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World May 2012 Roundup: GM and Toyota Etios make headlines

Chevrolet Sail

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Now that most May sales figures have come through, I welcome you to BSCB’s third World Roundup after March and April 2012. This month the focus is on General Motors, reporting its highest US monthly sales in almost 3 years in May at 245,256 units in a market up a huge 26% on May 2012. Illustrating this performance, the new gen Chevrolet Malibu sells 29,579 units which is the nameplate’s strongest volume in at least 10 years.

Chevrolet Malibu

General Motors is also under the spotlight in China where it sells a May record 231,183 vehicles with its joint-ventures. While the Buick Excelle is still the best-selling passenger car in the country year-to-date, the Chevrolet Sail tops the Chinese ranking for the first time ever in May with 30,163 sales. It thus becomes only the third model in Chinese history to sell over 30,000 monthly units after the BYD F3 which last passed this milestone in March 2010 and the VW Passat last January.

Toyota Etios

The other headline-maker this month is the Toyota Etios. After warming up for 18 months in India, the Etios’ expansion across the planet has started with South Africa where it lands directly in 7th place with 1,315 units and 2.6% share. It took the Etios 8 months to first appear in the Indian Top 10 but it has done so right away in SA. Sales in South America start in September with Brazil and Argentina. If successful there, the Etios could become yet another worldwide blockbuster for Toyota…

Ford Focus

The Ford Focus, although slightly disappointing in Europe at #7 and -16% year-on-year, seems to have found its cruising rhythm in other parts of the world: it excels in China at #2 with 23,140 sales, is very solid in the US at #11 with 24,769 units (+12%) and is at its best since January 2008 in Australia with other good performances including a pole position in Ireland and a 2nd place in Norway. The Focus could threaten the Corolla for the #1 spot worldwide in May. This will be covered in a future article once absolutely all data has come through.

Other great performers this month include the Renault Megane, leader in Spain and the Netherlands and #2 in France, leading to a return in the European Top 10 for the first time in 2012 at #7. The Maruti Swift and Dzire break market share records once again in India with 20,050 sales and 9.4% (+57%) and 17,707 and 8.3% (+64%) respectively. The Toyota Aqua threat is getting stronger each month in Japan: it is only 600 units below the Prius in May.

Fiat Linea

With 12,817 sales and 8.7% in Italy, the Fiat Panda reaches its highest market share there since May 2009. For higher Panda shares we have to go back to the first generation’s very first years in 1981 and 1982. Other Fiat good news come from overseas: the Fiat Linea is now the most popular model in Turkey and the Fiat 500 is in the UK Top 10 for the 2nd month in a row, but in Brazil the Fiat Uno and Palio still haven’t managed to durably put a dent into the VW Gol’s domination of the market.

In the UK, the Vauxhall Corsa is #1 for the first time since October 2008 with 8,413 sales and 5.2% share but stays #2 year-to-date behind the Ford Fiesta. As Renault manages to monopolise the French models ranking podium for the first time since October 1998, the Peugeot 208 breaks into the Top 5 for the first time at #5 and starts to appear in most European rankings, with #4 in Portugal (April) and #12 in Croatia its best showings so far.

Holden Cruze

In Australia, an extremely rare change of guard is unfolding before our eyes. After the Mazda3 put an end to 15 consecutive years of sales domination of the Holden Commodore in 2011, for the first time since the nameplate’s launch 1978 it looks like the Commodore won’t be the best-selling Holden this year… Instead, the Holden Cruze has beaten the Commodore for the second month in a row in May and the third time this year.

Previous month: World April 2012 Round-up: Maruti Swift and Mazda CX-5 impress

Read the rest of the World May 2012 Roundup by clicking on ‘Read more’ below (including highlights from Russia, Venezuela, Germany, South Korea, Austria, Slovakia, Indonesia, Switzerland, France and Greece!).

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