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What better way to finish one month and start a new one than going through our traditional World Roundup? None, I know. Before we start, may I interest you in the two photo albums I lovingly uploaded in the last week: Italy (“It’s a Fiat 500-mania”) and Monaco (“Millions on display”). Let’s begin by an overview of the main worldwide markets: again a fascinating contrast: on one hand we have the two biggest car markets going gangbusters: China is up 10% on July 2012 to 1.52 million units and the USA is up 14% to 1.31 million… On the other hand, markets that normally display explosive growth are in recession: Brazil, India and Russia are all down 8% in July! Add to this Japan (ex-Kei cars) down 13% and it makes for a pretty sad picture.
In Europe, we are getting mixed signals. While most of the continent is still wobbly, the market as a whole delivers its 2nd year-on-year growth in the last 2 years, up an encouraging 5% this month but still down by the same amount year-to-date. Illustrating this, Germany is back up 2%, the UK posts its 17th consecutive month of year-on-year growth at +13% and Spain seems to be coughing its way out of depression, registering the largest year-on-year increase for a month of July since 1999 at +15%. Most analysts however (my good old self included) don’t see Europe getting back to sustainable growth before 2016 at the earliest. But will the European new car market ever grow back? I wrote an article on this subject here.
Now onto the heroes that made the worldwide headlines in July, and I have been generous this month, awarding 6 accolades!
1. Some good news for Chinese-Swedish manufacturer Volvo: the V40 tops a country’s sales charts for the first time since the model was launched on year ago, and surprise surprise, it’s not Sweden but the Netherlands where its low emission versions benefit from a preferential price that boosted its sales in the country to 1,616 units for an excellent 5.3% market share. Given the Dutch market is much bigger than the Swedish one (244,000 units vs. 147,000 so far in 2013), this is indeed a good operation Volvo.
2. The 2nd heroes of the month are the General Motors pick-up trucks: now that the new generation of both models is starting to be available across the USA, the Chevrolet Silverado is up 45% year-on-year in July to 42,080 sales at #2 overall while the GMC Sierra is up an even more impressive 49% to 16,582 units at #19.
3. Would Chinese consumers be finally reconciling themselves with their own cars? This month the Great Wall Haval H6 is up a fantastic 12 ranks on June at home to land at a record 7th place. This is the first time since April 2011 that a Chinese model ranks within the Chinese Top 10, and the best ranking for a local since January 2011! Its little brother the Great Wall Haval M4 is also making waves this month: beating both its ranking (#23) and volume records.
4. The Skoda Rapid reaches a new milestone at home in the Czech Republic, breaking its ranking, volume and market share records all at once to rank #2 for the first time at 1,059 units and 7.3% share. However as we have studied last month, this doesn’t result in Skoda improving its market share (29.3% in July vs. 29.4% year-to-date) which could mean the Rapid is a cannibal… Note the Rapid also breaks into the Top 10 in Israel (#10) and Croatia (#6) for the first time this month.
5. This month sees the birth of a new popular nameplate for Honda: the Crider, positioned between the Civic and the Accord in the Japanese manufacturer’s range and for now exclusive to China, shines very bright for its first full month in market, selling 10,357 units and already the brand’s best-selling passenger car in the country!
6. The Peugeot 301, the French carmaker’s first attempt at a – relatively – low-cost product (although it still denies the 301 is low-cost), manages to break into the Top 20 in the land of Dacia, Romania, and is up to a fantastic 4th place in Egypt while maintaining itself on the Algerian podium at #2. Could the last two announce the rebirth of Peugeot in Africa? Why the French lost this continent is one of the 10 things I don’t understand…
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Here is the full last 12 months’ worth of World roundups:
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