29 November 2014

The Mexican Car Making Miracle


A car plant in Mexico 

Car making in Mexico is taking off. It has a very important trade deal with the US and Canada (NAFTA) which gives it access to two large nearby markets. It has also established many other trade deals, which mean that Mexican made cars can be exported widely without hindrance.

If those factors weren't enough, low wages also make it attractive. I have heard that some infrastructure issues exist that can hurt the efficiency of getting cars made and out of the country. Still, it is a popular place to make cars.

One negative is how workers are paid there. It seems that while many jobs have been created, that hasn't improved pay rates the way it should, and therefore the standard of living of the workers. With all the money these workers are generating, it doesn't seem fair they don't get more. I'm not for greedy workers but people grafting in the Mexican auto industry are not paid much at all. In 2012, they were paid less than half what Brazilian car workers got.

Apart from the workers not being compensated as you would think was fair, it actually hurts the Mexican domestic economy. Better pay means more disposable income which lifts the overall economy, which is why the Mexican economy isn't growing as fast as other nations such as Brazil. Not that car makers getting cheap labour are too concerned about that. They go where they improve profit. It comes down to domestic policies to look after workers if market forces don't.

I suppose those with jobs in Mexico should be grateful. Maybe they have another story to tell that is more positive. There is often more to these situations than the obvious. However, on the face of it, it seems things could be better for auto workers south of the border.

28 November 2014

UK Car Sales By Brand : 1970-74

This was a time of consolidation by import makes as they all had gains in this period while the top 4 UK car makers went nowhere. I did hear that at the time brands such as Ford cut all their smaller dealers, effectively handing them over to import brands. That got them a foothold, which they built on. I'm not sure how true that was.

Local car makers: During this five year time frame, the Ford Cortina took over from the BL 1100/1300 at the best selling car. The Morris Marina came along and got to 2nd in 1973, but couldn't quite get to the top. The Cortina was ably backed up by the Escort. Hillman had success with the Avenger and Hunter models. Vauxhall relied on the Viva as it's lone top 10 car. The Austin Maxi was a top 10 car at the time too.

The Ford Cortina was winning over the UK

Imported car makers: Datsun (Nissan) was a big winner, coming from obscurity to 5th. The Sunny and Cherry models both made the top 20 in 1974. German brands were not that strong then, with Volvo the best of the premium brands.

70 71 72 73 74 Brand 1970
1971
1972
1973
1974
1 1 1 1 1 BLMC 398,281
498,306
528,694
512,350
400,898
2 2 2 2 2 Ford 285,720
240,937
401,994
376,213
288,394
3 4 3 3 3 Chrysler 112,590
135,229
153,765
161,656
114,121
4 3 4 4 4 Vauxhall 107,560
138,199
147,172
132,980
92,316

15 9 6 5 Datsun

6,852
30,197
60,513
58,758
6 6 5 5 6 Renault 31,159
41,732
60,242
67,071
57,126
7 7 7 7 7 Fiat 23,476
36,205
47,606
50,687
43,609
5 5 6 8 8 VW 37,371
48,883
52,686
42,871
38,882
11 8 8 9 9 Simca 7,854
24,243
34,121
28,777
23,446
9 9 10 10 10 Volvo 10,471
15,476
19,911
22,828
17,708

BL again doesn't have Jaguar included, and what was is shown below:


Brand 1970
1971
1972
1973
1974

Austin / Morris 296,828
366,877
391,556
384,256
302,689

Triumph 64,036
86,533
91,928
90,712
69,224

Rover 25,223
31,508
30,035
23,627
18,488

MG 12,194
13,388
15,175
13,755
9,852

Unsure



645

Total 398,281
498,306
528,694
512,350
400,898

Data source: SMMT.

27 November 2014

Beautiful Women And Cars - Why?


When you see pictures of cars, often beautiful women are there as well. At car shows, women models adorn all the cars. Why is that the case? Sometimes it is hard to see the car! I have a couple of theories.

1) When a woman goes out for an evening in a nice dress, she wears beautiful jewellery that adds a great deal to her appearance. The sparkling accessories draw your eyes to her. Likewise, a beautiful model adds appeal to the shiny car at the motor show. That would be an obvious connection.

2) A more subtle reason is that studies show that women are more attracted to men who drive nice cars. Monetary success adds to a man's appeal to the fairer sex. So having an attractive model next to the car suggests that women will be drawn to a man who owns it. Beautiful women are to be associated with this car.

Whatever the reasons, there is a connection between women and cars. (As we know of course, no car can match a woman for beauty). We also know that classy cars - and the sort of woman that is attracted to the owner of such - can prove to be very expensive.

UK Car Sales By Brand : 1965-69

The BMC 1100 was well ahead of its time

Getting any sales data back in the 1960's is very hard for the Britain. I managed to get this together and although I have more, it is a bit patchy. I decided to keep it simple and minimal gaps.

BLMC was formed in 1968 when BMH ( BMC) combined with Leyland Motors (including Triumph cars). A year earlier BMH took over Rover and in 1966 acquired Jaguar. I have included Triumph and Rover sales in all BMH/Leyland/Rover figures, but not Jaguar.

Ford was a major car maker back then. Vauxhall was losing its way and Rootes (Hillman, Humber etc.) was taken over by Chrysler in 1967. There weren't many imports at this time, although 1969 seemed to mark a distinct change.

65 66 67 68 69 Brand 1965
1966
1967
1968
1969
1 1 1 1 1 BM / Leyl 474,967
462,324
438,117
435,121
376,765
2 2 2 2 2 Ford 289,373
262,477
280,380
301,083
264,012
4 4 3 3 3 Vauxhall 129,733
116,971
146,021
145,118
112,685
3 3 4 4 4 Chrysler 131,024
123,173
135,036
112,506
93,378
n/a Jaguar 13,598
11,424
13,901
12,661
11,779

To break down BM figures to show how various brands were selling in the UK...


Brand 1965
1966
1967
1968
1969

Austin / Morris 384,497
357,146
311,622
319,307
278,433

Triumph 61,199
70,909
86,932
80,626
64,693

Rover 19,046
23,405
26,711
26,822
23,373

MG 10,225
10,864
12,852
8,366
10,266

Total 474,967
462,324
438,117
435,121
376,765

Summary: The British motor industry really boomed in the post war 1950's and 60's, but by the end of the 60's cracks were starting to appear.

Data source: SMMT.
Picture source: toplowridersites.com