Saudi Arabia August 2014: Toyota Camry shoots up to #2

October 30th, 2014 6 comments

Chevrolet Tahoe Saudi Arabia August 2014. Picture courtesy of motoringme.comThe Chevrolet Tahoe ranks #9 year-to-date in Saudi Arabia, a world best.

* See the Top 150 best-selling models by clicking on the title! Thanks Ldman *

After a one month-hiatus, we return to the Middle East on BSCB with sales data for all the Gulf region, starting with Saudi Arabia. Continuing on its excellent run, the Saudi new car market is up 16% year-on-year in August to 65,020 registrations, bringing the year-to-date total to 544,810 units, up a robust 11% on 2013. Let’s get straight into the models ranking. After a month of July dominated by the new generation-boosted Toyota Corolla, the Toyota Hilux reclaims the crown it holds year-to-date thanks to 4.477 sales, still at a relatively shy 6.9% market share though, compared to the 8.2% it commands year-to-date.

Toyota Camry Saudi Arabia August 2014. Picture courtesy of motortrend.comToyota Camry

The Corolla is kicked down to #5 below the Hyundai Elantra (#4), Accent (#3) and Toyota Camry, benefitting fully from runout prices on the outgoing model and jumping up 4 spots on both July and year-to-date to a splendid 2nd place with 6.2% share vs. 4.3% YTD. Further down, General Motors’ newly revamped SUVs are doing a good job with Saudi consumers: the GMC Yukon lodges a second consecutive month inside the Top 15 at #15 and 1.6% share vs. #19 so far in 2014 and the Chevrolet Suburban is up 11 ranks on July and 21 ranks on its year-to-date ranking at #16 with 1,053 sales and 1.6% share vs. 0.7% year-to-date. The Chevrolet Tahoe strangely has a month off though at #29 vs. #9 year-to-date.

Geely EX7 Saudi Arabia August 2014. Picture courtesy of racing5.clThe Geely EX7 is among Saudi Arabia’s 100 most popular vehicles this month.

Finally, let’s welcome Chinese manufacturer Geely into the Saudi sales data for the first time, with figures available retrospectively up to April 2014 for the entire Gulf region. The Geely EC7 is the brand’s best-seller in Saudi Arabia at #41 and 336 sales in August and #60 year-to-date, followed by the GC6 at #63 and #133, the EC8 at #69 and #74 and the EX7 at #91 and #119.

Previous post: Saudi Arabia June 2014: Toyota Corolla up to 2nd place

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

Full August 2014 Top 150 models Ranking Table below.

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Categories: Saudi Arabia

World September 2014: Volkswagen catches up on Toyota for #1

October 30th, 2014 11 comments

VW Lavida China March 2013. Picture courtesy of bitautoThe Volkswagen Group is getting closer to Toyota thanks to its strength in China.

Bloomberg News announced today that the Volkswagen Group, boosted by strong sales in China and despite a marked slowdown in the US, is catching up with market Toyota Motor Corp. for the much coveted annual global crown. Relating Bloomberg’s calculations, Automotive News said VW Group’s deliveries through September, including the Porsche and Audi luxury divisions and MAN and Scania heavy-truck units, trailed Toyota’s by 72,000 vehicles compared with 227,000 a year earlier. Both Toyota and VW plan in excess of 10 million deliveries in 2014, and for now VW is up 5% year-on-year over the first 9 months of 2014 to 7.54 million cars and trucks vs. 7.62 million vehicles (+2.8%) for Toyota, including the Daihatsu minicar and Hino truck brands. The difference is roughly equivalent to the 72,499 light trucks that Toyota sold in the U.S. last month. VW doesn’t sell trucks there. In third place, General Motors gets distanced with a 2% increase to 7.37 million vehicles.

Categories: World

USA Coast to Coast: Oklahoma – last stop before Route 66

October 28th, 2014 1 comment

Chevrolet Silverado Oklahoma September 2014In Oklahoma, the Chevrolet Silverado hits its highest state ranking so far in this trip…

* You can check out all USA Coast to Coast updates as they get lived here! *

Thanks to David Curry for all the pictures in this report

After driving from New Orleans, Louisiana through Texas via Houston, Austin, Dallas and Fort Worth, we now enter the region of the US of A called the Great Plains in the Oklahoma state to reach Oklahoma City. This is our last stretch of the trip before we roll onto legendary Route 66… If Texas was the kingdom of pickup trucks, their proportion in the overall traffic is actually even higher in Oklahoma, with sales statistics to prove it – along with a surprise state sales leader… These, my Oklahoma impressions and a review of my Ram 1500 ecoDiesel (“Albert”) interior ergonomics below.

Ford F250 Oklahoma CityThe Ford F250 Super Duty ranks 4th in Oklahoma.

First let’s start with a bit of trivia about the Oklahoma state, one of the country’s fastest growing thanks to natural gas, oil and agriculture among other things. It gets its name from the Choctaw phrase “okla humma”, meaning “red people” and used to describe Native American people. 39 Native American tribes are located here and more than 25 Native American languages are spoken in Oklahoma, second only to California. Oklahoma was originally used to label a project to create an all-Indian state that failed, along with a later similar attempt named Sequoyah.

Ram 3500 LonghornRam 3500 Longhorn Pickup

Oklahoma has the second-highest number of Native Americans of any state (around 330.000), and at 8.6% of the population compared to just 2.4% in 1950, Oklahoma ranks third highest in the country below only New Mexico at 9.4% (6.2% in 1950) and South Dakota at 8.8% (3.6% in 1950). It is also one of only 7 states where the share of Native Americans in the population is above 1.5%, along with Montana (6.3%), North Dakota (5.4%), Arizona (4.6%) and Wyoming (2.4%). Oklahoma is nicknamed the Sooner State, in reference to the non-Native settlers (“sooners”) who staked their claims on the choicest pieces of land prior to the official opening date, and the Indian Appropriations Act of 1889, which opened the door for white settlement in America’s Indian Territory.

Ram 1500 ecoDiesel Albert OklahomaMe with Albert in Oklahoma City

Oklahoma state map. Picture courtesy of Smart-Traveler.InfoOklahoma state. I drove North on the I35 to OKC then West on the I40 towards Amarillo.

Oklahoma is home to 3.8 million “Okies” including almost 600,000 in its capital Oklahoma City, and its second largest city, Tulsa, was considered the Oil Capital of the World for most of the 20th century. Last bits of trivia: 1. Cimarron County in Oklahoma’s panhandle is the only county in the United States that touches four other states: New Mexico, Texas, Colorado and Kansas. 2. An Oklahoman business man, Cyrus Avery, began the campaign to create U.S. Route 66 using the stretch of road from Amarillo, Texas to Tulsa, Oklahoma. But this is another story that I will cover in my next Report…

Dodge Challenger OklahomaDodge Challenger in front of the Oklahoma City Symbolic Memorial for the 1995 bombing.

As I mentioned at the start of this article, the proportion of pickup trucks in the overall traffic is even higher than in Texas, even though the latter is considered the kingdom of pickup trucks. This is due to the relative rurality of the state, with Oklahoma and Tulsa being pretty much the only sizeable urban centres. This observation translates into official sales statistics in a very striking way: the Top 5 best-selling light vehicles in Oklahoma over the Full Year 2013 being all pickup trucks, making it the first state to achieve this feat so far in my trip. But wait there are more surprises…

Ford F250 Oklahoma City 3Old and new… in Oklahoma City

Best-selling new light vehicles in Oklahoma – Full Year 2013:

Pos Model 2013
1 Chevrolet Silverado 13,994
2 Ford F-150 11,517
3 Ram Pickup 9,762
4 Ford F-250 Super Duty 4,932
5 GMC Sierra 4,712

Source: JATO

Albert Stockyards CityAlbert in Stockyards City, Oklahoma

Also for the first time in this Coast to Coast trip so far, the Chevrolet Silverado outsells the Ford F-150 to claim the Oklahoma crown, and not by a tiny margin: almost 1,500 units separate it from Ford’s best-seller… The Ram Pickup rounds up the podium, and after making its first appearance of the trip in any Top 5 in Texas, the Ford F-250 Super Duty is up one notch to a fantastic 4th place in Oklahoma thanks to just under 5,000 sales in 2013. The GMC Sierra makes a comeback into the Top 5 (it ranked 4th in Louisiana) thanks to 4,700 sales.

Nissan Altima Honda Accord Toyota Camry OklahomaNissan Altima, Honda Accord and Toyota Camry: rare passenger cars in Oklahoma

Note prior data from other sources (including MSN Autos) claim the Nissan Altima is the best-seller in Oklahoma. I will interpret this as being the best-selling passenger car, continuing a trend we have seen in Tennessee and Mississippi, because the clear dominance of pickup trucks excludes all possibility the Altima could threaten any of the pickups mentioned above in the overall Oklahoma sales charts.

Ford F150 Stockyards City3 x Ford F150 in Stockyards City

A must see in Oklahoma City is the National Memorial for the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P Murrah Federal Building, America’s worst incident of domestic terrorism. The Outdoor Symbolic Memorial rests between two twin Gates of Time, framing the moment of destruction (9:02 am on April 19, 1995). The East Gate has graved into it 9:01 and represents the innocence of the city before the attack. The West Gate has 9:03 in it, the moment Oklahoma City was changed forever. The Memorial has 168 empty chair sculptures for each of the people killed in the attack, including 19 small ones for the children. A beautiful, moving and humbling experience. There is a real feel in this place that the event will mark the city for the rest of its existence. This, combined with the fact that this National Memorial is widely considered as the single location in Oklahoma most worthy of a visit (and I agree), was a bit of a wake up call for me. After having visited the National September 11 Memorial in New York City and the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza in Dallas, this was the time I truly took stock of the country’s sometimes violent history.

Ram 1500 ecoDiesel Albert gearboxAlbert’s gearbox knob in all its glory

Now that we are well into this Coast to Coast trip at over 3000 miles since our starting point in New York City, it is time for me to update you on my ride Albert, my valiant Ram 1500 ecoDiesel, and today I’ll go into its day-to-day commands ergonomics. Hundreds of routine commands and adjustments all through the trip so far are a fast-track way of testing how natural and intuitive Albert is to drive. Firstly my overall impression, and if you have read my coverage of the last Beijing and Paris Auto Shows you will now I am very picky as far as interiors are concerned: Albert does not know the word flimsiness. All instruments inside are and feel sturdy and robust, day after day, thousand miles after thousand miles. Albert is tough and made for work.

I have said this before and I will say it again, I love the gearbox transformed into a simple dashboard knob, freeing leg space for a potential third person in the front row. Once you train your brain to not use that knob to adjust air con – located just next to it, all is good and well in the best of worlds.

Ram 1500 ecoDiesel dashboardAlbert’s centre dashboard console. Simple and functional (click on image to enlarge)

Overall, the dashboard of this Ram 1500 ecoDiesel Tradesman is simple but functional, with no superfluous buttons. Is a navigation system superfluous? When you use this truck to and from work yes, but on a Coast to Coast trip no. Oh well, my iPhone and the Google Maps app are now best mates, and the centre dashboard console screen is content just telling me what song I’m listening to. The three cup holders accommodate every size of Starbucks coffee or watered down McDonalds to-go Coke thanks to flexible rubber padding, and the USB port hidden inside the large container in-between the two front seats enables to both play all the music on my iPhone and keep the latter hidden from view.

The rest of Albert’s ergonomics review and the Full Photo Report are below.

Read more…

South Korea October 2014: Seoul Photo Report

October 28th, 2014 4 comments

1. Hyundai Equss Seoul October 2014bHyundai Equus

In between the USA and Paris, I had the privilege to be able to fit two hours worth of driving outside the Seoul Incheon International Airport in South Korea. These are the 10 best pictures of these two hours, spent primarily in the town of Incheon and in and around Heungryunsa Temple and the Memorial Park for the Incheon Landing Operation. Complete analysis will follow shortly.

2. Kia Opirus Seoul October 2014Kia Opirus

3. Kia Carnival Seoul October 2014 Kia Carnival

4. Hyundai Genesis Seoul October 2014Hyundai Genesis

5. Daewoo Alpheon Seoul October 2014Daewoo Alpheon

6. SsangYong Chairman W Seoul October 2014aSsangYong Chairman W

The Full Photo Report (10 Photos) continues below.

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Categories: South Korea

World September 2014: Toyota sells 7 millionth hybrid vehicle

October 27th, 2014 1 comment

Toyota Prius 19977 million units later… (1997 Toyota Prius)

Toyota confirmed it sold its 7 millionth hybrid vehicle worldwide in September, 17 years after first launching the Prius in Japan in 1997. The total includes 3.3 million sold in Japan, 2.5 million in the United States, 770,000 in Europe and more than 67,000 in Australia. The latest one-million sales were achieved in record time – just nine months after Toyota (including Lexus) reached the six-million hybrid threshold in December last year, which doubled the three million total passed in February 2011.

Globally, Prius accounts for almost half the overall total with 3.36 million sales – making it the world’s best-selling hybrid vehicle. TMC estimates its hybrid vehicles have cut carbon-dioxide emissions by approximately 49 million tonnes and saved approximately 18 million kilo-litres of fuel compared with vehicles of similar size and driving performance using petrol-only engines. (Number of registered vehicles × distance travelled × fuel efficiency (actual fuel efficiency in each country) × CO2 conversion factor. Fuel consumption varies depending on driving conditions / style, vehicle conditions and options/accessories.) Next year, Toyota will start selling its first mass-produced hydrogen fuel-cell hybrid vehicle in Japan, Europe and the United States.

See Toyota’s hybrid vehicle chronology below.

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Categories: Japan, World

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%.


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

Kazakhstan September 2014: Chevrolet Cobalt in progress

October 27th, 2014 1 comment

Chevrolet Cobalt Kazakhstan September 2014. Picture courtesy of zr.ruChevrolet Cobalt (Russian model pictured)

* See the Top 30 best-selling models by clicking on the title! Thanks Irina *

After a one month-hiatus, Kazakh data is back on BSCB. New car sales in Kazakhstan take a hit in September: down 9% to 14,580 registrations, bringing the year-to-date total to 122,063 units, now up a shy 5% on 2013. The market is definitely pausing after gaining 74% over the Full Year 2014: sales are down 4% over the third quarter of 2014 to 45,462 units, potentially impacted by the Russian economic difficulties linked to the Ukrainian crisis. Model sales data is available for Q3 2014 but only a ranking for September. Over Q3, the Lada Priora is still the best-seller but in free fall at -28%. It is followed by the Hyundai Accent (+43%), Lada Granta (+17%), Kia Rio (+226%) and Lada Largus (+65%).

UZ Daewoo Gentra Kazakhstan September 2014. Picture courtesy of zr.ruUZ-Daewoo Gentra

The UZ-Daewoo Gentra lands directly in 6th place thanks to 2.036 sales and 4.5% share, while the UZ-Daewoo Nexia is down 56% year-on-year but back up to #7 and 3.4% share during Q3 vs. #11 and 2.1% year-to-date. The Lada Kalina confirms its new generation has transformed the nameplate from a non-seller to a Top 10 blockbuster in Kazakhstan (#8), the Skoda Rapid breaks into the Kazakh Top 10 at #9 vs. #12 year-to-date, the Toyota Camry is up to #12 vs. #17 YTD and the Nissan Almera Classic is up to #15 vs. #25. Finally we have a new strong seller breaking onto the Kazakh scene over the period: the Chevrolet Cobalt ranks #25 over Q3 with 467 sales and 1% share but is already #14 in September.

Previous post: Kazakhstan July 2014: Kia Rio and Daewoo Gentra break records

One year ago: Kazakhstan September 2013: Lada Largus and UAZ Bukhanka strong

Full Q3 2014 Top 30 models Ranking Table below.

Read more…

Categories: Kazakhstan

France 1-15 October 2014: Peugeot 308 remains above 208

October 27th, 2014 11 comments

Peugeot 308 France October 2014. Picture courtesy of largus.frPeugeot 308

* See the Top 10 best-selling models and brands by clicking on the title! *

Not a very encouraging first half of the month in France with sales from 1 to 15 October down 2% year-on-year. All French manufacturers buck the trend though: Peugeot is up 9% to #1 with 11.129 sales, both Renault and Citroen are up 2% to 9.515 and 8.750 respectively and Dacia shoots up 41% to 3.603 in 5th place. Notice also Ford up 22% and Toyota down 26%. The models ranking is getting back to normal after a first week of October topped by the VW Golf: the Renault Clio IV is already all set in its traditional pole position thanks to sales up 10% year-on-year to 2,690 units while the Peugeot 308 remains above the 208 at 2,576 sales (+66%) vs. 2,502 (-16%). If it stays this way until the end of the month (unlikely), it would be the first time the 308 outsells the 208 at home in France. The Golf is kicked down to a still very impressive 5th place with sales up 54%, ahead of the Peugeot 2008 up 30% to #6 while the Dacia Duster is up 130% to #10. Note there are 4 Peugeots in the Top 10 (308, 208, 2008, 3008) vs. one Renault (Clio IV).

Previous post: France 1-8 October 2014: VW Golf leads in market down 8%

Previous month: France September 2014: Renault Twingo III up to 8th place

One year ago: France 1-14 October 2013: Renault Scenic and Captur back on track

Full 1-15 October 2014 Top 10 models and brands Ranking Tables below.

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Categories: France

Norway September 2014: Now with Top 12 electric cars

October 27th, 2014 1 comment

Kia Soul Electric Norway September 2014The Kia Soul Electric already sells better than the Tesla Model S in Norway…

* See the Top 12 best-selling models by clicking on the title! Thanks Jan *

For the first time on BSCB I can share with you detailed data for electric cars in Norway, the country in the world with the highest share of this type of vehicles. In September 1.298 new electric cars found a home in Norway, that’s 11% of the overall passenger car market, bringing the year-to-date total to 13,737 units, a 13% share. The Nissan Leaf is the best-seller this month with 367 sales, enabling it to reclaim the year-to-date lead off the Tesla Model S at 3,745 units vs. 3,535. The VW e-Golf lands in 2nd place with 220 sales or 1 in every 4 new Golf sold in Norway, and the VW e-Up rounds up the podium with 214 units or 74% of all Up sold. A newcomer this month: the Kia Soul Electric takes off at 105 sales or 88% of all Soul registered in September and one unit above the Tesla Model S…

Previous post: Norway September 2014: Mitsubishi Outlander back up to #5

One year ago:

Full September 2014 Top 12 electric models Ranking Table below.

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Categories: Norway