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Frankfurt Auto Show Part 5: An exclusive interview with Peugeot

This is the last part in a 5-part series dedicated to the Frankfurt Auto Show. You can read Part 1 about Tesla herePart 2 on Maserati and the Frankfurt car landscape herePart 3 with my Top 30 photos here and Part 4 about Audi here. Yesterday I had the privilege to speak with Peugeot World Press Relations Manager Marc Bocqué for almost 30 minutes which trust me is quite something given how busy everyone is during the Press Days, so I feel very lucky. Perhaps the fact we spoke in French the whole time helped…

Peugeot 208 Pikes Peak. You can’t see it on the pic, but the headlights are stickers!

With both the Peugeot 208 Pikes Peak and 208 Hybrid Concept displayed at the Show, it was logical to start with the sales performance of Peugeot’s best-seller so far, now that the model has been available in the whole of Europe for just over one year. And in a depressed context, the news are quite good: exactly 462,000 units of the model have been sold worldwide to-date, which in a full year would position the model inside the world Top 30 best-sellers. The product mix is more premium than firstly anticipated by Peugeot, at 30% for levels 3 and above (the most expensive), with the GTI and XY sports models grabbing 5% of total sales for now.

Peugeot is aiming at a Top 10 European ranking for the 308.

Peugeot unveiled the all-new 308 at the Show with no less than 9 models on display just in case you missed it! The French manufacturer is aiming at 150,000 global annual sales for the 308 ex-China where the model will launch in late 2014. In Europe, the objective is to be on the compact segment podium, which would currently mean a European Top 10 ranking (after 7 months: Golf #1, Focus #7, Astra #9).

Peugeot Onyx Concept

Peugeot 2008 sales seem to have paused in France a little after breaking into the Top 10 in July. Here too the product mix is much more premium than Peugeot was tabling on: 71% of sales are of the levels 3 and above priced at around 23,000 euros which is a very interesting performance in the B-segment. The result being a 4 month-waiting time for a model purchased today that could explain the sales progression pause. A 2nd team has been put in place in the Mulhouse factory where the model is manufactured with a daily production of 620 units set for October 15. The 2008 will be manufactured in China in Q2 2014 and early 2015 in Brazil.

Peugeot 308 R Concept

These ‘premium’ product mixes, initiated with the 3008 and even though they have surprised Peugeot, are in line with the objective of the brand to play in the upper range in each segment. From what Mr Bocqué is telling me, it would appear that within the Peugeot-Citroen stable, Peugeot wants to position itself as the upper-market brand in each segment, with Citroen offering a more pragmatic range as illustrated by the Cactus concept on display at the Show, and the Citroen DS line truly playing the premium game.

See the Full article featuring the 301 performance and Peugeot’s launch in Mongolia below.

Frankfurt Auto Show Part 4: Why the Audi A3 is #2 in Germany

Audi Nanuk Concept

This is Part 4 of a 5-part series dedicated to the Frankfurt Motor Show. You can read Part 1 about Tesla here, Part 2 on Maserati and the Frankfurt car landscape here and Part 3 with my Top 30 photos here. At the show I had the pleasure to speak with Moritz Drechsel from Audi, and I really wanted to talk about the record performance of the A3 in Germany last month where it ranked #2 for the first time in the 16 year-history of the nameplate. I learnt that most of this success could be attributed to the Sportsback 5-door version, launched in its current form only 6 months ago and already accounting for 75% of sales in the country!

Audi S3 Limousine. The A3 sedan goes on sale this month in Germany.

The A3 sedan model, called ‘Limousine’ locally, goes on sale this very month of September 2013 and could lift the nameplate’s sales further up, although Western Europe is clearly not where the meat of the market is for a compact sedan. Globally, compact sedans account for a huge 50% of all passenger cars sales and this is the ratio Audi is aiming at for the A3 sedan by the end of the current generation’s lifecycle. But A3 sedan sales will be coming mainly from China and the US where the model launches in 2014, and Eastern European countries like Russia and Turkey on which Audi also counts a lot.

The Audi exhibition at the Frankfurt Auto Show represents a city upside down. 

Globally, Audi is on track to deliver another record year. For comparison, 2012 ended with 1.455 million units, 28% or 405,000 of which coming from China. This Chinese ratio could climb to one third very soon. In 2005 Audi set themselves the target to double global sales in 10 years, meaning reaching 1.5 million units by 2015. At the current rate, this milestone will be achieved by the time 2013 comes to an end, or 2 years early… Not bad for a premium brand!


Frankfurt Auto Show Part 3: My Top 30 photos

Bugatti Grand Sport Vitesse – grille

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This is Part 3 in a 5-part series dedicated to the Frankfurt Auto Show. You can read Part 1 about Tesla here and Part 2 about Maserati and the Frankfurt car landscape here. The last two articles, about Peugeot and Audi, will follow tomorrow. This time I’ll shut up and share with you what I consider the Top 30 photos I took today – so the Top 10% given I took over 300! You can click on each one for a larger version. Hope you like them!

Bentley Mulsanne

Inside the Mercedes building at the Frankfurt Auto Show (no it’s not a stand, it’s a building!)

Cadillac CTS

Opel Monza Concept

Mercedes S-Coupe Concept

Nissan Friend Me Concept

Mercedes GLA-Class

Renault Espace Concept

No! Just because your t-shirt matches the car doesn’t mean you can drive away with it thanks.

Long queue to get to drive the BMW i3!

Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkom looking a little skeptical of the new Hyundai i10…

That was my Top 12 photos! There are 18 more below to check out…

Frankfurt Auto Show Part 2: The secret behind Maserati sales

Maserati Quattroporte at the Frankfurt Auto Show 2013.

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This is part two of a 5-part series dedicated to the Frankfurt Auto Show. You can read Part 1 about Tesla here. I was lucky enough to speak with Thomas Kern from Maserati Germany. At BSCB I have been receiving a few queries from you readers about the exceptionally high sales figure Maserati recently communicated (17,000 sales in H1 2013). Well this figure actually corresponds to orders, and has since increased to 20,000 at the end of August. All good and well, but according to Mr Kern Maserati is actually predicting 16,500 sales worldwide in 2013.

Maserati Ghibli at the Frankfurt Auto Show 2013

Still, this figure will be an all-time record for the brand, beating its previous best of 9,000 in 2008. Ghibli projections are 20,000 annual sales, and Maserati hopes this model will account for 40% of its total. Projections for the Levante SUV, planned to launch in Q2 2015, are similar at 20,000 annual units once the model hits its cruise level in 2016-2017. So the target of 50,000 global sales by 2016 is what Maserati is still tabling on, even though it appeared outlandish when announced last year. Let’s just say if Maserati continues at the same growth level as the one displayed this year, it’s looking good indeed.

The sales charts don’t lie: the new gen Mercedes A-Class is everywhere…

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Given this is a rather short post, I thought I’d complete it by giving you my impression of the car landscape I saw in Germany today, keeping in mind this is based on what I could see from the train and the 30 minutes I walked around Frankfurt-am-Main so not at all representative but a good snapshot nevertheless. Firstly, the new generations BMW 1 Series, Mercedes A-Class and E-Class are present in droves on the streets, so the German sales charts are not lying on that one! I also saw a Lancia Ypsilon and my first Opel Cascada…

I noticed a lot of station wagons in the streets of Frankfurt-am-Main…

My second observation is the strong prevalence of station wagons. Given this is not something we can deduct from the traditional monthly ranking I publish, I thought it would be worth mentioning. Between one third and half of all BMW 3 Series, 5 Series, Audi A4, VW Passat and Mercedes E-Class I saw were station wagons, so the same segments as in Italy, only with a lower SW ratio… If you have access to SW data for Germany, please me so we can put this observation to the stats test!

Frankfurt Auto Show Part 1: Tesla Model S best-seller in Norway!

Lots of interest from the press at the Tesla stand!

This is the first article in a 5 part-series dedicated to the Frankfurt Auto Show, which I had the honour to visit today. I also had the chance to make a few interviews there, so I will capture all this for you so you don’t miss a bit! The most exclusive and perhaps the most relevant piece of information I have managed to get my hands on today is coming from Tesla. If you are a regular BSCB reader you will know that the market valuation of Tesla is currently above that of Fiat, and that the Model S broke for the first time into the monthly Top 20 of any country in the world in Norway last month where it ranked #15.

Tesla Model S at the Frankfurt Auto Show 2013

Speaking with Tesla Motors Europe Sales and Marketing Director Espen Pedersen, I learnt today that the Model S was the best-selling model overall in Norway during the first week of September, selling 134 units vs. 117 for the VW Golf (#1 year-to-date)! Although confined to one country, this is still an unbelievable achievement for a luxury electric car! It will be tough for the Model S to maintain this pole position over the full month of course, but Mr. Pedersen is hopeful it can stay inside the podium by the time September comes to an end… Needless to say I can’t wait to see that ranking in a few weeks! If this occurs, it will obviously be the first time a Tesla model ranks on any country’s podium and only the 2nd time an all-electric car manages to do so after the Nissan Leaf last April here in Norway.

Back view…

We know Norwegians are first class lovers of electric cars but this is taking it to a whole new level. Interestingly, both the Model S and Leaf’s success in Norway are partly linked to the fact that not being part of the EU, homologation is a little easier as it roughly follows US standards. According to Mr Pedersen, other countries where the Model S has received a particularly warm welcome so far are the Netherlands and Denmark, something we will be able to verify when the next few months’ sales data becomes available.

And the interior, arguably featuring the largest touchscreen of any model on sale now.

Overall, Tesla is counting on 21,000 deliveries of the Model S in 2013, 5,000 of which are expected to come from Europe. In 2014 the projected figure is 40,000, with Asia Pacific added to the mix. Right now, Tesla’s focus is on the Model X SUV that should see the light in end 2014, before a smaller city car, codenamed Generation 3 for now, hits the road in 3-4 years with a bold target of 200,000 annual sales. What about the extravagant share price? For Mr Pedersen, Tesla is considered a tech company at the moment, not so much a car manufacturer, and is valued as such. Still, on paper, Tesla could currently swallow a few manufacturers with a 100-year history… Will it do it? Nope, but it’s always good to know.

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