The “family sedan” may not be very exciting, but without midsized sales auto makers would be in a pickle. Ponder this: the five best-selling midsized sedans in America accounted for 1.3 million of the 12.8 million vehicles sold in 2011. With numbers like that, it’s important to get your mass-market people mover right. This means competitive fuel economy, a low base price and swipe as much tech from your luxury brand as possible. Either that or just wear a Nissan badge on the front. Say what? The last generation Altima was the second best-selling car despite being long in the tooth and filled with Chrysler quality plastics. That made me ask an important question: Is the fifth-generation Altima any good, or is it selling well (now in third place thanks to the new Accord and Nissan’s model change over) just because it has a Nissan logo on the front?
Hoping that you are all having a very Happy Holiday Season, my present to you guys today is the 9th installment of our much anticipated monthly rendezvous: the World Roundup.
If last month the focus was on China, Austria and Japan, in November all spotlights are on Brazil…
You can check out previous World Roundups here for March 2012 (“Has the Hybrid era started for good?”), April 2012 (“Big change coming from India”), May 2012 (“GM and Toyota Etios make headlines”), June 2012 (“Hyundai Santa Fe and Ford Focus shine”), July 2012 (“Geely CK writes history in Ukraine“), August 2012 (“The Subaru XV topples a legend in Switzerland”), September 2012 (“Ford Focus strong in China”) and October 2012 (“One Japanese in the Chinese Top 50″).
Had enough of the world and you just want to know which cars sell best in your own backyard? Easy. You can visit 171 countries and territories in my blog in the comfort of your own lounge. Just like that.
Back to our Roundup…
While watching the Mecum auto auctions recently, a beautiful Plymouth GTX came thru on the auction block. It got me thinking about the rash of brand-icide we’ve seen these past ten or so years. As they pass, others come in. Read More >
Video o.k. for network TV in Brazil, but NSFW in certain jurisdictions. Do not click if naked derrieres offend you.
The numbers for the first eleven months of the year have been consolidated. The first fortnight of December has been basically more of the same. It’s now quasi-official: Fiat is the biggest pig in the sty for the eleventh time in a row. They already have an ad out celebrating the fact. Last year the Italians waited until January to commemorate. This year they had no such compunctions.
Curious is the theme they chose to celebrate their victory. Don’t think a green-eyed spermatozoon, masturbation and bodily functions would be GM’s choice to celebrate their market dominance in stodgy America. Oh, those racy Italians! Read More >
Renault’s Algerian plant became a done deal Thursday, with production beginning in mid-2014, which will see the French auto maker become the sole passenger car builder in the North African state.
We have been saying it since May, but it took Bloomberg (along with the rest of the copypasting media) until a few days ago to realize that GM’s reign as the World’s Largest Automaker is coming to an end. GM regained the title in 2011 from a tsunami-ravaged Toyota. Toyota has been bouncing back strongly ever since. Toyota’s worldwide production is up 30 percent for the year, while GM was seen treading water when they last published global numbers in October. Read More >
Infiniti’s often discussed future premium compact model will be built at Nissan’s UK plant in Sunderland, Nissan says. It was previously announced that the new Infiniti will “share a platform developed with Mercedes. Read More >
Infiniti has decided to abandon its current alphanumeric strategy for…an all-new alphanumeric strategy whereby passenger cars are given the “Q” designation, and crossovers and SUVs are dubbed the “QX”.
Last week, when talking about Volkswagen’s future $10,00o low-cost car, we said that “is rumored to work on something that costs about half.” Guess it is no longer a rumor. Reuters writes that Gerard Detourbet , the man behind Renault’s Logan program, is in Chennai, India, to work on a real budget car, costing about half of Volkswagen’s targeted price. India is the battlefield for low-cost cars. And that’s not because of Tata’s Nano. Read More >
Volkswagen is making most of its profits with pricey Audis, but it is looking towards making volume with low cost cars. Plans for a budget-brand, reported at TTAC in October, are “entscheidungsreif”, ready for a decision as they say in Wolfsburg. In January, Volkswagen’s board could give its go-ahead. Read More >
Demand for fuel-efficient vehicles remains strong, and the fleet of newly bought cars is taking to the streets getting a better mileage on average than a year before. The cars sold by Hyundai/Kia are most miserly with their fuel, with Volkswagen close behind. Automobiles from Detroit on the other hand stay thirsty. This is the result of TrueCar’s TrueMPG survey. Read More >
GM revealed its new full-size pickups today, with a combination of “evolutionary” styling and while offering a more traditional pickup, devoid of the fancy turbocharged V6 engines and air suspensions offered in its rivals.
Since ages, India has been receiving cars from UK manufacturers (MINI, Rolls-Royce, Jaguar Land Rover, Bentley, etc) and it’s now time to return the favour. Renault has commenced exports of the Duster compact SUV to the UK markets. This entry level vehicle is manufactured at Renault-Nissan’s India facility in Chennai. The Duster is badged as a Dacia for the UK and is very similar to the one sold in India. The Duster is a massive hit in India, selling more than 5,000 units per month, which is more than 6 times that of the second best selling car (Scala, which is a re-badged Nissan Sunny) in Renault India’s portfolio. Read More >
A large crossover doesn’t have to be Mehta-approved to be a best-seller. Aesthetically, it need do little more than not look like a minivan, so owners can pretend to have lives apart from their offspring. By why be just a couple sliders away from fatally uncool when the brood could roll with the style of a MINI or Range Rover? To provide this option, four years ago Ford gave North American families the Flex. How could this combination of offbeat style and functionality not be a hit? Well, it hasn’t been, with sales about one-sixth those of the crosstown competition. One of two things generally follows such a failure: termination or revision. For 2013, Ford has opted for the latter.
With the stroke of a few pens putting signatures under a contract in Moscow today, then Renault-Nissan Alliance has become Russia’s largest automaker. The Alliance took control of AVTOVAZ, maker of the market-leading Lada brand. Lada holds 30 percent of Russia’s rapidly growing car market. Read More >