Posts Tagged ‘Lada’

Russia April 2014: Nissan Almera breaks records again

May 14th, 2014 1 comment

Nissan Almera Russia April 2014. Picture courtesy of zr.ruNissan Almera

* See the Top 25 best-selling models and Top 58 All-brands by clicking on the title! *

After seeming to plateau in March at just -0.4%, Russian new car sales are back in hell in April, potentially handicapped by the economic sanctions imposed on the country: down 8% year-on-year to 226,526 registrations, bringing the year-to-date total to 829,046 units, down 4% on 2013. The Top 7 best-selling models are unchanged on last month, led by the Lada Granta (-13%), Hyundai Solaris (-7%) and Kia Rio (+7%), but the best performer in April is the recently-launched Nissan Almera: up to #8 with 5,798 sales and 2.6% share which are its best-ever ranking (also reached last February), monthly volume and market share. Notice also the Toyota RAV4 up 7 spots on March to #11 and the Nissan Juke up 71% year-on-year to #19, earning it a spot in the 2014 Top 25 at #23.

Acura MDX Russia April 2014. Picture courtesy of zr.ruAcura MDX

In the brands ranking, at #1 Lada is down 16% but with 16.3% share it is almost one percentage point above its year-to-date level (15.5%) and in any case still sells more than double any other brand on the market. Kia is down 3% to #2, Renault down 9% at #3, Hyundai stable at #4, Toyota down 1% to #5, Chevrolet down a harsh 17% to #6 and Nissan up 43% to #7. Notice also Mazda up 91%, Lexus up 22%, Infiniti up 82% and Jeep up 84%.

Brilliance V5 Chery Tiggo Russia April 2014. Picture courtesy of zr.ruBrilliance launches in Russia this month with the V5 SUV…

JAC S5 Russia April 2014. Picture courtesy of…while JAC arrives with the J5 sedan and S5 SUV (above).

A very rare feat, after ChangAn and Alfa Romeo in March, there are 3 additional new carmakers in the Russian ranking this month: Acura lands at #45 with 112 sales, Brilliance ranks #47 at 75 units and JAC is #49 with 58 sales, the latter two bringing to 11 the number of Chinese brands on sale in Russia. They are led this month by Lifan (#20), Chery (#28), Geely (#30), Great Wall (#31) and FAW (#39). Interestingly, all new Chinese entrants are rightfully launching a new small SUV in Russia: the ChangAn CS35, Brilliance V5 and JAC S5.

Previous month: Russia March 2014: Mitsubishi Outlander breaks into Top 10

One year ago: Russia April 2013: Toyota RAV4 in Top 10

Full April 2014 Top 25 models and Top 58 All-brands Ranking Tables below.

Read more…

Categories: Russia

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

April 28th, 2014 3 comments

Kia Rio Kazakhstan March 2014. Picture courtesy of zr.ruKia Rio

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

The Kazakh new car market is back to explosive growth in March at +34% year-on-year to 12,647 registrations, bringing the First Quarter total to a record 34,474 units, up 25% on 2013. The models ranking is back to a little bit of normalcy with the Lada Priora reclaiming the top spot it also holds year-to-date thanks to 1,215 sales and 9.6% share adding up to 3,305 units so far in 2014. However the Hyundai Accent is catching up at a mammoth +149% to rank #2 at 985 units and 7.8% vs. 6.4% year-to-date… Korean carmakers are in great shape this month: the Kia Rio up to a fantastic #4 spot with sales up 277% and the Kia Sportage up a huge 577% to stop just short off a Top 10 spot at #11. In runout mode before the arrival of the new generation, the Nissan Qashqai is up 202% to #5 whereas the Lada Largus gains one further spot to a best-ever #6.

Geely SC7 Kazakhstan March 2014The Geely (Shanghai Englon) SC7 in neighbouring Urumqi – China

Finally from this month onwards Kazakh stats include Chinese carmaker Geely, met with a lot of interest here: the SC7 is the first Chinese model to break into the local Top 25 at #21 this month with 144 sales and 1.1% share. This is actually rather logical given the success of the SC7 in Xinjiang, the Chinese province bordering Kazakhstan, and particularly in Urumqi where I was a couple of days ago.

Previous month: Kazakhstan February 2014: Complete change of guard atop the ranking!

Previous year: Kazakhstan Full Year 2013: Lada Priora tops world’s fastest growing market

Full March 2014 Top 30 models Ranking Table below.

Read more…

Categories: Kazakhstan

Strategy: How the Chinese are setting themselves up for success (Part 3: Eastern Europe)

April 19th, 2014 3 comments

Vortex Tingo Russia 2012TagAz has been manufacturing the Chery Tiggo in Russia – rebranded Vortex Tingo.

* This is Part 3 of 5 in my series on Chinese carmakers abroad. See also Part 1 (Africa)Part 2 (Latin America)Part 4 (Asia) and Part 5 (Mature markets) *

As illustrated in Africa and Latin America, Chinese manufacturers have been working extra-hard under the radar to secure less developed markets that will form the bulk of global car sales growth over the next couple of decades. Their approach to Eastern Europe is very similar. There are currently three Chinese assembling hubs in the region – in Russia, Ukraine and Bulgaria – acting as a very convenient springboard for further expansion throughout the continent, including all the ex-USSR nations and potentially Western Europe in the longer-term.

Police Lifan Solano in Moscow, Russia

Even though their market share is limited to just under 4% for now, Russia is currently the overseas country delivering the largest volume for Chinese manufacturers, and even become the first overseas country to buy more than 100,000 Chinese passenger cars annually with 102,389 sales in 2013. That’s up a whopping 23% on 2012 in a market down 5%. Import tariffs are too high to allow sizeable direct imports from China, so the 4 main Chinese carmakers present here have already all invested very significantly to assemble locally and as a result are registering extremely strong growth rates in 2013: Lifan is up 34% to #24, Geely up 55% to #25, Great Wall up 39% to #28 while Chery is slower at +4% and #29.

Chery Amulet Russia 2007The Chery Amulet was one of the first successful Chinese models in the region.

Chery has the longest (and most troubled) history in Russia: the Chery Amulet ranked within the monthly Top 20 as early as 2007 but the brand saw sales plummet on the back of poor quality perception, to which Chery responded by rebranding their cars Vortex. Since last year though, the Chery brand is back in Russia with encouraging success. Model-wise, the Great Wall Hover is the best-selling Chinese vehicle in Russia in 2013, up 37% to #41, followed by the Lifan X60 (#42), Geely Emgrand (#46), Geely MK/MK Cross (#54), Lifan Solano (#67) and Chery Tiggo (#93).

Geely CK Ukraine March 2012The Geely CK has managed to top the Ukrainian models ranking 3 times already.

Although Russia does not qualify as a “less developed” market, its structure heavily weighted towards low-cost models like the Lada range and Renault-branded Dacias make it one of the biggest opportunities for Chinese manufacturers worldwide. However in Eastern Europe too, it’s in the developing car markets that we see the Chinese grab their highest market share. Ukraine is the only market in the world with regular available sales data outside China to have repeatedly crowned a Chinese model in the monthly rankings. The Geely CK ranked #1 there in July 2012, December 2012 and January 2013 and finished 2013 in third position.

Geely SC7 Belarus 2013The Geely SC7 will be assembled in Belarus later in 2013

But the CK is not a one trick pony: Geely was simply the most popular brand in Ukraine in January 2014 with 12.7% market share above Toyota (11.4%)! The Geely Emgrand EC7 peaked at #2 in September 2013, the MK-2/Cross was #15 in March 2013 and the MK was #19 last September 2012. All in all Chinese carmakers currently command around 10% of the Ukrainian car market.

ZAZ Forza Ukraine 2013Chery sells the Fulwin 2 as the ZAZ Forza in Ukraine

Other Chinese actors in Ukraine include Chery, 25th brand in 2013, BYD up 144% to #27 Great Wall at #32 and MG at #34, placing the MG 350 at #77 in April 2013. Another example of Chinese manufacturers immersing themselves in the local culture, Chery manufactures at the local ZAZ plant from CKD kits and sells the Chery Fulwin 2 as the ZAZ Forza which ranked among the Ukrainian Top 10 from May to August 2012.

Great Wall Voleex C10 Bulgaria June 2012bBulgarian police has already adopted the Great Wall Voleex C10

Another milestone event for Chinese manufacturers in Eastern Europe was the opening of the Great Wall factory in Lovech, Bulgaria, in February 2012. This is the very first automotive plant set up in Bulgaria and as a result Great Wall has played the ‘made in Bulgaria’ card to the fullest since, with great results: it was #10 brand in the country over the first 6 months of 2012 and quickly went up to #2 overall with 10.5% share below just Volkswagen in October and December 2012, placing the Steed pick-up in pole position that same month, the Voleex C10 at #2 in April 2013 and the Hover at #6 in December 2012. 2013 was a little more discreet however for Great Wall in Bulgaria as a whole.

Great Wall’s Bulgarian hub is planned as the focal point for their expansion throughout Europe, and Bulgarian exports have already started to trickle down in sales stats for countries like Macedonia where in December 2012 Great Wall was the #10 brand with 4.7% share and the Voleex C10 was #5 model at 3% share. This expansion will likely reach more neighbouring markets in the near future, once again the less mature ones like Serbia (where Chery ranked #25 in 2012), Bosnia, Kosovo, Montenegro and potentially Albania and Moldova.

A fourth Chinese assembly hub in the region kick started in 2013 in Belarus, where Geely has set up a joint venture with Belarusian company BelDzhi and is has launched the locally assembled SC7, ranking 19th overall in 2013 with 1.2% of the market and pushing Geely up to #18 brand with 1.5% share for its first year in market. The assembly facilities, located in Zhodino and Borisov, are scheduled to produce 60,000 cars/year for the first three years, with capacity potentially doubling in 2017. From that 4th hub, exports towards Russia and Kazakhstan are on the cards.

Launching from their 4 hubs in Russia, Ukraine, Bulgaria and Belarus, Chinese carmakers are getting ready to expand further in Eastern and Western Europe in the very near future. Russia will remain by far their biggest opportunity in the region with local assembly plants already in place and ready to gear up to surf on the growing demand for affordable cars in that market.

Stay tuned for Part 4 of this series: Asia!

Russia March 2014: Mitsubishi Outlander breaks into Top 10

April 9th, 2014 1 comment

Mitsubishi Outlander Russia March 2014. Picture courtesy of zr.ruThe Mitsubishi Outlander is now among Russia’s Top 10 most popular vehicles.

* See the Top 25 best-selling models and Top 57 All-brands by clicking on the title! *

Has the Russian new car market finally reached a plateau? In March, after losing ground for 11 of the last 12 months, new car sales are down just 0.4% year-on-year to 243,335 registrations. This brings the First Quarter total to 602,523 units, down 2% on 2013. In the models ranking, the Lada Granta remains the most popular by far but continues to evolve a notch lower than last year at -10% and 12,958 sales. The Hyundai Solaris is up 2% but for the first time threatened by the Kia Rio which smashes its volume and market share records this month at 9,728 sales and 4% share (previous bests: 8,632 and 3.5% last September).

Kia Rio Russia March 2014. Picture courtesy of zr.ruThe Kia Rio breaks its volume and share records in Russia this month.

The Lada Kalina continues to creep back up now that the new generation is established, up 21% this month at #4 and passing the Renault Duster. But the hero of the month is without a doubt the Mitsubishi Outlander: it breaks into the Russian Top 10 for the first time in the nameplate’s history, shooting up to 9th place thanks to 4,584 sales and 1.9%, up 78% year-on-year and now #20 year-to-date (+42%). Not far below is the new generation Skoda Octavia, up 8 spots on February to a best-ever 11th place at a record 3,951 units. Finally, notice the Nissan Almera down 6 ranks to #14 and the Toyota Corolla up 44% on March 2013.

ChangAn CS35 Russia March 2014. Picture courtesy of zr.ruChangAn has now made its entrance in the Russian market with the CS35.

In the brands ranking, Lada slows down its fall at -8% to 15.2% share, while Kia (+7%) is up 3 ranks on February to grab the 2nd spot, passing Nissan (+26%), Renault (-8%) and Hyundai (+3%). Reversely, Ford loses 33%, penalised by the Focus (-61%). For once, Chinese carmakers have mixed fortunes this month: if Chery (+21%) and Geely (+4%) continue to progress, Lifan (-4%) and Great Wall (-17%) don’t. Rare event, we welcome two new entrants in the ranking this month: ChangAn lands at #43 with 145 sales (the CS35 SUV) and… Alfa Romeo reappears at #56 with 3 units sold.

Previous month: Russia February 2014: Renault Duster and Nissan Almera impress

One year ago: Russia March 2013: Market down for the first time in 3 years

Full March 2014 Top 25 models and Top 57 All-brands Ranking Tables below.

Read more…

Categories: Russia

Kazakhstan February 2014: Complete change of guard atop the ranking!

March 25th, 2014 No comments

GAZ Gazelle Next Kazakhstan February 2014The GAZ Gazelle tops the Kazakh models ranking this month.

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

Building on a record year in 2013, the Kazakh new car market is up a further 22% in February to 10,863 registrations, bringing the year-to-date total to 21,436 units, up 17% on 2013. Traditionally relatively stables, the Kazakh models ranking sees a complete change of guard this month, with the entire podium occupied by models that all ranked outside of it in 2013. The GAZ Gazelle brilliantly takes the lead of the sales charts thanks sales up a huge 161% year-on-year to 1,037 for a 9.5% market share vs. #7 and 3.6% over the Full Year 2013! The Lada Granta is up 48% to #2 with 903 units and 8.3% and the Hyundai Accent rounds up the podium at 892 sales and 8.2%, up 118% year-on-year.

Lada Granta Kazakhstan February 2014The Granta is Lada’s best-seller in Kazakhstan this month.

Leader in 2013, the Lada Priora is down 47% to #4 and 6.8% this month but remains on top year-to-date thanks to a strong month of January. Likewise, the Lada Samara is down 4% to #5 while the Renault Duster is up a mammoth 174% to a shiny 6th position with 331 sales and 3% share. Other great performers in Kazakhstan this month include the Lada Largus up to #7, the Nissan Qashqai up 57% to #9, the Toyota Corolla up a gargantuan 533% to #10 thanks to the new generation, the Toyota Land Cruiser Prado up 71% to #14, Chevrolet Aveo up 169% to #15, Lada Kalina up 670% to #18, Mitsubishi Outlander up 112% to #16, Renault Sandero up 167% to #17, the Chevrolet Tracker landing at #18, Renault Logan up 325% to #19 and the Toyota RAV4 up 1275% to #28.

Previous post: Kazakhstan Full Year 2013: Lada Priora tops world’s fastest growing market

Full February 2014 Top 30 models Ranking Table below.

Read more…

Categories: Kazakhstan

World Full Year 2013: Now with Top 20 biggest manufacturers!

March 18th, 2014 21 comments

Toyota Corolla World 2013The new generation Corolla helped Toyota keeps its worldwide crown in 2013.

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

In 2013, 84.1 million new vehicles found a buyer worldwide which is a new all-time record, up 5% on 2012 and actually the 4th consecutive record-breaking year for worldwide vehicle sales. Toyota has seen its global sales gain 2.9% year-on-year in 2013 to 9.98 million units (including subsidiaries Hino Motors and Daihatsu), placing the group at #1 in the world for the 2nd year in a row after losing the top spot in 2011 following natural disasters in Asia which crippled production. General Motors previously held the worldwide pole position from 1931 to 2007, with Toyota taking over from 2008-2010. Toyota predicts a 3.4% increase for its worldwide sales in 2014 to reach 10.32 million.

VW Scirocco World 2013. Picture courtesy of motoringme.comVW Scirocco. The Volkswagen Group is the 2nd biggest car manufacturer in the world.

A bit of controversy for the 2nd place: some sources mention General Motors, however Volkswagen is up 5% and one spot to rank #2 this year at 9.73 million sales, including its heavy commercial vehicle brands Man and Scania. Volkswagen is also on target to pass the 10 million unit-mark in 2014, whereas it originally sets itself to reach this target in 2018! The VW nameplate saw its sales up 3% to 5.93 million, Audi is up 8.3% to 1.58 million, Skoda down 2% to 920,800, Seat up 10.6% to 355,000 and Porsche up 15% to 162,145.

2015 GMC Yukon Denali2015 GMC Yukon. General Motors lost the #2 spot worldwide to Volkswagen in 2013.

General Motors is third with 9.71 million sales, up 4% on 2012. The Chevrolet brand is up 0.4% to 4.98 million sales, Opel/Vauxhall is down 0.4% to 1.064 million, Buick up 15% to 1.03 million thanks to China and Cadillac up 28% to 250,830 units. GM doesn’t detail other brands which include its participation in Chinese SAIC Wuling and total 2.4 million sales for the year (+10%).

The Renault-Nissan Group remains in 4th position with sales up 2% to 8.26 million, split as follows: 5.1 million for Nissan, 2.63 million for Renault-Dacia-Samsung and 0.53 million for Avtovaz (aka Lada). Hyundai-Kia stays 5th but is catching up with the Top 4 thanks to sales up a very impressive 6.5% on 2012 to 7.56 million units. The Top 5 biggest car manufacturing groups in the world account for over one in every 2 vehicles sold worldwide (53.5%).

2015 Ford F-150 World 20132015 Ford F-150. Ford is the biggest gainer in the Top 10 with sales up 10%.

Now without Mercury, Jaguar, Land Rover and Volvo, Ford won’t ever play with big boys anymore, but is however up an astounding 10% in 2013 to 6.25 million sales thanks to excellent performances in China (+49%) and the US (+11%) and in spite of lukewarm sales in Europe. Fiat-Chrysler is up 3.6% to rank 7th with 4.35 million sales, with the balance leaning more and more towards the American operations of the group: Chrysler is at 2.6 million units vs. 1.75 for Fiat. Honda is catching up: +7.3% to 4.1 million sales in 8th place. PSA Peugeot Citroen is one of only two major groups to see its sales fall over the period: down 4.9% to 2.82 million units at #9.

BMW 4 Series World 2013BMW is the best-selling premium car manufacturer in the world at #11 and 1.92 million units.

Just outside the Top 10, two premium German manufacturers beat their all-time record sales in 2013: BMW is up 6.4% to 1.92 million units and Daimler is up 10% to 1.56 million sales. In the premium brand race, the BMW brand is world leader in 2013 with 1.66 million sales (+7.5%) ahead of Audi at 1.58 million (+8.3%) and Mercedes at 1.46 million (+10.7%). For all 3 brands, these are all-time annual record sales!

Geely Worldwide 2013Geely is the biggest Chinese manufacturer at #16 globally.

Back to the global manufacturing ranking with Tata Motors, owner of Jaguar-Land Rover, the last manufacturer above 1 million worldwide sales at #15 (1.04 million) thanks to record sales for the two British brands (425.000). Note the Top 15 manufacturers account for 86% of worldwide sales. In 16th place with have the first Chinese manufacturer, Geely, totalling 977.358 units: 549.518 for the Geely brand (+14%) and 427.840 for Volvo (+1.4%) with the Swedish manufacturer up 46% in China but down 10% in the US. The next most popular Chinese manufacturers are ChangAn (840.000), Great Wall (754.000), BYD and Chery (480.000).

Previous year: World Full Year 2012: Global sales at a record 80 million new vehicles

Full Year 2013 Top 19 manufacturers Ranking Table below.

Read more…

Categories: World

Russia February 2014: Renault Duster & Nissan Almera impress

March 14th, 2014 9 comments

Nissan Almera Russia February 2014. Picture courtesy of zr.ruThe Nissan Almera is up to a best-ever 8th place in February.

* See the Top 25 best-selling models and Top 55 All-brands by clicking on the title! *

New car sales in Russia slow down their fall once again in February to -2% at 206,476 registrations, bringing the year-to-date total to 359,138 units, down 4% on 2013. If the Lada Granta keeps the lead of the models ranking, it is down year-on-year again (-8%) to 11,280 sales whereas the Hyundai Solaris manages to gain 3% on February 2013 to 8,660 units. The Renault Duster lodges an all-time high 3.7% market share thanks to 7,541 sales and remains at an astounding third position, its highest ranking so far and reached for the third time after last November and January. The Lada Kalina is up one spot on last month but still down 13% year-on-year at #4.

Kia Sportage Russia February 2014. Picture courtesy of zr.ruThe Kia Sportage is up 53% year-on-year in Russia this month.

After making its first appearance among the 10 most popular cars in Russia last month, the Nissan Almera gains a further two ranks to reach a record 8th place with 4,481 units and 2.2%. Other great performers this month include the Kia Sportage up 53% on February 2013 to #15, the Nissan X-Trail up 45% to #16, Toyota Corolla up 62% to #24 and the Toyota RAV4 up a huge 146% to #25. Notice also the Skoda new Octavia at #19 and the Daewoo Gentra at #25.

FAW V5 Russia February 2014. Picture courtesy of Za RulemFAW V5. Chinese FAW is up 95% so far in 2014 in Russia.

Brand-wise, the Japanese are the most impressive this month: Nissan is up 31%, Toyota up 43% and Honda up 54%. The Chinese, normally masters at this game, are a little shy if still in progression: Chery and Geely at +12%, Lifan at +6% and FAW at +13% but +95% year-to-date Reversely Great Wall is at -10%/ Finally let’s salute the performance of the new Avtovaz-Renault-Nissan Group, monopolising the brands podium this month: Lada #1 at 20.2% share followed by Nissan at 11.2% and Renault at 11%.

Previous month: Russia January 2014: Duster on podium, Nissan Almera #10

One year ago: Russia February 2013: Hyundai Solaris and Kia Rio impress

Full February 2014 Top 25 models and Top 55 All-brands Ranking Tables below.

Read more…

Categories: Russia

Strategy: What future for French manufacturers?

February 28th, 2014 10 comments

Dongfeng Fengshan H30 Cross. Picture courtesy of hbsocar.comDongfeng Fengshan H30 Cross. PSA could use Dongfeng’s Fengshan brand as its low-cost option.

* Check out Part 2 of this Special Report on French manufacturers here *

Lately there has been a lot of talk, speculation, and actual structural changes within both French car manufacturers, Renault and PSA Peugeot-Citroen, with notably Carlos Tavares switching from one manufacturer to the other over the past year. Being French this is close to my heart and I thought it would be timely to take stock and evaluate what lies in the future for these two French manufacturers, based on a few points of comparison. Over the past years, both manufacturers have suffered from the European car market’s weakness, but even there they seem to be slowly turning around notably thanks to the arrival of the Renault Captur and Peugeot 2008. Alliances, low-cost models, strength in different markets… Which is best placed for survival and long-term profitability?

PSA Renault Top 15 worldwide marketsPSA and Renault’s Top 15 worldwide markets (click to enlarge) Source: L’Argus

1. European sales

With two established brands, Peugeot and Citroen, PSA is above the Renault Group in Europe. The Peugeot brand alone even passed the Renault brand last month. Over the Full Year 2013, PSA held 11% of the European market thanks to 1.34 million sales, 741,939 for Peugeot and 603,080 for Citroen. Renault for its part holds 8.85% of the market thanks to 1.09 million units sold: 803,166 for Renault and 290,078 for Dacia, by far the fastest growing major brand on the continent last year at +22%. And here is where the long-term trends show we may be on the verge of a change in leadership somewhere in the next few years…

Renault Captur. Picture courtesy of largus.frThe Renault Captur is about to become one of Europe’s 10 best-selling cars.

PSA went from 15% share in 2003 to 13% in 2007 to 11% this year. Renault went from 10.6% in 2003 to 8.6% in 2007 to 8.85% in 2013, managing to stabilise its share recently thanks to the growing success of Dacia (0% in 2003 to 2.3% in 2013). The launch of the Peugeot 2008, new generation 308 and Renault Captur in 2013, all candidates for a European Top 10 ranking in 2014, will potentially reinforce both brands, but Dacia’s progression seems unstoppable, especially on the back of a very successful launch in the UK last year.

2. Success outside of Europe

France is still both manufacturers’ biggest market. For the first time in the history of the carmaker, over 50% of Renault’s sales now occur outside of Europe, to be compared with 42% for PSA. China, the biggest car market in the world, will pass France to become PSA’s #1 market in 2014 after its sales in the country gained 26% in 2013 to 546,200 units. Renault will only start manufacturing cars in China, the key to strong sales there, later this year after its joint-venture with local carmaker Dongfeng got approved last December, which means we won’t see a significant impact on Renault’s sales in China before 2015-2016. If PSA has a clear advantage in China, Renault dominates its French rival in all other major developing markets.

Renault Duster. Picture courtesy of zr.ruThe Renault Duster was the third best-selling vehicle in Russia last month.

In Brazil, with two brands, PSA sells 40% less than Renault with one brand and less models. Renault makes a profit there, Peugeot doesn’t. In Russia, Renault sells 3 times as many vehicles as PSA, almost exclusively (85%) the Duster, Logan and Sandero sold under the Renault brand, meaning it is very profitable there while Peugeot loses money. Renault’s takeover of Avtovaz/Lada, finalised this year, means it will control almost 25% of the Russian market in 2014, just above 650,000 units. Finally in India, Renault has made enormous progress over the past year, solely due to the success of the Duster there, while PSA has cancelled its project of selling there because of a lack of cash.

Carlos GhosnCarlos Ghosn

3. International alliances

Following a failed takover of US manufacturer AMC in the eighties, and of Volvo in the nineties, Renault forged a strong alliance with Nissan in 1999, of which it currently owns 43.4%. With Carlos Ghosn at the helm of both brands, the Renault-Nissan alliance has been a rare example of a truly successful international cooperation in the car manufacturing industry. Owner at 100 of Romanian carmaker Dacia and at 80% of Korean Samsung, Renault is now taking over Avtovaz/Lada, ensuring it a very strong presence in Russia (see above).

Lately, Renault-Nissan started a new cooperation with Mitsubishi which means a Renault model – the replacement for the Latitude, produced in South Korea – will hit US shores for the first time since 1987, albeit sold as a Mitsubishi. Finally Renault’s Chinese joint-venture with Dongfeng was approved last December. Yep, this is where it gets a little embroiled: Dongfeng currently has manufacturing joint-ventures in China with both PSA (since 1992), Nissan (since 2003) and Renault (since 2013).

Nissan Maxima USA. Picture courtesy of motortrend.comUS Nissan Maxima. Renault compensates its current absence in the USA by the strength of Nissan.

A lot of brands and alliances involved, but Carlos Ghosn has kept a clear focus on high potential markets. Renault has long been criticised for ‘giving up’ the US and not being present in China. However, once again according to Carlos Ghosn, this is compensated by Nissan’s strength in both markets: Nissan sells almost twice as many cars in the US as it does in Japan and has become the best-selling Japanese carmaker in China only 10 years after launching there, here too selling more than in Japan already. Point taken Carlos. Hopefully Renault can reach the same level by 2024.

Peugeot 4008 Mongolia LaunchPeugeot launched in 13 Asian countries over the past 18 months (here Mongolia)

PSA traditionally preferred one-off technical cooperations without alliances (with Fiat, Renault, Toyota, BMW, Ford…). Philippe Varin, who is about to be replaced at the head of the Group by Carlos Tavares, tried to negotiate ‘true’ alliances which have failed so far: first with Mitsubishi, then more spectacularly with General Motors which took a 7% stake in 2012 and forced Peugeot to stop assembling cars in Iran, costing it precious revenue over the past couple of years. We will have to wait until 2016 to see real economies of scale for the Peugeot-General Motors alliance, when the two partners are scheduled to produce 700,000 annual vehicles together, saving $1.2 billion a year split between Opel and PSA from 2018 onwards.

Peugeot 2008 China 2014The Dongfeng-PSA joint-venture will produce the 2008 in China later this year.

Finally last week, 12 years after launching a manufacturing joint-venture with Chinese automaker Dongfeng to produce cars locally, PSA unveiled a $4 billion capital increase in which Dongfeng and the French state will each get a 14% stake. The founding Peugeot family’s holding will fall to 14% from its current 25% stake and 38% of voting rights, short of the 33% required to veto decisions. This reinforced alliance has left some experts skeptical, as vastly divergent interests between PSA, Dongfeng and the French state could create more instability for the carmaker.

However this is a very welcome cash injection for PSA that will enable it to pursue aggressive development plans in Asia where the brand has launched in no less than 13 countries over the past 18 months, as I described in my recent article about Peugeot’s Mongolian operations. PSA also has a joint-venture with Changan since 2012 to produce up-scale DS models locally, which we will analyse in more detail in the “Luxury segment” section of this feature article.

Dacia Logan II. Picture courtesy of largus.frDacia Logan II

4. Low cost cars

This is potentially where the two French manufacturers’ strategies differ the most at the moment. A total precursor in this domain, Renault launched the low cost Dacia Logan in 2004, originally for emerging markets only but eventually for Western Europe as well. Fast-forward 10 years and Renault has produced over 5 million units of its low cost range, including one million in 2013 alone, in every corner of the globe. Standardisation and simplification are pushed to the extreme, with significantly lower manufacturing costs resulting in a very impressive 10% profit margin for the Duster for example, even though it is sold at a dirt cheap price. Renault has also used its low-cost learnings to relaunch Datsun as Nissan’s entry range.

Peugeot 301 Spain production. Picture courtesy of betterparts.orgThe Peugeot 301 is currently produced in Spain and China.

PSA has not launched any low-cost models yet. The Peugeot 301 and Citroen C-Elysée are produced in Spain for Eastern European and African markets and in Wuhan for the Chinese market, and PSA insists they are not low-cost. The 301 has been met with outstanding success in Northern Africa last year: #2 in Algeria, #5 in Tunisia and #10 in Morocco with worldwide sales for the couple hitting 100,000 in 2013 and a predicted 250,000 for 2014. Profit-wise, a PSA internal source confessed to La Tribune that “margins are virtually inexistent, we aren’t even sure we will ever make a profit on these models”. Which may not matter too much in the first place. With the 301, Peugeot is regaining a foot in Africa, a continent it had abandoned (to my bafflement) but where it still benefits from an extremely strong brand image. And a continent with a huge, untapped growth potential.

Finally, and this is potentially the most interesting development and the biggest question mark so far, its new reinforced alliance with Dongfeng could potentially spark PSA’s real landing in the low cost world. Two sides of the story: first, a 4th Chinese factory is planned by the PSA-Dongfeng joint-venture, and it would be dedicated to the production of Dongfeng’s entry models, branded Fengshan. Second, there has been talk of yet another new factory dedicated to low-cost models and located this time at the periphery of Europe. It doesn’t take too much thinking to guess the logical next step: PSA using the Fengshan brand as its low-cost offering, a la “Dacia by Renault”. This would definitely be a clever outcome of the alliance with Dongfeng, as Peugeot’s ‘guarantor’ role could alleviate European consumers’ pre-conceived ideas about China-manufactured cars, as Renault did with Romanian vehicles.

Check out Part 2 of this Special Report on French manufacturers here *

Sources: La Tribune, Autonews (1), Autonews (2), L’Argus.

Categories: STRATEGY, World

Latvia: 1970-2013 Historical info now available!

February 26th, 2014 No comments

Toyota Avensis Latvia 2009The Toyota Avensis was #1 in Latvia in 2009.

Historical info going back to five decades ago is now available for Latvia on BSCB! For the 1970-1991 period, the data is for USSR which Latvia belonged to then, and Lada models reigned supreme. We have specific data for Latvia since 2006 and it is clear that Russian models are not in fashion anymore, with the Skoda Octavia holding the pole position for 3 consecutive years up until 2008, before passing the relay to the Toyota Avensis in 2009 and the VW Golf since 2010. It’s a roller coaster of emotions for the Latvian new car market, dropping by as much as 90% between 2007 (32,500 sales) and 2009 when only 3,745 new vehicles were registered, before slowly getting back up to 12,811 units in 2013.

Latvia Historical Data:

USSR 1970-1979: Lada 2101-3 conquers the Soviet roads

USSR 1980-1986: Lada 2106 and Moskvich 2140 likely leaders

USSR 1987: Lada 2106 and Moskvich 2140 fight it off

USSR 1988: Lada 2106 leads, Samara on podium

USSR 1989-1991: VAZ (Lada) and Izh most popular brands

Latvia 2006-2008: Skoda Octavia reigns

Latvia 2009: Toyota Avensis leads, 4 Toyotas in Top 4 of devastated market

Latvia 2010: VW Golf and Peugeot Partner on top

Latvia 2011: Volkswagen monopolises podium, Nissan Juke #4

Latvia 2012: VW Golf and Skoda Yeti in the lead

Latvia 2013: VW Golf and Ford Focus on top

Categories: Latvia

Belarus: 1970-2013 Historical info now available!

February 25th, 2014 No comments

The Lada 2106 may have topped the Belorussian sales charts in the eighties.

Historical info going back to five decades ago is now available for Belarus on BSCB! For the 1970-1991 period, the data is for USSR which Belarus belonged to then, and Lada models reigned supreme. It’s only been since 2010 that we have specific sales data for Belarus, and over the period, the market went from 12,900 registrations to a record 28.810 sales. There has also been a different leader in the models charts each year: the GAZ Gazelle in 2010, Renault Logan in 2011, Lada Priora in 2012 and finally the VW Polo in 2013.

Belarus Historical Data:

USSR 1970-1979: Lada 2101-3 conquers the Soviet roads

USSR 1980-1986: Lada 2106 and Moskvich 2140 likely leaders

USSR 1987: Lada 2106 and Moskvich 2140 fight it off

USSR 1988: Lada 2106 leads, Samara on podium

USSR 1989-1991: VAZ (Lada) and Izh most popular brands

Belarus 2010: GAZ Gazelle and Daewoo Matiz dominate

Belarus 2011: Renault Logan takes the lead

Belarus 2012: Lada Priora now in pole position

Belarus 2013: VW Polo takes lead, 2 Renaults on podium

Categories: Belarus