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World September 2014: Mercedes > Audi, posts best-ever month

October 27th, 2014 4 comments

Mercedes C Class World September 2014Mercedes C-Class

The Mercedes brand sold 162,746 vehicles worldwide in September, the best-ever month in its 88-year history and a 14 percent year-on-year increase. This enables Mercedes to pass Audi and rank #2 premium brand in the world below BMW for the month of September. Even though Audi sales are up 6% to 159,950 units, it wasn’t enough to resist Mercedes’ progression. Whereas Mercedes is benefitting from strong sales of its redesigned A, C, E and S Class as well as a great start for the GLA and CLA models, Audi has pushed its planned overhauls of the A4 and Q7 into 2015.

Audi A3 USA August 2014. Picture courtesy of motortrend.comThe A3 Sedan is enjoying a good start in the USA.

Audi has been the world’s No.2 premium automaker since 2011 when it overtook Mercedes, however its lead over the the Daimler division has thawed from 118,110 units a year ago to 103,494 in 2014. Automotive News Europe quoted Frankfurt-based Commerzbank analyst Sascha Gommel as saying “Mercedes will catch up further with BMW and Audi in coming months, they simply got the freshest product lineup.” Audi has a goal of boosting full-year sales to above 1.7 million vehicles from last year’s record 1.58 million, relying on momentum in China and Europe where it leads the premium segment, while Mercedes is simply targeting brand deliveries above last year’s record 1.46 million cars. Both brands are vying to snatch the global luxury-sales crown from BMW by the end of the decade.

BMW i8 Germany July 2014. Picture courtesy of motortrend.comBMW has sold over 10,000 “i” models worldwide, including 341 i8 (above)

September saw worldwide sales of BMW branded vehicles grow by 6.1% to a total of 167,584 vehicles, lifting the year-to-date total to 1.319.492 sales, up an excellent 9.1% on the same period last year. Good news: BMW graciously made available global sales by model for the first 9 months of 2014. The BMW 2 Series Convertible & Coupé total 19,941 sales, the BMW 3 Series is up 3.7% to 349,930 units, an incredible result given the arrival of the 4 Series at 81,876 sales. The 5 Series is up 2.8% to 278,479 sales and the X5 is up 34.2% to 104,997 units thanks to the new generation. Finally, a significant milestone: BMW i range sales now total 10,540 for the year to date with 10,199 BMW i3s and 341 BMW i8s sold. Note the i8 is sold out through the end of 2014 in the USA. Source: Manufacturers, Automotive News

Categories: World

World September 2014: Global car market up 4.7%

October 27th, 2014 No comments

Beijing Traffic JamAlbeit at a slower rate, China is still the main engine of growth in the automotive market in 2014.

Based on data published by POLK, global passenger car sales are up 4.7% year-on-year in September to 6.927.151 registrations. This brings the year-to-date total to a record 59.242.409 units, up 4.6% on 2014. Asia, Northern American and Western Europe more than made up for sharp losses in Eastern Europe and Latin America: sales in the Asia/Pacific region are up 6.3%, with China (albeit at a slower growth rate) compensating for a decrease in Japan, while sales in the NAFTA region are up 5%. In Latin America, the new car market is down 6.5% in September and 8.7% YTD, with Argentina and Brazil down sharply. Western Europe is up 6.4% in September and 5.2% YTD, whereas Eastern Europe posted a 8.6% decline due to the civil war in Ukraine and anctions imposed on Russia, bringing the year-to-date total down 9.4%.

Polk-1

Projections for the Full Year 2014 at Polk stand at a record 78.3 million units, which would be a 3.8% improvement over 2013. New registrations in the Asia/Pacific region are expected to increase by 6.9% in 2014. In China alone, sales in the current year will be up around 1.8 million units from the year before. New registrations in the NAFTA region are expected to continue to climb to about 19.2 million units (up 5.4%). Sales in the Latin American markets, on the other hand, will fall to about 5.4 million units (-9.2%) and will be down in Eastern Europe as well (-9.6%). Passenger vehicle demand in Western Europe, on the other hand, will be up once again in 2014 (up 4.6%).

All-in-all, continued growth in Asia and the NAFTA region, as well as the progressing recovery in Western Europe, will push global passenger vehicle sales over the 80 million-unit mark for the first time in 2015. Note this is passenger cars only, and this data does not include sales of commercial vehicles, light medium or heavy. Source: POLK via SMMT

Categories: World

Latvia: Dartz Prombron Black Shark to be produced at 10 units

October 23rd, 2014 1 comment

DartZ Prombron Black SharkDartz Prombron Black Shark

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.

Dartz Prombron Aladeen Edition

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.

Dartz Prombron. Picture courtesy of hispotion.com

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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Categories: Latvia, World

World: BMW’s global premium crown now threatened

August 19th, 2014 7 comments

Mercedes BMW Audi picture courtesy of carmagazine.co.ukBMW is under attack from Audi and Mercedes, with all 3 manufacturers breaking records.

Worldwide results are in for the first 7 months of the year for German premium brands and according to Automotive News it looks like BMW’s crown is starting to be in danger from Audi and Mercedes. But let’s get one thing cleared up first. All 3 manufacturers are hitting all-time volume highs so far in 2014! An incredible group performance indeed. BMW has been the global premium car sales leader since overtaking Mercedes in 2005. Audi has ranked second since 2011. Both Audi and Mercedes have said they want to take the top spot by the end of the decade… A fascinating battle indeed.

Over the period BMW brand sales gained 10% year-on-year to 1.03 million units, the first time BMW has passed the million mark this early in the year and a pretty impressive performance if you ask me, helped by the launch of the 2 Series, 4 Series, i3 and X4. But the issue is: both Audi and Mercedes are doing even better. At #2 Audi grew by 11% to 1.01 million units, (also the very first time the brand sells over 1 million units globally in just 7 months) helped by a 52% yoy increase for the A3 last month to 22,450 units due to the arrival of the sedan variant. At the same time Mercedes rose 13% to 920,000 units, thanks mainly to the success of the new C-Class and its new compact range: the  A-Class, CLA and GLA.

Mercedes Benz; C-Klasse T-Modell Fahrvorstellung, Frankfurt/Deidesheim, C-250 Brillintblau met. AvantgardeGlobal Mercedes brand sales are up a splendid 13% so far in 2014.

Because the three competitors are now so close to each other in overall sales, the growth percentage differences were reflected in actual volumes too: BMW sold about 77,000 more units in the seven months this year than last year, but Audi sold about 101,000 more and Mercedes about 104,000 more. Of course, the overall picture is more complex and the 3 premium Germans experience very diverse fortunes in key global markets. Audi is the market leader in both Europe and China, while BMW is the best-seller in the United States.

Audi A3 World July 2014. Picture courtesy of automobile-magazine.frAudi A3 Sedan

China

China has been the big growth market for all three premium German manufacturers in recent years. Here Audi remains the clear leader, with 316,945 units sold in the first seven months — an increase of about 46,000 units equal to 17% growth. Second place BMW grew in volume terms by a similar amount, about 45,000 units, representing a 22% rise, lifting its seven-month sales there to 245,558. Mercedes showed the most dramatic growth in China over the period with a 34% gain, but it is coming from well behind and that increase equated to about 40,000 additional units, bring its 7 months total to 156,843. However this explosive growth may slow since the manufacturer was found guilty of price fixing for after-sales services.

Europe

In Europe, Audi sold 474,000 units in the first 7 months this year, up 7% on last year. Mercedes ranks 2nd with a 30,000 increase in units sold to 411,178, but up 8% because it is working off a lower initial base. Against these two, however, BMW lost ground. It sold a total of 396,066 units in Europe, an increase of 6%, or of about 22,000 units, over the same period last year.

BMW 3 Series World 2014BMW 3 Series (US model shown)

United States

In the United States, BMW has the top spot. In the first 7 months it sold 183,791 vehicles, up about 19,300 units or 12% on the same period last year. Mercedes was the country’s No. 2-ranked premium brand with a volume of 178,816, up about 13,200 units or 8% on the same period last year. From a much lower base, Audi’s U.S. sales of 98,965 units represented growth of 13%, but the increase in actual units sold was about 11,000. Audi ranks 4th among premium brands in the U.S. market behind No. 3 Lexus.

BMW 2 Series Active Tourer World 2014Will the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer decide the global premium crown for 2014?

Who will win in 2014?

If Mercedes still seems one notch below its two competitors even though it is gaining more ground so far this year, the battle is totally open between BMW and Audi for the year-end global premium crown. Only 20,000 sales separate the two brands after 7 months vs. 26,500 one year ago, however this difference grew to 80,000 at the advantage of BMW at the end of 2013. The A3 sedan is only starting to climb up the sales charts both in the United States and China so I predict Audi to remain extremely close to BMW all through 2014. The arrival of the 2 Series Active Tourer towards the end of the year in Europe could be the decider.

My prediction for the Full Year 2014 is: 1. BMW (1.83 million units, +10%), 2. Audi (1.79 million, +13%), 3. Mercedes (1.65 million, +13%)

Categories: World

World 6 months 2014: Volkswagen catches up on Toyota

August 3rd, 2014 2 comments

VW Jetta Toyota Prius World 2014. Picture courtesy of autoguide.comCan Volkswagen overtake Toyota to become the world’s biggest manufacturer in 2014?

* See the Full article by clicking on the title! *

Volkswagen Group is closing in on Toyota as the global leader in vehicle sales, with a rapid expansion drive in China  while Toyota curbs growth to focus on shoring up quality, Automotive News said this week. Toyota, worldwide leader both in 2012 and 2013, gains 4% over the first half of 2014 to reach a record 5.097 million vehicle sales, however Volkswagen is closing the gap with the Japanese manufacturer: the German automaker is up 6% to 5.066 million units. As a reminder, Toyota includes the Toyota brand, Lexus, Scion, Daihatsu and Hino while the Volkswagen group’s brands include Volkswagen, Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, MAN, Porsche, Scania, Seat and Skoda. In third position, General Motors, which Toyota overtook two years ago, said it sold 4.92 million vehicles in January-June.

Chevrolet Malibu World 2014. Picture courtesy of motor trend.comGeneral Motors ranks third overall so far in 2014.

According to Automotive News, even if Toyota manages to retain its crown for the first half, its position looks less secure for the full year. And this even though Toyota has shown impressive growth in the US whereas Volkswagen kept skidding. However the US is not the focal point of worldwide automotive sales, China and South-East Asia are. And at this game Volkswagen is doing much better than Toyota. In China, Volkswagen and GM’s largest market, Volkswagen is up 18% to more than 1.8 million sales, topping both GM’s 11% increase to 1.73 million and Toyota’s 12% gain to 0.466 million units. Volkswagen, which sold 3.27 million vehicles in China in 2013, is planning to invest $24.4 billion from now until 2018 in new plants and products there, while Toyota has put a freeze on the building of new plants until about 2016 as the company focuses on building better cars rather than chasing sales volume.

VW Passat Toyota Camry Hyundai Sonata World 2014. Picture courtesy of motortrend.comHyundai is ahead of both Toyota and Volkswagen when it comes to profit margin.

Toyota and Volkswagen both have forecast more than 10 million deliveries for 2014 (whereas Volkswagen had originally anticipated to reach that milestone in 2018). Toyota sold 9.98 million vehicles last year to lead the industry for the second consecutive year, followed by Volkswagen’s 9.73 million and GM’s 9.71 million. Introductions of crucial revamped models by Toyota and Volkswagen will help determine which automaker finishes the year on top. But if Volkswagen could overtake Toyota to become the #1 manufacturer in the world for the first time in 2014, the Japanese carmaker is still the king of profits.

 

Peugeot 301 Citroen-C-Elysee World 2014First auto-division profit in 3 years for PSA/Peugeot-Citroen

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Categories: World

World H1 2014: Jaguar Land Rover delivers all-time record sales

July 17th, 2014 No comments

Range-Rover-Evoque- World June 2014Range Rover Evoque

Global sales for Jaguar Land Rover are up a very robust 14% year-on-year over the First Half of 2014 to reach 240,372 vehicles, mainly due to an outstanding performance in China. Land Rover is up 14% to 196,785 units while Jaguar is up 16% to 43,587. China accounts for over 1 in 4 vehicles sold by the company globally over the period, up a whopping 48% to 62,469 over 6 months and boosted by a month of June up 60% to 11,554 units. This is all the more impressive that JLR does not manufacture cars locally in China yet (the first factory will open in the east China city of Changshu in the fourth quarter of this year) and therefore has to deal with significant import tax that make a premium product even more out of reach in this market.

Categories: World

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

July 1st, 2014 10 comments

VW XL1 World 2013. Picture courtesy of treehugger.comOne VW XL1 sold worldwide in 2013.

* See the Top 1102 best-selling models in the world by clicking on the title! *

Many thanks to Austin Rutherford for helping to compile this data.

No this is not a typo and yes it took a while but here it is: the most complete worldwide models ranking you will ever find, finally published on BSCB. This year there is actually more than 1000 models accounted for: 1102 exactly, that’s a whopping 174 more than in 2012.

It’s a very dynamic world ranking on top: the slowest moving is the Ford Focus in second place, up 7% to 1,113,607 sales. The Toyota Corolla keeps its crown thanks to sales up 10% to 1,247,404. Note this figure includes the Auris, sold as Corolla in some parts of the world, but don’t include the Japanese Corolla, nowadays a very different model. Another way to look at it is to only take into account vehicles actually named Corolla (a nameplates ranking), and at this game it is still ahead of the Focus at 1,201,238 sales (more info on the Corolla-Focus battle here)

The Hyundai Elantra is up a shiny 15% and remains on the third step of the podium at 951,293 units, while the Ford F-Series is even more impressive in 4th place: up two spots and 17% on 2012 to 919,671 sales, all this in this generation’s last full year… The Toyota Camry is stable at #5, the VW Golf up 3 ranks to #6, the Chevrolet Cruze and VW Passat immobile at #7 and #8 respectively and the Nissan Versa/Tiida down a harsh 6 spots to #10.

Missing out on a Top 10 ranking for only 1,400 sales, the Honda CR-V is up a splendid 16% and 6 ranks to #11, the VW Jetta/Bora is up 17% to #15 thanks to China, the Suzuki Swift/DZire up 14% to #19 thanks to India and the Honda Accord up 19% to #20. The biggest gainers in the Top 50 include the Kia K3 up 61% to #21, the Nissan Sentra and Wuling Hongguang both up 73% to #22 and #25 respectively, the Ford Fusion/Mondeo up 74% to #32, VW Lavida up 69% to #43 and Hyundai Santa Fe up 54% to #47.

Among newcomers atop the ranking, let’s salute the Buick Encore/Opel Mokka/Chevy Trax up to #79, the Subaru Forester up 70 spots to #97, Ford Ecosport up 241% to #105, Mercedes A Class up 128% to #131, Hyundai HB20 up 615% to #141, Dodge Dart/Fiat Viaggio up 259% to #155, Chevrolet Onix up 619% to #176 and the Honda N-One up 498% to #209.

As far as Chinese models are concerned, below the Wuling Hongguang (#25), Sunshine (#35), Rongguang (#50) and Foton Forland (#54), the Emgrand EC7 (+48%) and Haval H6 (+76%) both break into the worldwide Top 100 best-selling models for the first time while the BYD F3 (+25%) stops just 2,100 units short off it at #101.

Previous 2013 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

Full Year 2013 Top 1102 models Ranking Table below.

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Categories: World

Strategy: Citroen’s DS premium brand targets cities, not countries

June 20th, 2014 1 comment

DS 5LS China 2014DS 5LS

On June 1, PSAPeugeot Citroen appointed the first ever CEO for the premium DS brand: Yves Bonnefont, PSA’s former director of group strategy. DS is already a stand-alone brand in China and set to become the same in Europe as well, tasking Bonnefont with elevating it from a tiny-but-successful division of Citroen to a global powerhouse, while further boosting profitability. An interview of Bonnefont by Automotive News Europe provides a few fascinating facts about the global strategy for DS. Extracts below.

At the moment, DS’s only European stand-alone dealership is the DS World in Paris, and it is set to remain this way. There are 3 formats for the DS line at Citroen dealerships in Europe. First the DS Zone, just a black floor with some special lighting (85% of current European dealerships). Then the DS Salon, with 3 or 4 models displayed on a dedicated floor space, a DS salesman and DS signs outside the dealership. Finally the DS Store with dedicated entrances and a wall separating DS and Citroen models. DS’s # 1 objective in Europe is to develop the 2nd level, DS Salons, as Bonnefont believes they offer a good DS experience and can be rolled out relatively quickly. There are currently 12 DS Salons in Europe but there will be 40 by the end of 2014.

DS Logo

Interestingly, Bonnefont is not looking at the world by countries but by cities. He says: “We have found that a lot of the growth in the premium market is happening in a relatively limited number of cities around the world: there are about 500 cities in Asia, Latin America, Europe and the United States that will account for the vast majority of growth in the premium market. Our strategy is to develop a first wave of dedicated DS dealerships in 200 of those cities to drastically increase the visibility of DS.”

Which begs the question of launching the DS brand in the United States. Bonnefont declares: “We have no plans currently to go into the US, but it is difficult to be a premium brand without being present in that market. It would be crazy to say no forever to the US.”

In terms of world distribution of DS sales, the brand sold 120,000 units in 2013, more than 85% of it in Europe. DS’s target is to sell 50% outside of Europe by 2016. Another interesting piece of information is the fact that 62% of current DS sales are conquest sales (coming from outside Citroen) and about 85% of them choose between buying a DS or a model from another premium brand. These are previously mainstream car customers who want to buy a premium car. The main competitors are the top German brands and certain Italian premium brands like Alfa Romeo.

Categories: STRATEGY, World

Lancia reduced to one model and banished to Italy!

May 27th, 2014 18 comments

1985 Lancia Delta S4Harsh landing for Lancia… (1985 Lancia Delta S4 pictured)

According to Automotive News, Lancia has seen its last days outside of Italy. Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne will reduce the brand to just the Ypsilon that will be sold only in Italy. “Marchionne is performing Lancia’s final requiem,” said Gianluca Spina, dean of Milan Polytechnic’s business school. “It’s a rational decision for a global carmaker. The brand has no appeal outside Italy.” To end losses in Europe and boost profit globally, Marchionne is expanding the range of upscale Alfa Romeo and Maserati models and rolling out Jeep vehicles worldwide. Even with 55 billion euros ($75 billion) budgeted for investments in the five-year plan, there wasn’t money available to overhaul Lancia, which lacks name recognition outside Europe.

1964 Lancia Flaminia Super Sport1964 Lancia Flaminia Super Sport

Lancia was founded in 1906 by Fiat racecar driver Vincenzo Lancia and once produced curvy roadsters such as the Aurelia Spider that appeared with Bardot in the 1956 film “And God Created Woman.” In the fifties and sixties, its luxurious coupés such as the Flaminia (picture above) and Flavia went head-to-head with Jaguar and Maserati, no less! However, after being acquired by Fiat in 1969, Lancia models veered between sporty hatchbacks like the Delta and big-box sedans such as the Thema. An attempt to renew with its glamourous past by hiring actor Richard Gere and singer Carla Bruni to promote the brand in recent years  has fallen on deaf ears.

1985 Autobianchi Y101985 Autobianchi/Lancia Y10 

From 1985 to 1995, Fiat sold the small Y10 under the Autobianchi brand in Italy, France and Japan but under the Lancia brand elsewhere, contributing to a increasingly diluted brand image. Autobianchi was killed in 1989 but survived until 1995 in Italy after a 40 year history, at which point the Y10 became the Lancia Ypsilon, arguably bringing the brand down market.

2012 Lancia Flavia2012 Lancia Flavia. Rebadging Chryslers was a bad idea indeed.

The linkup with Chrysler provided Lancia with a (slim?) chance to widen its appeal. The merger of the two brands began in 2011, when Marchionne pulled the U.S. nameplate from continental Europe in favor of Lancia, which sold re-badged versions of the Chrysler 300 sedan, 200 convertible and Voyager minivan, respectively called Thema, Flavia and Voyager. Chrysler only survived in the UK where the Delta and Ypsilon were sold under that brand. Confusing? Indeed.

Lancia Ypsilon Italy August 20132011 Lancia Ypsilon in Ventimiglia, August 2013

All in all, Lancia’s decline is the result of an inconsistent strategy that hesitated between upscale and mass-market segments over the years. Lancia sales in Europe dropped 20% in 2013 to just 75,000 units, 76% of which in Italy alone, and sales outside Europe are non-existent. By 2016, Lancia will consist of just the 12,650 euro Ypsilon subcompact as sales of the Delta will end this year and all re-badges next year. The Italian carmaker intends to invest in restyling the Ypsilon next year as the model has been one of the top sellers in Italy over the past decade.

Si a Lancia No a Marchionne Facebook pageSi a Lancia No a Marchionne Facebook page

Lancia’s demise has angered fans. More than 3,000 of the so-called Lancisti signed an online petition to save the brand, a Facebook page titled “Yes to Lancia, No to Marchionne” received almost 9,000 likes, while on Twitter “Occupy Lancia” sends messages to Fiat such as “Lancia will end Delta production: shame on you.”

Lancia Delta Italy June 2012The 2008 Lancia Delta never convinced, even in Italy.

Reducing a carmaker to a single vehicle line in a single country is a veiled death sentence, as even ultra-luxury brands such as Lamborghini and Rolls-Royce have multiple models. But putting Lancia on life support rather than shutting it down outright helps Fiat keep its options open until other models hit the market to fill the gap, according to Ian Fletcher, an analyst with IHS in London. “It looks like a tactical short-term move, Marchionne may wait for Alfa Romeo’s strategy to yield its first results before killing the Lancia brand.”

Categories: Italy, World

World: Mercedes, Audi post strong gains on compact demand

May 8th, 2014 No comments

Audi Q3 Mercedes GLA World April 2014. Picture courtesy of largus.frThe Q3 and GLA are lifting Audi and Mercedes worldwide…

Both Mercedes and Audi continue to post record sales in April and year-to-date, partly thanks to the strength of their compact range. On Tuesday, Mercedes announced its global sales were up 14% year-on-year in April to 133,077 vehicles, buoyed by the new C and E-Class and its entire compact lineup. It is the 10th consecutive month of double-digit percentage growth worldwide, adding up to a record 507,353 vehicles in 4 months so far in 2014, up a splendid 15% on 2013.

The arrival of the GLA compact crossover helped lift the brand’s compact sales by 20% in April. Mercedes rose 10% in the USA to 25,887 sales, 38% in China to 22,438 and 10% in Europe as a whole to 62,868 including 24,430 in Germany, up 3%. 

Mercedes A Class World April 2014Both manufacturers also benefit from very popular compact cars.

Today Audi share its global sales for April, up 12% to 149,050 vehicles. This result was boosted by strong demand for the A3 and Q3 models. Over 4 months, Audi is at a record 561,900 units, up 12% on 2013. The A3 is up an astounding 44% worldwide to 25,766 sales now that the sedan variant has kick started in the US. The Q3 for its part is up 29% to 15,542 units.

In China, Audi is up 17% to 45,216 sales, while in Europe it is up 9% to 71,150 including 25,503 in Germany (+9%) and 12,360 in the UK (+9%). Audi sales in the US are up 19% to 15,653 units. Audi is aiming to sell 2 million cars a year globally by 2020. Last year, the company sold 1.58 million, an 8% increase on 2012.

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Categories: World