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Indonesia: General Motors tries to challenge Toyota’s supremacy

Chevrolet Spin Indonesia May 2013The Chevrolet Spin is the first GM vehicle to really fit Indonesians’ tastes.

* See the Full article by clicking on the title! Many thanks to Eddy *

Can GM challenge a quasi-monopoly by Japanese manufacturers in fast-growing Indonesia? If you are a regular BSCB reader, you will know that Indonesia is one of the world’s fastest growing car markets, with 2012 the first year Indonesian new car sales broke the one million annual units barrier at 1,116,224 units, up a whopping 25% on 2011 and 46% on 2010 which were both already record years. In 2012, Indonesia is on track to finish the year with another record which I predict to be around 1.3 million units (+16%). Some analysts even forecast Indonesian sales to double to 2 million over the next 3 years…

Toyota Kijang Indonesia 19811981 Toyota Kijang

And who has been winning the Indonesian car sales battle? Japanese manufacturers for the most part, with zero non-Japanese model in the May Top 20 for example. In fact, Indonesia has even been nicknamed “Toyota country”, with the manufacturer holding an out-of-this-world 54% market share locally when Daihatsu sales are included (through 450 dealerships), which some months is better than at home in Japan… After starting assembling Corollas and Land Cruisers locally in 1971, Toyota hit gold when it released the Kijang in 1977, designed specifically for Indonesia. This multi-purpose vehicle has come to define motoring in Indonesia and is still regularly within the Top 3 best-sellers, now in its 5th generation.

Chevrolet Spin Indonesia May 2013bGM plans to sell 40,000 Chevrolet Spin a year in Indonesia initially…

Whereas it launched here in 1938, General Motors only has 34 dealerships and less than 1% market share. In an excellent article published today, Autonews describes how in 2013, GM is decided to finally give the Indonesian market a solid go to try and challenge Toyota’s supremacy. But this is going to be a very difficult task, with Toyota already taking measures to cut the grass under GM’s tyres. Tim Lee, head of GM’s international operations, recently said in an interview: “We started in Indonesia in 1938. We have been so successful, we have (grabbed) seven-tenths of a point of market share in 75 years. Are you (kidding) me?”

Daihatsu Xenia Indonesia March 2013…while Toyota should sell 280,000 Toyota Avanza/Daihatsu Xenia here in 2013.

Autonews says “GM for decades failed to come up with the right vehicles for Indonesia, which prefers simple “people mover” vans. Now, it is finally coming out with a competitive multi-purpose vehicle, the Chevrolet Spin (already sold in Latin America), with 3 rows of seats, the kind of car that rules the Indonesian roads. GM has restarted an assembly plant it shuttered in 2005, began production in April with plans for 40,000 cars a year initially. GM CEO Dan Akerson said he thinks GM could grab a 7- to 10% share of Indonesia’s automobile market within a decade.” The Spin sold 767 units in May for a 0.8% market share, with its year-to-date total reaching 1,144 sales after two months.

Previous post: Indonesia May 2013: Nissan Livina and Honda Freed shine

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France 1-24 June 2013: Will the Peugeot 2008 stay in the Top 10 for June?

Peugeot 2008 France June 2013cFrom #7 one week ago, the Peugeot 2008 is now down to #9.

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

The new car market in France is turning out to not be that depressed in June, down just 3% year-on-year to 131,175 registrations after 24 days. As is the tradition, as the month passes, Renault gets better and is now back in the manufacturer’s lead thanks to 23,212 sales and 17.7% share, down just 1% year-on-year. Peugeot is up 1% to 22,622 units and 17.2% while Citroen is down 4% to 20,632 sales and 15.7%. Notice also Dacia down 16% to #5 and Toyota up 11% to #7. Model-wise, here too the ranking is slowly getting back to normal, with the Peugeot 208 now threatened by the Renault Clio IV at 6,414 sales and 4.9% vs. 6,106 and 4.7%. Looks like the Clio IV will be leader once the month is complete.

Renault Captur 1.2 TCe 120 EDCCould the Renault Captur make a last minute appearance in the French Top 10 at month-end?

The Renault Scenic is back up to #3 like in April and May thanks to 4,664 units and 3.6% share, followed by the Citroen C3 (-27%) and VW Polo (-7%) while the Citroen C4 is down from #4 after 17 days in June to #7 after 24 with 3,511 sales and 2.7%, still up an impressive 15% year-on-year. But the performance we have all been following with excitement in June is the appearance of the Peugeot 2008 in the French Top 10 less than one month after it went on sale. The 2008 ranked #7 after 11 days and after 17 days and is now down to #9 with 2,932 sales and 2.2%. This doesn’t guarantee it a spot in the month-end Top 10 so the race will be tight to achieve that milestone performance. We could even see its archenemy the Renault Captur break into the Top 10 by the end of the month given how backloaded in the month Renault sales traditionally are.

The suspense is intact…

Previous post: France 1-17 June 2013: Peugeot 2008 confirms 7th place

Previous month: France May 2013: Renault Captur and Peugeot 2008 intrigue

One year ago: France 19-25 June 2012: Will Renault Scenic resist Clio?

Full 1-24 June 2013 Top 10 models and brands Ranking Tables below.

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China LCV May 2013: Wuling Sunshine back on top YTD

Wuling Sunshine China May 2013Wuling Sunshine

* See the Top 5 best-selling LCVs and Top 10 models overall by clicking on the title! *

Sales of new Light Commercial Vehicles in China are up a timid 1% year-on-year in May to 422,830 registrations, bringing the year-to-date total to 2,309,198 units. To put this into perspective, if Chinese LCV sales alone were a country, they would rank #3 in the world behind just China Passenger Cars and the US! Indeed, Japanese sales including Kei Cars amount to 2.26 million over the same period… After losing its crown to the Wuling Hongguang for 3 consecutive months between January and March, the Wuling Sunshine, leader in 2010, 2011 and 2012, is back in charge for the 2nd month in a row thanks to 49,506 sales, up 6% year-on-year. It also reclaims the pole position in the year-to-date ranking at 220,749 units (-10%) vs. 220,360 (+82%) for the Hongguang.

Again let’s bring a little perspective to these figures: for comparison, in the same month the Ford F-Series sold 71,604 units in the US (its strongest monthly figure in 7 years) and the VW Golf sold 40,695 units all across Europe. The Wuling Rongguang/Xingwang is up one spot on April to #2 but down 12% year-on-year to 31,732 sales while the Foton Forland rounds up the podium at 29,477 units.

In the overall models ranking, the VW Lavida is back on the podium below the Wuling Sunshine and Rongguang/Xingwang, these last 3 models being the only ones above 30,000 sales this month. The Ford Focus at #5 makes it 2 Passenger Cars inside the overall Top 5 vs. just one last month.

Previous month: China LCV April 2013: Wuling Sunshine reclaims throne

One year ago: China LCV May 2012: Wuling Hongguang continues to progress

Full May 2013 Top 5 LCV and Top 10 models overall Ranking Tables below.

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Texas (USA): The kingdom of pick-up trucks!

2014 Chevrolet Silverado USA June 2013. Picture courtesy of caranddriver.comChevrolet is estimated to have allocated half of its initial national supply of 2014 trucks to Texas!

* See the Full article by clicking on the title! *

After CaliforniaNew York and Colorado, today we continue our exploration of specific US markets as we travel to Texas, which I just discovered is pick-up heaven! Last week Chevrolet launched its 2014 Silverado in Texas through a grassroots promotional campaign hitting baseball games, rodeos, the state fair, an exposition for oil-field hands, a home and garden show in El Paso and even a deep-sea fishing tournament in a tiny Gulf Coast island town! To coincide with this launch, Autonews published a long article quoting Polk sales figures and explaining how critical the Texas market is for pick-up truck manufacturers. And this was all news to me so I had to share the bulk of it with you today!

Ford Atlas concept USA June 2013Ford will launch the new F-Series in 2014 and paraded its Atlas concept around to remind Texas buyers of that last February. 

Home of 26 million inhabitants (8% of the total population of the United States), Texas accounts for 1 in 6 full-sized pickups sold nationally! That’s 258,729 units in 2012, and 97,686 through April this year. Texas outsold California, the #2 pickup market, by a rate of 3 to 1 in 2012! Even more impressive: the Houston metro area would rank #5 this year among pickup markets if it were a separate state. Dallas would be #7, as more pickups are sold just in the Dallas and Houston areas combined than in any other US state, including No. 2 California. BUT even excluding both cities, Texas would still be the Number 1 pick-up state in the country!

2014 Toyota Tundra USA June 2013Toyota will launch a redesigned Tundra in September 2013, the only full-sized pickup actually assembled in Texas. 

So who is winning in the kingdom of pick-up trucks?

Autonews says “General Motors believes its first redesigned pickups in 7 years and strong underlying truck demand will reverse its sharp losses in full-sized pickup market share in Texas. As recently as 2008, GM held a comfortable lead in Texas, according to Polk, with the Silverado, Avalanche and GMC Sierra combining for a 38.5% market share, compared with Ford’s 31.6%. But Ford surged ahead in 2009 – the year of GM’s government-led bankruptcy – and hasn’t looked back since.”

Texas pickup sales by brand. Picture courtesy of Autonews

So far in 2013, Ford has a 39.4% share vs. 34.2% for General Motors while Ram is up 18.4%, on track to deliver its highest share in Texas since 2008. That explains why General Motors is barnstorming every corner of Texas to reach customers who either defected to rival brands or have been nursing their aging Silverados or Sierras. Autonews says “General Motors is piping as much as half of its initial national supply of the 2014 pickups to Texas!

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Australia: Is the end of local car manufacturing near?

Holden Commodore Australia June 20132013 Holden Commodore. Based on its CEO’s most recent declarations, Holden could stop manufacturing in Australia (and anywhere in the world for that matter) as early as 2016.

* See the Full article by clicking on the title! *

The answer is yes, and it could well be in 2016.

A little over a month ago, Ford announced it was pulling out of manufacturing Australia in 2016. At the time, both Holden and Toyota, the two remaining local manufacturers, assured the press that they were in Australia to stay and stopping production was definitely not on the cards. In the space of one month though, things seem to have taken a completely different turn, with Holden CEO Mike Devereux multiplying declarations inferring that Holden will stop manufacturing cars locally if factory worker pay cuts are not accomplished.

Problem is, if Holden leaves Australia, Toyota will have to as well, because parts suppliers need the scale and output of both Toyota and Holden to remain viable. And this would mean the end of car manufacturing in Australia, pure and simple.

Toyota Camry Australia June 2013It is estimated that Toyota loses money on each locally-produced Camry it sells in Australia.

In a very informative article published this morning on, automotive specialist Joshua Dowling says Holden has made a complete u-turn in the last few weeks. While Devereux reaffirmed last month that Holden would “inject $1 billion in this country and secure production of two all-new global vehicles all the way out to 2022”, Dowling remarks that “last week Holden sounded like it might shut its local factories at the same time as Ford” in 2016, with the almost certain knock-on effect that Toyota would leave too.

“If we don’t accomplish (factory worker pay cuts) it is highly likely we will not make cars in this country,” Devereux said. “We have to reduce the cost to make each car, which is too high in this country.” Devereux also admitted that Holden makes a loss on locally built cars and only makes a profit from imported models. Dowling points out that “the Cruze is manufactured in 9 other factories around the world, one of which is in Thailand, which has a free-trade agreement with Australia. It’s not too hard to figure out Holden could import the Cruze into Australia from Thailand and actually make a profit rather than build it here at a substantial loss”.

Holden factory 1950sHolden factory in the fifties

In that context, Dowling recognises “It is therefore hard to figure out why, against the odds, Holden is fighting so hard to keep its loss-making factories”, a point of view I happen to share. One of the main reasons Holden wants to try and continue making cars in Australia is because closing its factories could have a devastating effect on its brand image and sales. And this comes just weeks after the all-new Holden Commodore was released, still a very important model for the brand even though it is now out of the Top 10 best-sellers after spending 15 consecutive years at #1.

However, Dowling reckons that “switching purely to imported models would barely leave a dent on Holden’s sales”. The reasoning being that most Holdens currently sold in Australia are already imported, rebadged Chevrolets anyway. This is factually correct, however ask punters that purchased a Holden Barina (aka Chevrolet Sonic), Captiva or Colorado ute and a majority will probably assure you their car is manufactured in Australia, being a Holden. And this is where I agree with Holden (and disagree with Dowling), in the fact that when Holden pulls out of Australia (and not if), their market share will drop.

And if Holden goes, Toyota will have to go too… (see the rest of the article below)

Previous post: Australia May 2013: Toyota Corolla overtakes Mazda3 year-to-date

Ford post: Ford pulls out of Australia

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Netherlands LCV May 2013: Mercedes Citan up further to #4

Mercedes Citan Netherlands May 2013Mercedes Citan

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

Sales of Light Commercial Vehicles are down 14% year-on-year in May to 3,977 registrations, bringing the year-to-date total to 24,273 units, down 15% on 2012. For the 5th consecutive month and the 9th time in the last 12 months, the VW Caddy leads the sales charts thanks to 442 sales and 11.1% share, adding up to 3,044 units and 12.5% so far in 2013. In fact, the May podium is identical to last month and to the year-to-date one with the VW Transporter at #2 with 395 sales and 9.9% and the Mercedes Sprinter at #3 with 260 units and 6.5%. But the best performer this month, like in April, is the Mercedes Citan up a further 4 spots to a record 4th position with 208 sales and 5.2% share.

Previous month: Netherlands LCV April 2013: Mercedes Citan up to best-ever #8

One year ago: Netherlands LCV May 2012: Opel Vivaro back on podium

Full May 2013 Top 30 Ranking Table below.

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World May 2013 Roundup: Europeans buy more local

Skoda Octavia World May 2013Skoda Octavia. Skoda managed to place all its 7 models inside the Czech Top 10 this month…

* See the Full article by clicking on the title! *

Finally the much anticipated Worldwide May 2013 Roundup is here! First a bit of (great) news: thanks to Irina at AKAB we welcome a new country to BSCB’s monthly models sales charts updates: Kazakhstan, a market up 72% so far in 2013 after gaining…114% in 2012! Secondly, a (new) bit of overview of the largest markets with a very contrasted picture this month: China (+9%), the USA (+8%) and Brazil (+10%) are all up significantly while Japan (-9%), Germany (-10%) and Russia (-12%) all have full brakes on.

If last month the Toyota RAV4 was under the spotlight, in May we witness an interesting trend across a few European countries: whether it is a coincidence or not is something that will become clearer as the year goes by, but it would appear that European consumers have been very patriotic this month. This is something that traditionally happens when times get tough, a natural and sometime ‘subliminal’ reaction to purchase local in a view to support the homegrown industry, which nowadays often isn’t actually the case: more and more ‘local’ models are actually produced abroad…

Fiat Panda World May 2013Fiat Panda. For the first time in 16 years, the Italian Top 5 is foreign model-free…

In Italy, the Top 5 best-selling models are 100% Italian for the first time in 16 years: the Fiat Panda leads, followed by the Fiat Punto, Fiat 500, Lancia Ypsilon and Fiat 500L. In Czech Republic, Skoda manages to place its entire range (7 models!) inside the Top 10 for the first time in history: the Octavia is on top with 8.3% market share, ahead of the Fabia at #2 and 7.9%, the Rapid at #3 and hitting its best market share so far at 4.7%, the Superb at #5, Citigo at #8, Yeti at #9 and Roomster at #10.

Dacia Logan World May 2013Dacia Logan. The Romanian podium is 100% Dacia for the first time ever.

In Romania, we have the same phenomenon with Dacia: for what could well be the first time in the history of the brand, Dacia monopolises the podium at home, placing the Logan at #1 with 14.4% share, the Duster #2 at 6.5% and the Sandero at #3 with 2.9%, the nameplate’s highest position in 4 years. With the Dokker at a record 5th place and 2.7% share, Dacia also places 4 models in the Top 5 for only the second time ever after last January

ZAZ Vida World May 2013. Picture by zr.ruZAZ Vida. ZAZ places 3 models in the Ukrainian Top 5 this month…

Lastly in Ukraine, local carmaker ZAZ places 3 models in the Top 5: the Sens at #1, Vida at #4 and Lanos at #5. While this may have happened in the past, it is the first time ZAZ manages this feat since the creation of BestSellingCarsBlog in 2010… To be noted, there are also only 11 foreign models in the German Top 50 this month and one in the French Top 10. So there is clearly a trend, the next few months will tell us whether this was just a coincidence or the start of a longer-term shift towards local carmakers as European new car sales continue to contract…

In India, the Maruti Swift DZire (sedan) leads the ranking for the first time ever and becomes only the 5th vehicle to ever rank #1 in India in over 60 years! The Maruti Alto had been #1 in India each and every month since July 2004 except April 2012 when the Maruti Swift took the lead (that’s 105 of the last 106 months!), the Maruti 800 led the Indian market from 1985 to 2004 and the Hindustan Ambassador did so from around 1950 until 1984 (Note 1950-2004 data is not official, if you have more detail please get in touch).

See the Full article by clicking on ‘Read more’ below.

Here is the full last 12 months’ worth of World roundups:

World April 2013 Roundup: Toyota RAV4 means business

World March 2013 Roundup: Don’t take this the wrong way, but…

World February 2013 Roundup: Nissan Qashqai pumps up the jam

World January 2013 Roundup: Low-cost range brings Renault back

World Full Year 2012 Roundup: Last Year’s Top 5 highlights

World December 2012 Roundup: Has the Chinese invasion started?

World November 2012 Roundup: When Hyundai cracked Brazil

World October 2012 Roundup: China, Japan and Austria in focus

World September 2012 Roundup: Ford Focus shines in China

World August 2012 Roundup: Subaru XV topples almighty Golf in Switzerland

World July 2012 Roundup: Geely CK writes history in Ukraine

World June 2012 Roundup: Hyundai Santa Fe and Ford Focus shine

World May 2012 Roundup: GM and Toyota Etios make headlines

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Thailand 5 months 2013: Discover the Top 35 best-selling models!

Toyota Vios Thailand May 2013The new generation could help the Toyota Vios regain the #3 spot in Thailand…

* NOW UPDATED with the Top 35 best-selling models & Top 32 All- brands by clicking on the title! Many thanks to Austin, Eddy and Falconz *

Overall Thailand models data is relatively rare to come across, but today I can share with you May figures. Building on a record year in 2012 (up 81% to reach an unbelievable 1,436,335 registrations), the Thai new car market is up a further 31% so far in 2013 at 634,777 registrations. At this rate, we are looking at a Full Year 2013 with around 1.87 million sales… However this may not materialise because for the first time in 16 months, new car sales are down year-on-year in Thailand in May at -3% to 111,848 units.

Honda City Thailand May 2013… but for now the Honda City ranks #3.

As you know already if you are a regular BSCB reader, the race for the pole position is particularly tight this year, with the Toyota Hilux leading the way after 5 months with 94,542 sales and 14.9% vs. 91,005 and 14.3% for the Isuzu D-Max. The Honda City confirms it is the best-selling passenger car in Thailand by ranking third overall at 44,131 units and 7% vs. 39,814 and 6.3% for the Toyota Vios. May scores are even higher for both models, respectively 9,463 sales and 8.5% and 9,021 and 8.1%. This order may change soon as the new generation Vios was recently unveiled in Thailand.

Nissan Almera Thailand May 2013. Picture courtesy of auto.sanook.comNissan Almera

The Nissan Almera manages to gain one spot compared to its FY 2012 ranking, up to 5th position thanks to 22,061 units and 3.5%, passing the Mitsubishi Triton at 21,310 and 3.4%. Below, a few models frankly improve in 2013: the Mitsubishi Mirage is up to #8, the Honda Civic up from #15 in 2012 to #9, the Honda Jazz up from #12 to #10 and the Suzuki Swift up from outside the Top 20 to #11… Notice also the Honda Amaze at #13 with 13,381 sales and the Honda CR-V at #14 with 12,987 units.

Previous overall post: Thailand 2 months 2013: Discover the Top 40 best-selling models!

Previous month: Thailand Pick-ups April 2013: Isuzu D-Max back on top

Previous year: Thailand Full Year 2012: Mitsubishi Mirage and Nissan Almera in Top 10

One year ago: Thailand Pick-ups May 2012: Toyota Hilux above 40% share

Full May and 5 months 2013 Top 35 models and Top 10 brands Ranking Tables below.

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USA June 2013: Sales set to hit highest annual rate since 2007

Toyota Tundra USA June 2013Toyota Tundra. Strong pick-up sales have pushed the US market back up to pre-recession levels.

* See the Full article by clicking on the title! *

US new car sales in June are expected to increase 8% year-on-year to 1.4 million, according to LMC Automotive and Autonews. This would be the market is set to hit a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 15.7 million, its highest since the 15.8 million it reached in December 2007! As a reminder, the SAAR was 15.2 million in May and 14.4 million a year ago. “There is little question that the automotive market has strong momentum as we close out the first half of 2013,” Jeff Schuster, LMC’s senior vice president of forecasting, said in a statement. “Looking forward, all the key fundamentals are in alignment to continue the current growth trend, with production capacity limitations being the only major visible risk.”

According to Autonews, “LMC said it still expects full-year light-vehicle sales of 15.4 million units, which would be a 6% increase from the 14.5 million sold in 2012. Auto sales are finally starting to get more help from the broader economy, years after the recession officially ended. Unemployment rates declined last month in 25 states and sales of existing homes increased in May to the highest rate in nearly four years. New-home starts and consumer confidence readings each rose to five-year highs in recent months.

Strong demand for pickups has been among the biggest positive factors for the industry this year, as builders and other business owners replace aging trucks that they held onto during the recession. However J.D. Power said sales of premium vehicles have not kept pace with the overall market, accounting for 11.7% of total sales, down from 12.7% a year ago.

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Ukraine May 2013: ZAZ places Sens, Vida and Lanos in Top 5

ZAZ Sens Ukraine May 2013. Picture courtesy of zr.ruZAZ Sens

* See the Top 150 models and Top 30 brands by clicking on the title! Thanks Igor *

After having brilliantly gained 33% last month, Ukrainian new car sales are back down a painful 23% year-on-year in May to 16,345 registrations, bringing the year-to-date total into negative along the way at 87,742 units, down 2% on 2012… Following a trend we have also seen this month in Czech Republic, Italy and Romania, local carmaker ZAZ is reaping the benefits of a more nationalistic market: it ranks #1 brand with 10.5% share and places 3 models inside this month’s Top 5. For the first time since January 2012, the ZAZ Sens (aka Chevrolet Lanos) is back in pole position thanks to 627 sales and 3.8% share. It is now up to #2 year-to-date vs. #4 in 2012, below only the Hyundai Accent, down to #2 in May at 520 units and 3.2%. The VW Polo is also down one rank to #3 with 475 sales and 2.9%.

Skoda Rapid Ukraine May 2013b. Picture courtesy of zr.ruSkoda Rapid

The ZAZ Vida, a rebadged previous generation Chevrolet Aveo, remains at a record 4th place and improves its market share to a best-ever 2.8% thanks to 463 units sold, up 157% year-on-year. Finally the ZAZ Lanos is up 10 spots on last month to #5 with 451 sales and 2.8%. Other great May performers include the Toyota RAV4 up 2 further ranks and 189% year-on-year to #6 and the Skoda Rapid up a whopping 29 spots to break into the Ukrainian Top 10 for the very first time at #7 with 385 units and 2.4% and now by far Skoda’s best-seller in the country, hitting the Skoda Octavia full frontal (-81%). Notice also the Mercedes GL-Class up 34 ranks to #61.

Previous month: Ukraine April 2013: Hyundai Accent and VW Polo on top

One year ago: Ukraine May 2012: ZAZ Forza in Top 10, Geely Emgrand EC7 #20

Full May 2013 Top 150 models and Top 30 brands Ranking Tables below.

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