even the notion of emerging market as far as Africa bar a handful of countries is concerned, but by 2030 its importance will have improved drastically.

Top 20 largest African new car markets in volume – Full Year 2014:

Pos Market 2014 /13 Pos Market 2014 /13
1 South Africa 644,504 -1% 11 Namibia 21,952 n/a
2 Algeria 390,000 -8% 12 Kenya 13,500 4%
3 Egypt 349,100 18% 13 Ghana 13,000 -4%
4 Morocco 122,060 1% 14 Mauritius 10,600 4%
5 Tunisia 81,400 8% 15 Senegal 6,800 13%
6 Nigeria 53,900 8% 16 Ivory Coast 6,400 7%
7 Libya 45,000 0% 17 Zambia 6,100 49%
8 Angola 35,700 23% 18 Mozambique 6,000 n/a
9 Botswana 34,800 -10% 19 Tanzania 5,800 -13%
10 Reunion 25,757 6% 20 Gabon 4,900 -11%

Source: OICA

Africa is now regular around 5% annual GDP growth rate, and despite a predicted oil-related 2015 slowdown to 4% in sub-saharan Africa, countries like Nigeria, Ethiopia, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, Uganda and Zambia are slated to post average annual GDP growth of between 6% and 8% over the next decade. According to an Emerging Markets Private Equity Survey published by Coface in 2014, sub-saharan Africa is now the most attractive investment destination in the world ahead of South East Asia and Latin America ex-Brazil, whereas it lagged in 8th place only 3 years earlier. The last piece of the puzzle is demographic: the African population will grow from 1.1 billion today to 2.4 billion in 2050, compared to 1.66 billion in India and 1.3 billion in China by then. This will include over 400 million souls in Nigeria alone (almost as much as in the U.S.) and 278 million in Ethiopia (90 today), and an urbanisation rate doubling from 26% today (290m) to 50% in 2050 (1.2bn).

Strong and regular economic growth + more wealth + four times the population in cities mean we can serenely expect an explosion in new vehicle sales. In this context more and more voices in the business world have started to pose the question of Africa as the future engine of growth of the world economy, including in the automotive sector.

Morocco. Picture courtesy thedailybeast.comChefchaouen, Morocco. Northern Africa currently accounts for half of African new auto sales.

2. Which African regions will act as locomotives?

As opposed to the single entities that are China and India, Africa’s main handicap is its fragmentation into a multitude of countries with immense development disparities and the near-absence of flowing trade inside the continent. The key to its economic and automotive growth as a whole is the creation of internal exchanges through free-trade zones, grouping countries with similar development levels that can then act as pulling forces for the remaining nations. African countries need to develop their transport infrastructures and energy networks in collaboration with each other and start matching their laws and currencies so business and wealth can bloom. We can see some of this sprouting out already: 8 countries in Western Africa and 6 in Central Africa now use a single currency (the CFA Franc) and the South African Development Economical Community is developing. In this context, which African regions can we start to draw upon as future African engines of automotive growth?

Eastern Africa

Kenya and Eastern Africa

This region of Africa is the closest to taking off, partly because three relatively well connected countries (Kenya, Ethiopia and Tanzania) are reaching GDP per capita levels that have been statistically known to unlock motorisation: US$ 2.500. It is also home to the African equivalent to San Fransisco’s Silicon Valley, dubbed the Silicon Savannah in Nairobi – Kenya. There, according to the Economist it is easier to pay a taxi fare by mobile phone than it is in New York as over half the Kenyan population already uses the M-Pesa mobile payments system. As Mail & Guardian Africa notes, if “Nigeria and South Africa have for a long time been the economic giants of Africa due mainly to their natural resources, Kenya has future-proofed itself by focusing on financial services and telecommunications” and will become one of Africa’s most dynamic new car markets in the next couple of decades.

One of the proofs that this region is about to get fast-tracked to automotive development is the creation of Mobius Motors, a car designed by Kenyans for Kenyans that we will be studying in more detail further down. The big unknown at the moment is the exact path entry-level car buyers will take in the region. As opposed to China where the culture is reticent to used cars, in the whole of Africa the obvious entry-level choice so far has been used imports from either Europe or Japan – however these sometimes reach the price of a locally-assembled new car due to high import duties. The new car market may take longer to set in but once unlocked, Kenya, Ethiopia and Tanzania should display explosive new car sales annual growth rates, lifting the first two to above 300.000 annual new units and the latter to above 200.000 by 2030.

Western Africa

Nigeria and Western Africa

This is the African region with the both biggest untapped potential at the moment, and the highest level of uncertainty about future development. Nigeria is the most populated country in Africa with 183 million inhabitants, however its new car market currently stands at an insignificant 53.900 annual units. A local automotive manufacture industry has failed to manage a successful transplant so far, something the Nigerian government is trying to change with its “new automotive policy” offering significant tax breaks for car manufacturers establishing a factory in the country. This won’t be enough, and illegal tariff practices by government bodies inside the country will need to be abolished for an auto industry to start flourishing.

If and once on its way this region could become one of the fastest-growing new car markets in the world. Boosted by Nigeria, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal and Cameroon will then act as relays of growth towards nations bridled until now by war and disease, such as Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea Bissau. By 2030, Nigeria alone will count 274 million inhabitants and the region close to 500 million. All planets aligning, 1.3 million annual new cars should get registered in Western Africa by then, vs. less than 100.000 today. Nigeria will continue to dominate with almost 600.000 annual new sales with Ghana coming second at 233.800 and Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal and Cameroon all approaching 200.000 annual units.

Southern Africa revised

Southern Africa

Today, South Africa represents two-thirds of all light vehicles produced in Africa and one-third of all new light vehicles sold on the continent. Its market structure is approaching maturity, with over 50 brands present in the country, a strong prevalence for pickup trucks and a very interesting fondness for low-cost cars originally designed for India, such as the Toyota Etios, Datsun Go and Ford Ecosport. Through direct exports and fluid business routes, South Africa has already lifted neighbouring markets such as Botswana and Namibia, however their limited population (just 2 million inhabitants each) will prevent them from having a true impact on the overall African totals of tomorrow. Instead, and with the help of a carefully managed free trade zone, South Africa will extend its area of influence further north to pull Angola, Zambia and Mozambique in its wake – Zimbabwe unfortunately staying out of the picture for now due to its unpredictable political situation. As a result, while South Africa should still tower at 1.1 million annual new vehicle sales, by 2030 Angola should be able to approach 300.000, with Zambia around 150.000 and Mozambique at roughly 75.000.

Northern Africa

Northern Africa

Home to 52% of all African new car sales in 2014 at just under 1 million units, Northern Africa is traditionally separated from the rest of the continent, both geographically by the Sahara desert but also statistically, as it is usually fused with the Middle-East when the rest of the continent is dubbed Sub-Saharan Africa. With their sights firmly set on Europe, Algeria and Morocco are fast becoming auto assembly and export heavyweights, notably through the settling of the Renault Group (Dacia and Renault factories) and PSA Peugeot-Citroen who recently announced they would build a new factory in Morocco by 2018. Tunisia follows in their wake development-wise, although remaining an all-importing country for now which will logically change within less than a decade.

Egypt for its part has had an auto manufacturing activity for decades and due to its population, set to reach 133 million by 2030, has the biggest sales potential, but also the most unpredictable in the region given its frequently unstable political situation and proximity to highly sensitive Israel. New car sales growth in the area won’t be as explosive as it could be in other regions because it is starting from a much higher base, but Egypt (1.2m), Algeria (almost 850.000) and Morocco (450.000) should remain within the Top 5 largest African new auto markets by 2030, with Tunisia and Libya a notch below. The development path in this region will spread inside each country from the coastal, more developed areas into the interior, also potentially spreading into Libya that remains very secretive about its auto market but will be the richest country in the region by 2030.

Top 10 largest African new auto markets by volume – 2030 forecast:

Pos Market 2030 sales forecast NVPT 2030 GDP per capita Annual sales growth Annual GDP growth
1 Egypt 1,173,800 8.80 $15,614 8% 5.07%
2 South Africa 1,113,700 19.34 $22,328 3% 3.83%
3 Algeria 843,200 18.14 $22,967 5% 4.21%
4 Nigeria 585,300 2.13 $10,334 16% 6.42%
5 Morocco 450,100 11.34 $14,231 8% 5.16%
6 Ethiopia 325,000 2.29 $2,987 33% 6.97%
7 Kenya 323,800 4.59 $4,767 22% 6.00%
8 Angola 287,200 7.88 $11,482 14% 5.57%
9 Ghana 233,800 5.85 $7,186 20% 6.29%
10 Tunisia 220,300 17.39 $20,864 6% 4.83%

NVPT: New Vehicles Per Thousand inhabitants sold annually. This forecast was calculated by BSCB based on official 2030 GDP forecasts by the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, KPMG and African Development Bank Group, official 2030 population forecasts by the United Nations Population Division and internal BSCB methodologies linking GDP per capita and car purchase tipping points.

Dacia Logan Taxi Morocco 2014. Picture courtesy FlickrPicture © redahida. Low-cost brands such as Dacia have a bright future in Africa.

3. Which manufacturers are best placed for an African takeoff?

Carmakers who have a solid experience in low-cost manufacturing are better placed to benefit from African new car sales taking off because of two distinct cultural traits: a decades-long habit of importing used cars en masse and a tendency of the population to purchase less ostentatious vehicles than they can afford so as not to attract the attention of taxation offices. Africa’s fondness of used cars contrasts with psychologies visible in China, Japan and to a lesser extend India and means that pending lower import tariffs, car ownership will be among the most affordable in the world, with 20 to 40 year-old used European and Japanese vehicles readily available to purchase. As Ben Longman from African trend analysis firm Trendtype points out, distrust of government taxation offices and their arbitrary and illegal practices has made African consumers very coy about displaying ostentatious signs of wealth that could make them an obvious target for tax. They tend to choose cars in the lower-end spectrum even if they can afford more expensive vehicles. In that manner, Africa is the total opposite of India where consumers tend to bypass lower-end vehicles that wouldn’t appropriately enhance their status.

These two cultural traits are a fertile ground for new low and ultra-low cost cars, offering an affordable alternative to untrustworthy used cars and fitting right into the discretion African car buyers cherish. Enter the notions of frugal engineering and bottom up innovation I explained in my April 2014 article “STRATEGY: Understanding the Indian market”. These skills, perfected by manufacturers in India to no avail so far, certainly won’t be lost on the African car buyer and Indian experience will turn out to be capital for African success. Bottom up innovation has enabled the appearance of $150 laptops or $10 smartphones in Africa and applying these principles to car making will enable ultra-low cost offerings that, although originally designed for an Indian audience in the case of the Tata Nano, Datsun GO and Renault Kwid for example, will fit right into African tastes.

Toyota South Africa by Greg TeeA straight road ahead for Toyota in Africa?

Toyota and Japanese manufacturers

Toyota is currently #1 in Africa at roughly 15% market share, with an estimated 39 African nations having a Toyota as their best-seller – mainly the Hilux, #1 in 30 countries – and that’s not even taking into account the blanket of used Toyota Corollas of all generations going back to the early eighties that is currently covering the continent. However brand loyalty is low in Africa and carmakers are among the least trusted brand categories according to Trendtype, so this is no guarantee for future domination. In fact, Korean manufacturer Hyundai is already outselling Toyota in four major African markets: Algeria, EgyptMorocco and Angola. To sustain and further enhance its domination, Toyota will need to move towards simpler technologies as illustrated in Libya where Chinese ZX Auto pickups replaced the mighty Hilux during the Arab Spring.

Toyota has already been trying its hand at selling low-cost in southern Africa with the Etios, reaching its highest world rankings in South Africa (#4 in 2013), Namibia (#3 in 2014) and Lesotho (#2 in 2014) as well as the Corolla Quest, a previous generation Corolla ranking #4 passenger car in Namibia in 2014, #5 in Lesotho and #6 in Botswana. A future Toyota factory assembling previous generation, simpler Toyota Hiluxes in Africa for Africa would make a lot of sense and capture a large swath of any future growth in the region.

Datsun Go South Africa October 2014The low-cost Datsun GO has launched successfully in South Africa.

Building on the low-cost observation has Datsun as the next Japanese manufacturer set to enjoy potentially outstanding sales in the region. A complete failure so far in India due to its lack of status, the GO has started a very satisfying career in South Africa and there is no reason why this could not be replicated in future African markets. Suzuki through their Indian subsidiary Maruti is already able to offer ultra-low cost models and as a result is #1 in Angola. The rest of the Japanese have been rather discrete as they mainly count on their pickup offerings such as Mitsubishi with the L20 and Nissan with the Hardbody.

Hyundai Verna Egypt March 2012Hyundai sells a 2003 Verna as new in Egypt, to great success.

Korean and Indian manufacturers

Hyundai already outsells Toyota in four major African markets: AlgeriaEgyptMorocco and Angola, and will credibly challenge the Japanese manufacturer everywhere in Africa once it produces a no frills pickup – there are none on the horizon at the moment but trust Hyundai to react very quickly once it decides the time is right. The Korean manufacturer is already selling the Indian-made Grand i10 successfully in some African nations like Angola, but more interestingly in Egypt, it is offering a 2003 Verna as part of its new car lineup to great success as this is the best-selling passenger car overall in that market. Hyundai should and will replicate this concept as it expands into more sub-saharan countries. Indian auto makers Mahindra and Tata are also making significant inroads in southern and central Africa, and pending their survival at home they should not be discarded, Africa fast becoming one of the few regions where they still have a chance to establish a solid export presence.

Dacia Sandero in Marrakech. Picture © Elmar

French and European manufacturers

Cultural and economic ties make most of Africa the perfect playground for French manufacturers: the worldwide Francophone population will rise to 700 million by 2050, 80% of which in Africa. However, even though there is a decades-long heritage of French cars on most Francophone African roads and all French manufacturers still enjoy a solid brand image here, they have failed to fully capitalise on it so far. They are only dominant in northern Africa: since last year Renault manufactures in Algeria where it ranks #1 ahead of Peugeot, Renault-owned Dacia manufactures in Morocco where it leads the market with 27% share and Citroen is #1 in Tunisia with Peugeot at #3 and Renault at #4. Apart from these, Africa has for the most part returned to being terra icognita for French carmakers, an elephant-sized missed opportunity for them.

The Dacia lineup and its only-as-needed equipment philosophy seem like a perfect match for sub-saharan African consumers, in particular the recently unveiled Kwid small car for booming African cities already cramped with traffic. And Renault/Dacia can now count on a full decade of experience selling low-cost cars at every corner of the globe, an invaluable advantage over all other manufacturers when it comes to Africa as we’ve seen above. It took a while, but French manufacturers are now fully conscious of the low hanging fruit that is Africa, with Peugeot joining the ranks of Moroccan manufacturers in the coming years. The French will be a force to be reckoned with over the next couple of decades, as opposed to the quasi majority of other European manufacturers except perhaps Volkswagen, currently weak outside of southern Africa and in dire need of low-cost models such as the Polo Vivo it sells there if it wants a chance at a slice of future African growth.

Foton Tunland Kenya 2013. Picture courtesy of opened an assembly plant in Kenya in 2014 with a 3.000 annual unit-capacity.

Chinese manufacturers

Unbeknown to most, some Chinese carmakers already have a decade of assembling experience in Africa under their belt, with Chery starting in Egypt back in 2004 for example. As I studied in detail in my April 2014 article STRATEGY: How Chinese carmakers are setting themselves up for success, they have been working extra-hard under the radar to secure less developed markets that will form the bulk of the global car sales growth over the next couple of decades, namely South America and Africa. As a result, Chinese carmakers currently hold an astounding 20% market share in Kenya, Senegal and Ivory Coast, 15% in Egypt and 12% in Nigeria. Geely, Brilliance and Chery (with the Speranza brand) are strong in Egypt while Great Wall is making significant inroads in most of Africa, like in Namibia for example where the Wingle pickup ranks #10 overall in 2014. A wide coverage that goes against current perceptions of Chinese weakness in export markets.

But what makes the Chinese implantation in Africa unique is their government’s deep involvement in the infrastructure building of the continent for the past two decades, in essence since the fall of the Berlin wall and the loosening of Russia’s influence over the continent. Along with assembling cars, the Chinese are also building roads, rail tracks and airports (along with, oddly, soccer stadiums), prepping Africa to use their automotive products to their full extent. Chinese manufacturers lack the heritage that brands like Toyota, Peugeot or even Hyundai enjoy in Africa, however car manufacturers as a whole suffer from an extremely low level of consumer trust according to African trends analysis firm Trendtype, so it’s a blank page for everyone so to speak, which evens out the chances the Chinese have at carving themselves a significant slice of the African growth cake. Chinese carmakers are certainly the keenest to succeed here, and will account for one third of sales in a substantial list of African countries by 2030.

Ford Ecosport Italy June 2014. Picture courtesy of Indian-made Ford Ecosport is well suited to booming African cities.

American manufacturers

Linking low cost expertise to the carmakers best placed for future African growth does not currently favour American auto makers. Ford manufactures in South Africa and is faring well both in southern and northern Africa (#3 in Morocco) thanks notably to its Ranger pickup, #1 in South Africa so far in 2015. The Indian-made Ecosport has true potential in booming African cities, and is seemingly already a success in Ethiopia’s Addis Ababa. Further learnings from India will help Ford spread its success towards less developed African countries while it is mulling the opening of a Nigerian factory. Chevrolet also has a relatively strong presence on the continent, but it is mainly due to relatively fragile ties it has kept with Japanese pickup maker Isuzu, ties that have been severed in Australia for example. Chevy leads the Egyptian market outright mainly thanks to the TFR pickup, the best-seller overall which is in fact an Isuzu D-Max. In southern Africa, Chevrolet concentrates on passenger cars and uses the Isuzu brand for commercial vehicles with the D-Max (called KB) market leader in Zimbabwe and Swaziland. Chevrolet will need to prepare a no frills pickup back-up to the Isuzu option and import low-cost expertise from South America and China where it sells the Sail sedan at very competitive prices to count on a bright future in Africa.

Mobius II KenyaMobius II: the first car designed by Kenyans for Kenyans.

The big unknown: African manufacturers

In China, most domestic actors in the automotive industry didn’t exist 20 years ago and Wuling, founded in 2002, now sells almost 1.5 million annual units domestically. It isn’t therefore unreasonable to expect mid-size African carmakers to enter the local automotive scene in the course of the next 15 years. At the moment, most new African car brands popping up here and there are in fact just assembling a range of rebadged Chinese models, such as Mozambique’s Matchedje Motor, Ghana’s Kantanka Cars, and Ethiopia’s Holland Car, a short-lived joint venture with Lifan.

One exception: Kenya’s Mobius Motors, symbolic of the country’s entrepreneurial spirit. Mobius Motors aims at empowering entrepreneurs with the Mobius II, an off-road vehicle priced similarly to a 7 year old sedan. On paper, it indeed offers a solution to a two-pronged issue that is currently locking out entry-level car buyers and particularly entrepreneurs in need of a cost-efficient vehicle: the degradation of rural and peri-urban sub-saharan roads and the inadequacy of most used cars imported into the region from more developed countries (think a 1995 Toyota Corolla sedan), still relatively expensive to buy due to high import duties, but also expensive to maintain because they are old and not designed to an African environment. On paper only, as it will take a lot of convincing to entice Kenyan buyers to trust an unknown brand, even if it is a local one.

2013 Ford Fusion Energi

The joker: Hybrid and electric technology

An option not to be discarded, hybrid and electric cars will enjoy tremendous progress and see their price drop drastically over the coming 15 years, making it a potentially viable option for the growing African middle-class. With Africa’s transport, energy and communication infrastructures sometimes lagging 50 years behind that of developed or even developing countries, we have already witnessed a phenomenon called leapfrogging that could well apply to the hybrid and electric car technologies in the not so distant future. A lot of sub-saharan countries have leapfrogged the construction of a landline telephone network to directly install a mobile network, and as a result Africa will hit 1 billion mobile subscribers this year for a 1.1 billion population! (see How Africa’s mobile revolution is disrupting the continent) There will be a time where the cost of establishing a network of petrol stations that facilitates fast car ownership growth will have to be balanced with a potentially cheaper network of solar-powered charging stations.

It seems far-fetched now, but may not be in ten years time when the vast majority of sub-saharan countries still far from taking off, thus unable to finance large infrastructure projects. Couple this with potential low-cost electric car offerings by some manufacturers and the equation becomes a lot simpler to resolve. As of today the Japanese are best placed in this segment, but this may also change quite fast and all auto makers, notably the Chinese pushed by their government, will have perfected these technologies by the time Africa really takes off after 2030. As for many areas in this report, this is a completely open book and once again the carmakers that will be able to produce low- or ultra low-cost hybrid or electric cars by 2030 will be best placed to succeed, were this segment to leapfrog petrol cars in Africa.

The future car buyers of Senegal. Picture © Anthony Kurz 

In summary

Africa is growing and it’s doing it fast, but its new car market is still a long way off having a real impact on the worldwide automotive scene. I forecast 7 million annual units in Africa by 2030, that’s an additional 5 million annual units compared to today’s 1.9 million which is far from negligible. In the same timeframe, China (predicted 40 million) should add 15 million annual units, India (predicted 7 million) should add 4 whereas both the U.S. (18.5 million) and Europe (16.8 million) will essentially add nothing. The new China: perhaps not, but Africa is the last frontier in terms of development and therefore automotive sales, and will progressively become one of the world’s largest engines of growth in the next two decades. Car manufacturers neglecting the establishment of a dense sales network and production hubs in Africa will miss out on a huge chunk of sales and bear the consequences in the long term.

– – –

STRATEGY: Where is the Chinese market headed?

Prepare for bloodPrepare for blood…

Discover the Top 8 trends currently affecting the Chinese market below.

China’s new vehicle market growth is smoothing out. The perception out there is that the entire market is slowing down, whereas only its growth is for now – a big difference. Some analysts say this is the beginning of the end, I say the Chinese new vehicle market remains the most dynamic and the fastest evolving in the world and will continue to be so for many years to come. Even if its growth did stop forever, we would still be left with a 25 million annual units Chinese market in our hands vs. 17 million for the U.S. and 15 million for Europe currently – including commercials.

But the growth hasn’t stopped and Chinese sales trends are evolving faster than ever, with segments like microvans rapidly losing ground while others like MPVs and SUVs outperforming the market 6-fold… A record 75 new nameplates have kick-started local production in the past year and new factories are opening on a monthly basis. General Motors for example is investing $14 billion to add 5 million annual units of production capacity by 2018 through five additional assembly plants here. A more timid growth with ever more competitors in the market: prepare for blood and aggressive price wars. Where is China headed in the next 15 years? We will explore the Top 8 trends currently at play in the Chinese new vehicle market in order to decipher its mid-term evolution.

Kashgari farmer Jonway UFO A380Kashgar, Western China: the region has the greatest sales potential.

1. All eyes on the lower Tier cities prize

China grew 14% in 2013 to 22 million units, becoming the first ever new vehicle market above 20m annual units, another 7% in 2014 to 23.5 million and should improve by 5% in 2015 to just under 25 million deliveries. Analysts diverge in their view of the mid-term future for China. I remain highly optimistic, and it would appear Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn agrees: “From time to time we have slowdowns, but fundamentally I’m still very optimistic on the fact that the long-term trend in China is up and carmakers should be prepared for that,” he said recently, pointing to the country’s low car ownership level compared with other major markets. If the big eastern cities along the coast like Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou are starting to peak out due to saturated ownership and stringent new registration restrictions put in place to curb pollution, there is still an enormous reservoir of growth lying in lower Tier cities.

Total vehicle sales – Big 3:

2000 2015 (p) 2030 (e)
China 1.8m 24.7m 40.2m
U.S. 17.8m 16.9m 18.5m
Europe 18.5m 15.8m 16.8m

(p): projection (e): BSCB estimate

Before we go into any further regional detail, it’s worth establishing where the long term potential for Chinese sales stands. Last year, American car buyers bought 52 new vehicles per 1.000 residents in a saturated market. It seems difficult for any mature market to significantly outpace that rate in the short to mid-term. China stood at 17 new vehicles per thousand in 2014, and were it to reach the same buying rate as the U.S., it would push its total new vehicle market to a mind-blowing 70 million annual units. A level it will probably never hit, but progressively lifting the buying rate to 30 new vehicles per thousand in the next 15 years is a totally reasonable if a little conservative prospect. That would place China just over 40 million annual new vehicle sales by 2030, way above the U.S. and European markets combined – themselves for the most part stagnating over the period.

Geely Vision China 2015. Picture courtesy 91aiche.comThe Geely Vision is a hit in lower Tier cities.

As I detailed in my article STRATEGY: China light-vehicle market to reach 30 million units by 2020, a large part of China’s future growth will come from both the less developed regions of the country located in the hinterland and lower Tier cities that are now starting to benefit from denser dealership networks. By 2020, Western China’s share of total sales is expected to rise to 26%, up from 18% in 2011. In the meantime, the coastal region’s market share will drop from 60% to 43%, according to predictions from IHS Automotive. Up until now, the bulk of the Chinese car market has resided up until now in Tier 1 and 2 cities – the largest and most developed ones. As a result, there are now 128 vehicles per 1,000 residents in Tier 1 cities. This ratio falls to 54 in Tier 3 cities and 28 in Tier 4 cities, and these cities are now starting to have a significant impact on national auto sales as we will detail in the SUV section of this article. Note these Tier 3 and 4 cities are not all located in the hinterland, they are sometimes very close to Tier 1 and 2 cities, so the growth regions are not completely geographical but mostly demographic.

In less populated areas, car buyers tastes are skewed more strongly towards Chinese manufacturers. If last year the prospects for domestic carmakers seemed cloudy, they have managed a complete turnaround thanks to a flurry of new affordable SUVs, and whereas it seemed like hinterland Chinese buyers would inexorably follow their eastern counterparts’ taste shift towards foreign brands, this is now less certain. The race for the lower-Tier cities first time car buyers is now wide open and competition will gradually intensify over the next two decades to woo rural populations getting a new access to car ownership. There are an estimated 100+ Chinese vehicle brands in activity today, when including truck and new energy manufacturers serving only limited parts of the country. This number will plunge rapidly to reach about 25 to 30 by 2030, and we will witness numerous price wars that will progressively shed the industry of the less-efficient manufacturers.

In this context, who will trigger and benefit from future Chinese growth?

24. Brilliance V3Brilliance V3 at Auto Shanghai 2015

2. Domestic brands on the brink of breakthrough

After a tough five years that saw their share market at home recede to roughly one-third of overall sales, Chinese manufacturers have seen their importance in their domestic market take a turn for the better in the past 12 months, rising to 43.1% of Chinese sales over the first 3 months of 2015, up 4.2 percentage points from a year earlier. As evidenced by my coverage of domestic carmakers at Auto Shanghai 2015, Chinese carmakers are constantly reinventing themselves with various degrees of dynamism, making the Chinese market the fastest-evolving in the world. However their progress is taking a different route than the one the government was hoping for two decades ago.

Starting in the eighties with Volkswagen, the barrier to entry for foreign carmakers in the Chinese market is a requirement to form joint-ventures with local partners in order to gain the right to manufacture locally, in essence the right to ‘unlock China’. By doing this, the Chinese government was hoping for a technology transfer towards local brands. It didn’t happen. In fact, the domestic brands faring the best at the moment are ones that are for the most part privately owned and not embroiled in partnerships with foreign carmakers.

Geely GC9 China April 2015Geely GC9

Thanks to a new focus on strong branding and streamlined lineups, a few domestic actors are now enjoying surging sales at home. Great Wall spun off the Haval SUV brand to tremendous success in July 2013 and has seen its SUV lineup sales soar 71% year-on-year in April to 63.921 units. The Haval H6 is now among the three overall best-selling vehicles in the country. In January 2014 Geely got rid of the Emgrand, Gleagle and Englon brands to market its vehicles exclusively under its namesake brand and, going hand-in-hand with an extremely impressive quality overhaul that is finally showing the benefits of its 2010 purchase of Swedish manufacturer Volvo, has managed to push domestic sales 45% in April to 38.648. The EC7 sedan remains the best-seller of its kind among domestic nameplates with 75.189 deliveries so far in 2015.

Another example is Chery, deleting the Rely and Riich brands in September 2012 to concentrate on its namesake brand for passenger cars and Karry for commercial vehicles. However they have disappointingly spawned two sub-brands – Tiggo and Arrizo – since. Baby steps, as habits die hard in China. Even though it is evolving at dangerously breakneck speed, ChangAn is another success story, placing three models among the 10 best-selling domestic vehicles so far this year: the Eado sedan (70.231), CS35 SUV (62.110) and CS75 SUV (56.116). Led by Great Wall’s Haval, Geely and BYD, all relatively unscathed by joint-ventures with foreign actors and – most significantly – all privately owned, Chinese manufacturers have never been as close to world standards as now. And their improvements are set to continue at the same rate, shaping into a true threat for carmakers the world around by 2020.

4. VW Santana Karakul LakeVW Santana on the Karakoram Highway, Western China.

3. Foreign manufacturers caught in a race to luxury

In a context where some domestic carmakers are finally finding their way to profitable sales volumes, clearer brand identities and ever-improving quality coupled with aggressive pricing, foreign manufacturers may see their time under the sun reduce drastically over the next decade. Their capacity to compete with domestic actors relies on almost instant reactivity to fast-moving trends, as demonstrated in their sales behaviour in 2015. The SUV explosion has caught both Volkswagen and Toyota by surprise, resulting in significant market share loss this year. Hyundai and Kia are safe with their ix25 and KX3 tapping right into the small SUV craze and becoming instant blockbusters. Nissan is following at a distance.

If this article had been published 6 months ago, Volkswagen would have been best positioned to benefit from the future growth expected in China’s less developed areas. However their failure to launch a small SUV lineup is worrying, at a time where Tier 3 and 4 cities are lapping up bargain-priced JAC, ChangAn and Zotye fares. Granted, Volkswagen is still and by far the most popular/aspirational brand in China. During the first half of 2014 when sedan sales growth was still around 15%, the market share lost by Chinese manufacturers in the compact segment was almost exactly matched by market share gains at Volkswagen while Japanese, U.S. and Korean makers were flat. So Volkswagen is the best armed to compete with domestic brands in the sedan segment, but also the most vulnerable when and if Chinese carmakers reclaim lost ground in that area.

Hyundai Mistra China 2014. Picture courtesy of Mistra

Two years ago, Volkswagen launched its New Santana with a starting price of 84.900 yuan ($13.700), only slightly more than the Geely EC7’s 69.800 yuan. Automotive News China quotes Zhang Lei, a 35-year-old office worker in Beijing who bought a New Santana last year: “People say German cars are of good quality, so why not buy a German car if it’s not expensive?” However since then Geely launched the new Vision at 52.900 yuan ($8.500), cutting the Santana by almost 40% and displaying some interior elements of a higher quality than a Santana. As a result, Volkswagen has launched a price war in recent months to keep its lower-end lineup competitive in the face of vastly improved domestic entries, at the risk of significantly eroding its profits in the region. Volkswagen is now caught between lowering their prices to better compete with domestic carmakers and maintaining its premium reputation.

Brand loyalty is low in China and more than 90 million car owners will replace their first vehicle in the next few years. Cut-throat competition is a new element in the market and Korean Hyundai and Kia could see a much larger increase of their Chinese sales than Toyota and Volkswagen over the next decade. Not just because of a better reactivity to changing trends: Toyota and Volkswagen with undoubtedly launch affordable small SUVs to keep a foot in the market – albeit a couple of years late. Two more political and attitudinal elements may come into play. Firstly, Nippon manufacturers aren’t immune to future bursts of anti-Japanese sentiment, like the one that severely handicapped them a couple of years ago. 2015 marks the 70th anniversary of the end of WW2 and the rest of the year will be another sensitive period for them. Secondly, having launched in China less than a decade ago, Korean carmakers Hyundai and Kia are free of any poor quality perceptions dating from the nineties that are still plaguing them in some other countries and can grow unabated in the next decade.

Mercedes GLA China April 2015. Picture courtesy wolfexp.netMercedes started local GLA production and is best placed for explosive growth in China.

The Chinese luxury segment has already become the largest in the world and its influence will further increase over the next two decades, lifting Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz to a likely continuous string of worldwide sales records. The Top 3 German luxury carmakers, already ultra-dominant in the Chinese luxury aisle, are poised to continue improving their Chinese sales drastically, with Mercedes displaying the highest potential for explosive growth. In 2014, Audi sold 579.000 cars in China (+18%), with BMW at 456.000 (+17%) and Mercedes at 282.000 (+29%). Growth was cut in 2015 but should resume in the coming years. It is a realistic prospect to see Mercedes leapfrog both Audi and BMW to become China’s #1 luxury brand by 2025, simply because the Stuttgart manufacturer has completely refocused its attention onto the Chinese market, now front and centre in its worldwide operations as its impressive display at Auto Shanghai hinted at. Our forecast for 2015: Audi at 606.000 sales (+5%), BMW at 478.000 (+5%) and Mercedes at 335.000 (+18%).

Audi started manufacturing cars in China as early as 1991 while both BMW and Mercedes have been doing so for just a decade, earning the 3 German carmakers a credibility in the luxury segment that will be near-impossible to erode in the next decade or so. At this stage only Infiniti, Volvo and Cadillac are also manufacturing locally to avoid China’s 25% import tariff, but their sales remain modest: Volvo sold under 80.000 vehicles in 2014 (47% locally produced) while Cadillac delivered under 70.000 (57%) and Infiniti just 30.000 (8%). Acura recently announced it will start building locally soon, leaving the odd one out, Lexus, with no plans for local manufacturing despite a decade-long presence in the country and 75.000 sales in 2014. Lincoln for its part is enjoying a fast and furious all-imported start with 3 of its Top 10 dealers globally by sales now located in China only 12 months after landing in the country.

Haval-H1-China-November-2014.-Picture-courtesy-of-auto.qq_.com_The Haval H1 is one of dozens of new Chinese SUVs launched in the past 12 months.

4. The entire market is now ditching sedans for SUVs…

Disposable income is on a steep rise for the majority of Chinese and their car purchase patterns are changing accordingly, with urban and rural buyers each displaying widely different tastes than they were just two years ago. Last October, sedan sales dropped 1% from a year earlier for the first time in 7 years, marking the start of a shaky period for this once-thriving segment in China. In urban areas, more than one-third of buyers now opt for an SUV when the time comes to replace their first vehicle vs. 25% for China overall. After soaring by 36% in 2014 to 4.1 million units, SUV sales are accelerating further this year with a 49% year-on-year surge over the first 4 months of 2015 to 1.79 million units, hinting at an annual rate of over 6 million sales…

China – Top 10 SUVs and sedans 2015 year-to-date:

Pos SUV model 2015 /14 Sedan model 2015 /14
1 Haval H6 118,516 26% VW Lavida 170,168 -12%
2 VW Tiguan 88,609 1% VW Santana 114,479 7%
3 JAC Refine S3 66,295 new VW Jetta 107,680 7%
4 ChangAn CS35 62,110 71% Ford Focus 99,675 -26%
5 ChangAn CS75 56,116 new Hyundai Elantra 96,713 30%
6 Haval H2 56,074 new VW Sagitar 96,173 -6%
7 BAIC Huansu S3 49,738 new Nissan Sylphy 89,995 -8%
8 Ford Kuga 42,593 -3% Hyundai Verna 84,821 14%
9 Nissan X-Trail 41,942 182% VW Passat 84,275 -15%
10 Zotye T600 39,307 302% Chevrolet Cruze 80,170 -6%

Seven of the Top 10 best-selling SUVs in China so far in 2015 are Chinese, four are all-new and only one (the Ford Kuga) sees its sales decline year-on-year. Reversely, the Top 10 best-selling sedans in the country are all foreign but 6 out of 10 are in decline, including the #1 seller – the VW Lavida (-12%) – with the Ford Focus losing the most ground at -26%. In what may be the most interesting reversal of fortunes in the past few years, thanks to a flurry of affordable models all launched in the past 24 months, domestic manufacturers are now dominating the SUV segment with a record 56% share, evolving at double the sales level compared to a year ago.

ChangAn CS75 China July 2014. Picture courtesy of ChangAn CS75 has found 109.000 buyers since launching exactly a year ago.

According to LMC Automotive, SUV buyers are mostly residents of Tier 3 and Tier 4 cities, traditionally more fond of Chinese car brands because of more affordable prices and less dense foreign manufacturers dealer networks. When their sedan sales got bogged down by higher-status Volkswagen, Chevrolet and Kia, domestic carmakers found salvation in designing attractive-looking SUVs with prices contained below 100.000 yuan (US$16.000). These Chinese vehicles only are Sports Utility Vehicles by name, in no way true four-wheel drives capable of stepping out of urban areas, but they are high enough on the road for Chinese customers in Tier 3 and Tier 4 cities. Mission accomplished.

Wuling Hongguang China September 2014. Picture courtesy of cheshi.com2The Wuling Hongguang has transformed the Chinese car market forever.

5. … while rural buyers switch from microvans to MPVs

If urban dwellers are abandoning their entry-level sedans to lap up an increasing variety of Chinese-branded SUVs, their newly prosperous rural counterparts are also moving upwards, ditching microvans for low-cost MPVs. In 2014, the MPV segment was the fastest-growing in the country with sales surging 47% to 1.91 million units just as microvan were losing 17% to 1.33 million deliveries. In 2015, MPVs are up by a further 28% so far and should end the year just under 2.5 million units. The good news for Chinese manufacturers is that 85% of all MPVs sales go to domestic brands, being a segment mostly popular in rural areas.

Price comparison – Wuling MPVs and microvans:

Model Cat April sales Price range (yuan) Price range (US$)
Wuling Journey MPV 4,011 66.000 – 77.000 10.600 – 12.400
Wuling Hongguang MPV 53,086 44.800 – 69.800 7.200 – 11.250
Wuling Hongguang V Micro 25,506 42.800 – 51.800 6.900 – 8.300
Wuling Rongguang Micro 17,475 41.800 – 46.800 6.700 – 7.500
Wuling Sunshine Micro 21,005 29.800 – 46.000 4.800 – 7.400

Wuling Sunshine microvan – Hongguang MPV sales comparison:

Model 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015(e)
Wuling Sunshine 699,037 754,961 731,749 523,841 455,718 308,668 269,000
Wuling Hongguang 0 5,000 177,000 316,217 530,050 750,019 660,000

(e): BSCB estimate

The sole instigator of this momentous sales trend is the Wuling Hongguang, originally introduced in September 2010 and at first classified as a light commercial vehicle – it was then considered as a larger microvan. The Hongguang didn’t appear inside the Top 5 LCV best-sellers until February 2012 (24.694 sales – see China LCV February 2012: Wuling Hongguang’s entrance) but topped the overall Chinese charts for the first time in January 2013 and the following month was selling almost 30.000 more units than any other nameplate in the country. It went on to be the best-selling vehicle in the country in both 2013 and 2014, with its monthly sales record standing at an out-of-this-world 81.153 units in January 2014.

Baojun 730 China September 2014. Picture courtesy of Baojun 730 have hit Chinese roads in just 9 months.

As I detailed in my article China April 2015: Wuling Hongguang V takes control, the leap from microvan to MPV is very significant, representing a 50% price hike even though the rates remain minuscule by Western standards: the Hongguang starts at 42.800 yuan (US$7.200) vs. 29.800 ($4.800) for the Wuling Sunshine, the all-categories best-seller in China until 2012. Who purchases microvans? Traditionally, families, small companies and taxi operators in rural areas and small towns to carry goods and/or passengers. While both the Sunshine and the Hongguang can carry five to eight people, with per capita disposable income in rural China leaping 12% to 8.900 yuan last year, rural buyers are snapping up Hongguangs like hot dumplings simply because they can now afford to.

What the Chinese market is experiencing right now with the Wuling Hongguang is similar to European car buyers suddenly switching from purchasing 600.000 annual VW Golf to as many annual VW Passat in a matter of three years, or American consumers completely ditching the Toyota Camry to replace it with 450.000 annual Toyota 4 Runner.

It took a lot longer for other domestic manufacturers to cotton on to the Hongguang success and what it meant for the microvan category (death) than it did for them to understand the SUV craze. In fact, SAIC-GM-Wuling is reinventing the category once again with the launch of the slightly more upmarket and extraordinarily successful Baojun 730, clocking an incredible 230.000 deliveries in its first 9 months on sale. Sales of Hongguang clones (Chana Honor, Dongfeng Fengguang and BAIC Weiwang M20), although dynamic, are still far below. The future of the MPV segment may be further upmarket: Wuling launched the much larger Journey a few months ago, and Brilliance unveiled the Huasong MPV-exclusive brand at Auto Shanghai 2015 to compete with Buick’s GL8. Expect Wuling to regularly revive the category to maintain its supremacy.

Dongfeng Rich 2015. Picture courtesy chinaautoweb.com2015 Dongfeng Rich

6. Pickup trucks: the largest untapped segment

Now that the SUV and MPV segments are truly taking off, mimicking many light vehicle markets around the world, the last frontier is the pick-up sector, currently plagued by outdated legislations but home of the greatest sales potential of all in China. Pending a legislative adjustment, we foresee Chinese pickup sales will reach 10% of overall sales by 2030 – or 4 million annual vehicles vs. just 1.9% and 200.000 now. Pickups are where Chinese manufacturers perform their best on the world stage, as demonstrated by their relative success in export markets. So what isn’t working at the moment?

In 2003, the Chinese government introduced the Road Traffic Safety Law which was giving free rein to city administrations on allowing pickups to drive on their streets. Most cities chose to classify pickups as commercial vehicles and banned them from entering. Yes you have read that right. Pickup trucks are not allowed within most Chinese cities, including Beijing and Shanghai. But it doesn’t stop there: Automotive News China reports that to ease congestion during holidays, Chinese traffic regulators let sedan drivers use highways toll free whereas pickup drivers must pay. This may have made sense a decade ago when pickup trucks were the only vehicles of such size on the road along with medium and heavy trucks. But it is no longer true now that large SUVs have invaded China’s four corners. Besides, under existing regulations, microvans – also used in rural and suburban areas to carry people and goods – are considered passenger vehicles, and therefore allowed into cities…

GAC Gonow GP150GAC Gonow GP 150 at Auto Shanghai 2015

This restrictive legislation has had a devastating effect on the Chinese pickup market. Roughly 435.000 new pickups were sold in China in 2014, or just 1.9% of the total vehicle market and with sales down 4% year-on-year their market share is also decreasing. Yet market leader Great Wall still sells 10,000 pickups each month in China on average. It is still a very dynamic segment despite the restrictions, with at least 16 Chinese manufacturers currently offering a pickup lineup. I spotted the all-new 2015 Dongfeng Rich in Mohe in far north China, while GAC Gonow unveiled a rather good-looking GP150 pickup at Auto Shanghai and Great Wall launched a new variant of its Wingle pickup late last year.

Paradoxically given the gagging they suffer at home, pickups are the one single segment where Chinese manufacturers can already compete with foreign automakers in mature export markets such as Italy, the UK, South Africa and Australia where the Great Wall Wingle ranked among the Top 50 best-selling nameplates in 2012. The same cannot be said yet about sedans, SUVs and MPVs. Understandably given the current restrictions, global automakers haven’t bothered venturing into the Chinese pickup market just yet. Only Isuzu and Nissan currently sell quickly facelifted versions of antediluvian models, but the potential for pickup sales in China is enormous, both for commercial and private uses.

Ford F-150 Raptor Kashgar ChinaFord F-150 Raptor in Kashgar, Western China

With Chinese car buyers progressively americanising their tastes, it is no real surprise to see at least one Ford F-150 Raptor and Toyota Tundra in each northern Chinese city I visited this year, big or small. Despite astronomical prices and driving restrictions, Chinese customers are still privately importing these monsters. The demand for pickup trucks is almost screaming at you when visiting the country. It is apparent in the commercial segment where a recent transfer from microvans to mini pickups can be seen – keep in mind the latter are considered passenger vehicles and therefore are able to grow sales freely. Result: the Wuling Mini Truck has topped the LCV sales charts a couple of times in the past 6 months.

But part of the SUVsation of the world car market also means a large part of pickup trucks are now purchased and used in the same way as SUVs, not just for commercial hauling. As Automotive News China points out, if municipal restrictions on pickups are abolished, farmers could drive their pickups to go shopping in cities, a much more chest-beating experience than in a microvan or low-cost MPV. Likewise, well-off inhabitants of coastal cities could tow boats or stow surfboards with their pickups. We believe it’s a matter of when rather than if, and once pickups can be driven freely across the country, expect a gold rush in the same vein as the one we are currently witnessing for SUVs and MPVs. Pickup sales are bound to grow exponentially from that moment on.

Used car market in China. Picture courtesy of 51auto.comThe notion of used car is a new concept in China.

7. Prepare for a used car explosion

Last March, China’s largest search engine Baidu – dominating a market where Google is banned – joined a U.S. private equity firm and hedge fund to invest $170 million in China’s largest used car auction website Uxin. It is the latest round of funding raised by Uxin to expand a new trading platform designed to allow auto retailers to sell used cars directly to individuals. Last year, China’s used car market generated $58 billion, a 26% growth from a year earlier while volumes are up 16% at 6.05 million units vs. +7% for the new vehicle market. Up until very recently, the very concept of a used car was a rather alien notion in China given how recent the uptake of cars in the country is. Moreover, in China there is a strong cultural preference for new items, rather than those tarnished by previous ownership. Without regulations, skepticism over the quality of used vehicles could be justified, reports Autotalk NZ. But this is all changing as the Chinese used car market matures.

China – New and used vehicle sales evolution:

2000 2015 2030 (e)
New vehicles 1.8m 24.7m 40.2m
Used vehicles 0.2m 7.0m 41.5m

(e): BSCB estimate

At the moment, one used vehicle is sold for every four new ones in China, a diametrically opposite situation as the one observed in mature markets such as the U.S. and Europe (three to four used cars for every new one). But at the current rate, the number of used cars changing hands annually in China will even up with new ones by 2030. Sedans still account for the majority of used cars currently sold in the country (57%) above buses (16%), trucks (14%), light commercials (9%) and SUV (3%), reflecting the dominant structure of the market during the past decade. This too will change, when SUVs and MPVs currently sold as new will start hitting the used car market in five years time.

Nowadays, used car sales are still a largely unregulated area, with a whopping 95% of used car transactions made privately and escaping sales taxes. Large manufacturers are however slowly looking to enter the used market by reselling their own products second-hand complete with quality guarantees: Peugeot already has 700 certification centres around the country while Nissan, Audi and Volvo are following. Stringent new anti-pollution laws limiting the number of new registrations in the main big cities have also helped fuel increasing used car sales: they already are licensed and therefore unrestricted – a clear oversight by governments as these used cars typically pollute more than new ones and should instead be replaced, the way Europe has done with numerous scrappage schemes.

DENZA wird in einem deutsch-chinesischen Gemeinschaftsunternehmen von Daimler und BYD in Shenzhen gefertigt. / DENZA is manufactured by a Sino-German joint venture of Daimler and BYD in Shenzhen.Denza EV

8. The electric vehicle question mark

I have said it and will say it again, the current success – or lack thereof – of new energy vehicles has nothing to do with consumers’ increased environmental consciousness and everything to do with government policies. Cue Japan, California and Norway, offering the most generous incentives for new energy vehicles and consequently displaying the highest hybrid and EV sales ratios in the world. China has a well-documented tradition of imposing stringent government mandates onto the car market (joint-ventures with local partners, pollution-curbing new registration limitations…) and could lead the world in terms of electric vehicle adoption, if it decides to. With significant air pollution problems plaguing most large cities and limited oil resources, the Chinese government considers the uptake of electric cars a priority. But is it doing enough to encourage new energy vehicle sales? Carlos Ghosn said “not really” at this year’s Shanghai Auto Show.

Chinese EV sales are quadrupling so far in 2015 compared to last year but at 26.581 units in 3 months they still only represent a minuscule 0.4% of the overall market. The BYD Qin hybrid sedan has been the best-selling new energy vehicle in China ever since its launch in December 2013, totalling 2.625 sales in April. This is to be compared with an estimated 200-300 monthly sales average for the Tesla Model S in China and roughly 1.500 in the U.S. Still, the question mark remains as to whether EVs will truly have an impact on the overall Chinese market in the short to mid-term. It all depends on the Chinese government. Chinese punters will buy electric if they are mandated to: a recent visit to Kashgar in Western China showed all scooters in circulation in town to be electric.

Tesla Model S ChinaTesla has been struggling in China so far.

Among the various Chinese government mandates in place to encourage sales of new energy vehicles:

– All EVs are excluded from the new registration plate quota applied in China’s eight largest cities.

– Subsidies of up to 55,000 yuan (about $9,000) per EV vehicle, elimination of a 10% sales tax on some EVs.

– Subsidies for the construction of battery charging stations in various cities proportioned to the EV and plug-in hybrid sales in these cities. The aim is to install 140.000 charging stations this year vs. just 20.000 in place last year. The government’s plan calls for covering 16,000 kilometers (10,000 miles) of highways with fast-charger stations every 50 kilometers (31 miles) by 2020.

– All manufacturers selling in China need to display a fleetwide average consumption of 5L/100km (47 mpg) by 2020.

– Foreign automakers are required to develop EVs with their Chinese joint venture partners. This has prompted Toyota, traditionally EV-weary, to launch one EV vehicle with each Chinese partner later this year. Toyota however conceded to Automotive News that these are purely compliance vehicles and their focus will remain on hybrid technology.

Most manufacturers had at least one EV model to show at Auto Shanghai, but these looked more like compliance vehicles than genuine best-sellers. Elmar Degenhart, CEO of supplier giant Continental AG told Automotive News China “We are convinced that China will turn into the biggest market for electrification technologies. With the support of the government and regulation, the speed in that direction is developing quite rapidly.” The ball is in your camp President Xi Jinping.

– – –

Historical Data available for 104 markets

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

Best Selling Cars Blog now covers detailed Historical Data for 104 markets.

Highlights include France since 1894Germany for each year since 1946UK for each year since 1965, Australia since 1946Sweden 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 1946

Austria since 1977

Bahrain since 2005

Belarus since 1970

Belgium since 1989

Bosnia & Herzegovina since 2008

Botswana since 1985

Brazil since 1954

Brunei since 2011

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

Liechtenstein since 2011

Lithuania since 1970

Luxembourg since 1994

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 1973

Northern Ireland (UK) since 2011

Norway since 1956

Oman since 2005

Pakistan since 1995

Panama since 2010

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

Full Year 2014 Reports – 134 markets available

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

See First Quarter 2015 updates for the Top 12 markets in the world here

This article is the portal to all Full Year 2014 Reports, you can find below all updates already live. This list is updated as new Reports get published, so make sure you check in often!

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

China Full Year 2014: Discover the Top 40 best-selling luxury imports

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%

American Samoa (USA) Full Year 2014: Ford F-Series and Toyota Tacoma on top

Angola Full Year 2014: Suzuki and Hyundai on top

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

Bolivia Full Year 2014: Suzuki Grand Vitara likely leader

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

Botswana Full Year 2014: Hilux, Ranger and Land Cruiser Pickups on top

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

Brunei Full Year 2014: Toyota Vios and Mitsubishi Mirage 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%

Colombia Full Year 2014: Chevrolet and Renault tops in record market

Costa Rica Full Year 2014: Toyota market leader

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

Ecuador Full Year 2014: Chevrolet Sail and D-Max on top

El Salvador Full Year 2013-2014: Toyota Hilux most popular

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

Ethiopia Full Year 2014: Toyota Avanza and Hilux popular

Fiji Full Year 2014: Toyota Hilux and Hyundai Elantra most popular

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

France Full Year 2014: Renault Captur on podium

Georgia Full Year 2014: Photo Report and analysis

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

Ghana Full Year 2014: Nissan outsells Toyota at 30% share

Greece Full Year 2014: Toyota Yaris resists Opel Corsa assault

Guatemala Full Year 2014: Pickup trucks gain momentum

Haiti Full Year 2014: Daihatsu Terios best-selling SUV

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

Iraq Full Year 2014: First ever official data shows Toyota Hilux #1

Iran Full Year 1393 (2014/2015): Peugeot Pars/405 topple Saipa Pride

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

Jordan Full Year 2014: Hyundai Elantra best-seller

Kazakhstan Full Year 2014: Lada Granta catches up on Priora

Kenya Full Year 2014: Toyota Land Cruiser 70 king of the savannah

Kiribati Full Year 2014: Toyota Hiace holds 55% market share

Kuwait Full Year 2014: Toyota Prado dominates Hilux and Camry

Laos Full Year 2014: Chery QQ best-seller, Chinese above 30% share

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

Lebanon Full Year 2014: Kia Picanto most popular

Lesotho Full Year 2014: Toyota Hilux and Etios on top

Liechtenstein Full Year 2014: Seat Alhambra leaps up to 2nd place

Lithuania Full Year 2014: Fiat 500 shoots up to 11.2% share

Luxembourg Full Year 2014: VW Golf and Audi A3 on top

Madagascar Full Year 2014: Toyota edges past Nissan, Hawtai lands

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

Malaysia Full Year 2014: Perodua leads in record year

Martinique (France) Full Year 2014: Peugeot leads, Dacia on podium

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

Montenegro Full Year 2014: Dacia Sandero the favourite

Morocco Full Year 2014: Dacia monopolises Top 4!

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

Namibia Full Year 2014: Toyota Hilux #1 in market up 32%

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

Nigeria Full Year 2014: Toyota Corolla and Hyundai Accent on top

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

Panama Full Year 2014: Toyota Hilux leads, Yaris shoots up to #2

Papua New Guinea 2014: Toyota Land Cruiser 70 reigns

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

Peru Full Year 2014: Toyota Yaris stays on top in market down 8%

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

Réunion (France) Full Year 2014: Peugeot and its 208 dominate

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

Quebec (Canada) Full Year 2014: Honda Civic reclaims #1 spot off Hyundai Elantra

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

Samoa Full Year 2014: Toyota Hilux and Hiace dominate

San Marino Full Year 2014: Volkswagen reclaims #1 spot off Audi

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

Senegal Full Year 2014: Mitsubishi L200 threatens Toyota Hilux

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

Solomon Islands Full Year 2014: Toyota and Isuzu in the lead

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

Swaziland Full Year 2014: Isuzu KB frankly outsells Toyota Hilux for #1

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

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

Syria Full Year 2014: Hyundai Elantra tops market in crisis

Tahiti (France) Full Year 2014: Ford Ranger and Dacia Duster edge past Toyota Hilux

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

Tonga Full Year 2014: Toyota Hilux holds just under 40% of tiny market

Tunisia Full Year 2014: Citroen #1 for the first time, Symbol best-seller

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

UK Full Year 2014: Now with Top 365 All-models (BSCB Exclusive)

UK Full Year 2014: Now with Pickup data

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 #1, Suzuki Celerio best-seller

Vanuatu Full Year 2014: Toyota holds 82.1% market share

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

Yemen Full Year 2014: Hilux leads in Toyota-ruled market

Zimbabwe Full Year 2014: Isuzu KB should be the favourite

See last year’s Full Year 2013 Reports for 108 markets here

Follow all my USA Coast to Coast 2014 Photo Reports here

Albert Peterbilt 2Albert rubbing shoulders with a Peterbilt truck

You can follow all my Photo Reports as they are published on iconic American website The Truth About Cars by clicking on this link:

The Coast to Coast page on BSCB is here:

Alternatively, below are the links to all Photo Reports published on BestSellingCarsBlog so far:

Part 1: New York City

Part 2: Washington DC

Part 3: Driving through Virginia, North & South Carolina

Part 4: Charleston, South Carolina

Part 5: Savannah, Georgia

Part 6: Crossing Georgia and Tennessee

Part 7: Nashville, Tennessee

Part 8: Memphis, Tennessee

Part 9: The cars of Elvis Presley (Graceland, Tennessee)

Part 10: Crossing Mississippi and reviewing US motels

Part 11: New Orleans, Louisiana

Part 12: Everything is bigger in Texas

Part 13: Oklahoma – Last stop before Route 66

Part 14: Driving the Old Route 66 (Part 1)

Part 15: Driving the Old Route 66 (Part 2)

Part 16: New Mexico

Part 17: Monument Valley, Arizona-Utah

Part 18: Las Vegas, Nevada

Part 19: Death Valley, California

Part 20: Palm Springs, California

Part 21: Final destination LA + Final Albert review

STRATEGY: Understanding the Indian car market

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.

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Full Year 2013 Reports: 108 markets now available!

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

Guadeloupe (France) Full Year 2013: Renault overtakes Peugeot for #1 spot

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

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