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Toyota sets tough sales goal

Toyota aims to sell 1.4 million vehicles in China in 2018, nearly 9 per cent more than it sold last year.

The sales goal announced by Japan’s biggest automaker on Friday comes at a time when the world’s biggest auto market is experiencing a slowdown in overall vehicle sales growth.

China’s overall vehicle market growth was the weakest last year in at least two decades, increasing only 3 per cent year-on-year to 28.88 million vehicles.

Two insiders at the Japanese automaker said that the target is however more of a “stretch goal.” It is a target that is not the baseline sales forecast and one that executives acknowledge will be difficult to achieve, they said.

“If we could resolve this capacity issue, it would be easy to make the 1.4 million target. With sufficient capacity, we can possibly sell 1.5 million vehicles,” one of the two people said.

Toyota’s forecast for 2018 is relatively more upbeat than the previous few years in part because it expects to launch a couple of potentially high-volume subcompact sport-utility vehicles (SUVs) later this year, the people said.

A Toyota spokesman said that though the 2018 sales target was not one that can be easily achieved due to the highly competitive market environment, the recent launch of a redesigned Camry sedan and the planned introduction of two subcompact SUVs later this year would enable Toyota to challenge the previous year’s numbers.

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Alliance sells 10.6m cars

Today, Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi announced that its member companies sold a combined total of 10,608,366 units in the 12 months to December 31, 2017.

A growing demand and a rising number of zero-emission pure electric vehicles helped lift unit sales by 6.5 per cent in 2017, the first full-year of Mitsubishi Motors’ membership of the Alliance.

One in nine passenger cars and light commercial vehicles sold worldwide were from the automotive Alliance.

“With more than 10.6 million passenger cars and light commercial vehicles sold in 2017, Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi has become the number-one automotive group worldwide. This evolution reflects the breadth and depth of our model range, our global market presence and the customer appeal of our vehicle technologies,” said Carlos Ghosn, chairman and chief executive officer of Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi. 

Carlos Ghosn – chairman and CEO of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance.

It was a record year for Groupe Renault, the world’s leading French brand and number-two brand in Europe. Sales were up 8.5 percent to 3,761,634 units in 2017.

Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. sold 5,816,278 vehicles worldwide, up 4.6 percent. 

Mitsubishi Motors Corporation sold 1,030,454 vehicles in 2017, up 10 percent from 2016.

Since 2010, when the Nissan LEAF was first introduced, Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi has sold 540,623 electric vehicles worldwide through its different brands. Cumulatively, the Alliance continues as the global leader for 100% electric passenger cars and light commercial electric vehicles.

The Nissan LEAF, the first mainstream, mass-marketed electric vehicle, remains the world’s best-selling EV with more than 300,000 vehicles sold since its launch in December 2010.

During 2017, the new Nissan LEAF was unveiled and offers customers greater range, advanced technologies and a dynamic new design. It went on sale in Japan last year, and will be rolled out in other major markets during 2018.

The new Nissan LEAF received over 40,000 orders globally including 13,000 orders in Japan; 13,000 reservations in the United States; and over 12,000 orders in Europe.

Alliance 2022 strategic plan

As part of Alliance 2022 strategic plan, Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi is forecasting that annual synergies will exceed €10 billion by the end of 2022. In addition, 12 new zero-emission electric vehicles and 40 vehicles with autonomous drive technology will be launched.

The introduction of new models and new technologies should lift the combined annual sales of Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi to more than 14 million units, generating revenues expected at $240 billion by the end of 2022.

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Isuzu’s long-term dominance

Isuzu Trucks have cemented their dominance over the New Zealand market by achieving an unprecedented 18-years as number one.

Colin Muir, General Manager.

“Since the year 2000, Isuzu Trucks has been the top selling truck brand in New Zealand, which is an unprecedented achievement,” said General Manager of Isuzu Trucks New Zealand, Colin Muir.

“There are very few brands in the entire automotive industry, even considering a global perspective, which can claim such dominance.”

Isuzu Trucks and its dealers achieved 1,305 registrations for the year, which is a new record – beating the old record which was set only last year. 

This resulted in Isuzu enjoying a 25.6 per cent share of the new truck market, meaning just over one of every four new trucks sold were from the Isuzu brand.

“The quality, performance and all-round durability of Isuzu Trucks has contributed to this ongoing success, as has a dealer network which is really stepping up in terms of exceeding customer expectations,” said Mr Muir.

“We’re really excited about our prospects heading into 2018, especially with a new offering in the Euro dominated HPMV tipper market with the newly launched 500+ HP CYZ530 6×4.  We have every confidence we can continue this remarkable run of form.”

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Another record year for McLaren

McLaren Automotive has performed significantly well this year and has recorded another record year of growth – selling a total 3,340 cars.

Around two-thirds of sales are attributed to the Sports Series family, the vast majority of which are new buyers to the brand, with the rest coming from the Super Series.

The Sports Series family accounted for 2,119 deliveries, up from 2,031 in 2016. Following the unveiling of the 720S in March, Super Series sales continued to perform strongly with 1,221 cars sold – nearly the same as 2016’s figure despite only six months of delivery.

This latest news follows the 2017 introduction of new models in each of the established three product families; the 570S Spider was added to the Sports Series, the 720S replaced the 650S in the Super Series while the track-concentrated McLaren Senna joined the Ultimate Series.

Mike Flewitt, Chief Executive Officer of McLaren Automotive, said: “We are continuing to invest heavily in research and development – £1billion over six years – as part of our ambitious Track22 business plan that sets out and supports our growth. Long-term, the plan will see us launching 15 new cars and/or derivatives up to 2022, with three revealed to date.

“2018 will also see the continued development of the company with the planned opening of a second production facility in Yorkshire. When fully operational in 2019, we will innovate and manufacture the carbon fibre ‘tubs’ at the heart of all of our cars’ DNA.”

McLaren continued to expand its global network with additional and updated facilities opening including in Bahrain, Montréal and Denver, along with the confirmation of a new Barcelona showroom.

In addition, and in recognition of the brand’s commitment to North America, the US saw the opening of a new 7,500-square foot North American Regional Distribution Centre, which became the first McLaren parts distribution centre outside the company’s UK headquarters.


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VW – world’s largest automaker

VW group sales beats Toyota to be world’s largest automaker for 2017

Bild am Sonntag, a well-known German newspaper, has reported that Volkswagen Group’s vehicle sales rose to around 10.7 million last year, putting them ahead of Toyota to become the world’s largest automaker. 

Citing in-house Volkswagen estimates, Bild am Sonntag, reported that higher delivery figures helped drive revenue above US$265 billion, a significant achievement after last year’s record of US$260 billion. 

VW is due to publish official 2017 group sales data on Jan. 17 and will release core financial results in late February.

In 2016, the first full year after VW’s emissions test-cheating scandal, group sales rose 3.8 percent to a record 10.3 million cars, helped by a double-digit increase in China and gains in Europe.

Toyota relinquished its four-year title as the world’s top-selling automaker to Volkswagen last year. This was the first time the German company held the title. Toyota said in December that it expects to sell 10.35 million cars worldwide in 2017 across its Toyota, Lexus, Daihatsu and Hino brands, up 2 per cent from 2016, and 10.5 million in 2018.

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VW’s strong rebound

Volkswagen has rebounded strongly since admitting their complicity in the diesel-emissions scandal two years ago. 

The German carmaker expects to produce more than 6 million vehicles by the year’s end due to recent product introductions and a strong performance by several of its key nameplates, such as the Golf, Jetta and the Passat. 

Those results only count VW vehicles and not those from family ties like Audi and Porsche – so we will have to wait and see whether the VW Group or Toyota will claim the full-year title of world’s largest automaker by sales.

VW says it’ll built a record 6 million vehicles by end of year – will the results be enough to top Toyota for world’s largest automaker?

VW says the Golf totalled nearly 1 million deliveries worldwide in 2017, bringing deliveries to date to 34 million across seven generations. The Golf hatchback lead its segment in Germany and Europe, while the wagon recorded the model’s strongest year-over-year growth at 11 per cent.

The Tiguan saw the brand’s strongest sales growth, growing 40 per cent to about 730,000 units delivered globally in 2017, with China and Germany as its largest markets. VW also said it delivered about 150,000 Tourans, its European multi-purpose vehicle. 

In coming years, the VW Group will increasingly turn its focus to developing crossovers, SUVs and electric vehicles. It plans to spend nearly $85 billion billion on EVs, autonomous vehicles and mobility services by the end of 2022. That includes $11.8 billion to develop and build electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles to meet EV quotas in China.

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MTF prepares for disruption

Motor Trade Finance’s underlying annual earnings dropped 7.6 per cent, meanwhile both of its sales and market share increased.

Overall net profit rose to $7.5 million in the year ended September 30, compared to the previous year where MTF landed on $7.2 million.

However after removing tax the underlying profit actually fell to $7.3 million compared to $7.9 million in 2016.

After introducing various initiatives, MTF has had “a very buoyant year” where sales have jumped 36 per cent to $567.4 million.

Last November MTF introduced the non-recourse lending partnership with Turners Automotive Group which allows franchisees and dealers to sell vehicles to people with higher credit risks.

The company said its market share rose to 13.6 percent in the year from 11.6 percent in the prior period, and non-recourse lending contributed $58.6 million in sales in the year.

Usually non-recourse receivables are not included on the company’s balance sheet as they are funded by Turners; however the company included as they are generated through its business channel.

The advent of car-sharing, autonomous vehicles and new technologies means the vehicle industry is in for a big disruption. In order “to reflect and encourage broader asset lending,” MTF will drop references to vehicles in its branding.

“The worldwide speculation surrounding disruption in the areas where we operate, being the automotive and financial markets has intensified over the past year,” the company said.

“What we do know is that our markets are set for change, and while the extent and pace of this change remains unclear, we know we must position ourselves to adapt early and not wait to react.”

The board declared a 7.37 cent dividend, payable on Nov. 30. That brings the annual payout to 13.37 cents per share, down from 13.96 cents per share in 2016.

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Toyota on becoming import only

The demise of Australian vehicle production has meant that Toyota has transformed into an import-only brand, following in the footsteps of former manufacturers Holden and Ford Australia. (more…)

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Kia has record sales

The Kia Sportage

Kia Motors Corporation has announced its September 2017 global sales figures for passenger cars, recreational vehicles and commercial vehicles – and has notched a record total of 252,254 registrations.

Last month, its domestic market sales totalled 48,019 units. This represented an increase of 25.4 per cent compared with the same month last year. It was largely due to the timing difference of the Chuseok holiday, which was in September 2016 compared to October this year. Overseas sales also increased by 3.6 per cent compared to the previous year. This total came in at 204,235 units.
Kia’s best-selling model in overseas markets during September 2017 was the
Sportage compact SUV with 37,746 registrations. The Cerato compact sedan – also known as the Forte or K3 in some markets – was the second best seller with 28,793 units sold.

It was followed by the sub-compact Rio – known as the Pride in Korea –
with 24,760 registrations.

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Solid month for used car sales

Passenger vehicle registrations increased by a healthy 8.6 per cent last month compared to the same month in 2016 with 1,081 more registrations. There were 13,645 sales compared to 12,564 a year earlier.

When compared to August sales reduced by 5.78 per cent from 14,483 registrations. August remains 2017’s best sales month.

So far in 2017, there’s been 122,510 used imported car registrations.

Toyota has retained the top spot with a market share for the month of 23.7 per cent with 3,234 registrations. Nissan is second with 2,538 sales followed by Mazda with 2,220.

The battle for top model is a lot closer with the Mazda Axela, Suzuki Swift and Nissan Tiida making up the top three. They hold 4.6, 4.4 and 4 per cent market shares respectively.

The Nissan Leaf continues to gain popularity with sales of 182 units, an increase of 230 per cent on the 55 sales in September 2016. The electric vehicle has now climbed to gain 1.3 per cent of total used imported cars.

The other stand out for the month was the Mazda CX-5 with 130 registrations – up 900 per cent on 13 sales during the same month last year.

In terms of the regions, Oamaru had a stellar month with 33 sales in September compared to 19 during the same month last year – an increase of 73.7 per cent. 

Up north, Rotorua dealers registered 198 used cars – up 41.4 per cent on September 2016’s 140 sales. 

For the second month in a row, New Plymouth and Invercargill also did well when compared to this time last year with increases of 35.3 and 28.8 per cent.

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Renault-Nissan dismisses ‘peak car’ notion

The chief executive officer of the Renault-Nissan alliance has dismissed the notion that the era of personal ownership of cars is ending, predicting in Paris yesterday that his alliance will sell more than 14 million cars a year by 2022, Forbes reports.

Carlos Ghosn says that this number is more or less inevitable.

“Fourteen million is not a target, it is not an objective,” Ghosn says. “What I am telling you is what our assumptions are. Our forecast is that by the end of 2022, we should reach 14 million cars. We estimate that the total market by the end of 2022 will be between 108 and 110 million cars.”

This would be significantly up from a worldwide volume of 95 million units in 2016. In this sense Ghosn seems to dismiss the notion that ride sharing and autonomous vehicles will eat into the personal car market.

“When you take a look at the total revenues from selling cars and the expected revenues of mobility services, even six years down the road it will be totally imbalanced,” Ghosn says.  “I don’t think that mobility services will represent a big portion of revenues, compared to selling cars, parts, accessories, servicing of cars etc.”

With Avtovaz, the Alliance has Russia’s largest carmaker. In India, Renault outsells all European and American OEMs. The Alliance’s Mitsubishi is also strong in South East Asia.

Renault and Nissan are invested in the EV market, having recently announced a joint venture with a Chinese company to produce EVs in the PRC. There are some 1.4 million EVs on the world’s roads, and more than half a million of those have been made by Alliance partners.


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