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The Latvian new car market marks a pause in July with sales down 3% year-on-year to 1.400 registrations, however the year-to-date total is still frankly in positive at +9% to 9.468 sales after 7 months. If Volkswagen (15.5%) is a notch lower than its year-to-date market share, Toyota (14.9%), Nissan (10.4%) and Skoda (10.2%) are all well above. Citroen jumps 7 spots on June to 6th place with 4% of the market, Hyundai, Audi and Subaru are all up 5 ranks to #11, #13 and #15 respectively and Honda is up 7 to #17. In the models ranking, the Skoda Yeti is the best-selling nameplate in the country for the first time this year and the third time in the past 13 months along with July and December 2014, with 81 sales and 5.8% share, passing the Nissan Qashqai at 70 units and 5% – the latter however keeping its year-to-date pole position. The VW Passat is up 5 spots on last month to a fantastic third place, the Toyota RAV4 is up 3 to #4 and the Toyota Auris up 10 to #5.
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The Latvian new car market is up a splendid 12% year-on-year in June to 1.465 registrations, bringing the year-to-date total to 8.068 units, up 11% on 2014. Volkswagen is master in command once again with 15.3% share while Toyota reclaims the #2 spot it held in 2014 and holds in 2015 so far off Ford, down to its 2015 level at #5, below Nissan and Skoda. Model-wise, the Nissan Qashqai is back to the pole position it holds year-to-date thanks to 88 sales and 6% share, knocking May’s leader the Ford Focus down to a still very impressive 2nd place with 60 units and 4.1%. The Fiat 500 is up 13 spots to #3, the Skoda Octavia up 6 to #4, the antediluvian Lada 4×4 (aka Niva) impresses by lodging another Top 10 ranking at #10, the Dacia Duster is back up 48 ranks to #13, the Peugeot 3008 is up to #21 and the Citroen C4 Picasso up to #31.
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The Latvian new car market is up 9% year-on-year in May to 1.404 registrations, bringing the year-to-date total to 6.603 units, up 11% on 2014. Below Volkswagen sovereign at 17.5% share, Ford jumps to second place in the brands ranking thanks to 146 sales and 10.5%, this surge mainly the work of the Ford Focus, best-seller in the country this month with 5.1% share. Toyota is knocked down to #3 with 10.3%, ahead of Skoda (8%), Nissan (7.1%), Renault (6.3%) and Fiat (5.3%). The VW Caddy and Passat complete the podium above the Nissan Qashqai, Ford Fiesta and Lada 4×4.
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Latvian new car sales continue on their very vigorous trend so far this year with April up 16% year-on-year to 1.452 registrations and the year-to-date total now up 11% on 2014 at 5.198 units after 4 months. Volkswagen is still in control of the brands ranking with 271 sales and 18.7% share while Toyota reclaims the 2nd spot it holds year-to-date off Nissan thanks to 179 units and 12.3% vs. 119 and 8.2%. Skoda is solid in 4th place and 7.2% share above Fiat, Ford and Lada up 11 spots to #7 and 4.1%. Model-wise, this month the VW Passat takes the lead thanks to the new generation selling 77 units for a 5.3% market share, with the Nissan Qashqai retreating to 2nd place at 4.8% but retaining its year-to-date pole position by far at 304 sales and 5.8% vs. 196 and 3.8% for the VW Passat at #2. The Lada Niva surges to an outstanding third place (much better than at home in Russia) thanks to 59 sales and 4.1%, the Fiat 500 is back up to #5 and the Toyota Avensis is up 18 ranks to #6.
The Nissan Qashqai sells more than double any other nameplate in Latvia in March.
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The Latvian market remains in positive territory so far this year with March sales up 16% year-on-year to 1.432 units and 1st Quarter deliveries up 9% to 3,746. After a start of 2015 skewed by special orders by BMW for the Latvian European Presidency, Volkswagen reclaims the brands pole position with 15.7% share in March and 15.8% over the 1st Quarter, while Nissan overtakes Toyota for the 2nd spot year-to-date thanks to a bumper month of March at 14.7% share vs. 11.3% due to the Qashqai selling more than double any other nameplate at 9.1% of the market. Notice also Fiat up to #5 thanks to the Punto.
The BMW X6 is the 2nd best-selling model in Latvia in January…
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The Latvian new car market is up a very satisfying 15% year-on-year in January to 1,335 registrations, however once again sales data for this country is tainted by artificial events. Traditionally very prone to re-exports, this month the Latvian market bias comes from a different source. BMW registered 170 models specifically for the temporary European Union presidency of Latvia which runs from this January up until June. That’s enough to propel the German premium brand to pole position this month with 199 sales and 14.9% share, and completely own the models ranking: below the Nissan Qashqai at #1 with 4.9% share, we find the BMW 5 Series and X6 at equal #2 with 4.1% and the BMW 4 Series at #5 with 3.4% share. Outer-wordly. Notice also the Ford Transit/Tourneo Custom at #4 with 4% of the market.
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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%.
* See the Top 50 best-selling models and Top 30 All-brands by clicking on the title *
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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