30 November 2015

Italy Car Sales Fiat vs The Rest : 1955-59

The Fiat 1100 came out in 1953 and an attractive car for its day.

I managed to find sales figures for Fiat from way back in the mists of time. Well, the late 50's at least. The Italian market was protected from imports and the Fiat brand reigned supreme. In 1955 it held a staggering 92% of the total sales! I suppose the locals were just happy to afford a car at all after the ravages of war in the 1940's.

Europe was on the up in the late 1950's and things were getting back to normal. Sales in 1950 had been just under 80,000 cars and by 1955, that had over doubled. Another 80,000 sales were added in the next four years too, but even greater growth took place in the 1960's as a future article will reveal.

3.9 million of the Nuova 500 (1957-75) were made
Fiat was growing nicely  in this time but not at the pace of the market. It would be impossible to maintain that sort of share, but by 1959 holding about 80% was still huge. Only having one major brand in the country was the reason, coupled with stiff import duties.



Year Fiat Rest Total % Fiat

1955 148,400 13,500 161,900 91.7%

1956 183,900 18,500 202,400 90.9%

1957 169,300 26,200 195,500 86.6%

1958 169,500 39,700 209,200 81.0%

1959 201,700 51,600 253,300 79.6%

29 November 2015

Car Production In Germany By Brand : 1990-99

The Focus came out late this decade made at Saarlouis, Saarland

The early 1990's were marked by a recession, noted in the production chart below. Mainstream car production numbers didn't change during this period, while toward the end of the decade premium cars were hitting 40% of the total cars made in Germany. Ford went from 3rd largest German car producer to 6th over this time.

All premium cars were doing well except Porsche that struggled financially. Reliance on sports cars was at times challenging,  not helped by its dependency on the U.S. which had recessions from time to time. Porsche needed to spread its sales and especially its product range as wide as possible.

Please note that the figures below are in thousands, so three zeros need to be added. 1991 had some production not accounted for.


Yr VW GM MB BMW Audi Ford Por Unkn Total

1990 1,509 1,030 574 500 421 594 32 - 4,660

1991 1,463 981 576 536 450 633 21 17 4,677

1992 1,550 1,072 531 580 492 622 17 - 4,864

1993 1,163 849 481 510 341 437 13 - 3,794

1994 1,162 964 584 550 355 461 18 - 4,094

1995 1,225 999 588 563 448 518 19 - 4,360

1996 1,245 1,036 634 570 492 540 23 - 4,540

1997 1,189 1,040 704 598 558 558 31 - 4,678

1998 1,617 1,051 851 638 605 556 30 - 5,348

1999 1,524 1,030 908 680 573 562 31 - 5,308

Summary: Yet another decade of increased production. However, it was getting close to a maximum of what could be expected. The shift to premium was adding value to the industry.

28 November 2015

Sharing Pick-Up Trucks

Car makers need to be working more together but there needs to be a fair amount of differentiation in appearance if not mechanically. When a vehicle simply has a new grille, then maybe not enough was done. Of course, the more that is done to distance the two, the greater the cost.

Mitsubishi is preparing a pick-up truck for Fiat for late 2016 release. Fiat will be sold mainly in Europe and Latin America and Mitsubishi mostly elsewhere. Mitsubishi is s small manufacturer so this will add volume and reduce unit cost. Fiat get a vehicle quickly and with no development cost so a win for both sides.

The Fiat Fullback grille looks unique

Meanwhile, Renault is getting a  pick-up truck named the Alaskan based on the Nissan Navara/Frontier. On top of that, Mercedes-Benz is also getting a pick-up from the same Nissan donor vehicle*. Obviously it will be upmarket so will be somewhat different again. They will be made in Spain and Argentina. Both the Renault and Mercedes vehicles will be much more unique than the Fiat/Mitsubishi models.

The U.S. truck market is protected by import duty. If a pick-up is not made in the U.S. it cannot be sold there economically. All the above models will not be sold in North America because of that. Still, there are enough trucks sold around the rest of the world not to need North America to make a success of these cooperation initiatives.

*I have for sometime wondered why Land Rover hasn't got some sort of tie up to create a pick-up truck as MB is now doing.

The Navara/Frontier will spawn vehicles for Renault and Mercedes-Benz

Car Production In Germany By Brand : 1980-89

The Audi 90. Clean lines but it looks so 80's

An extra million cars were added to the production numbers for the nine years from 1980 to 1989. Premium brands made up 20% in 1971 but climbed during that decade. For the 80's it was consistently around the third mark. BMW and Audi were closing in on Mercedes but all three were buoyant. Not so for Porsche, whose production slumped in 1988. The brand was heavily reliant on the US and sales crumbled with the stock market crashing in 1987.

The three mainstream car makers were all producing heavily in Germany and things looked good all round. Consistent increase in German car production continued and was being achieved with fewer companies involved in it.

Please note that the figures below are in thousands, so three zeros need to be added.


Yr VW GM Ford MB BMW Audi Por Total

1980 1,232 787 420 438 330 285 29 3,521

1981 1,150 810 487 449 338 312 32 3,578

1982 1,122 951 518 466 363 305 36 3,761

1983 1,098 935 548 483 408 358 48 3,878

1984 1,203 777 540 469 412 345 44 3,790

1985 1,376 903 505 538 431 359 55 4,167

1986 1,422 897 562 592 432 353 53 4,311

1987 1,393 916 561 596 443 417 48 4,374

1988 1,372 895 609 554 464 426 26 4,346

1989 1,464 989 633 537 490 421 29 4,563

Picture source: Netcarshow.

27 November 2015

Fiat Spider Mk II

The Fiat looks more conservative than the Mazda

Fiat has a poor range of cars in my opinion. It doesn't have a lot of money to play with either as much of that is going to revive Alfa Romeo. It needs more models and it has landed one courtesy of Mazda, the Fiat Spyder. It was going to be an Alfa model but the decision was made for it to be a Fiat, including a sportier Abarth version later as well.

The original Fiat 124 Sport Spider was a 2+2 convertible sports car made from 1966 to 1985, with some 150,000 made over 20 years (that's 7,500 per year). Emulating that again will be a challenge but either way the new one will create interest, profile and some profit.

The design done for the Fiat variant cannot hide the donor vehicle, but it does look sufficiently different. The Italian car will have a 1.4 turbo petrol, with less horsepower than the Japanese equivalent but more torque. The Fiat will go on sales from about the middle of 2016 on.

I like the idea of such collaborations. It is cost effective and I presume it will raise the profile and sales of the car with two makes selling them. I guess the Fiat will sell mainly in Europe with some in Latin America, while Mazda will rely on Asia and North America. In that sense, it should be good for both.

Car Production In Germany By Brand : 1970-79

1.7 million Opel Kadets were made from 1973-79. A nice, simple car 

Production volume continued its steady incline in Germany, despite the the oil crisis that hit mid-decade. VW continued as the mainstay of the volume, although it went from 46% of the total in 1969 to 33% by 1979. Both GM Opel and Ford had solid gains too. However, while Mercedes and BMW were doing nicely, Audi was stuck in the doldrums.

Porsche got a lift in volume when the 924 model replaced the 914 for 1976. Hanomag was making a few passenger cars which I believe were camper vans. That ended in 1975, with Neckar branded Fiat cars finishing a few years earlier.

Please note that the figures below are in thousands, so three zeros need to be added.


Yr VW GM Ford MB BMW Audi Por Han Nec Total

1970 1,518 812 409 280 159 317 17 4 12 3,528

1971 1,622 832 479 284 164 282 11 6 17 3,697

1972 1,373 871 436 324 182 299 15 8 13 3,521

1973 1,364 868 456 332 196 410 15 7 2 3,650

1974 1,170 578 286 340 185 266 10 5 - 2,840

1975 1,050 656 413 350 218 205 9 6 - 2,907

1976 1,221 919 487 378 268 242 32 - - 3,547

1977 1,278 922 543 409 285 318 36 - - 3,791

1978 1,346 952 544 404 312 295 37 - - 3,890

1979 1,305 960 547 433 328 323 36 - - 3,932

The 924 model added volume to Porsche