From North Cape to Gibraltar – Part 1: Stockholm and Central Sweden

bjorn-tallberg-2BSCB is off to Sweden! 

At BSCB we love linking extremes. After going from New York to Los Angeles via the legendary Route 66 in a Ram 1500 in 2014 and linking Northern Alaska to the Mexican border in a Ram 2500 in 2015 (helped by a boat and a few planes), we now move over to Europe.

europe-map-north-cape-gibraltarFrom one European extreme to the other…

This year we will be linking North Cape, the northernmost point in continental Europe, to Gibraltar, its southernmost point. Our itinerary won’t be conventional as we will start from Stockholm and head north to North Cape before tracing back south all the way to Gibraltar with the help of one flight. To help us with this task we’ll have two cars relay each other: first a Volvo XC90, then a Mercedes C-Class Coupe. The start of this trip is in Stockholm where we take delivery of our XC90…

stockholm-1First stop: Stockholm.

After four days spent in out-of-control rip-off kingdom Malta, the sudden surge of surrounding honesty and fairness is heart-warming. Yes, things are working the way they are supposed to in Sweden, and most of the time that means fast and efficiently. There is a Volvo V70 taxi exhibited inside the arrival hall at Arlanda Airport with the city centre fare displayed in large figures on the windscreen. Why isn’t every airport like this? The Arlanda Express train swallows the 45km separating the airport to the town centre in a mere 15 mins and I manage to fit a couple of hours walking on the cobblestone streets of Gamla Stan, Stockholm’s old town. I’m now in Swedish mode: relaxed, quiet and smiling. I’m ready to drive.

stockholm-2Souvenir shop in Gamla Stan, Stockholm. It’s Dalahäst galore!

The Swedish new car market is currently undergoing a once-in-two-decades transformation. After 19 consecutive years of Volvo V70 domination, the Swedish manufacturer has decided to discontinue the nameplate and replace it with a more sophisticated – and expensive – V90. Will the Swedish consumer follow and upgrade their V70 to a V90, or will they switch to Volkswagen, Audi, Mercedes or BMW? The first signs are the latter is happening, with Volvo combining V70, S90 and V90 sales in a attempt to hold onto the models pole position. Instead, the VW Golf has now been the best-selling nameplate in Sweden for four consecutive months at end-October. Not to worry though, Volvo remains by far the most popular brand at home, helped by renewed interest towards the smaller V60 – the best-selling model in Stockholm based on my observations – and record sales by the XC60 despite a renewal scheduled for 2017.

upplands-motor-stockholmSollentuna Upplands Motor: this is where it all started.

To try and gage interest in the new model across the country, I had planned to drive the V90. However at the time (third week of September), all V90 pressers were monopolised by the Swedish media. Instead, we will attempt to reach Nordkapp (Norwegian for Cape North) in a XC90 SUV, the brand’s flagship. Not that I’m complaining! We have a XC90 D4 Inscription priced at 600.000 skr (US$65.000 or 61.400€), loaned by the Sollentuna Uppland Motor dealership. To my surprise, this Volvo dealership is shared with Renault (and Dacia), in a setup that I will see replicated across the entire country, sometimes with Ford added into the mix. Jonas hands the key to the XC90, explains a few things like the almost-hidden button to open the glovebox and I give full thumbs up to the centre console pinch to zoom touch-screen working exactly like an iPad. I’m already impressed.

bjorn-dala-horse-avestaBjörn posing near the world’s largest Dalahäst in Avesta.

After Esmeralda the Sardinian Fiat Panda, we now need to baptise our Volvo XC90. With a male name as this is an SUV, therefore a truck which has a masculine gender in my native tongue, French. I never can’t quite get myself to call trucks with female names… Looking up typical Swedish male names serves me with rather uninspiring fares such as Fyr (most sincere apologies to all the Fyrs in the BSCB readership). I know what you’re all thinking, we all want to call this Volvo Björn, don’t we? Ok. Just this time I will make an exception: Fyr can have a middle name also. Please give a warm welcome to Fyr – Björn, we’re about to see a lot of your country together, and beyond…

stockholm-gnarp-with-reference-mapDay 1 takes us from Stockholm to Gnarp

We get out of the Volvo dealership with 6.035 km on Björn’s odometer – a figure that’s about to surge over the next week. Our first destination is the idyllic Siljan Lake, the picture-perfect region of everything quintessentially Swedish. Stepping out of Stockholm, I instantly realise this trip won’t be a fast one. Speed limits even in rural areas are almost uniformly 80km/h, 60 or 50km/h when traversing towns, and speed radars every km or so are here to ensure you stick to the rules. That’s the other side of the Swedish medal: for everything to work efficiently, everyone has to abide by the rules.

bjorn-leksand In Leksand

These first few km are also the opportunity to test Volvo’s line-assist system, and the very first time the car corrects your direction feels like driving in a slight rut: you can sense the car redressing gently towards the centre of the road. A slightly creepy feeling at first, that promptly transforms into a smart aid. More on this in the next iterations of this Series. A mere 140km into our day, we enter the Dalarna region for a mandatory selfie stop of Björn in front of the world’s largest Dala Horse (aka Dalahäst) in Avesta. Absolutely stunning and iconic to Sweden, these carved wooden horses painted in bright colours and decorated with folk-art flowers go back centuries ago, and (normally) range from 3 to 50cm high.

bjorn-tallbergIn Tällberg 

Lake Siljan was formed 360 million years ago by Europe’s largest meteor impact, whose force was equivalent to 500 million atomic bombs. How times have changed: today, the lake is impossibly quiet, with small, quaint and picturesque villages spreading along its shores. Tällberg in particular, population 200, got my vote with its sprinkle gingerbread-like houses over green pastures, most of them painted with the traditional Falu Red colour typical of the region.

rattvikOn Scandinavia’s longest wooden pier in Rättvik.

This is Sweden’s heartland, and the place most Swedes want to come to on holiday for Summer. Lucky us! Rättvik boasts Scandinavia’s longest wooden pier: the 628m Långbryggan stretching into a mirror-like Lake Siljan, however, memories from my previous (and only) trip to Sweden as a teenager conjure images of tiny, sleepy harbours along the Baltic Sea. One of the aims of this trip is to recapture that pure, serene feeling. Time to drive to the sea…

hudiksvallHudiksvall’s Möljenbjorn-hudiksvallBjörn admiring the sunset in quiet Hudiksvall. 

For this we must first cross east through endless forests on a two-lane road filled with slow trucks and cross a multitude of small villages that force our speed down. Never mind, the scenery is so calming and inspiring that it’s all forgiven, Sweden. Although way too big for my liking (pop. 15.015), Hudiksvall has a harbour that ticks more than a few boxes: its red wooden fishermen’s storehouses (Möljen) date back to the early 19th century and ignite in a burst of flaming red at sunset. We set camp further north in Gnarp after a 653 km journey, enough to get a very good first impression of the Swedish countryside car landscape. Hudiksvall is where I saw the very first V90 “in its element” (meaning outside of a Volvo dealership) of this trip – there was none in Stockholm surprisingly. A few more observations follow below.

station-wagons-rattvikIt’s a kombi’s world! 

First things first and it’s impossible to step away from this observation: the roads of Sweden are saturated with station wagons – Kombis in Swedish. This shouldn’t really be a surprise when the Volvo V70 – itself only available as a wagon – has been the best-seller here for 19 consecutive years while the V60 – also a wagon only – has ranked inside the Top five best-sellers ever since its launch in 2010. Yet local association Bil Sweden doesn’t provide any kombi sales splits for nameplates that are available in both sedan and kombi variants (we are currently in touch with them to try and extract this detail for you). And this trend isn’t recent: a quick survey of 300 passenger cars on the highway today gave a smashing 52% station wagon ratio.

vw-passat-alltrack-loruddenThe VW Passat may already be the overall best-selling nameplate in countryside Sweden.

Driving through Sweden confirms that most best-selling nameplates here are high in the sales charts mainly thanks to strong kombi sales. One kombi in particular stands out from the crowd head and shoulders: the VW Passat Alltrack 4WD variant. It’s a constant flow of the new generation of the model crisscrossing the country, by far the most frequent nameplate I’ve encountered on this part of the trip. Numerous VW Golf Variant are also to be spotted, including the all-new Alltrack model, already well spread despite being on sale for just a few months when I visited. This variant is the key to the Golf’s overall domination of the Swedish charts for the past four months. Let’s also single out the Toyota Auris (#7 so far in 2016), Kia Cee’d (#8), Skoda Octavia (#10), Audi A4 (#11), A6 (#12), BMW 5 Series (#14), 3 Series (#17), Mercedes E-Class (#22), Opel Astra (#24) and Peugeot 308 (#28), all almost exclusively sold as kombis.

ram-1500-hudiksvallRam 1500 in Hudiksvall

The Swedish countryside also reserves a few surprises: in the same way they were also popular in another nordic country – Iceland – full-size American pickup trucks aren’t rare here, led by the Ram 1500, Toyota Tundra and Ford F-Series. Sold as Light Commercial Vehicles, they had escaped the scrutiny of BSCB’s sales charts so far.

volvo-144-1972-rattvik1972 Volvo 144 in Rättvik

Finally, if you were hoping the Swedish countryside would be a goldmine of vintage Volvos and Saabs in pristine condition in the same vein as what we just saw in Malta, prepare to be bitterly disappointed. Old vehicles are very rare even in remote countryside and rural areas, although I did manage to snap the above Volvo 144, still valiant at almost 45 years of age…

Next we drive further north on the stunning Kustvägen Bothnian Coast road to reach Finland. Stay tuned!

Serbia October 2016: Fiat Doblo leaps onto podium

fiat-doblo-serbia-october-2016Fiat Doblo 

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

Thanks to our partnership with Central European market data specialists CE Auto, Serbian sales figures are now available for October, with a market up 5% year-on-year to 2.155 registrations leading to a year-to-date tally up 20% to 22.239 units. If the locally-produced Fiat 500L (6.6% share) and the Skoda Octavia (6.3%) retain their dominant positions in the Serbian sales charts, the surprise of the month goes to the Fiat Doblo, surging directly to third position in what is the nameplate’s first appearance inside the Serbian Top 10 since last November. The Fiat Ducato (#8), Lada Niva (#9) and Ford Focus (#10) also shine.

Previous month: Serbia September 2016: Fiat places Punto and 500L on top

One year ago: Serbia October 2015: Locally-assembled Fiat 500L ultra-dominant

Full October 2016 Top 10 models ranking below.

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Bosnia & Herzegovina October 2016: Octavia soars to 19.6% share

Skoda Octavia Bosnia October 2016Skoda Octavia 

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

Thanks to our partnership with CE Auto we can share with you today October sales data for Bosnia & Herzegovina. The market is up 15% year-on-year to 789 registrations, lifting the year-to-date tally up 28% to 7.379. Skoda records its best monthly result in the country since 2009 with 215 sales, up 20% on October 2015, and 1.085 year-to-date. The main reason behind this surge is the Octavia soaring to an incredible 19.6% market share thanks to 150 sales, far above the VW Golf at 45 and 5.7%. As a result, the Octavia is back to the 2016 pole position with 492 units vs. 449 for the Golf. Notice also the Skoda Rapid up 5 spots on last month to #3, the Skoda Fabia up two to #4 and the Hyundai i30 (#8) and Suzuki Vitara (#10) breaking into the Top 10.

Previous month: Bosnia & Herzegovina September 2016: VW Golf reclaims control

One year ago: Bosnia & Herzegovina October 2015: Renault Clio triumphs

Full October 2016 Top 10 models ranking table below.

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Moldova October 2016: Skoda Rapid and Dacia Sandero on podium

Dacia Sandero Moldova October 2016. Picture courtesy largus.frThe Dacia Sandero leaps onto the Moldovan podium in October.

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

Thanks to our partnership with Central European market data specialists CE Auto, we can share with you today October data for Moldova, a market up a flamboyant 38% year-on-year to 404 units, lifting the year-to-date tally up 15% to 3.271 sales. The Dacia Logan holds onto the pole position with 7.2% share, with the Skoda Rapid and Dacia Sandero tying for 2nd place at 6.4%. This enables the Rapid to jump to third place year-to-date, becoming the best-selling Skoda in the country so far in 2016 above the Octavia (#4) and Superb (#5). The Hyundai Tucson lurks at #4 but remains at #2 year-to-date. The VW Passat and BMW X5 make an incursion in the Top 10.

Previous month: Moldova September 2016: Dacia Logan resumes clear domination

One year ago: Moldova October 2015: Hyundai Tucson and VW Passat tie for #1

Full October 2016 Top 10 models ranking table below.

(more…)

China October 2016: Focus on the All-new models

dongfeng-fengxing-sx6-china-october-2016Dongfeng Fengxing SX6 

* See the Top 70 China-made brands and Top 400 models by clicking here *

Like in September, the October class of all-new nameplates amount to nine, including six above 1.000 units. Once again, SUVs dominate new launches with 5 of them this month vs. 2 sedans and 2 MPVs.

1. Dongfeng Fengxing SX6 (#90 – 8.157 sales)

Dongfeng continues its onslaught of cut-throat priced quality SUVs: after the tremendously successful Fengguang 580 (14.382 units in October and the brand’s best-selling passenger car), here comes the Fengxing SX6, also unveiled at the Beijing Auto Show last April. Its initial selling rate, above 8.000 units, is instant proof that this is yet another blockbuster for Dongfeng. A seven-seater crossover variant of the Fengxing S500 MPV, the Fengxing SX6 is priced between 69.900 and 102.900 yuan ($10.120-14.900) which is exactly the same range as the Fengguang 580 (72.900-99.999) but Dongfeng – probably rightly – thinks there is room for both in market. The SX6 also competes with the likes of the SWM X7 (85.900-101.900 yuan), BYD S6 (79.900-123.900 yuan) and Changan CX70 (68.900-84.900). Given the success of all aforementioned nameplates, a reasonable target for the SX6 is a long-term 10.000 monthly average. It is already almost there. It is powered by a choice of two engines: a Mitsubishi-sourced 1.6 with 117hp and a Peugeot-sourced 2.0 with 138 hp. No automatic gearbox is available.

Bar for success: 10.000 sales

hyundai-verna-china-october-2016

2. Hyundai New Verna (#130 – 5.887 sales)

Teased at the Beijing Auto Show and officially unveiled last September in Chengdu, the new generation Hyundai Verna hits the Chinese market this month and is counted separately from the previous generation which stays on Hyundai’s catalogue as it has now become the norm. Available with either a 1.4 with 100hp or 1.6 with 123hp and either six-speed manual or four-speed auto, the Verna is manufactured by the Beijing-Hyundai joint-venture and sharply priced from 60.000 to 90.000 yuan (US$8.700-13.000). The previous generations Verna hit a personal best of 31.469 units in December 2015 but only crossed the 20.000 unit-mark eight other times, so a mid-20.000’s monthly sales objective seems on par.

Bar for success: 25.000 sales

hanteng-x7-china-october-2016-picture-auto-sohu-com

3. Hanteng X7 (#144 – 5.006 sales)

After SWM (Start Win More) last month, we welcome another all-new Chinese manufacturer in the local sales charts: Hanteng. The number of Chinese carmakers in activity now stands at a mind-blowing 92 – we will cover them all in an Exclusive Chinese Brands Guide coming soon. Hanteng Autos was founded in 2013 and is based in Shangrao in the Jianxi province. Like Zotye, Hanteng is owned by Tech-New Group and it shows: its first offering, the X7, is basically a rebadged Zotye T600. Hanteng has very ambitious plans: launching four additional nameplates by 2020, starting with the X5 A-SUV, already unveiled at the Guangzhou Auto Show last week, but also an A0-SUV called I3, an MPV called M6 and a B-SUV called X9… (see illustration below).

hanteng-plans-china-october-2016-picture-courtesy-pcauto-com-cnHanteng has ambitious plans centred around SUVs and MPVs. Smart.

The X7 is a 4.67m long five-seater SUV powered by a choice of two engines: a SAIC-sourced 1.5T with 150hp and a Shenyang Aerospace Mitsubishi 2.0T with 190hp. It is priced from 79.800 to 148.800 yuan (US$11.600-21.500) and will be almost exclusively distributed outside of the big cities on the East coast, more so in second-tier cities. For comparison, the Zotye T600 is priced from 79.800 to 115.800 yuan. The Hanteng enters one of the most competitive segments in the Chinese market, but also one that is still expanding a break-neck speed. There is room for many more Chinese SUVs, and its initial score of 5.006 sales is already very impressive. Keeping it this way in the long-term would be a step in the right direction for newcomer Hanteng.

Bar for success: 5.000 sales

foton-gratour-china-october-2016-picture-courtesy-gratourauto-com

4. Foton Gratour (#220 – 2.007 sales)

Foton launched the Gratour ix5 and ix7 at the Beijing Auto Show last April but had since been accounted for in the LCV sales charts. The Gratour sub-brand now changes segments and appears in the MPV ranking – one of the intricacies of a Chinese market still finding its labels… With a very sharp design for the segment, the ix5 is priced at an impossibly low 48.900-58.900 yuan (US$7.100-8.500  while the more sophisticated ix7 goes from 59.900 to 69.900 yuan ($8.700-10.100). Given its value-for-money, we’d expect at least double the current level of monthly sales to call the Gratour a success.

Bar for success: 5.000 sales

baic-weiwang-m50-china-october-2016 baic-weiwang-m50-china-october-2016

5. BAIC Weiwang M50F (#244– 1.500 sales)

Beijing Auto is on a new launch frenzy this year: after the Weiwang S50 and Changhe Q25 in March, the BAW BJ80 in April, Senova X35 in May, Borgward BX7 in July and BAW BJ20 plus Changhe Q35 in August, it’s the turn of the Weiwang M50F to make its first appearance in the Chinese sales charts ahead of its official launch in market in early November. The M50F is is a 7-seat MPV based on the Huansu H3 platform and is unabashedly aiming square and fair at the Baojun 730. Sized almost identically at 4.72/1.80/1.72 vs. 4.71/1.79/1.72 for the Baojun, the M50F undercuts its rival as far as entry prices go from 67.800 to 91.800 yuan ($9.800-13.300) vs. 69.400-81.800 for the 730. It is powered by a choice of 1.3T with six-speed manual or 1.5 with five-speed manual.

The M50F is the second MPV sold under the Weiwang brand after the M30, launched in August 2013 and with a personal best of 23.344 sales in December 2015. As for the Weiwang S50 SUV it hit a much more modest record of 4.132 in June 2016. In this context, it is reasonable for the M50F to aim at 7.500 sales with four-digit peaks most welcome.

Bar for success: 7.500 sales

honda-gienia-china-october-2016-picture-courtesy-mucang-cn

6. Honda Gienia (#253– 1.197 sales)

One of the biggest foreign beneficiaries of the SUV surge in China with its twin mini crossovers XR-V and Vezel, Honda doesn’t neglect the sedan segment and launches this China-only Gienia, a sort of mini Crosstour liftback based on the Greiz platform, itself an evolution of the City. It is manufactured in China by the Dongfeng-Honda joint-venture, powered by a 1.5 with 131hp and either a five-speed manual or CVT to benefit from the government’s tax cut currently in effect for cars with engines of or smaller than 1.6L. It is priced from 89.900 to 127.900 yuan ($13.000-18.500) but should set the sales charts on fire with its sporty grille and crossoverish profile.

Bar for success: 6.000 sales

honda-avancier-china-october-2016-picture-courtesy-autoifeng-com

7. Honda Avancier (#301– 629 sales)

The second Honda to land in the Chinese sales charts this month, the Avancier was teased at the Shanghai Auto Show 2015 as the Concept D then unveiled at this year’s Beijing Auto Show. It’s a sporty five-seat (only) AWD SUV made exclusively for China and based on the third generation Honda Pilot’s platform. It slots in above the CR-V in Honda’s range and is manufactured by the Guangzhou-Honda joint venture. A twin, the UR-V, coming from Honda’s other joint-venture in China with Dongfeng, will arrive in early 2017, the same way Honda markets the XR-V and Vezel. Priced from 269.800 to 328.900 yuan (US$ 39.000-47.600) which makes it a luxury SUV, the Avancier with compete with the likes of the Buick Envision, Ford Edge, Toyota Highlander and the upcoming VW Teramont. The price range is set to go down next year though with the arrival of a 1.5T priced around 220.000 yuan, to support the 2.0T currently available. Given the tremendous success of Honda’s SUV lineup in China so far, it is legitimate to expect four-digit monthly sales figures as the norm for the Avancier.

Bar for success: 12.000 sales

weichai-enranger-g5-china-october-2016-picture-courtesy-cheshi-com

8. Weichai Enranger G5 (#305– 566 sales)

After launching the Enranger G3 SUV in July 2015, the 737 MPV in September 2015 and the 727 MPV in March 2016, Weichai Auto, a new Chinese manufacturer owned by Weichai Power specialised in diesel engines, now has a fourth nameplate in its lineup. The G5 SUV is in fact a crossover variant of the 737 MPV, priced between 69.800 and 93.800 yuan (US$10.100-13.600) and for this you get an incredible 16-inch touch screen! (see below)

weichai-enranger-g5-interior-china-october-2016-picture-courtesy-autohome-com-cnWeichai Enranger G5 interior

The 737 peaked at 5.139 monthly sales over a year ago but hasn’t gone above 2.000 since January this year, the G3 at 1.654 and the 727 at 774, so in this context the G5 cannot aim at very high scores, with mid-thousand a reasonable target.

Bar for success: 1.500 sales

peugeot-4008-china-october-2016

9. Peugeot 4008 (#340– 324 sales)

Behind this 4008 hides in fact the new generation Peugeot 3008 unveiled at the Geneva Auto Show this year and already on sale across Western Europe. The reason for this name change is the fact that the current 3008 will remain on sale in China. The new 4008 is manufactured by the Dongfeng-PSA joint-venture and comes with a choice of three engines: 1.2T with 136hp, 1.6T with 167hp and 1.8T with 204hp. It is priced between 185.700 and 273.700 yuan (US$ 26.900-39.600) and although in Europe it competes squarely with “twins” Renault Kadjar and Nissan Qashqai, in China this pricing sets it against the larger Renault Koleos (179.800-269.800) with the Kadjar at a lower 163.800-219.800, and against the Nissan X-Trail (181.800-267.800) with the Qashqai at 139.800-189.800. An ambitious (pompous?) pricing policy from embattled Peugeot given the 4008 has the heavy task to turning the brand’s fortunes around in China by riding the unstoppable SUV wave. The 2008 peaked at 8.010 monthly sales and the 3008 at 7.352. The 4008 will have to do at least as well to be deemed a success.

Bar for success: 8.000 sales

Previous month: China September 2016: Focus on the All-new models

One year ago: China October 2015: Focus on the All-new models

Thailand October 2016: Hilux still lagging behind D-Max year-to-date

Isuzu D-Max Thailand February 2016Can the Isuzu D-Max win in 2016 for the first time in 8 years?

* See the Top 30 All-brands and Top 65 All-models by clicking on the title *

It’s a disappointing month for new car sales in Thailand: October is down 11% to 60.634 units, bringing the year-to-date cume into negative territory at -1.2% to 617.159 registrations. Toyota (-9%) loses slightly less ground than the market and posts a very strong 34.4% market share, three full percentage points above its YTD level. Isuzu gains 5% in 2nd place but remains at its 2016 level (18.6%), whereas Honda (-16%), Mitsubishi (-36%) and Nissan (-25%) fall heavily. Suzuki (50%), MG (+51%) and Dongfeng (+46%) shine. Model-wise, the Toyota Hilux has a slim advantage over the Isuzu D-Max this month but it’s not enough to fill the gap that separates it from #1, with 2016 looking increasingly likely to be the first annual win for the D-Max in a decade. The Toyota Yaris is up 20% to #3, the Vios down 10% to #4, the Ford Ranger up 24% to #5, the Mitsubishi Triton up 32% to #7 and the Honda Civic up 180% to #9. Among recent launches, the Toyota Sienta is up 8 spots on last month to #24 and the Toyota Innova Crysta is up 25 to #37.

Previous month: Thailand September 2016: Toyota Hilux (+17%) aims at annual #1 spot

One year ago: Thailand October 2015: New Mitsubishi Pajero Sport jumps to 4th place

Full October 2016 Top 30 All-brands and Top 65 All-models below.

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Portugal October 2016: Renault monopolises podium

Renault Megane Portugal October 2016. Picture courtesy largus.fThe Renault Clio, Mégane (picture) and Captur rank on the October Portuguese podium. 

* See the Top 35 All-brands and Top 220 All-models by clicking on the title *

The Portuguese new car market continues on the up at +9% year-on-year in October to 14.933 registrations, lifting the year-to-date tally up 14% to 173.859 units. Renault more than doubles the market growth at +21% to 13.2% share, ahead of Peugeot, Volkswagen and BMW with Mercedes actually down 8% to 5th place. Nissan (+16%), Citroen (+20%), Seat (+52%), Kia (+47%), Mitsubishi (+70%) and Land Rover (+93%) all post solid gains. Renault’s score is reflected in the models ranking: the French manufacturer simply monopolises the podium with the Clio (+2%), Mégane (+43%) and Captur (+19%) distancing the VW Golf (-19%) and Peugeot2 008 (+4%). The Audi A3 (+46%) and Seat Ibiza (+76%) post the largest year-on-year gains inside the Top 10, with the Citroen C4 Cactus (+83%) and Peugeot 3008 (+150%) also shining. Boosted by their newly launches station wagon variants, bot the Fiat Tipo (#36 vs. #60 YTD) and Renault Talisman (#47 vs. #90 YTD) jump ahead among recent launches (<12 months) with the Seat Ateca in tow at #64. This month we welcome the Opel Mokka X (#83) and Audi Q2 (#112) in the Portuguese sales charts.

Previous month: Portugal September 2016: Renault Clio and Mégane on podium

One year ago: Portugal October 2015: BMW on podium, Peugeot 2008 hits record

Full October 2016 Top 35 All-brands and Top 220 All-models below.

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Vietnam October 2016: Vios back in charge, Nissan X-Trail lands

Nissan X-Trail Vietnam October 2016. Picture courtesy u-car.com.twNissan now sells the X-Trail in Vietnam. 

* See the Top 20 All-manufacturers and Top 50 models by clicking on the title *

After gaining a whopping 50% year-on-year in October 2015, the Vietnamese new car market surges by a further 26% this year to 28.283 sales, lifting the year-to-date tally up 30 to 242.241 units. The three best-selling vehicle manufacturers Thaco-Kia (+30%), Toyota (+27%) and Mazda (+53%) all beat the market to improve their share, while Ford (+14%) is a little more timid. Honda (+50%), Mitsubishi (+55%), Hyundai (+101%), Nissan (+211%) and Lexus (+169%) impress. Model-wise, the Toyota Vios shoots back up 87% to return to the pole position it holds year-to-date thanks to 2.202 sales, frankly distancing the Kia Morning (+50%), Toyota Fortuner (+47%), Ford Ranger (+13%) and Mazda3 (+103%). The Mazda CX-5 (+129%), Honda City (+133%) and Ford Ecosport (+40%) also post strong improvements. We welcome the Nissan X-Trail directly into 17th place this month.

Previous month: Vietnam September 2016: Kia Morning leads, Ford Ecosport shines

One year ago: Vietnam October 2015: Ford Ranger on podium

Full October 2016 Top 20 All-manufacturers and Top 50 models below.

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Malaysia October 2016: Perodua, Honda, Proton resist, market at -14%

honda-civic-Malaysia-october-2016Honda drops just 4% in 2nd place in Malaysia. 

* See the Top 42 All-brands by clicking on the title *

The Malaysian new car market is stuck in a negative trend this year with October sales down another 14% to 47.879, with the year-to-date tally also down a harsh 14% to 466.208. The Top three manufacturer resist better than the market, resulting in improved market shares: Perodua is down 7%, Honda down 4% and Proton down 5%. Reversely Toyota (-39%), Nissan (-34%) and Mazda (-21%) freefall. Isuzu surges up 12% to 6th place, Mercedes is down just 0.2%, BMW is up 19%, Kia up 50%, Hyundai up 1%, Subaru up 49%, Volvo up 63% and Mini up 18%.

Previous month: Malaysia September 2016: Perodua boosted again by Brezza at +18%

One year ago: Malaysia October 2015: Discover the Top 75 models (BSCB Exclusive)

Full October 2016 Top 42 All-brands ranking below.

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New Zealand October 2016: Rentals lead to all-time record month

Toyota Corolla New Zealand October 2016The Toyota Corolla is #1 in New Zealand for the first time since January. 

* See the Top 25 best-selling models and Top 67 All-brands by clicking on the title *

The approaching start of summer – and with it the start of the rental season – lifts the New Zealand market to never-seen-before heights in October, up 16% year-on-year to 14.709 registrations, eclipsing the previous all-time monthly record dating back to July 1984 at 13.983. This is the first time in history that sales cross the 14.000 monthly mark. Including in this month result are a whopping 4.181 rentals, a full 30% of year-to-date rental sales (13.724). Overall so far in 2016, deliveries are now up 9% on the same period in 2015 to 121.974, now on track to surpass 140.000 annual units for the first time after breaking the 130.000 mark in 2015. In fact, local publication Autotalk predicts 2016 at 143.000 registrations.

Toyota remains the most popular brand in the country by far despite sales down 1% to 3.287 and 22.3% share, with its two closest followers surging: Holden is up 43% to 1.866 and Ford up 33% to 1.624, ahead of Mazda up 4%. Nissan (+55%), Mitsubishi (+25%), Volkswagen (+51%) and Kia (+71%) also set the Top 10 on fire while below Honda (+36%), Mercedes (+29%), Isuzu (+43%), LDV (+244%) and Renault (+210%) also impress. Model-wise, rentals push the Toyota Corolla to pole position as is traditionally the case at this time of the year, with whopping 1.026 of its 1.210 October sales being rentals. Note the Corolla’s October rental score represents 46% of its YTD rental figure (2.218). This is however insufficient to dislodge the YTD overall market leader the Ford Ranger (7.173) and the Toyota Hilux (5.299) with the Corolla at 4.789. The Toyota Yaris is up 9 spots on last month to #4 (74% rentals), the Holden Commodore up 7 to #5 (72% rentals) and the Holden Trax shooting up to #11 (83% rentals).

Previous month: New Zealand September 2016: Holden shines in record month

One year ago: New Zealand October 2015: Rental season pushes Corolla back to #1

Full October 2016 Top 25 models and Top 67 All-brands below.

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