26 May 2013

Ford Leaves Australian Car Making Behind

Ford Falcon

Australia is a relatively small car market, which tries to have a car making industry. Volume is the name of the manufacturing game today, and that is the problem in Australia - trying to make enough cars for the industry to be viable. Toyota and GM got around this by sending cars to the Middle East, but Ford for some reason couldn't establish an export programme beyond New Zealand. Therefore it has announced the decision to pull out of car making in Australia in 2016.

It's not that the Australian government hasn't tried. It has poured billions of dollars into propping up the industry, yet Ford was losing money anyway. Ford has fallen to a level of car production that makes you realise closure was merely being put off by government assistance. You can see this in the chart below which shows car production in five year increments from 1990, and includes light utility vehicles. The average figure is based on the years shown:


Yr Toyota Holden Ford Mitsub Nissan Total

90 - 154,800 130,000 33,700 57,900 376,400

95 63,200 114,300 110,300 39,700 - 327,500

00 92,300 130,500 85,800 36,300 - 344,900

05 109,200 153,000 108,200 18,700 - 389,100

10 119,900 64,200 56,000 - - 240,100

11 93,600 88,000 37,800 - - 219,400

Avg 95,640 117,467 88,017 32,100 57,900 316,233

Ford was the first car maker 'down under' about 90 years ago. Then 50 Years ago came the Falcon, a large car that was popular in a big country. More Australians live in cities now and are preferring smaller cars and SUVs, the big car falling out of favour. They currently make the Falcon and Territory SUV.

It's big news for Australia, but in the bigger scheme of things part of the industry's evolution. Will Toyota and Holden follow? Toyota are upbeat about staying but Holden have suggested more financial assistance would be helpful.

Ford Territory

22 May 2013

2002 Car Sales New Zealand By Model: Top 50

A series of articles on the top 50 models in New Zealand from 2001 to the present.


The Darling of the Fleet Sector in NZ 

In 2002, there was a slight shift toward European cars, but overall a stable (read boring) market. The top ten reduced combined share from 46.3% to 41.15%. Small car markets like this often move about quite a bit, but seeing as the market was heavily reliant on fleet purchases it is not surprising that not that much changed.

The leading car, the GM Commodore had dropped from 10.8% to 9.6%. The Corolla had gone from 6.0 to 6.7% share, a trend that would continue. Peugeot got two cars into the fifty, whereas it had none the year before. Two Mitsubishi models moved up into the top 10 while US brands went from seven to five models in the top 20.


1 Holden Commodore 6,127 -
Asian

2 Ford Falcon 4,501 -
32 models

3 Toyota Corolla 4,280 -
Down 2

4 Ford Mondeo 2,992 -


5 Toyota Camry 2,511 -
USA

6 Mitsubishi Diamante 1,900 +7
9 Models

7 Honda CR-V 1,585 +16
Down 1

8 Mitsubishi Lancer 1,547 +12


9 Nissan Maxima 1,477 -3
Europe

10 Mazda 6/626 1,374 -
9 Models

11 Holden Vectra 1,357 -3
Up 3

12 Nissan Pulsar 1,336 -3


13 Toyota Echo 1,284 +2


14 Toyota Rav4 1,232 +5


15 Holden Astra 1,220 -1


16 Honda Civic 1,049 -9


17 Nissan Primera 960 -5


18 Peugeot 307 874 na


19 Mitsubishi Galant 801 -3


20 Honda Jazz 792 na


21 Ford Laser 770 -10


22 Holden Barina 718 -4


23 Ford Explorer 650 +11


24 Honda Accord 645 -7


25 BMW 3 Series 636 -









26 Ford Escape 604



27 Toyota Landcruiser 596



28 VW Golf/Jetta 595



29 Toyota Previa 584



30 Subaru Legacy 567



31 Toyota Prado 532



32 Suzuki Grand Vitara 510



33 M-Benz C-Class 508



34 Daihatsu Sirion 488



35 Mazda 323 486



36 Mitsubishi Pajero 469



37 Holden Monaro 463



38 Peugeot 206 413



39 VW Passat 392



40 Audi A/S4 374



41 Hyundai Accent 360



42 Nissan X-Trail 350



43 Subaru Outback 346



44 Mitsubishi Challenger 338



45 Subaru Forester 328



46 BMW Compact 320



47 Subaru Impreza 299



48 Mitsubishi Airtrek 290



49 Hyundai Elantra 288



50 VW Beetle 283




Ford Mondeo 

Data source: Thanks to LTSA NZ

20 May 2013

Cynical Car Makers?


Many car makers in Brazil apparently don't make vehicles that are very crash worthy. Legally they do what is necessary to pass the laws and that is all that matters to some of them. I ask the question "is it cynical" as I wonder who is really responsible.

Are the authorities to blame for not having higher standards? Can the manufacturers be blamed when if made better - hence more expensive - they could lose customers to cheaper, less safe models? Should the consumer find out which ones are safer and then support them? In other words are customers indifferent?

There is an article that analyses the situation that can be found here. It is quite long, but seems well researched. As for whether car makers could do better, I wrote an article (click here) about cars tested in more affluent markets. It doesn't cover many brands and those omitted cannot be judged; but for those mentioned, it's concerning.

Car safety is important. Manufacturers who go beyond what is required by law to protect their customers are to be applauded. For those do the minimum to maximise profit, I'll let you decide.


Also, the driver must  take responsibility to be careful for the safety of all road users. Drive to the conditions.

Check your vehicle keep it well maintained. Make sure each journey is as safe as you can make it.


17 May 2013

2001 Car Sales New Zealand By Model: Top 50

A series of articles on the top 50 models in New Zealand from 2001 to the present.


#1 in 2001, the GM Holden Commodore.

Back in 2001, large cars were king. The top ten were all sizable vehicles except for the Civic and Pulsar. You will see as the series progresses how that changes. The GM Commodore had 10.8% of the market, the top 10 models 46.3% share.

Japanese models dominated the scene, and combined with Korean ones, took 68% of the top 50 spaces on this list. US makes did well at the top of the list, while Euro marques struggled to have much impact on the car scene in New Zealand.


1 Holden Commodore 6,284
Asia

2 Ford Falcon 4,340
34 models

3 Toyota Corolla 3,495
68%

4 Ford Mondeo 2,594


5 Toyota Camry 2,415
USA

6 Nissan Maxima 1,890
10 Models

7 Honda Civic 1,641
25%

8 Holden Vectra 1,587


9 Nissan Pulsar 1,333
Europe

10 Mazda 626 1,314
6 Models

11 Ford Laser 1,300
12%

12 Nissan Primera 1,217


13 Mitsubishi Diamante 1,122


14 Holden Astra 1,107


15 Toyota Echo 990


16 Mitsubishi Galant 938


17 Honda Accord 901


18 Holden Barina 840


19 Toyota Rav4 824


20 Mitsubishi Lancer 773


21 Ford Escape 767


22 Suzuki Grand Vitara 751


23 Honda CR-V 663


24 VW Golf 621


25 BMW 3 Series 579








26 Subaru Legacy 547


27 Toyota Landcruiser 524


28 Hyundai Accent 512


29 Toyota Previa 465


30 Peugeot 206 463


31 Mitsubishi Pajero 449


32 Toyota Prado 440


33 Hyundai Lantra 398


34 Ford Explorer 397


35 Mercedes C-Class 376


36 Ford Ka 370


37 VW Beetle 364


38 Hyundai Elantra 360


39 Hyundai Sonata 352


40 Mazda 323 344


41 Honda Odyssey 339


42 Subaru Impreza 314


43 Subaru Outback 312


44 Suzuki Ignis 302


45 Mitsubishi Challenger 298


46 Mazda Tribute 286


47 Toyota Avalon 282


48 L Rover Freelander 260


49 Daewoo Nubira 252


50 Daihatsu Sirion 247



Data source: Thanks to LTSA NZ

16 May 2013

Cisitalia


No it's not the name of a loathsome disease, but rather of an Italian car and motor racing brand. The name means 'Compagnia Industriale Sportiva Italia'. What caught my eye with the company was the 202 sports car. The single shell coach work was ahead of its time and certainly very aerodynamic for its day. The engine was 1089cc, top speed of 165kph as it weighed only 780kgs. A beautiful car.


Unfortunately it was expensive to make as they were hand made, ensuring it a commercial flop. Only 200 or so were manufactured from 1947 including the spider model (soft top). Still, it set a standard for others in the future and deserves to be remembered.

13 May 2013

BMW vs Mercedes vs Audi: Which Is Best?

These three cars do battle to be the largest selling premium brand. As to why it is so important to hold that title I am not sure. It seems to be a very German thing, the competitiveness of it all. Does it matter to a potential buyer which one sells more cars? Now on to my assessment, based on observation as I am not a motoring journalist whisked off to exotic locations to test them on amazing roads. In that case, I have no one to impress lest my air ticket goes missing in the mail next time there is another car test.
Zzzzzzz.

Audi: 

Plus: Saves costs by basing its cars on other lesser VW offerings, therefore a big profit marque for VW. Nice interiors and an impressive badge to many.


Minus: Based on lesser VW brands, so that has to count negatively in quality. Has less pedigree and designs make each model look much the same.

Conclusion: Unless Audi offer me a loan car that in some way enlightens me as to the merit of this make over the other two here, I cannot see a case for buying one.

Mercedes Benz:


Whoever was responsible...sack him. Now.
Plus: The marque with the most history of quality here. I have driven a couple of late model cars and must say they are a quality vehicle.


Minus: They are somewhat dull too. They go from ordinary to sometimes quite ugly.


Summary: Not a bad choice but lack something to make your heart race. Too much engineering and not enough passion.

BMW:


BMWs have got something the others lack.
Plus: The best driver's cars here and with more excitement, the latter not hard in this company mind you.  Enough heritage to give the badge some snob value.

Minus: Not as bad looking but not great either. Some models are ugly and pointless though, the X6 springs to mind.

Summary: Quite easily the choice here for the driver. They simply do what they do better than the other two for my taste. They show more imagination, exactly what Audi and Merc are starved of.

11 May 2013

Toyota Group 2012/13 Worldwide Production/Sales


Looking at the figures below for the Apr-Mar 2012/13 production and sales, Toyota Group has turned a corner after some negative issues of late. The sheer size of the Group is impressive, as were all the increases.

Hino is the best performer with worldwide sales +20%, while Daihatsu the worst with +7.5%. Daihatsu has left Europe and other markets to become basically an Asian brand, which would have impacted on sales of course.

The Toyota brand produces nearly 40% of it vehicles in Japan, but sells only 18.6% of them in Japan. Hino is even more biased toward local production, while Daihatsu's ratio is even. In view of that, to be truly an international manufacturing company, Toyota Group needs to make more of its cars offshore.


Production Japan % + Outside % + Total % + % Jap

Toyota 3,368,940 +8.0% 5,195,579 +17.8% 8,564,519 +13.7% 39.3%

Daihatsu 757,475 +9.8% 224,138 +10.9% 981,613 +10.0% 77.2%

Hino 150,067 +14.7% 22,916 +49.6% 172,983 +18.3% 86.8%

Total 4,276,482 +8.5% 5,442,633 +17.6% 9,719,115 +13.4% 44.0%








Sales Japan % + Outside % + Total % + % Jap

Toyota 1,612,097 +14.1% 7,074,000 +17.9% 8,686,000 +17.2% 18.6%

Daihatsu 655,272 +8.2% 197,000 +5.2% 853,000 +7.5% 76.8%

Hino 43,702 +18.4% 111,000 +20.8% 155,000 +20.1% 28.2%

Total 2,311,071 +12.4% 7,382,000 +17.6% 9,693,000 +16.3% 23.8%


Data source: Toyota