28 November 2016

Musings

A few things came across my mind recently.

1) The car industry seems to have been pressing those that release vehicle production data not to do so. All my sources for such have recently - and rather suddenly - dried up. 2014 seems to have been the last year statistics in depth could be found by those not connected to the industry ie. you and me. So one of the points of difference with this site  - production data - would have been greatly limited in future. Makes you wonder why it's so sensitive.

2) Many car companies are reticent to release any sales or production data. One exception is Renault who give more out than anyone else. Well done Reggie.

3) One benefit of ending blog articles is the several copycat versions have lost a source. By chance I noticed that one website plagiarising whole articles that I wrote ceased existence at the end of November, two months after I finished. The one that puts a copyright warning at the bottom of its articles now has no stolen articles to claim copyright for. What a shame.

4) While buying a new car a is nice feeling, it is a massive drain on financial resources. The biggest hit is depreciation. A house is the biggest financial commitment, but it is in most places an appreciating asset. In NZ a tax free one at that. However, a car is a liability as its value slumps. Over out lifetime, it would be our biggest financial drain. Something to think about when one considers updating.

I bought a new car eleven years ago. It has been well maintained, is so reliable and depreciation is negligible. The mileage is only 80,000 kms so plenty of life in it. Whenever I think of trading it in, I wonder if new cars today - with all their technological wizardry - will prove as durable. Simple answer is no. I'm also saving our family so much in depreciation (cheesy grin).

5) Views by nation since stats were available: Total 460,500. USA 112,100 (24%) UK 55,200 (12%) Russia 33,300 (7%) France 24,600 (5%) Germany 19,000 (4%).

6) I thought I may miss writing car articles but I don't. I certainly won't miss this tediously inefficient blog site provided by Google. What I am glad about is that so many enjoyed what I did provide.

Adieu.

19 November 2016

Industry Snippets - November 2016

VW has done a deal with its workers to reduce its global workforce by 30,000, or nearly 5%. Most of those will be in Germany. The reduction will be achieved by not replacing workers who leave the company. It is to save money associated with the diesel scandal that is costing billions of dollars to fix. As a compensation to the German workforce, two new electric cars will be built in Germany.

My take: This is what VW has wanted for years, less workers in Germany. The unions wouldn't agree to reduced numbers. This crisis means it now has to happen. Obviously VW didn't plan all of this, but let's say that the diesel scandal has become a cloud with a silver lining.

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Jaguar is to produce an i-Pace electric crossover vehicle, to be released in 2018. The manufacturing will be done in Austria, at Magna Steyr in Graz. This is one of two models JLR have stated they will have assembled at this plant, though what the second one will be hasn't been revealed. Approximately 13,000 units per annum are expected to be made of the I-Pace

My take: JLR has capacity restraints in the UK. They already have assembly facilities - with varying local content - in China, Brazil and India. Slovakia will soon join that list as will Austria. As JLR grows, it is becoming more multinational.

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GM Europe has been losing money for some time. At the beginning of 2014, Morgan Stanley estimated 2015 would be profitable. However, no one could have predicted the slump in Russia and Opel's decision to leave the market and close its assembly plant there. 2016 was then heralded as the time for black ink. However, GM Europe has now said it's doubtful.

My take: The UK is a huge European market for GM, with too little investment there from the giant car maker. The drop in the value of the pound will therefore be a factor. However, there are many reasons. Sales should be product driven, not price driven. The product has to be good enough and factory capacity needs to reflect demand.

I'm sure GM Europe is working hard to improve the product, hurt by years of under-investment while GM US was struggling. It will take time to win back customers it has lost over the years...providing the product is now good enough.

15 November 2016

DS (Posh Citroën) Car Production By Model : 2015

The DS5 model

PSA have a desire to tap into the more lucrative premium segment with the DS range, which is for now at least a posh range of Citroën models. Initial reaction is muted, as can be expected in what is a conservative area of car buying. Brand cachet is everything and it will take years for DS to reach bona fide premium status.

DS commenced in 2010 and became a stand alone brand in 2014. Production peaked in 2012 with 129,000 units made but for 2015 just 103,000, that despite the range going from three to four models*. PSA will have to be patient as they strive to build the brand perception to the level of genuine premium vehicles.

*The fourth model -  the DS6 SUV - is a China only model.


14 15 Model 2015 % +/-

1 1 DS3 48,392 46.8% -13%

2 2 DS5 20,299 19.6% -43%

3 3 DS4 19,387 18.8% -5%

4 4 DS6 15,264 14.8% 239%



Total 103,342
-11%

Picture source: Netcarshow.
Data source: CCFA.