30 March 2013

Cowley (Oxford UK) Car Plant 100 Years Old


In March 1913, the Cowley plant in Oxford UK started making the Morris Cowley Bullnose. I remember having a Matchbox model of the car. Amazingly just 20 cars a week were made back at the plant's inception. In total 11,655,000 cars have been made there, including the Morris Minor (we had one when I was a boy) Mini, Marina, Princess, Maestro, Rover 75 and currently the MINI. These days 900 cars a day roll off the line.

I've driven the Mini and it was a hoot, so advanced too for its time. Some people like to knock the Marina but having owned one (Australian built admittedly), I liked it. Over 1.16 million were made so it have had some redeeming features. I've ridden in the Princess (225,000 made) and was amazed at its interior space and pleasant ride. The Maestro never made it to NZ but I liked the style of it. Apparently it took too long to get to production and was somewhat dated by the time it arrived (605,000 rolled off the line).

So the Cowley plant continues under the stewardship of BMW and working flat out. The third series of BMW MINI is about to commence too, so the success continues for the factory.


29 March 2013

BMW MINI Sales By Model: 2012


The MINI had a solid but not inspiring 2012 on the sales front. Many other brands have muscled in on the once exclusive small premium segment started by the MINI. Despite that, it continues to be a success for parent BMW as it still is the most desirable car in its class. Having a unique brand image no doubt helps too.

Production is split between the UK and Austria at a  2:1 ratio, 199,276 in England (66.1%) and 102,250 (33.9%) at the Magna Steyr plant in Austria. The non-UK production will be moving to VDL NedCar plant at Born in The Netherlands in 2014. That is where the Paceman will also be made.


Hatch 131,569 -4% 43.6%

Countryman 102,271 +15% 33.9%

Convertible 24,474 -17% 8.1%

Clubman 22,699 -12% 7.5%

Coupe 11,311   - 3.8%

Roadster 9,202   - 3.1%

Total 301,526 +6%


Thanks to BMW for the sales data.

28 March 2013

BMW Brand Sales By Model: 2012


The BMW marque had a good 2012, with sales of most models improving on their 2011 efforts. China has been a major factor in recent years as it has for many car makers. For 2012 the improvement in the US was positive also. However, nearly 44,000 people lost all sense of reason and bought an X6! Only two models went backwards, the 7 Series and Z4 (picture below).

As for BMW engines, 1,036,000 were built in Steyr, Austria; 396,000 in Hams Hall, UK (c. Birmingham); 388,000 at Munich, Germany and 42,000 in Tiexi, China. The engines are made for the BMW group as a whole.


3 Series 406,752 +6% 26.4%

5 Series 359,016 +8% 23.3%

1 Series 226,829 +29% 14.7%

X3 149,853 +27% 9.7%

X1 147,776 +17% 9.6%

X5 108,544 +4% 7.1%

7 Series 59,184 -14% 3.9%

X6 43,689 +7% 2.8%

6 Series 23,193 - 1.5%

Z4 15,249 -19% 1.0%

Total 1,540,085 +12%



Thanks to BMW for the data.

27 March 2013

Bentley/Lambo Car Production By Model: 2012

Bentley and Lamborghini are the two elite brand in the VW portfolio. VW acquired Bentley in 1998 and it has to be said that VW has handled the marque with skill and understanding. Lamborghini was bought by  Audi, which is part of VW. That brings it under Audi's stewardship. In turn Audi has done well with a marque that was really struggling.


1) Bentley. It's 2012 production figure was up 20%, with the Continental GT up a whopping 51%. Bentley has a reputation of the highest order and with VW's backing a winning formula.


Continental GT 6,174 +51% 67.8%

Flying Spur 1,764 -25% 19.4%

Mulsanne 1,169 +2% 12.8%

Total 9,107 +20%


2) Lamborghini. I must say the cars have a certain style and presence. However, with competition from Ferrari and lately Mclaren, I wonder why you would buy one. With production up 28%, you have to say the marque is holding its own in the super sports car world. The Gallardo is the 'baby', while the Aventador is the flagship model. 


Gallardo 1,221 -3% 55.6%

Aventador 976 +118% 44.4%

Total 2,197 +28%

Data source: Thanks to VW Group.

26 March 2013

Jaguar XK Sales By Nation: 2012


This list seems to have captured virtually all of the sales for this model. The fact that nearly 40% of all sales are in the USA helps in that regard. On top of that, nearly 75% of sales are in three nations! Overall, units sold were down 15% for the year, the car having been around for a while is a major reason. Some buyers may be holding off for the new F-Type just now being released in early 2013.

The XK certainly is a class act, albeit an expensive car. In this exclusive segment, sales are limited and the purchase price reflects that. Recouping development costs with modest sales volume is what all up market car makers have to deal with.

1 1 1
USA 1,633 -6% 39.2%
Europe
2 2 2
UK 995 -26% 23.9%
18 Nations
3 3 3
Germany 438 -22% 10.5%

5 4 4
Canada 122 -18% 2.9%
Asia/Pacific
8 6 5
Switzerland 98 -14% 2.4%
4 Nations
6 5 6
France 81 -39% 1.9%

9 10 7
Australia 78 +42% 1.9%
America
? ? 7
Japan 78
1.9%
2 Nations
10 8 9
RSA 68 +1% 1.6%

4 7 10
Italy 44 -50% 1.1%
Africa/Mid East
12 12 11
Russia 41 +17% 1.0%
2 Nations
13 11 12
Spain 28 -42% 0.7%

14 15 13
Austria 20 +18% 0.5%

14 13 14
Netherlands 16 -33% 0.4%

20 16 15
Czech Rep 10 +11%


16 16 16
Poland 7 -22%


22 20 17
NZ 6 +200%


19 18 18
Hong Kong 5 0%


? ? 19
Israel 3



26 20 20
Romania 2 0%


17 19 21
Denmark 1 -67%


25 26 21
Ireland 1 0%


? 26 21
Greece 1 0%


? ? 21
Bulgaria 1


? - 21
Belarus 1 -


? 20 21
Liechtenstein 1 -50%






Other 387 2.5%





Total 4,166 -15%



Stunning anyway you look at it.

Data source: Thanks to all those who made this list possible.

Sales for other years can be accessed by clicking on the following years:
2013, 2011, 2010, and the second part of 2009.

25 March 2013

SEAT Car Production By Model: 2012


Spanish brand Seat is a problem for VW.  As you can see by the chart below, despite an extra model in the form of the Mii (pictured above), production was still down. Yellow shading means decrease and there is too much of that. I view it as a poor man's Alfa Romeo but it isn't selling like it is. It is sold in too few countries but until the range of vehicles is right and succeeding in the markets it is already in, only then it will be time to expand to new countries.

The car industry has too many brands already and SEAT struggles to assert itself in that congested environment. I get the feeling it may be about to turn a corner and start improving sales. It needs to before VW loses patience with it.


Ibiza 160,887 -16% 50.1%

Leon 71,295 -12% 22.2%

Altea/Toledo 32,478 -23% 10.1%

Mii 26,409 new 8.2%

Alhambra 19,393 +7% 6.0%

Exeo 10,854 -45% 3.4%

Total 321,316 -9%

Alhambra


Data source thanks to VW Group.

23 March 2013

LR Discovery Sales By Nation: 2012 (Exclusive)


The Discovery managed a slight increase in 2012, despite all the attention the new Evoque got for the company. So it should as it is a stand alone vehicle in the range. What I mean by that is it is a seriously rugged off road vehicle with real comfort. Range Rovers are definitely capable off the beaten track but not quite as the Disco. For that reason it is so popular in Russia and South Africa (RSA). About 12% of all Discovery vehicles sold around the world go top those two places.

Unfortunately China misses the list and that would imagine at least 7,000 went there. Brazil took a hit as an import duty hike did its job. In general, a strong performance for a fine SUV.

1 2 1
UK 7,691 -2% 16.6%
Europe
2 1 2
USA 7,316 -8% 15.8%
24 Nations
4 4 3
Russia 2,888 -1% 6.2%

5 5 4
RSA 2,738 7% 5.9%
Africa/Mid East
6 6 5
Australia 1,992 -5% 4.3%
6 Nations
8 7 6
Germany 1,486 12% 3.2%

7 3 7
Brazil 1,166 -62% 2.5%
Asia/Pacific
11 9 8
Canada 566 -2% 1.2%
5 Nations
13 11 9
France 519 3% 1.1%

17 14 10
Spain 363 11% 0.7%
America
9 10 11
Switzerland 311 -46% 0.6%
3 Nations
? 13 12
UAE 244 -21% 0.5%

? ? 13
Japan 241 ? 0.5%

? 19 14
Kuwait 164 18%


16 15 15
Netherlands 156 -19%


19 22 16
Austria 149 39%


18 16 17
Sweden 143 -21%


? 21 18
Czech Rep 136 23%


21 18 19
Hong Kong 135 -8%


? 33 20
Ukraine 113 391%


15 20 21
Poland 105 -5%


22 17 22
New Zealand 98 -34%


14 ? 23
Turkey 84 ?


? 25 24
Saudi Arabia 80 14%


35 31 25
Iceland 68 134%


? ? 25
Israel 68 ?


24 28 27
Romania 65 30%


20 24 28
Ireland 56 -32%


27 30 29
Finland 43 2%


? ? 30
Bulgaria 30 ?


28 34 31
Denmark 29 32%


32 37 32
Estonia 27 69%


? ? 33
Egypt 16 ?


29 36 34
Argentina 10 -38%


36 38 34
Latvia 10 -38%


33 39 36
Slovenia 6 -40%


36 40 38
Belarus 4 -60%


? 41 38
Liechtenstein 4 -43%






Other 16,932
36.6%





Total 46,252 3%



Data source: Thank you to all those who contributed. Updated 6.7.13