29 September 2014

Volvo V40 CC D4 vs Mercedes GLA 200 CDi

Premium compact SUVs are catching on. Many want the versatility that they offer combined with a little class, at the expense of value for money. Still the prestige of the badge is worth it, they tell me. These two were put head to head in the NZ Autocar magazine, so what did they find. First to summarise the combatants.

V40 Cross Country D4. NZ$63,000. 2L 4 cyl diesel, 6 speed auto.

GLA 200 CDi. NZ$65,000. 2.1L diesel 7 speed auto.

The V40 Cross Country showing its versatility

The Volvo was rated as the better interior, with a superior feel. Minor controls and the cabin ambiance were a notch up according to the tester. There was more space for the driver too. It handled and performed better for those who enjoy a good drive.

The Mercedes had a larger boot area and the more desirable badge.

The relative ease of the Volvo victory surprised me. People can be in awe of marques like Mercedes and forget to check out other premium models that may well be superior. I would add that passenger safety in a Volvo is unrivalled. Forget the star system as you can read by clicking here. The judgement was the Swede was the better car but the German offering would outsell it due to the three pointed star.

So when it comes to car buying, find out all the cars available in the area you are looking for and take the time to check out all what is on offer. What you then drive away in may be a car you never have thought of purchasing.

The GLA came a definite second in this contest

28 September 2014

VW Brand Car Production By Model : 1990-99

Going back to the 1990's shows how much brands can change in not that many years. They can also have regional differences that we are not aware of. Both of these scenarios apply to the VW brand of car sales. We will go through the models one by one with some explanation.

1) Golf. This model has been around since 1974, now up to the 7th generation. It replaced the original Beetle but the latter went on for sometime after the Golf's arrival so ended up not replacing it. Production volume has been very consistent and it continues as popular as ever.

2) Passat/Santana. The Passat medium/large sized car was first released in 1973 and the Santana in 1981, the latter went under other names also. It has been a successful model also and in China it has been extremely popular.

The Passat from 1993.

3) Polo/Derby. The Polo super mini hatchback came out in 1975, so was well established by the 1990's. The saloon (sedan) version was known as the Derby.

4) Gol/Parati/Voyage. The Gol is a subcompact 3/5 door hatchback model made for South America. As a wagon it is known as the Parati and a 4 door saloon named the Voyage. It has been a big hit, but many in the West will know nothing of it.

5) New Beetle. This compact car arrived in 1998 as a modern take on the original, in style at least. As for substance there is little in common. It's retro look was successful but only to a point, as is the usual for this sort of vehicle.

6) Lupo. This city car also came out in 1998, to slip under the Polo as that model grew in size. Production numbers would suggest to me it wasn't the success VW would have hoped, but the idea was right.

The 1998 Lupo (Italian for wolf). Named after Wolfsburg. 

7) Sharan. This large MPV was to take on the likes of the Renault Espace. It has always been made in Portugal along with the SEAT Alhambra and at this time the Ford Galaxy. Production numbers would suggest it was reasonably successful.

8) Old Beetle. The iconic Beetle (or Käfer in German) started back in 1938 and was a strong seller even in the early 1990's. However, by the end of the decade, production had fallen away badly. Understandable for a car of its age.

9) Taro (Hilux). I'm not sure if it should be here, but this was the Toyota pick up of the day made in Germany by VW from 1989. Most of that time it was classified as a commercial vehicle, but toward the end of its life, drifted across to be classified as a car. I did as VW seemed to do, but maybe I misread how VW did things. 

10) Pointer/Logus. Have you heard of this one? It was essentially a European Ford Focus. The 5 door hatchback was called the Pointer and the 2 door coupe the Logus. It was made in Brazil as a joint venture arrangement with Ford. 

11) Corrado/Scirocco. This sports car was known as the Scirocco from 1974 to 1992 and the Corrado from 1988 to 1995. I'm not sure why the large overlap but by the time the Scirocco was gone, the Corrado was almost finished as well. In the 1990's, production was not very large. 

12) Apollo/Gacel/1500. The Apollo (also called the Verona) was a small saloon car and another joint venture with Ford, this time the Ford Orion. The Gacel was an Argentinian built 4 door version of the Gol. The 1500 was the Chrysler Avenger and when in 1980 VW bought Chrysler Argentina, it inherited the model. For some reason, VW lumped these three unrelated models together in the statistics so I had no choice but to follow suit. 

All the figures below are in thousands. They are global production figures released by VW. Why other manufacturers are not as open as VW I do not understand. All competitors watch each other anyway and have this sort of data in greater detail than we will ever have. This basic statistics as presented here is of interest to the public, and good publicity as well. Well done VW. 

Having said that, this article represents some hours of work. It's not handed to me on a platter. I hope you enjoy it. 


Golf Pas Polo Jett Gol Beet Lupo Shar Beet Taro Poin Corr App Tot

San Der Vent P/V New

Old
Logu Scir Gac
90 888 393 226 221 179 - - - 85 - - 30 22 2,044
91 801 427 325 176 176 - - - 86 - - 23 36 2,050
92 965 358 306 179 223 - - - 87 - 10 19 28 2,176
93 795 255 176 238 288 - - - 105 - 44 9 - 1,910
94 853 254 159 206 317 - - - 96 - 51 4 - 1,940
95 815 420 397 223 367 - - 20 33 3 62 2 - 2,342
96 826 461 516 203 432 - - 56 40 7 28 - - 2,569
97 626 611 598 231 477 - - 59 36 1 - - - 2,638
98 901 740 588 222 351 107 65 56 36 - - - - 3,067
99 880 670 411 400 319 160 90 50 36 - - - - 3,016


Picture source: NetCarShow.com.

25 September 2014

Scotland Top 20 Models : 2000-13

The Vauxhall Corsa has been top in Scotland every year since 2007

Scotland has its own car society, and the accompanying chart below is available from the Scottish Government website. It show sales for the top 20 models. So what has taken place north of the border in the 21st century?

French models seem to be the major, consistent losers. Renault gave up discounting too much and went more for profit instead, as they should. This gave US models the top rankings, with German marques benefiting too. Japanese models have had a mixed result, with Korean cars not figuring that highly.

The colour coding of cars is based on which nation the brand is associated, rather than who owns it. Dark blue is the USA, Yellow Germany, aqua the rest of Europe, and pink for Asia.

Model 13 12 11 10 09 08 07 06 05 04 03 02 01 00
Vauxhall Corsa 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 6 5 5 4 3 7 7
Ford Fiesta 2 2 2 3 2 2 5 5 6 4 5 5 6 8
Ford Focus 3 4 3 4 3 4 2 1 2 3 3 4 4 3
Vauxhall Astra 4 3 4 2 4 3 3 2 3 7 7 6 8 4
Volkswagen Golf 5 8 9 9 5 6 8 7 8 8 8 8 10 10
Volkswagen Polo 6 6 7 8 12 9 14 9 10 10 10 11 11 9
Nissan Qashqai 7 7 5 6 9








Fiat 500 8 9 20 14









Renault Clio 9 5 8 5 10 5 4 4 4 2 2 1 1 1
BMW 1 Series 10 13 16 16 15








BMW 3 Series 11 12 14 19 20 13 13 13
15 11 12 13 14
Peugeot 208/7/6 12
13 18 8 7 7
7 6 6 7 5 5
Nissan Juke 13 15 12










Kia Sportage 14












Toyota Yaris 15 14


16
17 13 17



MINI 16 10 10 10 7 8 12 15 14 18 18


Audi A1 17












Honda Jazz 18 16 15 17 17 17 20 14 17




Seat Ibiza 19 19 19










Vauxhall Mokka 20












Vauxhall Insig/Vec
11 6 11 11 14 9 18 18

20 19 19
Audi A3
17 18 12 14 18







Hyundai i10
18











Citroen C3
20











Renault Megane

11 7 6 11 6 3 1 1 1 2 2 2
Mazda 2

17 15 19








Vauxhall Zafira


13
15 16 12 20 19



Honda Civic


20 16 10 10 10 9 16 16 14 16
Fiat Punto/Gr Pun



13
11 8
9 9 10 3 6
Ford Mondeo



18 12 15 11 11 11 14 15 14 16
Citroen C4




19 19






Audi A4




20
20





Honda CR-V





17






Mazda 6





18





Peugeot 307






16 12 12 12 18

Nissan Micra






19

13 16 17 15
Ford Ka







15 14 15 13 18 11
Nissan Almera







16 20
19 20 20
Toyota Corolla







19




Citroen Xsara








13 19 9 9 18
Renault Laguna









17 17
13
Mercedes C Class









20


Rover 25










12 12 12
Citroen Saxo









19 15 17
Volkswagen Passat









20


The list gives me the impression that Scots car buyers are generally conservative and don't change on a whim. Actually that sounds like me too! It's something different and I hope you like it. Oh, you will notice it is still listed under labels as 'Nation - UK'. For now at least.

The Honda Jazz has been in the top 20 for the past nine years