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The Latvian new car market is in excellent shape in 2014, up 17% year-on-year to 14,991 registrations. A big caveat before we dig into detailed sales figures for Latvia: a large part of new car sales in this country are directly re-exported to other European Union countries and therefore the rankings do not really reflect the situation on the ground. Brand-wise, Volkswagen stays on top with 16.9% above Toyota at 12.2%, while Skoda is up a magnificent 54% to third place and 8.6% share, dislodging Peugeot from the podium. Nissan (+42%), Renault (+44%), Dacia (+40%) and Suzuki – going from just 16 units sold in 2013 to 181 this year – all impress.
The Skoda Yeti spectacularly take the lead of the Latvian models ranking this year thanks to sales up 80% to 619 and 4.1% share while the Nissan Qashqai simply doubles its 2013 to climb onto the 2nd spot at 534 units. The VW Golf loses the crown it held in 2014, down to #3 above the Toyota RAV4 (+49%) and VW Passat (+15%). Notice also the Dacia Duster up 69% to #7, the VW Jetta up 85% to #12, the Toyota Prado up 148% and the Corolla up 123%.
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After dropping by 2% in October, Latvian new car sales are back up 7% year-on-year in November to 1,217 units, bringing the year-to-date total to 13,690 deliveries, up 16% on 2013. Brand-wise, Volkswagen (16.9% share) and Toyota (12.2%) remain very close to their year-to-date levels, Nissan jumps up to #3 and 7.9% vs. #6 and 5.8% YTD, knocking Skoda down to #4, while Fiat is the hero du jour, up 12 spots on October to #5 with 6.8% share vs. #13 and 2.7% YTD. Note Suzuki, last’s month hero du jour at #3 overall sells… nothing this month. It’s important to remember that a large part of new car sales in Latvia are directly re-exported to other European Union countries and therefore the monthly rankings do not reflect exactly the situation on the ground. The Nissan Qashqai takes the lead of the models ranking this month thanks to 69 units sold, above the VW Up up a further 7 ranks on October to #2 and 5% share vs. #26 and 1.1% YTD. Other great (re-export) performers this month include the Fiat 500 up to #5, Peugeot Bipper up to #10 vs. #99 YTD, Fiat Panda up to #12 with 21 sales vs. 23 YTD and the Opel Mokka up to #17 vs. #43 YTD.
The Suzuki Jimny is the surprise Latvian October market leader.
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First month of year-on-year decline for new light vehicle sales in Latvia, down 2% in October to 1,401 registrations. However the year-to-date total is still up by a flamboyant 17% to 12,473 units. Given its small size and the unofficial strength of re-exports inside the European Union, the Latvian brands and, particularly, models sales charts are very dependent on one-off promotions and special orders, and therefore always very volatile. October is a case in point with the Suzuki Jimny selling 117 units for a 8.4% market share whereas it had sold 4 units so far this year before October… The October Jimny score accounts for 91% of the Suzuki brand sales and 65% of the brand’s 2014 sales so far, single-handedly lifting it up to #3 manufacturer in October with 128 units and 9.1% vs. #28 in September and #21 year-to-date (181 sales and 1.5%). Local car registration body Autoassociation.lv has confirmed the totality of these Jimny sales has gone to re-export and none of them in fact hit Latvian roads…
The BMW X5 is up to #12 this month in Latvia.
In other news, Volkswagen is particularly strong this month at 19.3% market share vs. 17.4% YTD, double the #2 Toyota a little weak at 9.5% vs. 12.1% YTD. Skoda (7.4%) is knocked down to #4 by Suzuki while Renault is up one spot to #5 and Nissan down one to #6. Model-wise, below the Jimny the VW Golf and Nissan Qashqai are both up one rank on September to #2 and #3 respectively, also their YTD rankings, the VW Passat is up two to #4, the Skoda Yeti down 3 to #5 but still leader YTD by far, the Renault Scénic up from outside the September Top 75 directly to #7 vs. #24 YTD, the VW Up up to #9 vs. #47 and the BMW X5 up to #12 vs. #38.
Think you are looking at one of those vehicles used by the South African police or in Northern Ireland a few years ago, or even an anti-terrorist weapon used on some delicate regions in the world? Not so. This is one of the most exclusive private vehicles on sale at the moment, and as I am conscious of mainly focusing on the highest selling nameplates around the globe here at BSCB, I have prepared this little interlude in the world of super-exclusive tanks of wheels. Introducing the Dartz Prombron Black Shark.
Dartz Introduction featuting founder Leonard Yakelowich
Dartz Motorz Company, a Latvian car manufacturer founded by crazy man Leonard Yankelowich that specialises in high performance armoured vehicles. I have to confess (shock! horror!) I was not familiar with this brand before today, and always get fascinated when discovering new automotive players with such an extravagant yet unique story to tell. Yankelowich says his cars are based on 3 (non-lethal) bullets: Russian Imperial opulence in the interior, Soviet military power in armouring and German engineering perfection as a platform. All there is to know about the brand can be found on the tidy little documentary above, entirely shot in the city I grew up in: Cannes, France. It features the Prombron Red Diamond and details its specs, including an… interesting fuel ‘economy’ of 25 to 30L per 100km or 6 to 10 mpg… How I missed that enormous Red Diamond driving around on the Croisette Boulevard I will never know.
2012 Dart Prombron Aladeen Edition
The video above also mentions the Dartz ‘Gold Bullet Wheel Edition’ Prombron, complete with gold bullet-adorned wheels, three free bottles of the world’s most expensive vodka RussoBaltique and, wait for it… each vehicle shipped with a complimentary gun (!?). Want more bizarre? The original Kombat model was going to be available in upholstered leather that was made from the foreskin of whale penises… before Dartz backed off after receiving flak.The Kombat line of Prombron vehicles has appeared in a number of movies over the years, such as Sacha Baron Cohen’s The Dictator, for which Dartz smartly released an Aladeed edition (above), Die Hard 5 and The November Man.
CGI promo animation for the Dartz Prombron Black Shark
Dartz has been on the news in the past week because it just unveiled the new Prombron Black Shark, based on the Mercedes Benz GL 63/65 AMG platform. Traditionally the Prombron family of SUVs can be equipped with various levels of armor protection ranging up to ballistic level B7 (using the Soviet Capsule technology), specifically designed to withstand attacks from rocket propelled grenades and land mines. Two available engines: a V8 5.5 L with at least 585 horsepower or a V12 6.0 L with up to 1.500 horsepower. Standard colour options are limited to black, gold, gray, white or camouflage but buyers can also request custom jobs. One of the build slots for the Black Shark has already been claimed, with the owner requesting a Tiffany Blue exterior with Swarovski crystal embedded in the hood and tailgate.
But wait there are more features. Lightless driving (like a paratrooper) is possible, and if you happen to be on the road and in spontaneous need of an international flight (who doesn’t?), you can book a private jet from any major airport directly from the car with BlackJet. The body is made from bullet resistant Kevlar-titanium, to prevent the use of magnetic mines, and also available with military tech like a road analyzer, distance explosive detector and signal jammer. The door handles disappear into the body and have an “anti-paparazzi shock-device.” as well as fingerprint and retina scanner for opening the car. Most buyers won’t be driving the car themselves, so it comes equipped with a “driver vigilance telemetric control system, capable of constant monitoring of the driver’s psycho-physiological condition and overall awareness”. In other words making sure the driver does not fall asleep. Such complicated word for such a simple thing…
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New car sales in Latvia slow down their progression in September at +2% year-on-year to 1,155 registrations, the weakest year-on-year growth ratio so far in 2014. Year-to-date sales are up a very robust 20% on 2013 after 9 months at 11,072 units. Volkswagen cements its lead in the brands ranking thanks to 210 sales and 18.2% share vs. 120 and 10.4% for Toyota, threatened this month by Skoda at 118 units and 10.2%. Helped by runout prices for the outgoing model, the Ford Focus takes the lead of the models sales charts in September with a massive 7.1% market share to be compared with 1.7% and #13 year-to-date… The Skoda Yeti is back up 4 spots on August to 2nd place at 5.5% share and reinforces its year-to-date leadership at 4% share, the VW Golf rounds up the podium at 5.3% ahead of the Nissan Qashqai at 4.2% and the Toyota RAV4 at 2.7%. Finally notice the arrival of the Citroen C4 Cactus at #75 with 4 units sold.
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The Latvian new car market goes from strength to strength this year: up another very impressive 31% year-on-year in August to 1,191 registrations, the highest year-on-year gain so far in 2014. The year-to-date total now stands at 9,917 units, up 22% or 1,800 sales on the same period in 2013. Brand-wise, Volkswagen lodges a particularly strong month at 22.2% market share thanks to 264 sales, followed by Ford at the exceptional level of 7.6% vs. 2.8% year-to-date while Skoda and Peugeot rank #3 and #4 respectively like in the year-to-date ranking, kicking Toyota down to #5. The VW Caddy is the most popular vehicle in the country this month with 4.6% share (it ranks #8 so far in 2014) ahead of the Ford Focus at 4.4% (vs. #28 year-to-date), the Dacia Duster at 4.2% and the VW Jetta at 3.9%. The Skoda Yeti is down to #6 but remains in pole position year-to-date, the VW Up is up 63 ranks on July to #7, the Peugeot 5008 also up 63 to #10 and the Skoda Rapid up 37 to #13.
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The Latvian new car market continues to go gangbusters at +29% year-on-year in July to 1,446 registrations, bringing the year-to-date total to 8,723 units, up 21% on 2013. Overtaken by the Peugeot 3008 last month, the Skoda Yeti reclaims the pole position both this month and year-to-date thanks to a very strong 93 sales and 6.4% share, adding up to 340 units and 2.9% year-to-date vs. 293 and 3.4% for the 3008 down to a paltry #11 in July. The Dacia Duster also impresses at 80 units and 5.5% in 2nd place vs. 2.6% and #7 year-to-date, lifting the French-Romanian brand up to #5 and 6.4% vs. #8 and 3.6% year-to-date. The Toyota Auris is up 10 spots on last month to round up the podium ahead of the Nissan Qashqai, VW Jetta and Golf. Up to an unbelievable third place in June, the BMW X6 is back down to a still very reasonable #25 this month with 1.4% share. Finally, notice the Porsche Macan at #82 and the Mercedes V-Class at #83.
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The Latvian new car market is up a robust 13% year-on-year in June to 1,308 registrations, bringing the half-year total to 7,277 units, up 20% on 2013. Sales charts in Latvia are always very volatile and this month is no exception. The Peugeot 3008 is the best-selling model in the country with 4.5% and overtakes the Toyota RAV4 to grab the year-to-date pole position as well. The Dacia Duster is up 12 spots on May to a beautiful 2nd place but the big surprise of the month is the third place of the BMW X6 – yep, you read that right – reaching its highest ever ranking in any country in the world as far as figures BSCB could access are concerned.
The X6 accounts for almost 70% of all BMW sales this month and there is a simple explanation for this surge: BMW offered 25% discount for the previous gen (not the one pictured above) back in March and in June we are seeing the deliveries to consumers of orders taken at that time. Still, third place! Jesus. The Kia Sportage, Citroen C4, Toyota Verso and Skoda Fabia also shine while the Porsche Macan (#65) and Tesla (2 units) appear in the Latvian ranking for the first time.
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New car sales in Latvia are up a very healthy 13% year-on-year in May to 1,289 registrations, which brings the year-to-date total to 5,969 units, up 21% on 2013. With a small market comes a volatile models ranking and this month is no exception, apart from the VW Golf holding onto the pole position for the 2nd month running thanks to 49 sales and 3.8%, and now #5 year-to-date vs. #1 over the Full Year 2013. The Skoda Yeti is up 2 spots on April to #2 at 43 units and 3.3%, followed by the VW Passat and Nissan Qashqai, both down one notch. The VW Jetta is up to #8 vs. #16 year-to-date, the Ford Fiesta up to #10 vs. #51 and the Peugeot 208 up to #11 vs. #34 while the Toyota RAV4, leader so far in 2014, is down to #12.
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New car sales in Latvia are up a massive 24% year-on-year both in April at 1,229 registrations and year-to-date at 4,680 units, a great start of the year indeed for this market. Volkswagen confirms it is the favourite carmaker in the country with 17.8% share ahead of Toyota (14.8%) and Skoda (9.8%) and manages to place two models in the Top 2 spots this month: the Golf is up 10 ranks on March to #1 and the Passat is up 17 to #2. The Nissan Qashqai is down one spot to round up the podium while the Skoda Yeti remains 4th. The year-to-date ranking is completely different however, with the Toyota RAV4 still in the lead ahead of the Peugeot 3008 and Skoda Octavia.