30 November 2012

US Car Production By Make: 1993-2012


This is an analysis of car making only, not light trucks. It shows the large fall of US 'Big Three' volume, even more than the overall decline. Americans have gone more for SUVs and Pick Ups as has been  the trend worldwide.

I have listed them from left to right according to 2011 production figures. Each name at the top of each column represents the group, which includes all brands within that company. You need to add three zeros to the numbers.

Yr Total GM Ford Niss Hyun Hond Toyo Chry Sub VW Maz Mit BMW
93 5981 2542 1593 292 - 404 356 533 47 - 116 98 -
94 6614 2720 1775 313 - 499 399 599 54 - 133 122 -
95 6351 2513 1446 333 - 553 519 679 81 - 99 116 12
96 6083 2198 1459 278 - 634 557 589 99 - 96 122 51
97 5912 2244 1300 280 - 648 556 519 102 - 91 110 62
98 5554 1965 1284 223 - 695 544 494 104 - 94 96 55
99 5637 2137 1303 168 - 686 524 472 93 - 87 119 48
00 5542 2038 1287 150 - 677 521 472 108 - 67 183 39
01 4905 1702 1015 158 - 692 496 493 103 - 47 165 34
02 5019 1733 1091 235 - 641 533 448 93 - 48 174 23
03 4507 1460 822 322 - 590 595 390 89 - 83 99 57
04 4163 1250 737 367 - 567 639 386 35 - 91 56 35
05 4152 1216 670 383 91 581 695 327 32 - 74 63 20
06 4312 1215 719 348 175 607 703 331 29 - 71 75 39
07 3867 988 446 385 133 590 753 401 28 - 54 63 26
08 3731 1090 411 374 153 553 693 290 28 - 75 54 10
09 2196 442 307 259 104 392 533 84 28 - 32 15 -
10 2731 601 376 347 238 426 462 169 44 - 45 23 -
11 2976 721 390 385 373 350 347 250 47 46 40 27 -
Tot 90233 30775 18431 5600 1267 10785 10425 7926 1244 46 1443 1780 511
Avg 4749 1620 970 295 181 568 549 417 65 46 76 94 39

In that period of nineteen years, over 90 million cars made, nearly 31 m by GM alone!

Jaguar XFR-S For 2014

I won't tell you about how fast this car goes or how quickly it reaches 100 kph (62 mph). Suffice to say it does those things well. The real point of the XFR-S as I see it is how it looks and how you feel as you get into it and drive around in it, even at slower speeds. That is what makes cars like this special. It will be a  head turner, no question. It is a fine looking car indeed.



Only 100 are coming to the USA in 2014 and another 100 the following year so exclusivity is assured.

26 November 2012

UK Car Production By Make: 1997-2012


Few mature car making countries have had such change as has the British car industry. Let's look at the reasons, one by one:

Poor management: The running of MGR by both BMW and the Phoenix Four left much to be desired, the company therefore going under and ending up in China.

Plant closures: Ford desided to make the UK the engine making hub for Ford Europe, finishing car making in the UK. Peugeot opened plants in Central Europe and then decided to end many years of car making at Coventry.

New arrivals: Out of the MGR debacle came the MINI, a success beyond expectation.

The future: Nissan (pic above), MINI and LR are near or at capacity. Honda, Toyota, GM and Jaguar could increase, but the Euro zone crisis will mean that will be limited at best. Any growth in these difficult times will be quite an achievement, so I cannot see too much improvement from where it is now.

Enough of the talk, here are the hard facts. Only main brands are included and production figures are rounded for ease of viewing:

Yr Total Nissan Toyota GM Vx L Rover Honda
97 1,711,900 271,700 104,600 284,500 106,900 108,100
98 1,760,700 288,800 172,300 277,300 149,300 112,100
99 1,799,000 271,200 178,700 339,000 154,300 114,500
00 1,641,400 327,700 171,300 290,100 160,000 74,600
01 1,492,400 296,500 154,800 193,700 139,000 112,500
02 1,629,700 297,300 211,700 138,500 155,400 177,000
03 1,657,600 331,900 210,600 133,600 147,500 184,700
04 1,647,200 319,700 244,800 146,900 149,800 193,500
05 1,596,400 315,300 264,300 189,400 175,900 187,000
06 1,442,100 301,200 282,200 143,700 175,700 184,400
07 1,534,600 353,700 277,800 115,500 232,500 237,800
08 1,448,100 386,600 213,300 102,500 185,900 230,900
09 999,400 338,200 127,400 76,700 114,600 75,600
10 1,274,300 423,300 137,100 102,700 183,000 139,300
11 1,343,800 480,500 128,100 138,000 237,200 97,500
Tot 22,978,600 5,003,600 2,879,000 2,672,100 2,467,000 2,229,500
Avg 1,531,900 333,600 191,900 178,100 164,500 148,600

Yr MINI MG R Peugeot Jaguar Ford Other
97 - 394,600 85,000 43,600 302,100 10,800
98 - 328,600 71,400 50,000 298,500 12,400
99 - 225,800 162,600 86,300 255,100 11,500
00 - 174,900 186,100 88,800 155,100 12,800
01 41,500 163,100 186,100 122,500 72,700 10,000
02 159,800 147,000 197,700 122,900 12,900 9,500
03 174,200 132,800 207,200 126,100 - 9,000
04 189,100 106,100 173,100 105,500 - 18,700
05 200,200 29,100 126,500 84,000 - 24,700
06 184,700 - 75,400 69,900 - 24,900
07 237,700 - - 54,000 - 25,600
08 234,500 - - 72,700 - 21,700
09 213,600 - - 41,800 - 11,500
10 216,300 - - 56,400 - 16,200
11 191,500 - - 49,900 - 21,100
Tot 2,043,100 1,702,000 1,471,100 1,174,400 1,096,400 240,400
Avg 198,400 205,100 152,400 78,300 215,000 16,000

23 November 2012

Belgium Car Production By Make: 1995-2011


Belgium is a small country that builds many cars. The industry has had to deal with several issues that has reduced the number of cars made there. 1) It doesn't have it's own industry so depends on overseas manufacturers staying there, for which it has no control over. 2) Small countries have less political clout, so a plant closure has less negativity. 3) It is a challenge for higher wage countries like Belgium to be competitive against those nations with lower wages.

Looking at car production figures below shows recent decline. Ford is pulling out also in 2014, moving production to Valencia, Spain.

Yr Total Ford Opel Volvo VW Renault
95 1,168,400 385,900 304,500 144,100 202,900 131,000
96 1,144,100 367,600 295,500 143,900 196,100 141,000
97 1,005,000 355,800 301,500 145,500 167,300 34,900
98 951,200 318,500 300,200 151,900 180,600 -
99 917,500 217,900 319,400 149,100 231,100 -
00 912,200 178,800 328,900 120,800 283,700 -
01 1,058,300 349,300 313,600 146,400 249,000 -
02 936,900 261,400 297,600 149,900 228,000 -
03 791,700 205,200 253,900 155,600 177,000 -
04 875,000 193,700 231,500 265,400 184,400 -
05 895,100 179,200 253,100 258,400 204,400 -
06 881,900 234,300 224,300 244,000 179,300 -
07 789,700 276,200 196,300 240,600 76,600 -
08 680,100 281,800 132,400 181,300 84,600 -
09 503,400 188,500 88,900 183,900 42,100 -
10 529,000 185,600 51,600 223,100 68,700 -
11 560,800 178,300 - 265,000 117,500 -
Tot 14,600,300 4,358,000 3,893,200 3,168,900 2,873,300 306,900
Avg 858,841 256,353 243,325 186,406 169,018 136,000

The 1990's production was in the million area, but today about half that. The VW includes Audis in recent times, so the figure refers to VW Group. It has been a settled production in Belgium over the years, but economic times are tighter. Last year Opel, now Ford's departure is big for a little country.

20 November 2012

Australian Vehicle Production By Make: 1997-2011


The Australian car market has traditionally been strong in large, basic cars. The GM Holden Commodore,  Ford Falcon and Toyota Camry have been big sellers in the 'Big Country', and  these three models have been the mainstay of the production industry for many years. Toyota has been big exporting their large car to the Middle East, GM less so and Ford hasn't bothered much at all, except for NZ.

Recently, big car sales have fallen as petrol prices rise and small cars get better at driving big distances. Ford has made an SUV (Territory -pic above) and Holden a small car (Cruze - pic below with Commodore) to compensate for the trend. However, the industry is propped up with government assistance, otherwise it would not be viable. The numbers of late have not been big enough, as the chart below of the past 15 years shows. Notice how the last few years have been below the average for the period. Mitsubishi gave up but the others hang in there.

Yr Total Holden Toyota Ford Mitsub
97 344,100 92,000 77,600 116,000 58,500
98 359,800 123,200 99,900 89,800 46,900
99 322,500 103,000 91,000 93,900 34,600
00 344,900 130,500 92,300 85,800 36,300
01 347,100 129,600 100,600 73,400 43,500
02 359,000 123,700 86,600 102,300 46,400
03 405,200 151,800 113,600 105,000 34,800
04 406,300 164,000 109,900 111,000 21,400
05 389,100 153,000 109,200 108,200 18,700
06 325,300 121,700 111,600 81,500 10,500
07 332,100 104,300 148,900 68,800 10,100
08 337,000 118,000 141,400 75,300 2,300
09 218,500 67,100 96,800 54,600 -
10 240,000 64,100 119,900 56,000 -
11 219,400 88,000 93,600 37,800 -
Tot 4,950,300 1,734,000 1,592,900 1,259,400 364,000
Avg 330,000 115,600 106,200 84,000 33,100

Please note: The Mitsubishi average does not include 2008, a run out figure anyway.

Unless production rises, it is hard to see how the industry can continue. Many Australians realise the cost of subsidising the car makers is not worth it, while there are those who want to see it continue for national pride's sake. Perhaps it's not for me to say either way, but the signs are not good.


Pics: http://www.caradvice.com.au

18 November 2012

Aston Martin For Sale?


Investment Dar who own 64% of the executive sports car maker, are rumoured to want to find a buyer. The problem will be finding someone to pay what they want. Aston Martin is a marketable brand, but has suffered in the last couple of years from a lack of investment. Trying to run any brand as a stand alone business is impossible, what with the costs associated with car development today. A few possible suitors I would have thought were a good fit are as follows:

Jaguar/Land Rover: AM could share much with Jaguar sports cars, Jag doing the lower price mass produced cars and Aston the premium end of the market. Cost savings would be achieved. Also, an upmarket SUV based on the RR Sport would go down well I'd wager.

Toyota: They already supply tiny IQ cars, turned into plush offerings to reduce the company's carbon footprint. They could do the same as JLR, but working with Lexus. 

Mercedes Benz: MB had a tie up with McLaren making top end cars for them, but this time top MB sports cars upgraded for the rarefied air AM operate in. 

I don't think other brands would be suitable, because it needs to be a company that can provide top sports cars which both could use, albeit in slightly differing segments. Aston Martin deserve a quality car maker as an owner. 

16 November 2012

The Limitations Of Car Crash Tests

New cars are tested for crash worthiness as we know. They are usually rated from zero to five stars and people are greatly influenced by the results. Potential buyers may shy away from anything less than a five star rating.

My personal view is that too much is read into the system. Of course, a newly released car getting two or three stars today would be unacceptable but the difference between a four and five star rating may not be as people think. The reason is that it is very difficult to replicate all the nuances of 'real world' accidents when testing cars in controlled environment.

Now a new overlap test that puts only 25% of the front of a car into an object (at 40 kph) as opposed to say 40% has been carried out. It was done by the The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, and the results were sobering. It seems that many manufacturers that trumpet safety, are simply very good at making their cars pass existing tests. This new test showed how few cars are made to stand up to a smaller object impact, such as would happen with a tree of power pole.

Poor: Mercedes C Class, Lexus IS and ES350 and Audi A4.

Marginal: Acura TSX, BMW 3 Series, Lincoln MKZ and VW CC.

Good: Acura TL and Volvo S60.

The above models are premium, the next batch of tests will be every day models, and it won't be pretty I suggest. Yet even some reputable models as listed above had unacceptably poor results. The IS and C-Class had sufficient structural deformation to trap the dummies feet while the door of the VW CC came off!

It seems that five stars can be achieved if you study standard tests and engineer cars to meet those. A common accident like hitting a power pole is for some reason not in existing tests. So car makers generally don't worry about making them safe for that scenario. That is cynical to me. One of the brands tested builds cars not just to get five stars but to make safe cars, and that is Volvo.

So if someone says they won't buy a four star car, well maybe it failed a technicality on the existing test, whereas a five star car might in fact be worse in certain accidents. If you are very concerned about safety, buy a Volvo.

11 November 2012

The Jaguar X-Type Production History


The Jaguar X-Type was the company's entry into the premium compact segment. It seems to me Ford had too much influence in the design. Having said that, the car itself was a reasonable - if cautious - effort. It came as a saloon (sedan) and estate (wagon), plus a 4wd. It soon became a major contributor to Jaguar production. Below is a chart showing production figures (Units) and the percentage the X-Type achieved of Jaguar production (% Jag).


Year Units % Jag
2001 55,600 45.4%
2002 69,050 56.2%
2003 61,600 48.8%
2004 60,000 56.8%
2005 43,000 51.1%
2006 29,400 42.1%
2007 20,150 37.3%
2008 15,950 21.9%
2009 8,050 19.3%
Tot 362,800


It obviously needed replacing, but wasn't and production fell away. North America called time on the X-Type in 2007, and Jaguar decided to finish the model a little earlier than planned.

If you want to read more about my thoughts on the X-Type, please click here .

For sales by major nations, see below:

Yr UK USA Italy Germ Fran Aus Can
01 9,650 9,750 1,775 2,275 675 325 625
02 19,000 33,000 3,800 2,450 1,150 1,025 1,325
03 16,800 26,775 3,200 2,000 1,000 925 1,175
04 20,900 21,550 4,900 2,350 1,700 650 875
05 16,850 10,950 2,700 1,550 1,075 625 575
06 12,775 5,200 1,950 1,250 675 675 350
07 9,575 3,200 950 850 425 500 200
08 8,550 450 625 800 375 400 75
09 6,000 - 350 600 200 425 -
10 250 - 50 100 25 250 -
Tot 120,350 110,875 20,300 14,225 7,300 5,800 5,200