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France 1-23 September 2013: Podium finish for the Captur?


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

Down 3% year-on-year over the first 23 days of the month, the French new car market should end September with a slight gain over 2012 thanks to one more working day. The Renault Clio IV has secured another month in pole position with 4,656 sales over the period, while the Peugeot 208 reduces its loss to a still worrying 18% at 3,773 units and the Citroen C3 increases it to 12% at 2,712 sales.

The Renault Captur is up one spot compared to last week to a brilliant 4th place thanks to 2,598 sales. One very encouraging element is the fact that 67% of these sales are to ‘real’ private consumers (vs. an average of 50% overall on the French market), which is starting to indicate a solid long-term success for the model. Given how traditionally back-loaded Renault sales are, the Captur could finish September on the French podium for the first time! It will undoubtedly deliver a 4th consecutive month inside the Top 5, whereas the Peugeot 2008 does not appear (yet?) in the Top 10 this month. The Captur success boosts Renault up 11% while Peugeot is down 16% and Citroen down 20%.

Previous post: France Full Year 2012 by regions: Discover the different tastes of the French

Previous weekly post: France 1-16 September 2013: VW Golf VII almost on podium

One year ago: France 1-17 September 2013: Peugeot 208 and Citroen C4 in shape

Full 1-23 September 2013 Top 10 models and brands Ranking Tables below.

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Trans-Siberian Railway 2013: Yekaterinburg, Ural Photo Report

1 Opel AstraThe Opel Astra is extremely popular in Yekaterinburg.

* See the Full Photo Report and my estimated Top 10 models by clicking on the title! *

This is part 4 of my Trans-Siberian Photo Report. You can see all Parts of this long-term Photo Report here. We are now travelling a further 940 km East to Yekaterinburg, where the car landscape is once again very different from the cities I’ve explored before. It’s a mix of less Ladas, more sedans, some brand new models I had not seen yet in the country (not even in Moscow) and the big novelty: used right-hand drive Japanese imports.

2 Peugeot 301Peugeot 301

A couple of friends in the industry had told me that the more I would get East, the more Japanese the car landscape would become in Russia. Well Yekaterinburg is literally at the border of Europe and Asia and this phenomenon has already started, which is quite amazing when you look at a map of Russia: even though Yekaterinburg is some 1800 km East of Moscow, it is still way closer to the capital than it is to Vladivostok where these Japanese models hit Russian shores, an enormous 7300 km away!

3 Toyota Corolla

4 Toyota Corolla 2This was my very first immobile new generation Toyota Corolla! Got to take a few pics.

Vladimir from the #1 Russian magazine Zarulev even told me this fascinating story when I met him in Moscow: in Eastern Russia, it used to be much cheaper and easier to import used Japanese cars (with the steering wheel on the wrong side!) than transfer Russian cars from Moscow or St Petersburg. To the point where even the police was driving right-hand drive cars, and a move to driving on the left of the road was even considered for a while given there were more right-hand drive Japanese cars than left-hand drive Russian cars in the streets! This never occurred and the government has now made it easier to transfer cars around he country and is trying to encourage consumers to buy local with the opening of Mazda and SsangYong assembly plants in Vladivostok.

5 Kia Rio Lada 4x4Lada 4×4 and Kia Rio

There is no one used Japanese import model that is particularly popular, it is simply another layer that is inserting itself into the daily traffic. Most of these imports are mini MPVs, used as taxis or passenger cars. Think Honda Spike, Toyota Ist or Porte. But there was one model that left me speechless (yep, that happens) as I had absolutely no idea what it was. Hands up who guessed it is a Toyota Will Cypha, a short-lived attempt at a youth-oriented range in Japan that formed the basis of the Scion brand adventure in the US…

15 Toyota Will CyphaToyota Will Cypha

14 Yekaterinburg traffic 2Yekaterinburg traffic

Which new cars are the most successful in Yekaterinburg? The big surprise here is the popularity of the current generation Opel Astra, in 3 formats: coupe, hatchback and notchback. They are literally everywhere which is all the more surprising given there doesn’t seem to be a heritage of strong sales for the nameplate, not many older generations remain on the streets. Granted, the Astra may not be #1 in Yekaterinburg but I would definitely place it on the podium along with the Hyundai Solaris, probable leader, and the Kia Rio, both much more frequent in their sedan variant here. The Renault Logan is not far off these 3 leaders.

6 Lada GrantaLada Granta and Samara

Yes you have read well, the Lada Granta is not on the podium. Don’t get me wrong, it shouldn’t be too far off but it was much less ubiquitous than in Kazan. The Largus has had a good start here, in line with the national Top 10 ranking it is claiming at the moment. Which are the older Ladas I saw most often in Yekaterinburg? Definitely the Priora and 110 with the Samara a close third, and the Zhiguli and Kalina following at a distance. This is a surprising observation as I thought the more I would get East the more Ladas I would see. Again this may be biased by the fact that I stayed in the centre of the city.

9 Lada KalinaLada Kalina II

So far, Yekaterinburg is the city I saw the most novelties, sometimes for the first time in the country. I saw three new generation Skoda Octavia, one Citroen C-Elysee and three VW Golf VII, all being the firsts in the country so far, two Peugeot 301 and two Peugeot 208 vs. only one of each in St Petersburg prior to this, two Lada Kalina II vs. one in Kazan before that and two new generation Toyota Corolla, the same as in Kazan while I saw none in St Petersburg nor Moscow… Would the Russian dealership network put a priority on smaller Russian cities before delivering their all-new models to the capital? Or is broader Russia more fond of novelties? If you know something I don’t please comment on this article!

22 Mitsubishi OutlanderMitsubishi Outlander

Like in the rest of the country so far, Yekaterinburgers are very fond of small SUV: the Kia Sportage seems to be a favourite, with the Opel Mokka and new generations Toyota RAV4 and Mitsubishi Outlander already very well installed in the Yekaterinburg traffic along with the Renault Duster, Hyundai ix35, new gen Santa Fe, Nissan Qashqai, Juke, SsangYong Actyon, new gen Honda CR-V and Pilot.

8 Daewoo NexiaDaewoo Nexia

25 UAZ BukhankaUAZ Bukhanka

Apart from the Opel Astra, the models I definitely saw more often here than in the cities I visited before are the Daewoo Nexia in its current generation, potentially due to its production centre Uzbekistan becoming closer, the Peugeot 408, a true success in Yekaterinburg, new gen Mazda6, Toyota Camry, Venza and Hyundai Elantra, as well as the ante-diluvian UAZ “Bukhanka”, originally from 1965 and still very much in use thank you.

21 Infiniti FXLada Zhiguli and Infiniti FX

I thought by leaving Moscow I would have to say goodbye to big luxury SUVs. Not so. The new generation Range Rover has already made many Yekaterinburgers very happy, along with the Infiniti FX, almost at every street corner in the city centre, the Lexus RX, LX, Mercedes GL and Nissan Patrol.

12 Geely MKGeely MK

Another thing I thought is that I would progressively see more Chinese models as we get closer to that country, but not (yet?). If anything I saw less of them than in Kazan. Two stand out: the Great Wall Hover and Lifan X60, not surprisingly both SUVs. For once there were more Lifan Solano as passenger cars than taxis, I saw a few Lifan Smiley, Chery Cielo, Very and Bonus, two FAW Besturn B50 (the firsts I saw in the country), one new generation Chery Tiggo, one Lifan Breez (aka 520) and one Chery QQ6. Passing by chance near a Great Wall dealership I saw one FAW V5 which means FAW and Great Wall have the same distributor in China.

That’s it for Yekaterinburg! I hope you enjoyed the trip. Next stop: Omsk in Siberia.

Full Photo Report and estimated Top 10 models below.

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UK LCV August 2013: Ford Transit and Vauxhall Vivaro on top

Ford Transit UK August 2013Ford Transit

* See the Top 10 best-selling models by clicking on the title! Many thanks to Rutger *

Very rare data for you today, thanks to the hard work for Rutger: a Top 10 ranking by model for Light Commercial Vehicles in the UK. The last (and only!) time I published that type of data was for the Full Year 2011! Over the first 8 months of 2013, sales of LCV in the UK are up 9% year-on-year to 161,938 registrations. There’s no surprises atop the models ranking: the Ford Transit is on track to deliver its 49th consecutive year in pole position: it is by far the most popular LCV in the country with 27,867 sales and 11% share, more than double the #2: the Vauxhall Vivaro at 11,043 units and 4.4%. The VW Transporter and Mercedes Sprinter exchange their positions compared to 2011, now #3 and #4 respectively. The Ford Transit Custom makes its first appearance at #8 while the Toyota Hilux (#9) and Fiat Doblo (#10) break into the Top 10.

Previous UK LCV brands post: UK LCV 6 months 2013: Great Wall not taking off (yet?)

Previous UK LCV models post: UK LCV Full Year 2011: Ford Transit celebrates 47 years on top

Full 8 months 2013 Top 10 LCV models Ranking Table below.

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Madagascar Q2 2013: Hyundai passes Nissan, Great Wall & JAC up

Hyundai Accent Madagascar June 2013. Picture courtesy of idrive.kzHyundai is the #1 brand in Antananarivo, Madagascar, in Q2 2013.

* See the Top 10 best-selling brands by clicking on the title! Many thanks to Rutger *

It is time for an update on sales figures from Madagascar’s capital city, Antananarivo. 1,394 new vehicles found a buyer over the first 6 months of 2013, up 7% on 2012. If Nissan dominates the year-to-date brands ranking like over the Full Year 2012 with 10.9% of the market, it is dethroned over the 2nd Quarter by Hyundai, up to pole position with a brilliant 10.9% share vs. 9.8% for Nissan. Ford takes the third spot with 8.9% and is equal #2 with Hyundai year-to-date, while Toyota and Renault are #4 and #5 respectively in both rankings.

The other interesting element in the Madagascar new car market is the on-off presence of Chinese brands, and 2013 confirms the trend: Great Wall ranks 7th in Q1 with an excellent 4.5% market share, while JAC is #6 in Q2 at 6.4%… I have also included below the brands ranking including used cars: you will see Mercedes shoot up to 2nd place and Renault in pole position!

Previous post: Madagascar Q3 2012: JAC up to #2 brand!

Full Q2 and 6 months 2013 Top 10 brands Ranking Tables below.

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Namibia August 2013: Toyota & Volkswagen top record market

Toyota Hilux Namibia August 2013Namibian Toyota Hilux. Picture courtesy of zenseas, all rights reserved.

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

The Namibian new car market has been hitting record levels over the past few months: the 1,463 sales registered in June (+12% year-on-year) were an all-time record, immediately beaten in July at 1,597 units (+14% year-on-year) while August positioned itself as the 3rd biggest month in history at 1,374 sales, up 4% on August 2012. Toyota is the leader in Namibia, commanding a 23.1% share of the passenger car market and a huge 50% of the light commercial vehicles market. Volkswagen follows in the PC segment at 20.5% while in the LCV segment Nissan ranks second at 18.4% ahead of Chevrolet at 10.9%. Note Mercedes grabbed 3% of the overall market in July, the best of any luxury brands on sale in the country.

Previous post: Namibia December 2012: Toyota Hilux and VW Polo Vivo on top

Full 4 articles for June, July, July luxury vehicles and August sales below.

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Guest post: Some interesting ways to get more for your money

Maserati GranTurismo MCStradaleUsed cars in the UK can be a source of saving rather than choosing to buy new.

In the current economic climate, everyone loves a bargain. We are being stretched from every direction. Our salaries are decreasing relative to the cost of living, we are being charged more for everyday items and people are thinking of new things to charge us for every day. That’s why it is important to make sure that we get great value for the money that we spend.

Warranties: When buying an electrical item, the salesperson will try to persuade you that you need a warranty for it. Weigh it up, though — think of the item that you are replacing. Even an extended warranty will probably only be for a maximum of five years. If you are replacing your television, how long did you have it for? Did it go wrong? Only around 3% of televisions break down within five years, i.e. within their warranty period. The likelihood is that you are either replacing a very old television that has broken down, or you are upgrading. Do you really need a warranty?

Travel: We all spend a notable amount of money each year on getting from A to B. Are you doing this in the most cost-effective manner? Do you drive three miles each way to get to work and pay £50 per month for gym membership? Why not cycle or run to work, saving you petrol money and gym membership. You may even find that as a family you could cut down to one car by taking this approach. The same thing can be considered if you are driving and paying for parking. Could you get there quicker and cheaper by train? You should also consider season tickets, bus journeys and car shares.

Timing Your Purchases: If you are buying a relatively high-value item, the chances are you don’t need it immediately. You might have time to shop around and even put off your purchase for a few months to get it at the right time. Consider summer sales, winter sales and seasonable times to pick up things such as skis or surfboards when their period of use is over for the year and lots come on to the market. Another area where timing is key is the purchase of used cars in the UK. According to the This Is Money financial website, a great time to bag a bargain on a used car is when the new registration plates go on sale. The market becomes flooded with used cars and garages are more likely to do a deal to shift some of their stock.

All of these ideas can be translated into virtually any area of spending. Put some time into researching the different ways of saving money on major purchases. The likelihood is that you spend a lot on heating bills. Could you switch providers or just turn the heating down by a couple of degrees to save hundreds of pounds a year? What about banking? Would a different current account give you an interest-free overdraft or pay you to bank with them? It is wise to perform your own personal financial review every year to make sure you are spending wisely.


Netherlands LCV August 2013: Ford Transit Custom up to #4

Ford Transit Custom Netherlands August 2013Ford Transit Custom

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

Sales of new Light Commercial Vehicles are down a harsh 25% year-on-year in August in the Netherlands to just 3,412 registrations. The year-to-date total looks a little better at 35,871 units, down 16% on 2012. This month the VW Caddy takes off at 13.3% share thanks to 453 sales, ahead of the VW Transporter at 8.4% and Peugeot Partner at 5.9%. The Ford Transit Custom is up 3 spots on July to equal its best-ever ranking in the country at #4 with 196 units and 5.7% share, while the Dacia Dokker continues to progress, up a further 4 ranks to #24.

Previous month: Netherlands LCV July 2013: VW Caddy back in charge

One year ago:  Netherlands LCV August 2012: Podium 100% Volkswagen

Full July 2013 Top 30 Ranking Table below.

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Andorra August 2013: BMW stays afloat in worst August in memory

BMW X5 Andorra August 2013The new gen BMW X5 is sure to be a success in Andorra.

* See the Top 4 best-selling brands by clicking on the title! Many thanks to Rutger *

Like in neighbouring Spain and France, August sales are never tremendous in Andorra, but this year it is worse: at just 88 units, the market is down 19% year-on-year and delivers the second-worst month of sales in the last 20 years below September 2012 (82 sales)… Year-to-date, the market is down 4% on 2012 to 931 registrations. In this bleak context, only BMW manages to sell over 100 units so far this year, securing itself a splendid 11% market share. Volkswagen follows with 8.6% share ahead of Mercedes and Ford both at 7.3%.

Previous post: Andorra Q1 2013: BMW most popular brand again

Full 8 months 2013 Top 4 brands Ranking Table below.

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Gulf July 2013: Toyota Corolla and Camry shine

Toyota Camry Gulf July 2013. Picture courtesy of motortrend.comToyota Camry

* See the Top 250 best-selling models by clicking on the title! Many thanks to Ldman *

The Gulf Cooperation Council area includes Saudi ArabiaKuwaitQatarBahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Oman. New car sales in the region, currently one of the most dynamic in the world, are up 10% year-on-year in August to 139,369 registrations, which brings the year-to-date total to 931.116 units, up 9% or some 80,000 units on 2012… Bolstered by its pole position in the two biggest markets in the Gulf (Saudi Arabia and the UAE), the Toyota Corolla logically takes the lead in the region in July with 10,070 sales and 7.2% share, but remains #2 year-to-date at 54,184 units and 5.8% vs. an unattainable 67,899 sales and 7.3% for the Toyota Hilux, down to #2 this month at 8,516 units and 6.1%.

Nissan Altima Honda Accord Mazda6 Gulf July 2013. picture courtesy of ksa.yallamotor.comNissan Altima, Honda Accord and Mazda6

The Toyota Camry is also in great shape, up 2 spots on June to round up the Gulf podium with 6,098 sales and 4.4% vs. #6 and 3.6% year-to-date. Star of the month in June, the Hyundai Elantra is down 2 ranks to #4 and 5,857 units. The Honda Accord has a stellar month, up 5 spots on June to land in 8th position with 2,958 sales and 2.1% vs. #13 year-to-date, as do the Ford Expedition breaking into the Gulf Top 10 at #10 with 2,574 units and 1.8% vs. #17 year-to-date, and the Chevrolet Tahoe up 5 ranks to #11. Notice also the Hyundai Tucson up to #15 vs. #20 year-to-date, the Toyota Sequoia at #22 vs, #32, Lexus ES up 11 spots to #30 and the Ford Explorer up 13 to #32.

Previous month: Gulf June 2013: Toyota Hilux and Hyundai Elantra in charge

One year ago:  Gulf July 2012: Toyota Hilux and Corolla dominate, Kia Cerato up

Full July 2013 Top 250 Ranking Table below.

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Bahrain July 2013: Toyota Prado and Land Cruiser at 10% share

Toyota Prado Bahrain July 2013Toyota Prado

* See the Top 100 best-selling models by clicking on the title! Many thanks to Ldman *

New car sales in Bahrain are up a whopping 36% year-on-year in July to 5,379 registrations, bringing the year-to-date total to 31,645 units, up 19% on 2012. The Top 4 most popular models in the country this month are in the same order as year-to-date but they all deliver market shares well above their 2013 levels. The Toyota Prado confirms its supremacy by grabbing a round 10% market share thanks to 537 sales. It is followed closely by the Toyota Land Cruiser at 522 units and 9.7%, ahead of the Toyota Hilux at 7.9% – almost double its year-to-date share of 4.3%, and the Toyota Corolla at 6% vs. 3.8% year-to-date.

Further down, notice the Nissan Altima up 5 spots on June to #5 with 165 sales and 3.1%, the Hyundai Santa Fe up 3 to #9, Mitsubishi Lancer EX down one to a still fantastic 10th place vs. #31 year-to-date, Toyota RAV4 up 11 to #12, Nissan Sentra stable at #15 vs. #24 year-to-date, Lexus ES up 4 to #16 and the Dodge Charger and Honda City both up from outside the June Top 100 to #31 and #32 respectively.

Previous month: Bahrain June 2013: Toyota Prado shoots up to 13.6% share

One year ago: Bahrain July 2012: Toyota sovereign, Hyundai Tucson up to #5

Full July 2013 Top 100 Ranking Table below.

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