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China April 2015: The cars of Shanghai

April 25th, 2015 No comments

1. Shanghai Pudong street scene 7Shanghai Pudong street scenes

After going through the highlights of Auto Shanghai 2015 and before I give you my ranking of the most impressive Chinese carmakers at the Show, it’s time to go wandering in the streets of Shanghai so I can share with you what the most popular cars are here. The Shanghai car landscape is surprisingly easy to read with a few main trends to be followed.

2. VW Santana taxi x3 ShanghaiVW Santana taxis in Shanghai French Concession

VW Santana taxi is king

The Shanghai-Volkswagen joint-venture has been spitting out Santanas for 3 decades, so it’s no surprise to see them litter every single street of Shanghai. The surprise is how many of them still roam around. The Santana taxi accounts for up to 50% of the entire traffic in the French concession part of town for example.

3. VW Lavida Taxi ShanghaiVW Lavida and Santana taxi in Pudong

Efforts to replace it with more modern Touran and Lavida, though relatively successful, have done nothing to limit this supremacy however. The Santana Vista 1998 model is everywhere and I did spot two very well preserved first generation private Santanas, but very few new generation Santana, and none as taxi.

4. Buick GL8 ShanghaiBuick GL8 in Shanghai Tianzifang

Too cool for taxi? Buick GL8 it is

If you think you’re way too cool to get moved around town in a vulgar taxi, then you’ll need to opt for the ubiquitous Buick GL8. Already very popular in Beijing, the GL8, most of all the current generation, is the way to get chauffeured around in Shanghai, if you can afford it. Go near the shopping districts of Tianzifang and Xintiandi and you’ll find lines after lines of Buick GL8 parked with their driver sleepily awaiting the end of the Prada and Louis Vuitton shopping spree.

5. Buick LaCrosse VW Santana taxi ShanghaiBuick LaCrosse and VW Santana in Shanghai Tianzifang

In fact, not only the GL8 but the entire Buick lineup is particularly strong in Shanghai, notably at the higher end of the scale: the LaCrosse is very frequent in the streets of the city especially in financial Pudong, and I have spotted a few Envision SUVs already.

6. Shanghai Pudong street scene 3Shanghai Pudong street scene

7. Roewe 550 VW Touran ShanghaiRoewe 550 in Shanghai Tianzifang

Locals? What locals?

Even more acutely than in Beijing where I estimated that Chinese carmakers amounted to around 10-15% of the traffic, Shanghai harbours a stinging self-hate for domestic manufacturers, who account for no more than 5-8% of the overall Shanghai car landscape. The only ones keeping their head out of the water logically belong to Shanghai-based SAIC Group. Roewe is by far the most popular local brand in Shanghai, with the 550 the favourite in the lineup by a large margin.

9. Maxus G10 ShanghaiMaxus G10

Maxus is strong in the commercial area with a dozen M80 as well as a handful of G10 spotted. MG follows, mainly thanks to the MG3. The only other nameplates to pop up more than once (!) are Jinbei and Foton Hiace-inspired vans and JAC light vans. I did spot one Qoros 3 in Pudong, and a couple of BYD Qin hybrids.

8. Shanghai street sceneShanghai street scene

Range Rover Evoque favourite import

A particular favourite in Shanghai is the Range Rover Evoque, imported here therefore highly expensive, but that hasn’t deterred a mini-craze towards this vehicle here. I saw a total of over 20 in just two days spent wandering the streets. I also noticed an inordinate amount of Fiat Viaggio and Ottimo and 3 Tesla Model S in two days: one near People’s Square, one in Pudong and one on the Bund where a Ford F-150 Raptor also caught my attention.

12. BYD Qin ShanghaiBYD Qin

If last year after the Beijing Auto Show I took you all the way to Western China on a trip to Kashgar in Xinjiang Uyghur and on the Karakoram Highway to the Pakistani border, this year we are headed North towards the North Korean and Russian borders. Next stop: Changchun, the “Detroit of China” in the Jilin province. Stay tuned!

11. Venucia Morning Wind Shanghai

10. Shanghai Pudong street scene 5Shanghai Pudong street scenes

The Photo Report (20 pictures) continues below.

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World 1st quarter 2015: Toyota keeps worldwide crown, just

April 25th, 2015 No comments

Toyota LevinToyota unveiled the Levin HEV at Auto Shanghai this week.

According to Bloomberg and Automotive News, Toyota was still the largest carmaker in the world during the first 3 months of 2015 in spite of sales down 2.5% year-on-year to 2.52 million vehicles. Reversely both VW Group (2.49 million) and General Motors (2.42 million) saw deliveries improve over the period. This means the Top 3 carmakers in the world all fit within a mere 100,000 units at this stage and confirms the race to the top of the sales charts will be intense all the way through 2015. Volkswagen now expects to grow at a slower pace during the remainder of the year however, due to stagnant sales in China where it missed the budget SUV craze. Toyota for its part is counterbalancing declining sales at home in Japan by ending a 3 year-expansion freeze, green lighting new factories in China and Mexico that will add 300,000 annual units of capacity.

Categories: World

Europe March 2015: Relief as continent-wide sales jump 11%

April 24th, 2015 No comments

Vauxhall Corsa Europe March 2015. Picture courtesy autoexpress.co.ukStrong UK sales push the Opel/Vauxhall Corsa onto the European podium in March.

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

It’s official: the recession is over in Europe. Overall new car sales are up 11% year-on-year in March to an imposing 1.644.985 registrations, boosted by a record figure in the UK (accounting for 28% of the continent’s sales) and Spain up a joyful 41%. The 1st Quarter ends on a 9% increase at 3.629.902 deliveries. Volkswagen moves with the market at +11% to 11.1% share, while Ford (+9%) and Opel/Vauxhall (+4%) mechanically move up to #2 and #3 given their strong reliance on UK sales but underperform. The French fall right in the average: Renault and Peugeot rank 4th and 5th and both gain 11%. Audi (+7%) and BMW (+5%) step aside and let Mercedes (+16%) shine bright at 82,980 sales (Audi 87,688 – BMW 81,857) but the hero of the month is Nissan jumping 4 spot to crack the European Top 10 thanks to sales up 21% to #9 and 80,471 deliveries. Fiat also enjoys the success of its very profitable 500 family and the arrival of the 500X just in time for summer escapades: +13% in 10th place.

Nissan Qashqai Europe April 2014. Picture courtesy of automobile-magazine.frNissan is up 21% year-on-year in Europe in March.

Despite sales up just 0.1% to 56,269, the VW Golf manages to clock its 60th consecutive month atop the European sales charts – that’s a full 5 years with the last time the Golf did not rank #1 in Europe being March 2010… The Top 10 models is heavily influenced by the UK market as is the norm in March: the Ford Fiesta jumps two spots to #2 both in March and year-to-date, the Opel/Vauxhall Corsa is up 3 to #3 (+21%), the Ford Focus is up 5 to #6 and the Opel/Vauxhall Astra is up 7 to return inside the Top 10 at #10. While the Renault Clio is solid at +12%, the VW Polo takes a beating and drops two ranks in the 2015 ranking to #4, now only 51 units above the Corsa. Another excellent month for the Nissan Qashqai at #7 (+13%) and Audi A3 at #9 (+15%).

Previous post: Europe February 2015: Now with Top 330 All-models and All-brands

Previous month: Europe February 2015: VW Passat at highest in 3 years

One year ago: Europe March 2014: Fiat 500 inside Top 10 for the first time

Full March 2015 Top 10 brands and models below.

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Categories: Europe

France March 2015: Renault, Peugeot & Mercedes lift market up 9%

April 24th, 2015 No comments

Renault Mégane France March 2015. Picture by largus.frThe Renault Mégane is back up to #6 overall this month.

* Now updated with the Top 250 best-selling models and Top 40 brands *

French new car sales are finally getting a significant boost this month: up 9.5% year-on-year in March to 196,572 registrations, partly thanks to one more opening day without which the market would be up just 4%. Year-to-date sales are now up 7% to 477,326 deliveries. Caveating this performance is the exceptional strength of tactical sales (+15%), including demo sales (+14%) and short-term rentals (+21%), while private sales are up 2% after -3.5% in February and +0.3% in January. On the plus side, orders taken by dealers in March are up 11%, on the negative side, the surge in short-term rentals seems to be the result of purchases brought forward in anticipation of the summer holiday season rather than a real activity growth and this means short-term rentals in the coming month will suffer, potentially pulling the market down with them.

Mercedes C-Class France March 2015. Picture courtesy of largus,frMercedes overtakes Audi to become the #1 premium brand in France in March.

The 2 main manufacturers in the country, Renault (+13%) and Peugeot (+12%) both outperform the market to 21.4% and 17.2% share respectively while Citroen is up just 5% to 10% and its premium brand DS is down 15% to 1.5%. The rest of the brands ranking confirms trends are turned on their head this year: Dacia, usually displaying staggering year-on-year gains, is down 10%, Ford is up 19%, Toyota up 16%, Kia up 23% and Hyundai up 44%. Mercedes spectacularly takes charge of premium brands thanks to sales up 40% (and private sales up 61%) to 5,705 units at #10 vs. 5,437 (+5%) for Audi and 5,355 (+14%) for BMW. Also impressive is Mini (+61%) thanks to the new 5-door hatch, while Jeep is in a category of its own: multiplying its sales by 10 vs. March 2014 to 845 thanks to the Renegade (#69 with 681 units).

Fiat 500X France March 2015. Picture courtesy autobild.deThe Fiat 500X breaks into the French Top 50 for the first time in March.

In the models ranking, all Top 7 nameplates gain more ground than the market, resulting in a trend-bucking de-fragmentation. The Peugeot 308 at #4 (+63%), Renault Captur at #3 (+41%) and Renault Clio IV at #1 (+27%) are the biggest gainers, with the Renault Mégane at #6 (+18%) also back in shape. The Peugeot 2008 (#5) is up 15% while the Peugeot 208 (#2) is up 11% and the Citroen C3 (#7) up 10%. The Renault Twingo III is down 4 spots on February to #9 and the Top 10 is 100% French for the 2nd straight month with the VW Polo at #12, VW Golf at #14 (both down a harsh 17%) and Ford Fiesta at #15 (+10%) the most popular foreigners.

Audi TT France March 2015. Picture courtesy largus.frThe new model lifts Audi TT sales 4-fold on a year ago in France.

Further down, the Peugeot 508 is up 49% at #19, the Citroen C4 Cactus maintains itself above the C4 at #21, the Opel Mokka is up 41% to #25, the VW Passat up a spectacular 86% to #37, the Toyota Aygo II (#42) and Fiat 500X (#43) both break into the monthly French Top 50 for the first time, the Nissan X-Trail is up 9 ranks on February to #58 and the Ford Ecosport up 24 to #65. Outside the Top 100, notice the Ford Mondeo up 123% year-on-year, the Nissan Leaf up 120%, Mazda6 up 135%, Audi TT up 331%, the Land Rover Discovery up 1144% thanks to the new Sport model, the BMW X6 up 245% and the Kia Sorento up 326%.

Previous post: France 1-16 March 2015: Renault Mégane back in shape

Previous month: France February 2015: Renault Twingo III breaks into Top 5

One year ago: France March 2014: Renault Captur and Peugeot 2008 both in Top 4 for the first time

Full March 2015 Top 250 models and Top 40 brands below.

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Categories: France

Kazakhstan March 2015: Lada Largus now #3 year-to-date

April 24th, 2015 No comments

UAZ Patriot Kazakhstan March 2015bUAZ now holds 5.1% of the Kazakh market vs. 2.8% in FY2014.

* See the Top 40 All-brands and Top 188 All-models by clicking on the title *

A year ago one of the fastest-growing new vehicle markets in the world, Kazkahstan is stuck in negative territory this year with March sales down a worrying 34% on a year ago to 8,369 deliveries and 1st quarter registrations down 26% to 25,390. Bizarrely, Lada holds double the market share here than it does at home in Russia at 36.8% thanks to 3,080 sales in March above Hyundai (12%), Kia (8%) and Renault (7%) while Toyota drops to 5th place at 5.7%. Thanks to solid performances of the Bukhanka (#13), Patriot (#16), Patriot Pickup (#21) and Hunter (#27), Russian manufacturer UAZ is up to #6 overall with 5.1% share (#11 and 2.8% in FY14). The Chinese presence in Kazakhstan is restricted to the Geely brand ranking at a very satisfying 12th place with 127 sales and 1.5% share in March vs. #14 over FY2014.

Lada Largus Kazakhstan April 2014. Picture courtesy of zr.ruFirst Top 5 ranking for the Lada Largus in Kazakhstan and worldwide.

The models ranking is exceptionally stable this month in Kazakhstan: the entire Top 7 best-sellers are identical to February and to the year-to-date charts as well now that the Lada Largus has overtaken the FY2014 winner the Lada Priora for #3 at 2,255 sales and 8.9% so far in 2015 vs. 2,199 and 8.7%. The Lada Granta is gearing towards snapping the overall annual pole position in a 2nd country in the world after Russia, holding 10.4% of the market in March and 11.8% year-to-date. Notice also the Lada 4×4 up 6 spots to #8 making it 5 Ladas in the Top 8, the Renault Sandero up 8 to #12, Geely Emgrand X7 at #23 and the Nissan Teana and Geely Emgrand EC7 both up 19 ranks on February to #33 and #46 respectively.

Previous month: Kazakhstan February 2015: Lada Granta and Hyundai Accent on top

One year ago: Kazakhstan March 2014: Kia Rio and Nissan Qashqai in Top 5

Full March 2015 Top 40 All-brands and Top 188 All-models below.

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Categories: Kazakhstan

Portugal March 2015: Nissan Qashqai and Opel Corsa push up.

April 23rd, 2015 No comments

Nissan Qashqai Portugal March 2015. Picture courtesy of autobild.deThe Nissan Qashqai is up to #2 in Portugal this month.

* See the Top 208 All-models and Top 33 All-brands by clicking on the title *

Portuguese new car sales continue their recovery with sales up a splendid 42% year-on-year in March to 20,082 registrations, bringing the first quarter total to 46,229 units, up an equally reassuring 36% on 2014. Despite underperforming in March (+29%), Renault keeps the lead of the brands ranking by far at 12.1% share above Volkswagen (+57%), Peugeot (+42%) and Nissan doubling its sales year-on-year to 1,613 units and a shiny 8% market share. Notice also Fiat up 80% to #8, Ford up 87% to #10, Toyota up 81% to #11, Mitsubishi up 98% to #15 and Kia up 113% to #17. The Renault Clio remains the most popular nameplate in Portugal and the only one to sell more than 1,000 units this month at 1,065 and 5.3% share, but the Nissan Qashqai (789) and Opel Corsa (696) also shine up, followed by the Renault Megane (678) and Peugeot 208 (650).

Previous month: Portugal February 2015: Renault Clio reclaims pole position

One year ago: Portugal March 2014: Renault Mégane takes off to pole position

Full March 2015 Top 208 All-models and Top 33 All-brands below.

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Categories: Portugal

China LCV March 2015: Wuling Hongguang V cracks 30,000 sales

April 23rd, 2015 No comments

Wuling Hongguang V China March 2015. Picture courtesy xcar.com.cn

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

213,053 new Light Commercial Vehicles found a buyer in March in China, adding up to 514,922 over the 1st quarter of 2015. This segment is in freefall since small businesses have started to trade up to MPVs such as the Wuling Hongguang or Baojun 730. However Wuling has managed to reverse the trend by launching the Hongguang V, still a tradeup from the once best-selling Sunshine (-38% in March) and Rongguang (-47%) but more affordable than the Hongguang. It’s a full house for now: the Hongguang V crosses the 30,000 monthly sales milestone for its third month in market at 30,003, following the same sales progression as the Baojun 730 MPV a few months back. A very promising start indeed. Note the Foton Light Truck taking the lead of the LCV ranking this month above all Wulings.

Previous post: China LCVs January 2015: Wuling Hongguang V appears

One year ago: China March 2014: Now updated with LCV data!

Full March 2015 Top 10 LCVs Ranking Table below.

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Categories: China

Romania March 2015: Ford Fiesta on podium, Fiat 500L in Top 10

April 23rd, 2015 No comments

Fiat 500L Romania March 2015. Picture courtesy of largus.frThe Fiat 500L is among the 10 best-sellers in Romania for the first time.

* See the Top 32 All-brands and Top 100 models by clicking on the title *

New car sales in Romania are up a very satisfying 17% year-on-year in March to 5,339 registrations, bringing the first quarter total to 14,433 units, up 8% on 2014. Dacia logically keeps the pole position despite sales down 2% to 28.1% share (30.2% year-to-date), followed by Ford up a gigantic 104% on a year ago to 698 units and 13.1% and Skoda up 15% to 606 deliveries and 11.4%. Volkswagen (+29%), Mercedes (+16%), Renault (+19%), Hyundai (+15%) and Fiat (+50%) follow and all outperform the market this month. Notice also Peugeot up 118%, Kia up 142%, Citroen up 95% and Volvo up 4-fold year-on-year.

Ford Fiesta Romania March 2015The Ford Fiesta lands on the Romanian podium in March.

The Dacia Logan (15.5%) and Duster (9%) dominate the models ranking head and shoulders and stay very close to their year-to-date levels of 15.3% and 9.1% respectively. #12 last month, the Ford Fiesta shoots back up to third place thanks to 349 sales and 6.5%, becoming the most popular foreign nameplate in the country in March. It is followed by the Skoda Octavia (4.9%), Ford Focus (4.6%) and Skoda Rapid (3.8%) and all other nameplate are below 2% market share. The Fiat 500L is up 15 spots on February to crack the Romanian Top 10 for the first time at #9, the VW Up is up to #27 and the Peugeot 301 up 58 spots on last month to #31.

Previous month: Romania February 2015: Dacia and Skoda monopolise Top 4

One year ago: Romania March 2014: Dacia Dokker back up to 4th place

Full March 2015 Top 32 All-brands and Top 100 models below.

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Categories: Romania

South Korea March 2015: Hyundai Porter and Sonata on top

April 23rd, 2015 No comments

Hyundai Sonata South Korea March 2015. Picture courtesy bobaedream.co.krHyundai places the Porter at #1 and the Sonata at #2 this month at home.

* See the Top 53 All-local models and Top 4 brands by clicking on the title *

Sales of local models are up 5% year-on-year in March in South Korea to 127,216 registrations, bringing the year-to-date total to 342,038 units, up 2% on 2014. The Hyundai Porter is back in charge despite sales down 4% on a year ago to 9,117 deliveries, adding up to a market-leading 24,850 over the 1st Quarter. The Hyundai Sonata benefits fully from the new models with deliveries up 82% on March 2014 to 8,556 in 2nd place, however the Kia Morning doesn’t fare as well: down 13% to 7,936 sales to round up the podium. Further down, the Hyundai Avante (-4%) and Grandeur (-12%) lose ground, the Kia Sorento (+302%) and Carnival (+250%) step up thanks to their new generation, the Hyundai Tucson ix is back up to #12 – now in runout mode before the new generation comes in, the Hyundai Genesis is very solid again at #15 and 3,535 deliveries and the SsangYong Tivoli remains the brand’s best-seller for its third month in market at #17 and 2,827 units.

Previous post: South Korea February 2015: Now with All-models and All-brands

Previous month: South Korea February 2015: SsangYong Tivoli up to #13

One year ago: South Korea March 2014: Hyundai Porter now #1 year-to-date

Full March 2015 Top 53 All-local models and Top 4 brands below.

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Categories: South Korea

Indonesia March 2015: Honda HR-V confirms blockbuster status

April 23rd, 2015 No comments

Honda HR-V Indonesia March 2015. Picture courtesy autobild.co.idThe Honda HR-V posts a second consecutive month inside the Indonesian Top 5.

* See the Top 20 best-selling models by clicking on the title *

The Indonesian new car market continues to readjust: down 12% year-on-year in March to 99,406 registrations, which brings the 1st Quarter total to 284,682 units, down 13% on 2014. The Toyota Avanza remains the best-selling vehicle in the country by far and its market share has stabilised around 13.2% (13.4% in FY14, 17.4% in FY13), with its biggest threat to the Honda Mobilio (10% share in May 2014), has now passed: the Mobilio is down to a miserable 14th place this month with 2.2% of the Indonesian market. In 2nd place with 6,149 sales, the Daihatsu Gran Max Pikap continues to impress and confirms a new trend in this market: small pick-ups have gradually made their way to the top of the ranking in Indonesia commercial vehicles. The Suzuki Carry Pikap is #4 in March, while the Mitsubishi T120 SS (#12) and L300 (#13) are solid despite of their age.

Toyota Rush Indonesia March 2015. Picture courtesy autobild.co.idThe Toyota Rush is back up to #11 in March, its twin the Daihatsu Terios up to #19.

But the big event this month in Indonesia is the same as in February: the world-topping 5th position of the Honda HR-V with an improved 4.8% market share and a record 4,815 sales. The HR-V has hit the bullseye in Indonesia, opening up a new market for manufacturers keen to bank on this newfound love of Indonesian drivers for the small SUV segment- the Nissan Juke had never achieved such sales levels since its launch 4 years ago. The HR-V is pulling a handful of other SUVs in its wake this month: the Toyota Rush is spectacularly back inside the Top 20 at #11 and 2,772 sales with its twin the Daihatsu Terios up to #19 with 1,546 units (cumulative sales 4,318 or #6) while the Nissan X-Trail is strong again at #16 and 1,861 deliveries.

Previous month: Indonesia February 2015: Honda HR-V up to world-best #5

One year ago: Indonesia March 2014: Honda Mobilio 2nd car in history at 10,000+ monthly sales

Full March 2015 Top 20 models Ranking Table below.

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Categories: Indonesia