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Famous Cars from British Films and Television

Friday, October 4th, 2013

Infographic via Jennings Motor Group Click Image to Enlarge.

Keep Calm And Drive On

2012 European Automotive Recap

Monday, January 14th, 2013

The "all-new" MINI for 2014?

Well, it’s mid-January 2013, and partly because automakers have just announced 2012 whole year sales figures, and those at the bottom of the pile will no doubt be slashing prices to make up for a lackluster year of sales. That means it is a pretty good month to buy a car.

So how good/bad were those sales figures?

Let’s start with Lotus. Thanks to Dany Bahar, the company has set its sights on selling 4000-5000 cars annually by 2015. That is a drop in the bucket for a giant like German Volkswagen or even sports car maker Porsche, but Lotus has a long way to go, and will need to expand their sales five-fold over the 1043 cars sold in 2012. Incidentally, the company sold significantly more cars previously, 1457 in 2011, but the company had a delay on the Exige S production, forcing a huge drop. No doubt some Exige customers are a bit miffed about the extra wait, though they will rest easier knowing that it was reportedly a delay due to a quality overhaul.

Autocar is reporting that the generation-three MINI is about 12 months away, and that figure couldn’t come sooner. Apparently, the car will feature serious improvements from the ground up. As a driver of the 2009 MINI Cooper S, all I can say is that they ought to focus on the interior or I won’t be buying a second one. The third generation is the perfect opportunity to go through the cabin, and reduce the number of plastic pieces which cause the excessive rumbling and rattling and squeaking that my and many other MINIs suffer from. The solution is a combination of more leather, fewer hard plastic pieces, and fewer number of parts overall on the interior. The attached photo seems to indicate some serious design changes as well, but let’s hope we see less black plastic trim outside, rather than MORE, as the picture would indicate. Incidentally, MINI and BMW combined hope to sell near 1,000,000 per year by 2020. Currently MINI is selling about 300,000 cars per year, but they do hope to increase that figure by 50% in the not-so-distant future.

BMW Group as a whole did record business. 1,845,186 BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce vehicles were delivered worldwide. This was an increase of 10.6% over the previous record year in 2011 (1,668,982). BMW brand sales rose 11.6% in 2012 to reach 1,540,085 vehicles, again, a record (2011 totals reached 1,380,384).

  • BMW Group member Rolls-Royce saw another record (the third straight year!). 3,575 cars were delivered to customers in 2012, the highest annual sales in the 108-year history of the marque and the third consecutive record year.
  • Expansion into new markets – Rolls-Royce motor cars are now sold in more than 40 countries worldwide.
  • United States overtakes China to regain number one regional position.

VW’s U.S. numbers were really quite good for 2012, 438,000 units, and worldwide deliveries in 2012 rose 11 percent to 9.07 million vehicles, the Wolfsburg, Germany-based company said in a statement today. With last year’s gains, the maker of VW, Audi and Porsche vehicles has increased annual deliveries 44 percent since 2009.

DECEMBER 2012 SALES

VW US SNAPSHOT –YTD–
Model Line Dec. ’12 Actual Dec. ’11 Actual Yr/Yr % change Dec. ’12 YTD Actual Dec. ’11 YTD Actual Yr/Yr % change
Golf 1,477 1,411 4.7% 20,677 17,839 15.9%
GTI 1,085 1,332 -18.5% 16,314 16,867 -3.3%
Golf R 292 N/A N/A 3,894 N/A N/A
Total Golf/GTI 2,854 2,743 4.0% 40,885 34,706 17.8%
Jetta 13,102 12,422 5.5% 146,478 150,515 -2.7%
SportWagen 2,559 2,000 28% 23,946 26,845 -10.8%
Total Jetta 15,661 14,422 8.6% 170,424 177,360 -3.9%
Beetle 2,666 1,530 74.2 28,654 5,626 409.3%
NBC 516 1 51,5000.0% 520 842 -38.2%
Total New Beetle 3,182 1,531 107.8% 29,174 6,468 351.1%
Eos 372 419 -11.2% 6,214 7,533 -17.5%
Passat 14,462 6,884 110.1% 117,023 22,779 413.7%
Passat Wagon N/A N/A N/A N/A 56 -100.0%
Total Passat 14,462 6,884 110.1% 117,023 22,835 412.5%
CC 2,196 2,450 -10.4% 21,646 29,502 -26.6%
Tiguan 3,310 2,403 37.7% 31,731 25,990 22.1%
Touareg 1,408 1,117 26.1% 10,553 7,535 40.1%
Routan 560 533 5.1% 10,483 12,473 -16.0%
Total Sales 44,005 32,502 35.4% 438,133 324,402 35.1%

Sister company Audi reached U.S. sales of 140,000 for 2012. Interestingly highline imports to the U.S. market accounted for approximately 1.4million cars out of 14.4 million sold overall. Worldwide, however, Audi did quite well with 1.455m units shifted in 2012.

Porsche had a stellar 2012. We’ve seen conflicting reports from Porsche, first saying they were hiring, then saying they were putting a halt, so it’s not quite clear what the internal dynamics of the company are at this time, but the 918 supercar remains on track and Porsche reports it added 30 percent staff in the last year (bringing the total to 17,000). Record worldwide sales of 141,075 were an 18.7% increase over the 2011 record year of 118,868 vehicles. No doubt, China is fueling a large percentage of these records as it sold a record 31,205. Somewhat surprisingly, the largest Porsche market remains the U.S. with 35,043 sales. Due to the new 911 seeing the showroom, 911 series model sales shot up 31.4% and the Boxster, which also received a refresh, saw sales up 29.1%. On the downside, the father of the 911, the Ferdinand Porsche died in 2012, and Dr. Wolfgang Porsche took over as Chairman of the Supervisory board.

Porsche Deliveries December Fiscal year
2012 2011 Variance (%) 2012 2011 Variance (%)
World 12,097 9,159 32.1 141,075 118,868 18.7
Europe 4,674 4,149 12.7 49,639 43,748 13.5
Germany 1,387 1,102 25.9 17,487 14,959 16.9
America 3,479 2,061 68.8 41,060 34,350 19.5
USA 2,952 1,834 61.0 35,043 29,023 20.7
Asia-Pacific 3,944 2,949 33.7 50,376 40,770 23.6
China 1,937 1,867 3.7 31,205 24,340 28.2

Bentley saw worldwide growth of 22% in 2012 to 8,510. 2011 saw 7,003 sales.

Bentley:

The Americas finished 2012 as Bentley’s largest global market, with 2,457 cars delivered to customers in the region, a 22% increase on 2011 (2,021 cars). China followed closely with 2,253 cars delivered, Bentley’s largest ever volume in the region and a 23% increase on 2011 (1,839 cars).

In Europe, deliveries grew by 12% with 1,333 cars delivered to customers (1,187 in 2011). The increasing popularity of the Bentley brand in growing markets like Russia, where deliveries were up 37%, contributed to the strong performance of the region. In the UK, 1,104 cars were delivered to customers, a 7% increase on the previous year (1,031 cars).

The Middle East region performed very well with deliveries up 44% to 815 cars (566 in 2011). Asia Pacific also increased its deliveries by 44% to 358 cars (249 in 2011). Finally Japan saw exceptional growth of 73% with 190 deliveries (110 in 2011).”

Following record sales in the previous year, Mercedes-Benz Cars has once again posted an annual record in 2012 as well as the highest December sales to date. Over the past twelve months, 1,423,835 customers chose a vehicle of the brands Mercedes-Benz, smart and Maybach. The previous year’s sales volumes were thus exceeded by 4.5% or 60,901 units. Also Mercedes-Benz achieved a new sales record in 2012. From January through December, a total of 1,320,097 vehicles of the core brand (Mercedes-Benz) were sold.

Overview of sales by Mercedes-Benz Cars

December 2012 Change in % as of December 2012 Change in %
Mercedes-Benz 125,234 +0.7 1,320,097 +4.7
smart 7,355 -4.0 103,738 +1.7
Mercedes-Benz Cars 132,589 +0.4 1,423,835 +4.5
Mercedes-Benz sales by market
Western Europe 47,195 -3.8 554,797 +0.6
- thereof Germany 22,691 -10.3 261,084 -0.4
NAFTA region 31,872 +10.1 311,547 +11.3
- thereof USA 28,145 +9.5 274,134 +11.8
Asia/Pacific region 33,805 -6.6 337,102 +5.1
- thereof Japan 5,234 +33.3 40,488 +24.9
- thereof China 18,910 -18.6 196,211 +1.5

In Europe, Renault had a tough year. It looked something like this:

Full year 2012 VOLUMES Var vs 2011

(in %)

MS %
RENAULT GROUP PC+LCV 551 334 -19,8% 24,2%
RENAULT GROUP PC 424 147 -22,1% 22,3%
RENAULT GROUP LCV 127 187 -10,8% 33,1%
RENAULT PC 343 355 -24,7% 18,1%
RENAULT LCV 123 455 -10,1% 32,1%
DACIA PC 80 792 -9,2% 4,3%
DACIA LCV 3 732 -29,6% 1,0%

Note, PC=Cars

LCV=Light Commercial Vehicles

Peugeot’s sales were down, as was their media web site. I did find out from Bloomberg that their sales were down 17% to 2.97 million car sales. Twelve-month sales slid 6.1 percent to 1.56 million vehicles at the Peugeot brand and 12 percent to 1.27 million autos at the Citroen marque.

Jaguar Land Rover saw a great year with sales up 30%. Jaguar Land Rover sales totaled 357,773 vehicles in 2012. It plans to add 800 jobs to support development of new models. The brands sold 71,940 vehicles in China last year, up 71 percent, surpassing sales in the U.K. at 68,333 and the U.S. at 55,675. Land Rover global deliveries rose 36 percent last year, while Jaguar sales increased 6 percent. In the U.S., Land Rover sales climbed 15 percent to 43,664 while Jaguar fell 2.2 percent to 12,011, the company said Jan. 3.

Conclusion:

2012 looked good for many automakers. The French clearly need a kick in the pants, but everyone else seems to being playing the game well. Barring any economic issues like the Euro or dollar collapsing, we may continue to see sales increased in 2013 as consumers get more comfortable with the climate.

Sources:

http://www.autocar.co.uk/car-news/industry/lotus-plans-five-fold-sales-increase

http://www.autocar.co.uk/car-news/new-cars/new-mini-set-2014-launch

http://www.autocar.co.uk/blogs/detroit-motor-show-2013/volkswagens-us-ambitions

Porsche

Bentley

BMW Group

Rolls-Royce

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-01-09/peugeot-2012-vehicle-sales-drop-17-on-europen-car-market.html

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-01-13/volkswagen-sees-tougher-competition-after-record-sales-in-2012.html

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-01-13/jaguar-land-rover-says-its-global-sales-rose-30-in-2012.html

European investment in green cars is all the rage!

Thursday, April 16th, 2009

 

Mercedes E-class BlueTec Hybrid

Mercedes E-class BlueTec Hybrid

 

 

Without a doubt, the EU has become the leader in improving the pollution problem for the automotive sector. Recently the U.S. put in a 27.3 mpg average fleet requirement for 2011. Please see: http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov for the latest information and the impact analysis. But is the change enough to get us on the right track? How exactly do carmakers implement changes in their fleet to address the higher requirements?

The European Union defines specific emissions targets for the following 5 years as the following:

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Competitive advantage: “No-Worry Maintenance” programs

Sunday, April 27th, 2008

For most of the decade now BMW has enjoyed a distinct competitive advantage – at least in the American market. They have offered a four-year, 50,000 mile maintenance-cost-free program called “BMW Ultimate Service”. The service includes free replacement of:

  • Brake Pads
  • Brake Rotors
  • Wiper Blades
  • Scheduled Maintenance (as outlined in the owner’s manual)
  • Oil Changes/topping up of fluids
  • Roadside Maintenance

It’s worth noting that BMW parts are generally well-made, and will not typically require new pads and rotors in this 50,000 miles. Still, it’s nice to know you’re covered. It’s also worth noting what the program does NOT include: tyres and alignment for starters. 

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Historic Day at Aston Martin

Wednesday, July 18th, 2007

Few companies are as steeped in tradition and history as Aston Martin. Following the post-World War II buyout of Aston by Sir David Brown (of DB designation), the company opened a factory, Newport Pagnell, in 1954.

The facility has seen the almost all modern Astons pass through it’s door, but as of July 19, all Astons will be built at the new facility opened in 2003 in Gaydon, Warwickshire, England.

Sean Connery as James Bond next to the Aston Martin DB5.

With the recent consortium buyout of Aston Martin, coupled with the upcoming sale of Land Rover/Jaguar, the factory’s future is uncertain. From a strategic perspective, Aston will be well served by their current factory, which produces DB9s and V8 Vantages. In the future it will produce the DBS, the successor to the now retiring Vanquish line.

Jaguar and Land Rover will likely also have to move their product elsewhere, but Jaguar could probably stand to cut some production as demand has waned in recent years, in part due to a very aged product line. Both the S-type and X-type are due for major overhauls, though the lack of success in the X-type may prompt its demise from the company altogether.

Weekend Video: Radar Love

Sunday, May 6th, 2007

To wind down the weekend, BTKM located a video from Golden Earring. The perennial classic is Radar Love. Turns out Dan Neil of the L.A. Times covered this topic earlier in the week:

HIGHWAY stripes are 10 feet long and 30 feet apart. That means one stripe every 40 feet. No one really knows how this fundamental increment of civil engineering came to be. Well, I say no one knows — I’m sure somebody knows, but that person works in the historical division of the federal Department of Transportation.

This is a person to avoid at parties.

There are some wondrous synchronisms hidden in that white-stripe measure. At 55 mph, for instance, a car is traveling 80.66 feet per second, which means that two white stripes slip by every second. This tempo — 120 “beats” per minute — syncs up almost exactly with what is widely regarded as the best driving song ever, “Radar Love” by Golden Earring.

Fair enough, Dan. To get a feel for what he’s talking about, check out the video:

Enjoy!

Source: http://www.latimes.com/classified/automotive/highway1/la-hy-neil2may02,0,3863527.story?track=rss

Aston Martin: A Perfect Fit For Prodrive?

Wednesday, March 14th, 2007

On Monday, Ford announced that they sold their profitable brand Aston Martin to a consortium of buyers, including the owner of racing competitor Prodrive of the UK. This means that Aston now goes back to British ownership – at least partly. In addition, a well-known Aston Martin collector is investing in the buyout as well as two well-financed investment companies Adeem Investment Co. and Investment Dar, both of Kuwait. Ford will retain US$ 77 million (about 8.5% of the company). The whole deal is worth $925 in much needed cash for Ford Motor Company. Ford will still retain three brands in its Premier Auto Group: Volvo, Land Rover, and Jaguar. Ford has previously stated that Jaguar is losing money, and Land Rover (despite widespread quality problems) is said to be profitable. Both are known “British” companies.

As for Aston, we can expect to see some leverage on the buy-side of this deal. It is unclear if the two Kuwaiti investment companies are planning long-term investments, but a lot of leverage could mean a quick turn-around. Unlikely would be for David Richards, the chairman and founder of Prodrive, and John Sinders an Aston collector and racing backer, to resell the company in the short-term. Both seem to view this as a long-term investment.

Strategically, Ulrich Bez will remain the CEO of Aston Martin, and will continue to drive the product lineup in the future with the Rapide, a four-door Aston Martin, which will compete against the Maserati Quattroporte and the Porsche Panamera (due out in 2009). We should expect that plans for the Rapide will be accelerated to generate more revenue and better return on investment over the next few years.

On a final note, for those surprised by the Prodrive investment, we should note that Prodrive has considered investment in a production vehicle before. The well-known racing company commissioned a technologically advanced vehicle, the Prodrive P2. Prodrive couldn’t be bothered to put the sophisticated car into production, but we could view the purchase of Aston Martin as a foray into production sports cars. No doubt we could see Prodrive technology in future Aston Martins, thus giving Aston a specific product advantage.

Source:http://media.ford.com/newsroom/release_display.cfm?release=25635

Thoughts on Ford’s PAG

Thursday, March 1st, 2007

The Financial Times first reported in early January that Ford was considering selling the Jaguar unit of the Ford Premier Auto Group, the Ford Company’s luxury division. Jaguar has been in the Ford stable since the 1980s, the same decade that Ford began to assemble the PAG.

Alan Mulally told the FT, “All good businesses continually review their portfolio, and we will continue to evaluate ours going forward.” Good plan Alan! With that statement Ford is on the right track. But then again this statement comes weeks after Ford announced that they were looking for buyers of the Aston Martin name, PAG’s ultra luxury supercar division. Oddly, Ford’ Don LeClair told the FT just days later that Jaguar was NOT for sale. Clearly, Ford needs to get the corporate message packaged cohesively.

And that leads use to wonder if Ford is really taking its own advice. In evaluating the reasons for the sale, it is of no doubt that Ford is looking to sell the now profitable Aston Martin because it needs cash flow. A sale would generate short-term cash flow. This much is true. Still, Ford needs to consider the long-term ramifications of this decision. Aston gives Ford some degree of legitimacy in international racing, and no doubt Aston Martin in far more profitable than it has been in the past.

Ford has done an excellent job of turning around Aston Martin, which made only 43 cars in 1993. 2006 resulted in over 5000 Aston Martin sales. This is much contrasted with Ford’s 1989 purchase of Jaguar. Jaguar has struggled since its inception, and has yet to make any money for the PAG. It does however represent a Ford’s prestige motorcar presence in the auto industry. It is the only luxury auto unit that Ford runs outside of the USA, and the only one which is known and respected worldwide.

Regardless of what happens to Aston Martin and Jaguar, you can bet that Ford’s PAG will attempt to keep Volvo and Land Rover, both of which are profitable, in its portfolio. As we have said before, a sale of Aston Martin is mistake, and as likely is a sale of Jaguar.

Jeremy Clarkson on Germany

Friday, January 12th, 2007

Some weekend enjoyment for you…

From Jeremy Clarkson’s “Meet the Neighbours” series.
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=563403645604465846

The End of an Era, the End of the Ford Taurus

Friday, October 20th, 2006

It was brought to our attention today that Ford Motor Company is bringing the end of the Ford Taurus sedan next week after 21 years, and 7 million units sold.

Our feelings on this: AMEN! The demise of the Ford Taurus was due long ago. Popular or not, the design got old and the car lost its appeal.

Then again it was only inevitable after FoMoCo’s Jaguar unite opted to style the front of the latest XK after that of the Taurus. Like we said, LONG overdue!

Thanks Ford!

Commentary on the Possible Sale of Aston Martin

Thursday, October 19th, 2006

In 1986, Ford Motor Company bought 75 per cent of Aston Martin. In 1993, they bought the rest of the company from Victor Gauntlett. Since then, Aston Martin has been turned upside down. Barely is the company recognizable to fans of the Aston of yesteryear. Today the company is lean, innovative, and more or less profitable. The brand is stronger than ever, as are the sales figures.

In a lot of ways, the acquisition of Aston into Ford’s Premier Automotive Group was strategically sound long-term investment. Ford had needed a well-known company to purchase, one which could be bought on the cheap and turned around to reap long-term profits. The secondary benefit is that Aston brought a super car to the company that lacked one. Additionally technology that has started in Aston as motorsports technology has filtered down. Some technology has also been filtered to other companies in the Premier Auto Group portfolio. The Aston shares many design concepts and parts with Jaguar. Both companies are located in the West Midlands in what was long considered the heart of the British auto industry.

Aston Martin also had long-term potential in motorsports. In fact, Aston announced in 2003 that they would bring the marque to Le Mans starting in 2005. The efforts in motorsports and in rejuvenating the production car lineup have proven fruitful in adding value to the brand.

Despite all of the benefits of having Aston in the Premier Auto Group, Ford announced at the end of October plans to sell the luxury sports carmaker in an effort to raise capital. The question is: “is now the best time?” Hindsight is always 20/20, but the question is certainly valid. Ford has serious financial problems, to be sure, but dumping companies in which they have invested serious time and money to resolve short-term problems seems absurd. The fact is, Ford isn’t suffering because of Aston Martin, they are benefiting from having the company in the portfolio. Selling this company at this juncture with growth almost certain would be a bad move.

In a future posting, BeyondTheKM will examine the strategic moves that Ford may take in securing the future of the Premier Auto Group.