31 May 2014

Selling On Value - Mitsubishi ASX In NZ

The ASX out for a coffee somewhere. Now better value.

Selling with a sharp price is fraught with danger. If you don't sell enough to justify the low price, and all you do is hurt the bottom line. If sales skyrocket, you can make up for the lower price with volume. Of course the opposition will move if it does work. The problem with that is the competitive edge is lost and everyone sells more cars but profit is less all around. So why do it?

Often manufacturers will offer incentives to importers to move more cars and that can make up for the lower price. Also, if a model simply isn't selling at the present price, you have to make it more appealing or withdraw it. So it's a gamble, but for one I like it when fortune favours the brave.

Mitsubishi NZ had success on its dated Lancer with a $26k list price. It has now decided to try the sharp price route on its more up to date ASX model. It was going at a too high $37k, but now is down to $30k. How does that compare?

Smaller, less classy & now undercut for value
A 1.6L Suzuki S-Cross CVT comes in at 30K. The GM Trax 1.8L Auto is 33K. Both have smaller engines and are not as good in my opinion. Ford do a nice Kuga 1.6 auto at 40k, so forget that. That's the same money as a 1.4L VW Tiguan with DSG auto, which is too dear too. The Peugeot 4008 is same basic car as the ASX but it is 38k! The Mazda CX-5 2.0L auto is nudging 40K and so it goes on.

Summary: NZ isn't the dearest place to buy cars by any stretch, but neither is it the cheapest. The fact that Mitsubishi can bring the price down to 30K proves the latter. I sent an email asking - among other things - if it was a permanent price. That was one point they didn't answer. I guess it depends how well it sells. The dealers will love the price and the customers should too. I wonder how the competition will react?

Italy Top Four Brands : 1970-79

The Fiat 132 replaced the fine 125, but not quite as good a car.

Moving on from the 60's, things became more fluid as brands passed and were in turn overtaken again. Fiat's Autobianchi fell away through the decade, replaced by French brands and Ford. The top share share fell from 72 to 67% as Fiat lost its total dominance of the market. Renault supplanted Alfa Romeo in second while fourth became a sort of musical chairs party game.

The Fiat 128 was European car of the year in 1970.

Clearly Italian buyers supported local brands, but pressure was mounting from ever improving foreign makes. Some Fiat models were not as good as their predecessors either, which didn't help.

Below we see the chart, which  shows sales in thousands.

Yr 1st Sales % 2nd Sales % 3rd Sales % 4th Sales % %
1970 Fiat 760 56 Ford 77 6 Aut 74 5 A R 68 5 72
1971 Fiat 822 57 A R 73 5 Ford 72 5 Aut 62 4 72
1972 Fiat 805 55 A R 85 6 Aut 83 4 Sim 68 5 71
1973 Fiat 781 54 A R 124 9 Aut 80 6 Ren 67 5 71
1974 Fiat 690 54 A R 94 7 Ren 81 6 Aut 77 6 74
1975 Fiat 511 49 A R 97 9 Ren 67 6 Aut 59 6 70
1976 Fiat 553 47 Ren 95 8 A R 92 8 Sim 66 6 68
1977 Fiat 594 49 Ren 97 8 A R 80 7 Ford 71 6 69
1978 Fiat 550 46 Ren 96 8 A R 87 7 Citr 65 5 67
1979 Fiat 641 46 Ren 121 9 A R 106 8 Ford 71 5 67

For other years, simply click on the year: 1960-69, 1980-89, 1990-99,
and 2000-2013.

30 May 2014

A Tale Of Three Sectors: UK Vehicle Manufacturing

The new Qashqai being made in Sunderland, UK.

The UK car industry has more twists in it than an intricate whodunit. The latest trends have been identified at this blog before, but April 2014 confirms it. The car making industry is going well, engine production is flat and commercial vehicle manufacturing is on life support. We can see that in the charts below, thanks to the SMMT for making them available.


The volume in cars was slow at the beginning of the year, when the very important new Nissan Qashqai and BMW MINI were starting up. Now they seem to be flowing off the production line, a very solid 21.3% increase was achieved. Car making will continue to thrive.


Engines are an important part of UK manufacturing, and they have been consistently even for some years now. Unless the main engine producer Ford has an upswing in volume, the present volumes will be maintained.


A Hybrid LF Truck made in Leyland, Lancashire
CV manufacturing was a big part of the UK vehicle industry. Unfortunately, it has fallen away badly, to the sorry state it is now. Leyland DAF (Paccar Group) and GM Vauxhall are the only two high volume CV makers. GM gives no long term assurances and other manufacturers are unlikely to come so this is as good as it gets.

Summary: The three sectors of the UK car industry shown here are all on very different trajectories. It seems they will continue as they are for the foreseeable future.

29 May 2014

Ford Vignale

Would you pay much more than a regular Mondeo? 

Ford is to introduce it's upmarket Vignale sub-brand in 2015. Why are they going to the bother? Let's see if we can find out what it is all about.

Rationale: There is little money to be made in the mass car market. Going upmarket even a little makes a difference to profitability, if you get some reasonable volume of sales.

Execution: Taking mass cars, adding quality touches and giving a better customer service. This will entice customers who want their car buying and ownership experience to feel a bit special.

Risk: Premium brands have been moving down anyway and they have the advantage of status. Sticking Vignale at the end of a regular Ford named cars doesn't have the same prestige to it.

The S-Max Vignale
Likely outcome: At best I can see it being moderately successful. More likely I see it being a failure and retired after a few years. I would like to see it work, but once the prices are raised very much, punters start looking at more prestigious marques.

Summary: Ford are not alone in this. Citroen is moving its DS range in a similar direction. A marginal premium over the regular priced model will be accepted but go beyond that and it won't work.

27 May 2014

Italy Top Four Brands : 1960-69

The Fiat 500, named after its engine size. Called the Bambina in NZ.

Back in the 1960s, Italy was getting over World War II and starting to prosper. Car sales were rising and just about everyone was buying a Fiat car. I assume import duties made sure that the home brands were the value option.

Below in the chart we see that Fiat had about 3 in every 4 sales for much of the decade. The top four brands had a staggering 95% of the market in 1960, all of them local makes. In case you are wondering 'A R' is Alfa Romeo, 'Lan' Lancia, 'Aut' Autobianchi and 'Inn' Innocenti. The sales figures are in thousands. Fiat for example sold 851,000 in Italy in 1967.

The beautiful Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sport. I had one as a dinky car.

Autobianchi was part owned by Fiat, was a higher priced brand than Fiat, was used to test new features before they were introduced to Fiat models and - like Fiats - were small cars. It was eventually merged into Lancia.

Innocenti made BMC cars under licence and they proved quite popular. However, when BL got into financial problems of its own, it eventually and understandably impacted on the brand.

Yr 1st Sales % 2nd Sales % 3rd Sales % 4th Sales % %
1960 Fiat 291 76 A R 41 11 Lan 17 5 Aut 12 3 95
1961 Fiat 341 69 A R 52 11 Aut 25 5 Lan 23 5 90
1962 Fiat 422 66 A R 47 7 Aut 24 4 Lan 23 4 81
1963 Fiat 595 63 A R 62 7 VW 51 5 Aut 35 4 78
1964 Fiat 583 70 A R 47 6 VW 29 3 Aut 27 3 83
1965 Fiat 655 74 A R 49 5 Lan 30 3 Aut 24 3 85
1966 Fiat 753 74 A R 49 5 Inn 35 3 Lan 32 3 86
1967 Fiat 851 73 A R 54 5 Inn 45 4 Lan 36 3 85
1968 Fiat 792 68 A R 66 6 Inn 51 4 Aut 45 4 82
1969 Fiat 765 63 A R 70 6 Inn 53 4 Aut 51 4 77

For other years, simply click on the year: 1970-79, 1980-89, 1990-99,
and 2000-2013.

25 May 2014

UK Top Four Brands : 2001-2013

The Ford Fiesta shines in the UK, unlike the weather

In the late 90's, Peugeot and Renault got into the top four UK brands. However, it wasn't long before German makes elbowed them out. First VW came in, then BMW. BMW has now given way to Audi. Both Ford and GM Vauxhall has lost market share over the decades and that continued here. The extreme right column is the percentage share the top four have, and that follows the same pattern.

Going back from 1965 through to today, this series has shown the change in the UK car market. The top two were mainly stable, but below that less so. Ford has a special place in the hearts and minds of the UK car buyer, and it has earned that. It has lost market share a diversifying environment, as has Vauxhall. As for GMV, it has done well to get to where it is but I thinking VW will take second place eventually.

The GM Vauxhall Corsa is popular too

I would like to see Nissan back in the top four as they have put so much into the UK. Even Toyota and Honda have to a lesser degree. However, that scarcely matters to many UK buyers. So the UK is a big car importer and exporter.

Yr 1st Sales % 2nd Sales % 3rd Sales % 4th Sales % %
2001 Ford 404 16 GMV 310 13 Peu 206 8 Ren 182 7 45
2002 Ford 401 16 GMV 319 12 Peu 209 8 Ren 195 8 44
2003 Ford 379 15 GMV 326 13 Ren 190 7 Peu 185 7 42
2004 Ford 367 14 GMV 325 13 Ren 189 7 VW 182 7 41
2005 Ford 348 14 GMV 317 13 VW 186 8 Ren 175 7 42
2006 Ford 344 15 GMV 302 13 VW 190 8 Peu 144 6 42
2007 Ford 349 15 GMV 331 14 VW 197 8 Peu 146 6 43
2008 Ford 323 15 GMV 299 14 VW 179 8 Peu 119 6 43
2009 Ford 316 16 GMV 238 12 VW 161 8 Peu 103 5 41
2010 Ford 280 14 GMV 247 12 VW 175 9 BMW 109 5 40
2011 Ford 266 14 GMV 235 12 VW 179 9 BMW 117 6 41
2012 Ford 282 14 GMV 232 11 VW 183 9 BMW 128 6 40
2013 Ford 311 14 GMV 259 11 VW 194 9 Audi 142 6 40

To see the other two blogs in the series: 1965-1984, and 1985-2000.

24 May 2014

Bentley Car Sales By Nation : 2013

New Flying Spur looks amazing

Bentley sales were an impressive 10,120 in 2013. With the arrival of an SUV in 2016, that will mean a larger Bentley company. 140 staff are now being sought already for the new model, which I believe will be an electric hybrid. The increase for 2013 was 19%.

Certainly a class act

The US is the biggest market by some way, especially with a downturn in luxury sales in China. Many Asia/Pacific nations did well in sales, with some sizable increases. Some of the comparisons I find intriguing. For example, more Bentleys were sold in Luxembourg than Italy, while New Zealand exceeded some much larger nations. France's figure has gone awol unfortunately.

The chart below is coloured according to region. Thanks to all those who made this list possible.


10 11 12 13
2013 Share Lyr

1 1 1 1 USA 2964 29.3% 28%

3 2 2 2 China 2191 21.7% -3%

2 3 3 3 UK 1231 12.2% 12%


4 4 4 Mid East (est) 1000 9.9% 23%

4 5 5 5 Germany 404 4.0% 4%


7 6 6 Russia (est) 300 3.0% 34%

6 9 7 7 Japan 293 2.9% 36%

7 8 9 8 Switzerland 176 1.7% -5%

8 11 10 9 Korea 164 1.6% 21%

10 10 11 10 Canada 147 1.5% 17%

13 15 13 11 Singapore 125 1.2% 34%

9 12 14 12 Hong Kong 122 1.2% 42%

12 14 15 13 Australia 121 1.2% 86%

18 18 16 14 Monaco 47 0.5% -10%

14 16 17 15 Austria 44 0.4% -14%

16 17 18 16 Belgium 41 0.4% 21%

26 26 20 17 Netherlands 38 0.4% 46%

15 20 21 18 Spain 38 0.4% 65%

20 19 19 19 Czech Rep 29 0.3% 7%

20 25 22 20 Luxembourg 22 0.2% 10%

16 22 27 20 Italy 22 0.2% 100%

22 29 24 22 Turkey 21 0.2% 17%

29 27 22 23 Latvia (est) 20 0.2% 0%

23 28 26 24 NZ 19 0.2% 19%

26 24 27 25 Poland 16 0.2% 45%

24 21 29 26 Brazil 14 0.1% 40%

25 32 29 27 Mexico 12 0.1% 20%

34 39 32 28 Romania 10 0.1% 43%

29 29 24 29 Sweden 9 0.1% -50%

36 29 30 Estonia 6 0.1% -40%

35 30 Moldova 6 0.1% 100%

29 35 35 32 Portugal 3 0%

36 33 33 Norway 2 -50%

29 35 Greece 1





35 Slovenia 1


11 13 12 France ?






Others 461 4.6% 2469.6%





Total 10120
18.9%