China September 2014: Focus on the all-new models

Hyundai ix25 China September 2014. Picture courtesy of huanqiu.comHyundai ix25

* See the Top 325 All-local models ranking by clicking on the title! *

As usual after exploring the monthly Chinese ranking we detail the all-new models making their first appearance in the world’s biggest car market this month. After a crazy August that saw 8 new nameplate hit the sales charts, we are down to a more reasonable 3 in September, one Korean compact SUV and two Chinese sedans.

The first is the much anticipated China-only Hyundai ix25, one of the stars of the last Beijing Auto Show, landing directly at #121 with 3,972 sales. The ix25 is based on the platform of the Kia Soul and is the second model launched by the Korean manufacturer in the past 12 months that will only be sold in China (with the Mistral) – clearly showing the scale of Hyundai’s ambitions for this market. It gives the carmaker its first entry into the very competitive compact SUV market and is priced from 119.800 to 179.800 yuan (US$19.600-29.400), competing with the likes of the Ford Ecosport (#68 so far in 2014), Peugeot 2008 (#90 in September) and Chevrolet Trax (personal best at #78). Its inaugural ranking already places the ix25 as Hyundai’s #2 SUV below just the ix35 (#40) but above the Santa Fe (#122) and Tucson (#204). A Top 100 monthly ranking seems a done deal, a Top 50 would seal the ix25 nameplate as a new household name.

BYD G5 China September 2014. Picture courtesy of qc188.comBYD G5

Much lower in 237th position with a shy 610 sales for now we find the BYD G5 which also debuted in April at the 2014 Beijing Auto Show. The G5 fits between the F3 and the G6 (no logic there) in the BYD range and is priced from 75.900 to 102.900 yuan (US$12.400-16.800). A hybrid variant, starting around 130.000 yuan ($21.200) will become available in 2015. According to Carnewschina, one interesting feature of the G5 is its ‘CarPad’ infotainment system where users can surf the internet, check microblogs such as Weibo (very important in China), find their way, watch movies, and listen to music played from the on-board flash drive. CarPad runs on Google Android.

Dongfeng Fengshen A30 China September 2014. Picture courtesy of jllmjt.comDongfeng Fengshen A30

The third and last all-new model in China in September is the Dongfeng Fengshen A30 arriving at #246 with 487 units sold. Fengshen is the mid-priced sub-brand/subsidiary of Dongfeng that is carefully extending its range. After the S30 sedan in 2010, the H30 and H30 Cross hatchbacks in 2011 and the A60 sedan in 2012, Dongfeng is now clearly accelerating Fengshen with the A30 and soon the AX7 SUV and a full-size luxury sedan. The A30 adopts a decidedly more modern design and is the largest Fengshen sedan so far, priced from 67.500 to 85.700 yuan (US$11.000-14.000).

This is mid-level price is the right place to be in for the Fengshen A30, as Chinese sedans have been struggling on the budget end of the market lately: only the BYD F3 (49.900 to 63.900 yuan or $8.140-10.400) sells in significant numbers at #54 year-to-date and the Chery E3 (52.900 to 67.900 yuan or $8.600-11.100) is a flop at #120 in September. Moreover, the two best-selling Chinese sedans in the same price range as the Fengshen A30: the ChangAn Eado (#25) goes from 73.900 to 94.900 yuan ($12.100-15.500) and the Emgrand EC7 (#34) is priced between 69.800 and 100.800 yuan ($11.400-16.500). So Dongfeng is holding the right end of the market with the A30, but it will be tough to impose this model in a very competitive market where foreign brands are dominant and becoming more so every month. A Top 150 ranking would almost certainly mean the A30 is the best-selling Fengshen, so a good objective to have, keeping in mind the the S30 ranks around #155 in 2014, the A60 at #164 and the H30 around #200.

Previous post: China September 2014: Baojun 730 instant sales blockbuster

Previous month: China August 2014: Focus on the all-new models

One year ago: China September 2013: Focus on the all-new models

Full September 2014 Top 325 models Ranking Table below.

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China September 2014: Baojun 730 instant sales blockbuster

Baojun 730 China September 2014. Picture courtesy of auto.sina.com.cnBaojun 730

* See the Top 326 All-models ranking by clicking on the title! *

Is the Chinese new light vehicle market finally experiencing the much talked about slowdown that has supposedly been looming for years? In September, sales are up only 3% year-on-year – the slowest growth rate in the past 19 months – to 1.98 million units. Passenger Cars rose 6% while commercial vehicles decreased by 16%. This brings the year-to-date total to 14.4 million, up 7% on 2013 compared to a 14% annual growth in 2013. Automotive News quotes Li Xiangfeng, an analyst at Shanghai-based consultancy ISE: “China already has a huge auto market, and with more cities restricting auto sales to fight pollution, it’s natural for growth to slow down – double-digit pace cannot go on forever.” Nissan (-20%) and Honda (-20%) both lodge their third consecutive monthly decline, while Audi (+13%), BMW (+18%) and Mercedes (+31%) continue to shine. 

Buick Excelle China September 2014. Picture courtesty of modiauto.com.cnBuick Excelle

As always the models ranking is full of surprises in China. Below the Wuling Hongguang (+18%), VW Lavida (+8%) and Ford Focus (-11%), the Buick Excelle is up 5 spots to 4th place, its highest ranking since May 2013. The Haval H6 stays at a record 5th position, bettering its monthly score to an all-time high 27,744 sales, its 11th monthly record in the past 15 months. The Chevrolet Sail is also back in shape: up 8 ranks on August to #7 while the Hyundai Elantra Langdong is strong again at #8 vs. #13 year-to-date.

Dongfeng Joyear China September 2014. Picture courtesy of dyfdgs.comThe Dongfeng Joyear smashes its monthly volume and ranking records this month…

Just outside the Top 10 at #14 with 21,016 sales, we have what has now become the most successful new nameplate launch since the VW Lavida: the Baojun 730. The low-cost MPV is up 75% for its 2nd month in market and single-handedly lifts the Baojun brand to blockbuster status. It is the third MPV to ever top 20,000 monthly sales in China (others: the Wuling Hongguang and Chana Honor at 20,259 units last March), illustrating further the strong long-term sales trend I’ve detailed on this site before: micro vans are being replaced by low-cost MPV in rural areas: they are larger, more practical and sold at a similar price.

Dongfeng Fengguang China September 2014. Picture courtesy of qc.com…as does the Dongfeng Fengguang.

Unsurprisingly, the MPV segment is currently the fastest-growing in China and this is where Chinese manufacturers can catch up part of the market share they have given away to foreign carmakers. In the same vein this month, both the Dongfeng Joyear and Fengguang double their sales vs. September 2013 to smash their volume and ranking records at #33 and 12,037 sales, #50 and 9,281 units respectively. The Toyota Corolla is above 20,000 sales for the first time since August 2011 at #17 and 20,238 units, up 43% year-on-year, the VW Golf posts the nameplate’s 2nd all-time highest monthly score at 18,697 units (best: 19,116 last April), up 3-fold on September 2013 and the Emgrand EC7 is back up 13 ranks to #19, reclaiming the title of best-selling Chinese sedan off the ChangAn Eado, up 82% to #23.

Haval H2 China September 2014. Picture courtesy of chexun.netThe Haval H2 is inside China’s Top 60 most popular vehicles for its 2nd month in market.

The SUV segment is the other main engine of growth in China right now. The Nissan X-Trail (+746% to 12,968 sales), Chery Tiggo 3 (+150% to 12,877 units) and ChangAn CS35 (10,594 sales) all breaking their monthly volume records are prime examples. But it doesn’t stop there. A few recent launches are becoming instant blockbusters too: the ChangAn CS75 is up 60% and 24 spots on its August record to finish the month just outside the Top 50 at #52 and 9,239 sales, the Haval H2 doubles its August score to 8,288 sales and #60 (now the brand’s 2nd best-seller in between the H6 and H5), the Beijing Auto Hansu S3 is up 42% for its 2nd month of sales to #67, the JAC Refine S3 triples its inaugural August figure to 6,103 sales at #89 and the Luxgen 6 SUV is up a further 4 spots to a record #92, the highest a Luxgen model has ever ranked in China.

Toyota Levin China September 2014. Picture courtesy of pcauto.com.cnOnly two months and the Toyota Levin is already one of China’s 50 favourite vehicles.

We also have a bunch of heroes in the sedan category: the Toyota Levin imposes itself as a new nameplate to be reckoned with by breaking into the monthly Top 50 as early as for its 2nd month at #46 and ending the month only 12 units shy of the symbolic 10,000 monthly sales milestone. An extremely impressive start indeed. The Audi A3 takes off thanks to the sedan variant, up 32 spots on August to #76, the Mazda3 Axela is up 10 ranks to #82, the GAC Trumpchi GA5S shoots up 47 ranks and 92% on its first month to #110 and the Kia K4 is up 49 spots and 106% to #114. There are 3 all-new nameplates making their first appearance in the Chinese ranking this month, but this will be the subject of a next post as is the tradition on BSCB.

Previous post: China 8 months 2014: Discover the Top 366 models ranking!

Previous new models post: China August 2014: Focus on the all-new models

Previous month: China August 2014: Baojun 730 directly above 12,000 sales

One year ago: China September 2013: Discover the Top 313 All-models ranking!

Full September 2014 Top 326 All-models Ranking Table below.

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Paris Auto Show 2014: The 20 things to remember

1. Lamborghini Huracan1. Lamborghini Huracan

* See the Full Photo Report by clicking on the title and all other Paris 2014 Reports here *

The Paris Auto Show 2014 just closed its doors on Sunday and was another tremendous success at over 1.2 million visitors. There is one more interview I will share with you very shortly, but until then here are my Top 20 highlights of the show outside of French manufacturers, covered separately. Completely subjective highlights based on design, new finds, stand layouts, and my overall experience there compared to the expectations I may have had before coming in.

My first highlight is the Lamborghini stand. Whether it be in Frankfurt, Geneva, Beijing or here in Paris, Lamborghini has brought a consistently prestigious flair into every Show I’ve had the privilege to attend. The Volkswagen-owned Italian marque comes up with new vehicles each time to ensure they make news, models look sexy, somewhat out-of-reach in a playful way and always ravishingly, glamourously and enticingly expensive. I can’t wait for the next Show.

2. Mini Superleggera Vision 1 3. Mini Superleggera Vision 2 4. Mini Superleggera Vision 32. Delicious: the Mini Superleggera Vision

Not a World Premiere but what a delightful vision indeed. The line “British Born, Italian tailored” fits this speedster concept that I would love to see produced to the tee. Every detail is spot on, including the rear lights in the shape of English flags and the Como Blue paint that screams “take me on a tour round Lake Como”. Ready when you are Superleggera.

5. VW XL Sport

3. Volkswagen XL Sport

I had not been a great fan of the VW XL1, another awkward-looking car sacrificing beautiful design for fuel efficiency. Now eating my words with this sublime XL Sport, with the added guts of placing a 1,199cc V-twin motorcycle engine used in the Ducati 1199 Superlegerra, a donation facilitated by the acquisition of Ducati by Volkswagen in 2012. I love how Volkswagen generates and advertises synergies between its stable of brands.

6. Maserati Alfieri Concept4. Maserati Alfieri Concept

Although it was already present at the Geneva Auto Show earlier this year, I am not getting tired of the Maserati Alfieri Concept’s muzzle. Never had a white shark with a gaping mouth looked so good at an Auto Show.

7. Toyota iRoad5. Toyota iRoad

Toyota reserved a surprisingly large section of its stand to its Personal Mobility Vehicle, the iRoad. A clear message here that the Japanese manufacturer wants us to take this new type of vehicle it came up with with the utmost seriousness. Noted.

8. Opel stand6. Opel stand

Right in the middle of a controversial kill of the Chevrolet brand in Europe, General Motors is now putting all its energy into the Opel brand and sent a strong signal this year at the Paris Auto Show. Its stand was much larger than I expected, vibrant, pumping with music while managing a dark, cocktail bar look that conveyed a classy image contrasting with the current perception of the brand most European consumers have. Opel is back and wants you to know it.

8b. Tesla stand7. Tesla stand

One year ago at the Frankfurt Auto Show, the single Press rep at the minuscule Tesla stand confided in me with bright shiny eyes that the Model S had just topped the overall sales charts in Norway. This would end up happening a couple more times over the following 6 months. In Paris, small Tesla is becoming big with a full-scale stand that was more than holding its own against the industry’s traditional behemoths. Always heart-warming to see a brand jumping leaps and bounds towards mass success.

9a. Jeep Renegade interior8. Jeep Renegade interior: a good mix of tradition and playfulness
9b. Lexus NX interior9. Lexus NX interior: as convoluted as its silhouette
9c. Mini Countryman interior10. Only for the fans: Mini interior  9d. Smart Forfour interior11. Fresh but Chinese-flimsy: the Smart ForFour

8-11. Interiors.
I am particularly picky on car interiors, and the Paris Auto Show proved this once again. Only one new interior made me really happy: the Jeep Renegade’s. I liked the mix of tradition (“Since 1941″), typically-Jeep shapes, playful colour mix and down-to-earthness. I can see myself driving this little beauty for days on end through the Australian Outback…
When the first pictures of the Lexus NX popped up on the internet I thought it was all a joke. Just as my eye is slowly getting used to its bleedingly sharp angular silhouette, an overly convoluted, button-heavy interior is ruining everything…
I don’t mind the new Mini 5 door, but as for the standard Mini its dashboard looks unbelievably un-driverfriendly and actually unsafe to keep track of while driving.
Let’s finish on a particularly cringe-worthy experience all-round: the Smart ForFour. Here again exterior design is to me a massive improvement on the first generation. But why oh why do the doors sound like they will remain stuck in your hand if you slam them too hard, and everything on the dashboard, although very fresh-looking, feels like it could get broken off by a vigorous slap? We’re not in China, Smart.

10. Nissan IDx Freeflow12. Nissan iDX Freeflow Concept

Not a new concept once again but I am absolutely loving the retro-future design and dual colours. I want one. Now.

11. Dongfeng Giotti Victoria Gladiator13. Dongfeng / Giotti Victoria Gladiator

This was a very interesting find at the Show. Did you know that the Dongfeng mini pick-up was assembled under licence in Italy under the name Giotti Victoria Gladiator? More, that it is imported and commercialised in France by a company called MAM Strager (www.mamstrager.com), selling around 100 units per year mainly in semi-rural areas of the south half of France like Le Creusot? Now you do. It doesn’t appear in official stats likely because MAM Strager doesn’t have official connections with the AAA and CCFA which record new car sales in France…

The next highlights are below.

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USA September 2014 (models): Silverado & Sentra on fire

Chrysler 200 USA September 2014. Picture courtesy of motortrend.comThe new generation lifts the Chrysler 200 nameplate to its best-ever September figure.

* NOW UPDATED with the Top 266 best-selling models! Click on the title to see *

You can check out the September 2014 groups and brands rankings here.

This is a new section on BSCB, detailing the models performance for the month separately from the brand and group ones. Handicapped by the transition between the two generations, the Ford F-Series expectedly struggles at -1% whereas as predicted the Chevrolet Silverado is up a gargantuan 54% to 50,176 sales, helped by an intense incentive push in order to shift consumers awaiting the new F-Series towards the Chevy or GMC brand. This is only the second time in the past 6 years that the Silverado is above 50,000 monthly units (with December 2012). We explored in detail how GM is taking advantage of this delicate time for Ford in last month’s update. Along with the GMC Sierra up 25% to #17, GM full-size pickups outsell the F-Series for the 2nd straight month in September at 66,939 vs. 59,863 units.

Chevrolet Silverado 2500 USA September 2014. Picture courtesy of motortrend.comBoosted by historical incentives, Chevy Silverado sales are up 54% year-on-year in September.

The US models podium is 100% full-size pickups for the 5th time in the past 12 months after October, December ’13 and January, March ’14 with the Ram Pickup up one spot on August and a massive 30% on September 2013 to round up the podium at #3. The Honda Accord (+31%) outsells the Toyota Camry (-11%) for the second straight month for the title of best-selling passenger car in the country but the Camry’s crown seems assured yet again this year. Just as a refreshed 2015 model was unveiled, the Honda CR-V reclaims the SUV crown off the Toyota RAV4 in September at #6 overall with 23,722 sales (+11%) vs. 22,724 at #7 for the RAV4, up another very impressive 43% year-on-year.

Nissan Sentra USA September 2014. Picture courtesy of motortrend.comNissan Sentra sales are up 61% year-on-year in the USA in September.

Further down the ranking, note the excellent performances of the Chevrolet Cruze up 45% to #14, the Nissan Rogue up 52% to #16, BMW 3-4 Series up 51% to #26, Nissan Sentra up 61% to #28, Nissan Versa up 38% to #29, Subaru Outback up 39% to #31, the new generation Chrysler 200 lifting the nameplate up 17% to its best-ever September figure at #33 with 10,995 sales, the Kia Soul up 46% to #35, Jeep Patriot up 51% to #39, Honda Fit up 66% to #58 and Subaru Legacy up 118% to #62.

2015 Chevrolet ColoradoThe Chevrolet Colorado is back in the game!

Among recent launches, the Acura TLX is up 70% on its first month of sales to break into the Top 100 at #86 and 3,884 units, already the brand’s 2nd best-seller below the MDX at #73, the Audi A3 is up a further 15 spots to #117, the Lincoln MKC up 18 to #139, Audi Q3 up 67 to #168 with 1,092 sales, the BMW i3 up 10 to #172 and 1,022 units, the Mercedes GLA lands at #174 with 991 sales and the BMW i8 is up to #250 with 58 units – this model is already sold out through 2015 in the US! Finally, notice the return of two mid-size pickup nameplates: the Chevrolet Colorado with 36 units sold and the GMC Canyon at 11 for now.

Previous post: USA September 2014 (brands): GM fleet, Jeep lift market up 9% – Big Three back to Top Three!

Previous month: USA August 2014: Honda Accord and Toyota RAV4 at all-time high

One year ago: USA September 2013: Dodge RAM up to #4, Corolla leads segment

Full September 2014 Top 266 models Ranking Table below.

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Canada September 2014: General Motors up 34%

Buick Regal Canada September 2014. Picture courtesy of motortrend.comBuick Regal – Buick sales are up 111% year-on-year in September. 

* NOW UPDATED with the Top 254 models, Top 34 brands and Top 15 groups! *

New light vehicle sales are up another very impressive 13% year-on-year in September to a record 168,090 registrations, bringing the year-to-date total to 1.426.427 units, up 5.5% on a record 2013 figure and still above France (1.337.327) at 9th largest car market in the world so far this year… Group-wise we witness a momentous change this month: Ford Motor Co. tops the ranking with 16.2% market share and overtakes the Fiat Chrysler Group to also take the lead year-to-date at 227,098 units and 15,9% vs. 225,166 and 15.8%. In line with its USA score, General Motors lodges an astounding 34% year-on-year surge to 24,555 sales and 14.6% share and ranks 2nd in September above Chrysler. Toyota Motor Co. passes Hyundai-Kia at #4 while Nissan Motor Co. remains below Honda Motor Co. at #7 but gains 28% on September 2013.

Jeep Cherokee Canada September 2014. Picture courtesy of motortrend.comJeep Cherokee. Jeep sales are up 140% in Canada this month.

In the brands ranking, below Ford (+5%) and Toyota (+8%), Chevrolet is up two spots on August to jump onto the podium thanks to sales up a huge 31% to 13,883 units, kicking down Honda to #4 and Hyundai to #5. Nissan is up 31% in 6th place, GMC up 32% at #7, Jeep up an out-of-this-world 140% to 6,782 sales and 10th place, Audi up 42% to #17, Mitsubishi up 41% to #18, Buick up 111% to #19 and Chrysler up 28% to #20.

VW Golf Canada September 2014. Picture courtesy of motortrend.comThe VW Golf is among Canada’s 20 most popular vehicles in September.

Model-wise, the Ford F-Series gains ground year-on-year for the 4th straight month at +2% to 12,633 registrations, adding up to an all-time record 97.223 units after 9 months. The Honda Civic overtakes the Ram Pickup to finish 2nd thanks to sales up 10% while the Ford Escape is up one spot on August and 26% year-on-year to rank 4th overall for the third time in the past 12 months after October 2013 and last April. The GMC Sierra (+32% to #5), Toyota RAV4 (+56% to #7) and Chevrolet Silverado (+43% to #8) do even better. The VW Golf breaks into the Canadian Top 20 for the first time since BSCB started following Canada monthly in 2010 at #20 with sales doubling year-on-year to 2,073 units, now only 308 below its sedan sister the Jetta.

Acura TLX Canada September 2014. Picture courtesy of motortrend.comFirst appearance of the Acura TLX in the Canada sales charts.

Further down, the Nissan Micra is up 10 spots on August to break into the Canadian Top 50 for the second time in the past 3 months at #42, the Jeep Patriot is up 164% year-on-year to #43, the Jeep Compass up 168% to #48, the BMW 4 Series is up 7 ranks on last month to a best-ever #91, the Acura TLX lands directly inside the Top 100 at #96 for its first appearance in the ranking, the Audi Q3 is up a further 9 spots to #105 and the Mercedes GLA arrives at #143 with 184 sales.

Previous month: Canada August 2014: Jeep, Lincoln, Porsche up in record market

One year ago: Canada September 2013: Ford F-Series and Dodge Ram back to high ground

Full September 2014 Top 254 models, Top 34 brands and Top 15 groups Ranking Tables below.

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Uruguay September 2014: BYD best-selling Chinese at #8

BYD New F3 Uruguay September 2014. Picture courtesy of autoblog.com.uyBYD New F3

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

New car sales in Uruguay are down 3% year-on-year in September to 4.280 registrations, bringing the year-to-date total to 38,989 units, down 4% on 2013. Chevrolet keeps the lead of the brands ranking with 11.7% share but Suzuki is decidedly becoming more and more threatening as the months come by, managing a third straight month in 2nd place thanks to 477 sales and 11.1%, and for now still #4 year-to-date below Fiat and Volkswagen, kicked down to #3 and #4 respectively in September. Below Mitsubishi up 7 spots on its year-to-date ranking at #7, we have a very rare event in Uruguay: BYD overtakes Chery to become the country’s most popular Chinese manufacturer in 8th position thanks to 207 sales and 4.8% share vs. #14 and 2.4% for Chery, in fact also passed by Lifan at #11 and 2.8% share. Notice also BAIC (Beijing Auto) selling its first 32 units of the year in Uruguay this month at #23. All-in-all, Chinese brands account for 20.6% of the Uruguyan new car market in September vs. 22.8% year-to-date and 23.3% in 2013.

Previous month: Uruguay August 2014: Suzuki remains in 2nd place with 10.8%

Previous year: Uruguay (brands) Full Year 2013: One in four new cars is Chinese!

Full September 2014 Top 42 All-brands Ranking Table below.

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Argentina September 2014: Ford Fiesta jumps to top spot

Ford Fiesta Argentina September 2014. Picture courtesy of temusados.com.brFord Fiesta

* See the Top 195 All-models and Top 33 All-brands by clicking on the title! *

The Argentinean new car market continues to evolve at levels frankly below last year, down another horrendous 31% year-on-year in September to 58,516 registrations, bringing the year-to-date to 557,560 units, down 25% on 2013. Volkswagen keeps the lead of the brands ranking, delivering an excellent 18.3% market share in spite of sales down 20% year-on-year, that’s a full 3 percentage points above the manufacturer’s market share in Argentina so far this year. Ford is up 1% to 14.3% share, earning it the 2nd spot year-to-date above Fiat. Chevrolet tumbles down 50%, Renault is at -53%, and reversely Toyota is up a magnificent 46% and Nissan is up 28%.

VW Suran Cross Argentina September 2014. Picture courtesy of autoblog.com.uyThe VW Suran is on the Argentinean podium this month.

Model-wise, the Ford Fiesta Kinetic takes the lead  for the second time this year after last February thanks to 2,567 sales, edging past the VW Gol Trend back up 4 spots to #2 and 2,556 units. The VW Suran shoots up 5 ranks to round up the podium for the first time since November 2012 with 2,409 sales. Other great performers include the Toyota Corolla up to #11, Renault Fluence up to #20, VW Up up to a best-ever #21, Honda City up to #27 and Chevrolet Tracker up to #30.

Previous month: Argentina August 2014: Renault Clio Mio confirms top spot

One year ago: Argentina September 2013: VW Gol Trend confirms pole position

Full September 2014 Top 195 All-models and Top 33 All-brands Ranking Tables below.

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Mexico September 2014: Chevrolet Spark confirms podium spot

Chevrolet Spark Mexico September 2014. Picture courtesy of motortrend.comChevrolet Spark (EV model shown)

* See the Top 10 best-selling models and Top 30 brands by clicking on the title! *

The Mexican new car market is euphoric in September at +14% year-on-year to 89,116 registrations, the best September score since 2006. This brings the year-to-date total to 789,568 units, up 4.5% on 2013. Brand-wise, Nissan is even stronger than usual at 26.9% share, up 22% on September 2013, with Chevrolet and Volkswagen shyer at +8% and +9% respectively. Toyota is up a flamboyant 44% and climbs to 4th place, overtaking Ford (-25%) while Honda (+16%), Mazda (+22%), Renault (+50%) and Seat (+18%) all shine. Only 5 months after its late launch in the country, Hyundai is already getting closer and closer to a Top 10 ranking at #11 with 1,500 sales and 1.7% share. Notice also Mitsubishi up 82%, Audi up 25%, Acura up 28%, Infiniti up 88% and Subaru up 71%. After a freak absence last month, the models ranking is back albeit as an August-September combo given AMDA only publishes year-to-date data. Below the Chevy Aveo and Nissan Versa, the Chevy Spark confirms its newly acquired podium ranking but remains #4 year-to-date below the Nissan Tsuru.

Previous month: Mexico August 2014: Nissan, Chevrolet and Toyota impress

One year ago: Mexico September 2013: VW Clasico and Nissan Tsuru back in the game

Full August-September Top 10 models and Sept Top 30 brands Ranking Tables below.

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USA Coast to Coast: New Orleans, Louisiana

1. Kia Rio NOLAThe Hero in Town: the Kia Soul

* Now updated with official sales data and dealer interviews *

* See the Full 30 Photo-Report by clicking on the title and click on any photo to enlarge! *

You can follow all US Coast to Coast Reports here

We have arrived in New Orleans, Louisiana, also called NOLA or, more affectionately, Big Easy. A very different experience than all other American cities I crossed so far, especially given the fact I was there on a Friday night… Bourbon Street with all its performers, singers, live music, good vibes, cheap (so cheap!) alcohol and delicious food is an experience I had not thought possible in the US and one I don’t think I will see again in this trip. Of course, NOLA has its own very particular vehicle landscape, slightly different as is often the case for big cities compared to the rest of the State they are located in. The Top 5 ranking and full landscape description is below.

2. Dodge Challenger NOLADodge Challenger in New Orleans LA

Best-selling cars in Louisiana – source: JATO.com


Pos Model FY2013
1 Ford F-150 16,614
2 Chevrolet Silverado 13,359
3 Ram Pickup 9,502
4 GMC Sierra 7,741
5 Toyota Camry 6,719

3. Ford F150 NOLA 2Ford F150 in New Orleans LA

Looking at the best-selling models in Louisiana we are faced with a barrage of pickup trucks. After monopolising the Top 2 in Mississippi they do two more here and trust the Top 4 rankings. The Ford F-150 leads the way with 16.614 sales, ahead of the Chevy Silverado at 13.359. Up until now, nothing special I hear you say. The Ram Pickup (my very own Albert) rounds up the podium with just above 9.500 units and that’s new news, even though it managed to reach that ranking nationally a couple of times, but the most impressive jump is definitely the GMC Sierra in 4th place here with 7.741 sales vs. Nb. 20 nationally. The only passenger car to find its way into the Top 5 is, logically, the Toyota Camry.

12. Mercedes GLK NOLAMercedes GLK

Now onto NOLA.

Below the ubiquitous Ford F-150, the main striking element in NOLA is the impressive performance of premium German brands. Based on the areas I visited (Downtown, French Quarter, Lower Garden District, Treme-Lafitte and Whitney), I’ll go as far as saying that they hold an even higher market share in NOLA than they do in New York City. Local favourites include the new generation Mercedes ML Class, Mercedes GLK and BMW 3 Series, absolutely at every street corner especially in the French Quarter, but many other models make a remarkable reappearance here like the Mini or Smart Fortwo. In fact I had not seen that many tiny cars in a very long time.

4. Albert NOLAAlbert getting a little posh in New Orleans LA

In contrast with Louisiana as a whole, the most popular passenger car in New Orleans is the Nissan Altima, in line with my observations in Tennessee and Mississippi. The Honda Accord is not far behind though, judging by the high frequency of new generations in town. Also strong: the Toyota Tacoma at its highest so far in the trip (possibly just below the Altima and Accord), Honda Civic, Chevrolet Malibu, Ford Explorer, Hyundai Accent and Toyota RAV4. Less popular than their national rankings: the Toyota Corolla and Ford Fusion.

Toyota Sienna NOLAToyota Sienna

Almost all taxis in New Orleans are either Dodge Grand Caravan or Nissan Quest, and there is one model that has frankly surged in popularity compared to all other areas I have visited so far: the new generation Kia Soul and I will make it my Hero in Town for New Orleans. Strangely this popularity seems to have been triggered by the new generation as I hardly saw any first gen Soul in town. Brand-wise, Nissan is particularly successful here with the Versa, Sentra, Pathfinder and Maxima all over-performing on their national ranking.

5. Nissan Juke Versa NOLANissan Juke and Versa in New Orleans LA

Arguably the eccentric capital of the United States, New Orleans had to display a few oddities, and it did: the only two Nissan Murano convertible I saw in the entire trip were parked a few blocks away from each other in the French Quarter, and it looks like the Honda CR-Z may have once cracked the Top 20 in town given how many I spotted in such a small area.

6. Nissan Cube NOLANissan Cube in New Orleans LA

Having said all of the above, the New Orleans sales charts should actually be relatively conservative, at least at the top: Ford F-Series, Chevrolet Silverado and Ram Pickup, conforming to the State podium. This changes when we leave New Orleans towards Texas: the Silverado becomes extremely frequent with a constant flow of 2013 models on the highway. It should even pass the Ford F150 to lead sales charts in this part of the state, while the Toyota Tundra experiences a sudden surge of popularity the closer we get to the Texan border.

7. Toyota Tundra NOLA 2Toyota Tundra in New Orleans LA

Chris Solomon, Manager at AllStar Toyota Baton Rouge LA, confirms this observation: “The new generation Tundra is our second best-seller below the Camry but above the Corolla. Doing particularly well for us is the 1794 Edition with specific 20-inch wheels (named for the ranch, founded in 1794, upon which the truck’s assembly plant is located in San Antonio, Texas). It has attracted buyers in the 25-40 years old range, especially trading in a Ford F-Series pick-up. We are still below Chevrolet in pickup sales as they have a more affordable offer, but it’s a true possibility that we beat Ford in the Baton Rouge area.”

 

13. Ford F250 NOLAFord F250

Building on my Charleston observation, overall one in 3 new F-Series is a F250/350, this ratio shooting up to 50% after Lafayette. Other striking observations in this part of Louisiana include a new gen Hyundai Santa Fe much more popular than both the old generation and all other States before now.

9. Ford F150 NOLA 31987 Ford F150 in New Orleans LA

Shane Smith, General Sales Manager at Allstar Hyundai Baton Rouge agrees the Santa Fe is a conquest model for the brand: “Our best-sellers are the Sonata, Elantra then Santa Fe, and we can count on high loyalty from our customers who come back to the brand time after time. As far as the Santa Fe is concerned though, on top of repeat business we are also seeing trade ins typically from the Toyota Highlander, GMC Terrain and Toyota Camry. The Santa Fe has the best warranty #1 rated safety its category and that has helped us a lot in our sales. It’s the perfect upgrade from a sedan for families that need a bit more room.

19. Chevrolet vintage NOLA1982 Chevrolet S10

Shane Smith also commented on the exceptional pent-up demand in the market at the moment. “We are dealing with the oldest fleet of cars overall out there in a long time, and our sales are at their best since before the financial crisis. People have waited a long time to renew their cars and now is the time. For example we also handle Volvo and just yesterday we had someone trade in a Toyota Prius with 250,000 miles. It’s not that unusual at the moment to see that type of trade-in.”

23. Chevrolet Suburban NOLAChevrolet Suburban

The Chevrolet Suburban/GMC Yukon XL was seen in very high numbers again, understandable as this a much more touristy State than Mississippi and Tennessee I crossed beforehand, and 90% of Suburbans and co. that I have been spotting are rentals, with the French apparently being the most avid admirers.

10. Ford Thunderbird NOLAFord Thunderbird

Finally, a note on petrol prices. I later read in the press that this was a big deal but at the time I didn’t know it would stop there: for the first time since I left New York, the price of regular petrol has now plunged below $3, to $2.95 exactly in Lafayette. Not that it affects my budget as Albert drinks diesel and its price has not plunged in concert with regular petrol, staying at $3.66 cash and $3,71 credit in that very same 76 service station. Still no credit/cash price difference for petrol.

Full Photo Report below.

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Algeria August 2014: Dacia Logan now #1 year-to-date

Dacia Logan Algeria August 2014. Picture courtesy of largus.frDacia Logan

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

Thanks to a splendid August score (2,754 sales), the Dacia Logan overtakes the Hyundai Accent (also #2 this month) to claim the year-to-date pole position at 15,751 units vs. 15,679, aiming at a second consecutive year at #1 after 2013. Its twin the Renault Symbol climbs back up to third place with 1,628 sales ahead of the VW Polo and Kia Picanto. Brand-wise, Renault and Dacia dominate above Hyundai, Peugeot, Volkswagen and Kia. Notice also Skoda and Citroen above Suzuki and Chevrolet to find their way inside the Top 10.

Previous month: Algeria July 2014: VW Polo and Skoda Fabia shine

One year ago: Algeria July 2013: Toyota Hilux leads, Dacia Logan back up to #4

Full August 2014 Top 10 models and brands Ranking Tables below.

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