China October 2017: Focus on the All-new models

Dongfeng Fengxing S560 

After detailing October sales for China, as is the tradition on BSCB we now focus on the new locally-produced launches for the month, so you can stay up-to-the-minute on the latest additions in the world’s largest market. After ten new arrivals in September, the October class has another seven new arrivals, four of them Chinese, three SUVs and two EVs.

Dongfeng Fengxing S560 interior. Picture courtesy autohome.com.cn

1. Dongfeng Fengxing S560 (#142 – 4.637 sales)

Dongfeng sales are down 5% so far in 2017, avoiding a much more dramatic fate thanks to the smashing success of the Fengguang 580, almost hitting 20.000 sales in October. The remedy: more SUVs, and Dongfeng has got the message, launching this surprisingly good-looking Fengxing S560. At 4.515m long and powered by a 138 hp 1.8L engine mated with five-speed, six-speed manuals or a CVT, the S560 is a seven-seat SUV and features a 7 inch touch screen that offers 360 degree camera, rear view camera, Baidu CarLife, Bluetooth, and a Wifi hotspot (!). All this available at the cutthroat price of 69.900 to 96.900 yuan (US$10.500-14.600 or €8.900-12.400). Aimed mainly at buyers in second and third-tier cities, the S560 is priced lower than the very successful Fengguang 580 (72.900-123.000 yuan) and competes with the likes of the Wuling Hongguang S3 (56.800-81.800 yuan), Changan CX70 (59.900-109.900), Baojun 560 (69.800-117.800), Hanteng X5 (79.900-122.900) and Changan CS55 (83.900-132.900). Above 7.000 monthly sales will the S560 be judged a success, but Dongfeng is secretly hoping it will replicate the levels of the 580…

Bar for success: 7.000 sales

2. Buick GL6 (#175 – 3.507 sales)

Only a few months after renewing the hugely successful GL8, Buick launches its little brother the GL6 which appears in the Chinese sales charts ahead of its debut at the Guangzhou Auto Show in November. A China-exclusive model based on the Opel Zafira Tourer, the GL6 arrives at difficult times for overall MPV sales in China, however the 15.6% year-on-year drop so far this year only affects low-cost Chinese fares and not the new GL8 which beat its all-time volume record in September at 13.899 and is up 166% in October. Good looks and Buick’s decades-long tradition of strong sales in China augurs well for the GL6, a 5 or 6-seat 4.69m-long MPV powered by a 156 hp 1.3 turbo four-cylinder petrol engine.

 

Buick GL6 interior. Picture courtesy autohome.com.cn 

Priced very competitively from 144.900 to 166.900 yuan (US$21.800-25.200 or €18.500-21.400), the GL6 is unabashedly zeroing in on the VW Touran (145.800-230.800) whose volume record is set at 9.356 last June. This is a good target for the GL6, whose pricing will prevent it from cannibalising the GL8 (229.900-449.900), but the Envision SUV (209.900-349.900) could be more at risk. Buick would also want to try and upgrade existing Baojun 730 owners (60.800-108.800) or even BYD Song MAX prospective buyers (79.900-119.900).

Bar for success: 7.000 monthly sales

3. Buick Excelle GX (#215 – 2.340 sales)

Buick is pumping out the novelties like there is no tomorrow this month. Second off the starting blocks is the Excelle GX, a station wagon variant of the Excelle. This is the third Buick station wagon to be sold in China after the SR-V (2001) and first generation Excelle wagon (2005). The GX is powered by either a 125 hp 1.0 turbo 3 cylinder or a 163 hp 1.3T 3 cylinder, mated to either a 6-speed manual, auto or DCT. The Excelle GX is priced from 119.900 to 146.900 yuan (US$ 18.100-22.100 or €15.300-18.800), and it competes with the Skoda Octavia SW (119.900-179.900), VW C-Trek (125.900-162.900) and VW Gran Lavida (112.900-162.900)

Bar for success: 5.000 monthly sales

4. Roewe RX3 (#259 – 1.546 sales)

Roewe wants to build on the astonishing success of the RX5 with this miniature version, the RX3 based on the same platform as the MG ZS. Since its launch in July 2016, the RX5 has taken Roewe into brand new sales territory, achieving 20.000 sales as early as for its fourth month in market and still gaining ground 18 months after its unveiling: it broke its volume record both last September (25.066) and October (28.203). This is the perfect platform to launch an identical-looking smaller variant: the RX3 comes in at 4.408m long and is powered by a choice of 125 hp 1.6 and 163 hp 1.3 turbo.

Roewe RX3 interior. Picture courtesy pcauto.com.cn

The RX3 starts 10.000 yuan below the RX5 at 89.800-135.800 yuan (US$13.500-20.500 or €11.500-17.400) vs. 99.800-186.800 for the RX5. This way, the RX3 competes with the likes of the Changan CS55 (83.900-132.900), GAC Trumpchi GS3 (73.800-116.800), Haval H2 (86.800-118.800), Haval H6 (88.800-146.800) and its platform sibling, the cheaper MG ZS (73.800-115.800). Although presumptuous to expect the same volumes as the RX5, Roewe is in its own right to expect sales figures north of 10.000 per month for the RX3.

Bar for success: 10.000 monthly sales

5. Dongfeng Fengshan E70 (#404 – 131 sales)

Dongfeng has topped the 1.000 monthly sales twice in the past three months with the Junfeng ER30 and wants to better this with the Fengshan E70. Not much info dribbling through the net about this nameplate so far, except its price set at 212.800-222.800 yuan (US$32.100-33.600 or €27.200-28.500) before government subsidies are applied. With it, Dongfeng is aiming directly at the Geely Emgrand EC7 EV (165.800-215.800 yuan) but also the BYD e5 (195.900-215.900), Chery Arrizo 5e (212.800-232.800) and BAIC EU-Series (205.900-224.900).

Bar for success: 3.000 monthly sales

6. Yu Lu EV2 (#412 – 76 sales)

Yu Lu is a new brand created in 2015 by the Dongfeng-Yulong joint-venture and dedicated to producing EVs. Its first offering is the EV2 priced from 119.800 to 122.800 yuan (US$18.100-18.500 or €15.300-15.700) minus 70.000 yuan of government subsidies. That’s all the info available about this nameplate so far, and Dongfeng-Yulong will be hoping to convince as many car-sharing schemes as possible to ensure the success of the EV2.

Bar for success: 1.500 monthly sales

7. BAIC Huansu S7 (#416 – 65 sales)

Just as its passenger car sales plunge down 27% year-on-year in 2017 and 30% in October, BAIC continues to launch vaguely similar-looking SUVs under all its sub-brands. After the S2 (August 2014, personal best at 6.220 sales), S3 (August 2014, PB 20.868), S6 (November 2015, PB 5.150) and S5 (January 2017, PB 3.013), the Huansu sub-brand receives its 5th SUV in the shape of this rather appealing S7 with a giant Lexus-like grille. The S7 is a seven-seat variant of the S5 five-seater launched last January. At 4.80m long, the S7 is powered by a 150hp 1.5 turbo petrol engine mated with a five-speed manual box.

BAIC Huansu S7 interior. Picture courtesy autohome.com.cn

Interior quality shows the steady progression of BAIC in that domain, especially when you consider that the S7 is priced from 78.800 to 115.800 yuan (US$11.900-17.400 or €10.100-14.900). That’s a lot of SUV for this price, and the S7 enters the sandpit where cheap Chinese fares are already playing, such as the Dongfeng Fengguang 580 (72.900-123.000), Changan CX70 (59.900-109.900), SWM X7 (85.900-113.900), Bisu T5 (72.900-89.900 and BYD S7 (99.900-139.900). It will appear to second, third-tier cities and below and won’t make much of an appearance in the bigger mega-cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. It looks like the more SUVs Hansu launches, the less successful they are, so we shouldn’t expect much for the S7.

Bar for success: 5.000 monthly sales

Previous month: China September 2017: Focus on the All-new models

One year ago: China October 2017: Focus on the All-new models

China October 2017: Geely and Baojun post all-time record volumes

The Boyue is the first Geely nameplate to sell over 30.000 units in a single month.

* See the Top 77 All China-made brands and Top 443 models by clicking on the title *

The Chinese new vehicle market edges up 2% year-on-year in October to 2.704.000 but passenger cars are up just 0.4% to 2.352.000, the market being pulled up by commercial vehicles up 14.8% to 351.000 (buses up 10.2% and trucks up 15.6%). This is the fifth consecutive month of growth in China but its weak progression means the market probably won’t reach the 5% annual growth target the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers set at the start of the year. As a reminder, China sales grew 14% in 2016, boosted by a tax cut on vehicles with engines of or under 1.6L. These cars account for 1.637.000 units in October or 69.6% of the passenger cars market vs. 72.1% a year ago and 13.336.000 year-to-date or 68.4% vs. 71.3% over the same period in 2016. The SUV segment continues to be the sole responsible for the overall passenger car growth with year-on-year gains back into the double-digits in October at +11.4% to 1.023.672, the segment’s first millionaire month of 2017. Never before had SUV sales been that close to cars, down 5.2% to 1.109.750. MPVs for their part tumble down 16.3% to 181.029.

The Haval H6 is the most popular vehicle in China in October despite sales down 14%. 

Year-to-date, the overall market is up 4.1% to a record 22.927.000 units. Passenger cars are up 2.1% to 19.502.000 units with SUVs up 15.5% to 8.028.068, cars down 1.8% to 9.451.054 and MPVs down a harsh 15.6% to 1.601.474. Commercial vehicles are up a whopping 17.2% to 3.425.000 with buses down 6.7% but trucks up 21.3%. Chinese brands mark a pause at home this month: at 1.039.000 sales, they account for 44.2% of passenger cars, down from 45.2% in October 2016. The Chinese SUV share is up 0.2 point to 62.3%, Chinese car share is down 1.9 point to 18.8% and the Chinese MPV share down 7.7 points to 83.8%. Year-to-date, Chinese brands represent 43% of total passenger cars at 8.393.000 sales, up from 42.5% a year ago, with Chinese SUVs reaching 59.7% vs. 57% a year ago thanks to sales up 21.3% to 4.768.000. Finally Chinese MPV sales are down 22.8% to 1.371.000 or 83.6% of the market vs. 89.7% over the same period in 2016.

First four-digit sales month for the BAIC EC-Series, the best-selling EV in China.

Sales of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids continue to gallop ahead at +106.7% year-on-year in October to 91.000, adding up to 490.000 so far this year, up 45.4% on the same period in 2016. CAAM expects this market to top 700.000 units by the end of 2017. EV sales are up 95.8% to 77.000 while PHEVs are up 194% to 14.000 while year-to-date, EVs are up 55.9% to 402.000 and PHEVs up 11.2% to 88.000. The best-seller in the category, the BAIC EC-Series, crosses an important milestone this month, selling more than 10.000 units in a single month for the very first time at 11.315. It is followed by the Zhi Dou D2 (+349%), BYD Qin (+15%), JAC iEV (+244%), BYD e5 (+23%), Zotye E200 (+42%) and Hawtai EV160.

The VW Santana decades-old nameplate breaks its monthly volume record this month.

Some manufacturers officially announce Chinese retail sales including imports which differ from the data tables we provide further down in the article (locally produced wholesales), and the next few paragraphs are dedicated to these announcements – model sales remain locally-produced wholesales. The Volkswagen Group reports sales up 9.4% in October to 398.100, lifting its year-to-date tally up 2.3% to 3.29m units. The VW brand wholesales ex-imports is up 6% to 309.071. Two of the group’s three best-sellers beat their monthly volume record this month: the VW Santana gains 18% to 38.503 (previous best: 34.462 in January 2016), the VW Tiguan soars 76% to 37.971 – its 2nd consecutive record month and the highest score ever reached by a foreign SUV in China – while the VW Jetta posts its 2nd best-ever month at 38.157 (+29%) below the 43.265 reached last January. The VW Teramont also breaks its record for the 2nd month running at 9.040 sales, but the Lavida (-38%), Bora (-7%), Magotan (-10%), Polo (-3%), Golf (-7%) and Passat (-40%) all skid down. Skoda is up 3.2% to 33.000 with the Kodiaq SUV already its 2nd best-seller below the Octavia.

The Baojun 510 is bound to become the fastest nameplate to 300.000 sales in China.

General Motors advances faster than its archenemy but remains below at +11% to 382.723 units. One of the heroes of the month is low-cost fare Baojun up 56% to 104.755 retail or up 25% to 108.387 wholesale, in any case a new volume record for the brand and only its 2nd time above 100.000 after December 2016 (101.246) and 2nd time inside the Top 5 brands in the country after February 2016. Both the 510 (45.047 and #2 overall) and 310 (25.983) smash their volume bests in October. To put things into perspective, the Baojun 510 has now hit a higher monthly record than the 560 (42.077), and it’s only the third time a Baojun nameplate has sold more than 45.000 monthly units: the 730 MPV, hit 47.690 in December 2015 and 50.128 in December 2016. 9 months after launch, the 510 totals just under 255.000 units, sightly less than the 560 at the same stage (258.056) but more than the 730 (230.618). With the 730 at just 26.000 and the 560 at 25.000 for their 10th month, the 560 is bound to deliver the largest first 10 months volume in the history of automobile in China, and could be the first ever nameplate to reach 300.000 sales in that period. Note these three nameplates are the most successful launches ever in China.

Second consecutive all-time volume record for the Cavalier, helping Chevrolet up 17%.

Outside of Baojun, other GM news include Cadillac up 36% to 17.018 with the XT5 beating its monthly record at 7.416 (+54%), Chevrolet sales are hip 17% to 61.065 with the Cavalier recording a 2nd consecutive all-time volume record at 24.248 (+75%) and the Malibu up 48% to post its highest result since December 2014 at 14.521. Buick is up 2.1% to 107.297 retail but down 1% to 113.473 wholesale. However Wuling is down 15% to 92.588 retail including commercial vehicles, with the Hongguang down another 30% but close to reclaiming the YTD lead due to the VW Lavida’s paltry performance this month. Year-to-date, GM is up 2.2% to 3.13m units. Nissan Motor gains 11% to 1.17m year-to-date, overstepping Honda Motor up 17% to 1.16m, while Toyota Motor edges up 8.5% to 1.07m. The Honda Civic is up a whopping 75% year-on-year to post a new all-time record of 17.613 sales this month while two newcomers also beat their record: the Honda Avancier (9.679) and the Nissan Kicks registering its first ever five-digit sales month at 10.392. Notice also the Honda CR-V up 85% boosted by the new generation.

The Nissan Kicks is above 10.000 sales for its fourth month in market. 

Meanwhile Ford Motor continues to struggle at -5% to 105.809 units in October, despite Lincoln sals up 48% to 5.514. For Korean Hyundai and Kia, the end of the tunnel isn’t here yet. If Hyundai manages to contain its drop to 11% vs. -34% so far in 2017, Kia plunges another 40%, almost as much as its YTD rate of -49%, and this despite the success of the newly launched KX Cross, up 43% on its inaugural month in September. Similarly, PSA remains in deep trouble with Peugeot (-19%), Citroen (-25%) and DS (-38%) all recording harsh declines, and this despite the new 4008 (record at 5.453), 5008 and C5 Aircross (5.244). In the premium race, Audi has well and truly reclaimed market domination after some turbulences earlier in the year. The brand is up 15% in October to 53.828, distancing BMW Group up 14% to 50.412 and Mercedes up 11% to 46.016. Audi is helped by the A4L up 82% to 11.338 wholesale and the Q3 up 61% to 8.834. Year-to-date, Mercedes is still in the lead for now at +28% to 488.915, followed very closely by BMW up 15% to 487.069 while Audi stays in third place at -3% to 472.498. The race to the 2017 premium finish will be a very close one indeed.

The Emgrand GS is one of six Geely nameplates to break their all-time volume record in October.

Among Chinese carmakers, Geely confirms it is the success story of the year, with deliveries up another 30% year-on-year to an all-time record of 125.201 units, beating its previous best established just last month (108.980). Geely comes in at #2 brand overall in China, outsold by Volkswagen only. This is Geely’s highest ever ranking at home (previous best: #3 last February), putting the carmaker on target to hit 1.1m units by year end with cumulated sales up an incredible 70% to 945.557 after ten months. The Geely Boyue gains another 80% year-on-year to break its volume record for the 6th time in the past 8 months and become the very first Geely nameplate to sell over 30.000 units in a single month (30.138): the previous Geely record was held by the Emgrand EC7 with 28.842 in November 2016. But the Boyue isn’t alone: the Emgrand GS (16.063, up 60%), Emgrand GL (13.513, up 92%), Vision SUV (11.214, up 3%), Vision X3 (7.007) and Vision X1 (3.061) all also beat their all-time volume record this month…

The VV5 is up 75% on September, lifting the WEY above 16.000 sales this month.

Great Wall Motor sees is sales progress 3% year-on-year to 108.008 units and shows a changing profile once again. The Haval H6 is the best-selling nameplate in the country in October and for the 2nd time this year after July, this despite sales down 14% year-on-year to 49.015. The success of the M6 (7.051 – new record) fails to compensate the significant losses of the H2 (-17%), H7 (-56%) and H1 (-81%) with Haval total sales down 13% to 81.653. Great Wall pickup sales however are up 12% to 9.418 but the company’s good fortune this month has to do with the implacable success of its new semi-premium brand: WEY, by far the most successful brand launch in China over the past 12 months. The VV7 continues to progress at 8.153 deliveries and the VV5 gains 75% on its inaugural month to break into the Top 100, meaning WEY is above 16.000 sales in October, a rather impressive start. Overall and thanks solely to WEY, Great Wall Motor SUV sales manage to edge up 4.1% to 97.820. Year-to-date, Great Wall is up 2.4% to 813.514.

The Zotye T700 crosses the 10.000 monthly sales milestone in October.

Other successful Chinese brands include GAC Trumpchi up 22% with the GS8 recording its third ever month above 10.000 sales, Roewe up 16% with the RX5 posting a new all-time record at 28.203, Zotye up 9% with its new best-seller the T700 posting its first four-digit month at 10.006 units, Hawtai up a whopping 208% thanks to the Shengdafei delivering a 2nd consecutive all-time record at 11.336 units, Soueast up 43%, MG up 87%, Venucia up 38% (new record for the T90 at 6.119), Leopaard up 27%, Hanteng up 17%, Zhi Dou up 36% and Maxus up 104%. Dongfeng edges up 2% thanks to the Fengguang 580 posting a record 19.771 sales and FAW is down 1% despite the Besturn X40 posting a record 8.939 units. Reversely, a long list of Chinese carmakers record worrying double-digit losses: Changan (-15%), Weichai (-17%), Borgward (-21%), Foton (-25%), Lifan (-27%), Changhe (-29%), Beijing Auto (-30%), Chery (-30%), BYD (-30%), Landwind (-33%), Jinbei (-37%), JAC (-38%), Haima (-44%), JMC (-44%), Brilliance (-47%), Qoros (-56%) and Cowin (-60%).

Previous month: China September 2017: SUVs post smaller gain, VW Lavida now #1 YTD

One year ago: China October 2016: Geely and Haval impress in market up 20%

Full October 2017 Top 77 All China-made brands and Top 443 models below.

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Côte d’Ivoire Full Year 2016: Toyota Hilux and Renault Duster on top

The Toyota Hilux is the most popular nameplate in Côte d’Ivoire in 2016. 

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

New vehicle sales in Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) are down slightly in 2016: -2.6% to 8.962 registrations. Toyota remains master in command despite a 15% drop to a round 19% share, eclipsing Hyundai down 16% to 12.3%. Renault gains an impressive 20% and one spot to land on the third step of the podium with 11.6% of the market, knocking Mitsubishi (-9%) down to #4. Peugeot surges 59% to #8 and Citroen is up 9% to #10 whereas Kia tumbles down 42% to #9. Chinese manufacturers account for 7.5% of the market this year, led by Great Wall (#11) and Foton (#17). Newcomer Haval lands at #24 in-between Chevrolet and Audi.

The Citroen C4 Aircross surprises with a Top 15 ranking. 

Model-wise, the Toyota Hilux confirms it is the crowd’s favourite but drops a harsh 24% to 7.7% share, distancing the Renault Duster up 23% and two spots to 5.1%, the Mitsubishi L200 (-16%) and the Mazda BT-50 (-14%), making it three pickups in the Top 4. There are no passenger cars in the Top 10, only composed of pickups (6) and SUVs (4). The Toyota RAV4 is up two ranks to #5, the Hyundai Santa Fe up three to #7, the Hyundai Tucson lands directly at #8 and the Nissan NP300 Hardbody is up 13 to #9. The Great Wall Wingle breaks into the Top 10, the Peugeot 301 (+171%) is the best-selling passenger car at #11, the Hyundai ix25 lands at #12 and the Citroen C4 Aircross (+28%) is up to #15.

Previous post: Côte d’Ivoire First Half 2016: Pickups and SUVs ultra-dominant

Previous year: Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) Full Year 2015: Podium 100% pickup

Full Year 2016 Top 10 brands and models vs. Full Year 2015 figures below.

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Angola Full Year 2016: Fiat Doblo and Panda in the lead

The Brazilian Fiat Doblo is the best-seller in Angola in 2016. 

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

Better late than never: here comes Full Year 2016 data for Angola. The new vehicle market seems to have taken a harsh beating this year in Angola at just 9.167 registrations vs. 20.584 in 2015. Fiat comes out of nowhere to rank #1 brand with 16.1% of the market, distancing Toyota at 15.9% (-49%) and Hyundai at 10.3% (-60%). #1 in 2015 with 18.9% share, Suzuki tumbles down 79% to just 9% this year. Ford gains two spots to #5 and 8.5%, Kia is down one to #6 and 8.1% as is Renault at #7 and 5.2%. Chevrolet is down 83% to #7, Mazda down just 14% to #9 and Nissan down 78% to #10. The only Chinese carmaker in the ranking is JMC at #22. Model-wise, two Fiats dominate: the Doblo at 5.3% share and the Panda at 5%, dethroning the Suzuki Alto 800 down 80% to 4.1% of the market. The Toyota Hiace and Hyundai i10 round up the Top 5 while the Ford Ranger, Mazda BT-50 and Toyota Yaris all break into the Top 10. Notice also the Suzuki Jimny at #15, the Fiat 500X at #16 and Suzuki DZire at #19.

Previous post: Angola January-May 2016: Fiat Panda triumphs

Previous year: Angola Full Year 2015: Suzuki Alto 800 and Chevrolet N300 reign

Two years ago: Angola Full Year 2014: Suzuki and Hyundai on top

Full Year 2016 Top 10 brands and models vs. Full Year 2015 data below.

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South Africa October 2017: VW Polo Vivo snaps top spot, market up 4.6%

The VW Polo Vivo is the best-selling nameplate in South Africa in October. 

* See the Top 35 All-manufacturers and Top 256 All-models by clicking on the title *

The South African new car market is up year-on-year for the 5th consecutive month at +4.6% in October to 51.037 registrations, lifting the year-to-date tally up 1.7% to 467.212 units. Passenger cars are up 7.9% to 35.316, with rental sales accounting for 26.1% of this total, while light commercials are down 1.7% to 13.376. Toyota beats the market at +11% to a strong 24.1% share vs. 22.7% so far this year, whereas the Volkswagen Group (-2%) and Ford (-12%) both decline. Hyundai-Kia (+17%), Nissan (+32%), Renault (+51%) and Mazda (+15%) all shine inside the Top 10 while beyond, Suzuki (+151%), Jaguar Land Rover (+40%), Mitsubishi (+37%) and Chinese JMC (+38%) make themselves noticed.

Over in the models ranking, the valiant VW Polo Vivo snaps the top spot for the first time since last January thanks to sales up 6% to 5.7%. The Ford Ranger (-4%) lurks 42 sales below while the Toyota Hilux drops 11% to 4.9% but maintains its YTD leadership at 29.797 sales vs. 27.072 for the Ranger. The Toyota Corolla (+8%) and Etios (+35%) both post solid results, while the Isuzu KB (+47%), Kia Picanto (+70%), Toyota RAV4 (+144%), Kia Rio (+80%), Renault Clio (+191%) and VW Golf (+92%) also shine. The Ford Everest surges 379%, the Nissan Almera is up 272% and the Renault Kwid leads recent launches (<12 months) at #24 above the Hyundai Creta (#30), Toyota C-HE (#48) and the Range Rover Velar up to a fantastic 61st position.

Previous month: South Africa September 2017: Toyota Hilux up 30% in market up 7%

One year ago: South Africa October 2016: Ford Ranger back to #1 in market down 10%

Full October 2017 Top 35 All-mnaufacturers and Top 256 All-models below.

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Ukraine October 2017: VW Golf & Audi A3 surprise leaders, market up 36%

The A3 helps lift Audi sales in Ukraine up 249% in October. 

* See the Top 50 All-brands and Top 250 All-models by clicking on the title *

September sales are up 35.9% to 7.840 (the largest monthly volume since March 2014) and October is up 26% to 7.652 to lead to an Ukrainian year-to-date tally up 30.3% to 65.474 units. This is 82% above the same period in 2015 but 21% down on 2014 and 64% down on 2013. Brand leader Toyota evolves like the market at +26% in Ocrtover to 12.8% share, distancing Volkswagen up 174% to 10.4%, Renault down 13% to 8.7% and Skoda up 23% to 6.9%. Audi soars a monumental 249% to 6.3% share this month vs. 3.2% year-to-date, new brand Ravon is up 265%, Mazda up 46%, Peugeot up 83%, Citroen up 52%, Chery up 475%, Subaru up 96%, Honda up 55% and Fiat up 182%. Among smaller brands, Infiniti is up 277%, Geely up 147% and Seat up 144%.

First 10 months comparison – Ukraine 2013/2017:

UKR Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct
2013 11,989 13,591 22,565 26,115 15,091 14,887 17,984 22,195 20,333 16,081
2014 11,875 15,215 10,964 7,754 5,675 6,209 6,818 6,402 5,788 5,891
2015 2,597 2,924 2,259 3,057 2,994 3,372 5,344 3,464 4,376 5,596
2016 3,183 4,201 4,902 5,697 4,447 4,781 5,548 5,629 5,771 6,073
2017 4,822 4,856 7,278 6,445 6,592 6,884 6,425 6,598 7,840 7,652

The VW Golf is the best-selling nameplate in Ukraine this month. 

Over in the models ranking, the VW Golf soars to pole position with 5.6% share vs. 1.4% year-to-date while the Audi A3 does even better in 2nd place at 4.4% vs. 0.8% so far in 2017. In fact, the Golf sells 47% of its YTD volume in October and the A3 sells 62% of its 2017 total so far just this month and 31% in September… The Toyota RAV4 holds strong in third place vs. #4 in 2017 ahead of the Toyota Camry and Skoda Octavia. The Renault Logan, #2 year-to-date, is down to #7 while the 2017 leader the Kia Sportage is down to #8 but remains by far in the lead thanks to deliveries up 51%. Notice also the Skoda Rapid up to #11, the Hyundai Accent up to #15 and the Ford Kuga up to #22. The Ravon R4 (#29) tops recent launches above the Skoda Kodiaq (#35) and Toyota C-HR (#41).

Previous post: Ukraine August 2017: RAV4 and Duster catch up on Sportage

Previous year: Ukraine Full Year 2016: Kia Sportage takes the lead in recovering market

Full October 2017 Top 50 All-brands and Top 250 All-models below.

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Colombia October 2017: Market back in positive at +2.7%

The Chevrolet Tracker is back inside the Colombian Top 10 this month.

* See the Top 30 best-selling brands and Top 50 models by clicking on the title *

The Colombian new vehicle market edges up 2.7% year-on-year in October to 19.709 registrations, meaning the year-to-date volume is now down 3.1% to 191.680 units. As it has been the case most months this year, brand leader Chevrolet trails the market at -9% to 22% share and is slowly but surely being caught up by Renault down 2% to 18.9%. Nissan soars 20% to 8.9% whereas Kia tumbles down 24% to 8.2%, ahead of Mazda (+9%) and Ford (+4%). Toyota (+30%), Volkswagen (+57%) and most impressively Hyundai (+394%) post the largest year-on-year gains in the Top 10. Beyond, notice Suzuki (+30%), Honda (+33%), Subaru (+34%), BMW (+36%), Dodge (+36%), Peugeot (+245%) and Citroen (+310%). JAC remains the most popular Chinese carmaker at #13 (+14%) ahead of Foton at #14 (-18%), Dongfeng at #21 (+31%), Great Wall (+43%), Changan (+67%) and Chery (-86%).

Model-wise, the Top 6 best-sellers are unchanged on September and YTD: the Renault Sandero reigns supreme above the Chevrolet Spark and Sail, with the Renault Logan, Kia Picanto and Renault Duster in tow. The Mazda3 is back up two spots to reclaim the #7 spot it holds YTD, with the Top 11 identical to YTD as the Ford Fiesta, Chevrolet Tracker, Nissan March and Mazda CX-5 following. The Nissan Kicks is up two spots on September to #14, the Ford Escape is up one to #16, the Renault Captur up 8 to #20 and the Hyundai Grand i10 up 10 to #21. Notice also the Toyota Hilux up to #24, the Toyota Fortuner up to #27, Mazda CX-3 up to #33 and Hyundai Creta up to #39.

Previous month: Colombia September 2017: Mazda CX-5 up to #7 in market down 9.7%

One year ago: Colombia October 2016: Kia and Ford improve in market down 14%

Full October 2017 Top 30 brands and Top 50 models below.

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Portugal October 2017: Opel Crossland X in Top 20, market up 6.5%

The Opel Crossland X breaks into the Portuguese Top 20 this month.

* See the Top 35 All-brands and Top 230 All-models by clicking on the title *

New car sales in Portugal are up 6.5% year-on-year in October to 15.898 units, leading to a year-to-date tally up 7.8% to 187.450 sales. Renault remains the uncontested leader in the country but edges up just 1% to 12.5% share, distancing Peugeot up 15% to #10 and Volkswagen up 4% to 8.4% regaining the 3rd YTD spot off Mercedes, up 7% to 7.5% this month. Opel surges 36% to #5, Nissan is up 27% to #6 but BMW drops 24% to #7. Jeep (+506%), Hyundai (+88%), Alfa Romeo (+75%), Suzuki (+57%), Toyota (+30%), Dacia (+27%), Porsche (+23%) and Mazda (+19%) also post spectacular gains. Over in the models ranking, the Renault Clio is back to the pole position it holds year-to-date after a two month-hiatus and despite sales down 12% on October 2016. It is followed this month by the Renault Megane (-10%) and VW Golf, down two spots on September but up 23% year-on-year. The Captur (+19%) makes it three Renaults in the Portuguese Top 4 this month, with the Nissan Qashqai (+32%) and Peugeot 308 (+39%) in tow. The Opel Corsa (+61%) delivers the highest year-on-year gain in the Top 10, while further down the Dacia Sandero (+60%), Nissan Micra (+274%) and Fiat Tipo (+60%) shine. The Opel Crossland X breaks into the Top 20 for the first time at #18, comfortably dominating recent launches ahead of the Citroen C3 Aircross, up 70 ranks to #44, the Toyota C-HR (#49) and Renault Kadjar (#59). The VW T-Roc makes its very first appearance in the Portuguese sales charts, directly at #80.

Previous month: Portugal September 2017: VW Gold remains #1 in market up 6.4%

One year ago: Portugal October 2016: Renault monopolises podium

Full October 2017 Top 35 All-brands and Top 230 All-models below.

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Romania October 2017: Dacia Duster up 55% in market up 26.2%

The new generation Dacia Duster will arrive in Romania in early 2018.

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

The Romanian new car market posts a second consecutive month of double-digit year-on-year gains in October at a splendid +26.2% to 10.036 registrations, lifting the year-to-date volume up 16.9% to 88.805 units. Homegrown brand leader Dacia trails the market at +13% to 28.6% share, a tad above its YTD level of 27.8%, as does Skoda also up 13% to 9.5%. The remainder of the Top 5 beats the market though: Volkswagen is up 33%, Renault up 35% and Ford, most impressively, is up 84%. Notice also Kia up 96%, Suzuki up 74%, Fiat up 120%, Jeep up 129% and Alfa Romeo up 1600%. Model-wise, the Dacia Logan logically stays ahead but only gains 1% to 16.2% share, while the Dacia Duster surges 55% to 7.4% share vs. 6.2%, potentially a combination of discounts on the outgoing first generation in the wake of the arrival of the second gen in early 2018. The Skoda Octavia (+4%) is back above the Dacia Sandero (+14%) like YTD, with the Opel Astra (+12%) rounding up the Top 5 above the Ford Focus (+163%). Let’s also salute the Renault Clio (+57%) and Megane (+143%) inside the Top 10 while beyond, the Ford Fiesta (+106%), Kuga (+112%), Kia Cee’d (+408%) and VW Up (+461%) make themselves noticed. The Toyota C-HR (#39), Skoda Kodiaq (#51) and Suzuki Ignis (#78) top recent launches.

Previous month: Romania September 2017: Dacia up 47% in market up 11.4%

One year ago: Romania October 2016: Renault (+41%) and Opel (+70%) shine

Full October 2017 Top 35 All-brands and Top 220 All-models below.

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Photo Report: Driving a Volvo V90 through the Norwegian fjords – Part 3: The heart of fjord land

Lars on the Gamle Strynefjellsvegen.

This is Part 3 of our exploration of the Norwegian fjords in a Volvo V90 Cross Country. Check out Part 1: Stockholm to Preikestolen here and Part 2: Stavanger and Bergen here. We are now entering truly grandiose fjord country and the next two posts will be full of spectacular scenery, as this is the reason I have decided to travel to this part of the world this year. Lonely Planet is not mistaken when it says about this area that “if could only visit one region in Norway and hope to grasp the essence of the country’s appeal, this would be our choice.”

Lars waking up in Ulvik.
Ulvik landscape 

Having reached Ulvik the night before, I had not had the chance to enjoy the landscape. A short drive from the hotel to the centre of the village is enough to envelop me in the legendary northern european tranquility that characterises the location. The Hardangerfjord is as still as a lake and soon a small ferry breaks the surface, creating slow-moving waves undulating towards the shores. Ulvik is home to only a little more than 1.000 inhabitants. It’s 10am but there is no one around except an elderly man also contemplating the surroundings from a bench near the water. We exchange knowing glances but neither of us wants to disrupt the sacred silence. We smile. It’s one of these moments in life when you can hardly believe the images relayed through your eyes.

A roundabout inside a tunnel…Lars about to enter Eidfjord (where the cruise ship is).

Next on the itinerary is Eidfjord. To reach it I must first drive through a marvellous oddity: a roundabout deep inside a tunnel that leads to the monumental Hardanger bridge, the longest tunnel-to-tunnel suspension bridge in the world: it’s a testimony of the effort that has been made in Norway to connect the multitude of fjords and mountains that complicate the area. It feels like I am in Monaco, except in the middle of nowhere. If the lead-up to Eidfjord is spectacular with sheer cliffs on each side of the fjord, the town itself is unfortunately soiled by an immense cruise ship that towers above everything and its hundreds of tourists have invaded every nook and cranny. The one positive effect is the ship’s smoke eerily mixing with the clouds around the fjord’s cliffs. I don’t stay long and push to Øvre Eidfjord, a lot quieter and from where I take an unsealed mountain road to explore the outer confines of the valley. I turn around when the track becomes a little too restrained for the large station wagon that is Lars, my Volvo V90 Cross Country for this trip.

Norwegian cheese and ham Lars in Kinsarvik with the Hardanger bridge in the background.

I retrace my steps to drive past the Hardanger bridge and explore Sørfjorden, an offshoot of Hardangerfjord located in the heart of the fruit tree region called Ullensvang. A deserted boathouse is the perfect spot for a tranquil lunch: given Norway’s high prices my regime is limited to bread, ham and cheese, but not just any cheese: the infamous and delicious Fløtemysost brown cheese… A couple of blokes are laughing their way through fishing on a tiny boat right in the middle of the fjord, and these are the only sounds around. I drive through Kinsarvik and Lofthus, and in between towns, apples are sold on the side of the road in unattended stands that rely on honesty: you slot the indicated price into a box and take the bag of apples with you. It’s now time to drive north through the Hardanger bridge again and towards Voss.

Lars in NaerøyfjordLars in Aurland
Snøvegen

After driving along  whose particularly steep 1200m-high cliffs are a great opportunity to make good use the V90’s panoramic roof, we soon reach Aurland, a village surrounded by greenery peppered with hundreds of bleating sheep, located at one end of the world’s longest road tunnel, the 24.5 km/15 miles-long Laerdalstunnel. But we won’t take that tunnel: instead, we launch into the Snøvegen, officially signed Aurlandsvangen. This 45 km (28 miles) Snow Road, open from June to mid-October, climbs and twists from Aurland at sea level to a 1311m-high plateau. The start of the road is narrow, making crossing vehicles a difficult task. The picturesque location is almost too perfect: sheep with their bells ringing call each other from one field to the next, oblivious to my presence and fighting the surrounding silence. The top of the plateau is a desolate, arid and beautiful swath of wilderness dotted with boulders and bright red lonely wooden houses. The cloudy weather adds even more drama to the menacing stance of this land.

Laerdal

Arriving in Laerdal, it’s time for a sunset ferry ride across Sognefjorden, the world’s second longest fjord (203km/126 miles) and Norway’s deepest (1308m), reaching Fjaerland just after the sun disappears for the night to admire the glacial tongue of Supphellebreen.

SupphellebreenJolstra river

The car park is just 300m from the glacier and I almost expect to hear the ice cracking, so overwhelmingly silent is the place at dusk. Fun/nerd fact: ice blocks from here were used as podiums at the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer. On my way to the Sandane hotel, in Skei the grey and orange skies completely reflect into the still waters of the Jolstra river. There is no one, not a whisper of wind, and the only sound is the clickety-click of a lone row-boat. Meditation-inducing stillness.

Breim
Stryn Oppstryn

The next day is the first blue sky day of the trip, and it’s great timing as we are about to explore what would end up being the most beautiful area of this entire adventure. We start with Nordfjord and the hair-rising beauty of the fjord’s shores trigger multiple stops and endless photo shoots, in Sandane itself, Breim, then along the shores of Lake Strynevatnet in Stryn and Oppstryn. Spectacular sun rays combined with incredible scenery morph this trip into something close to paradise as we enter the Jostedalsbreen National Park.

Gamle Strynefjellsvegen

The Gamle Strynefjellsvegen (old Stryn mountain road), a winding 27km single track at the time of construction considered a masterpiece of civil engineering, was opened in 1894 and was for over 80 years the main east-to-west route in this part of the country. Again, spectacular vistas await and I touch the first snow of this trip, stopping for a series of pictures near a wooden chalet baptised “Mon Plaisir” (My Pleasure in French). The pleasure is all mine indeed. This plateau is more colourful than the one we explored earlier in this post. Turquoise lakes surrounded by eye-waveringly white snow are overlooked by vast expands of red vegetation (rendered even redder by my sun glasses) peppered with imposing boulders. The air is crisp and the location inducive for a Volvo advertisement. Lars takes a pose multiple times along the plateau.

VW e-Golf on the Gamle StrynefjellsvegenToyota C-HR in Innvik.

Next and for our final post in this series, we reach Geirangerfjord, arguably Norway’s most famous fjord, the coastal town of Ålesund, the Trollstigen Route and the Atlanterhavsveien before finally reviewing Lars our Volvo V90 Cross Country… Stay tuned!

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