Archive for the 'Renault' Category

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.


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.


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.


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.




BMW Group


Around the ‘Ring in the GT-R

Sunday, November 22nd, 2009

No, it’s not a European car, but if you ever wanted a virtual test drive around the Nürburgring in a Nissan GT-R, well, here is your chance!

Dirk Schoysman gives PistonHeads a tour of the Nurburgring at the wheel of a Nissan GT-R


Early Fall auto news round-up

Saturday, November 7th, 2009



VW in an effort to promote the tons of eco-friendlier cars launched at IAA in Frankfurt in September has decided to pursue eco-sales with a new eco-friendly racing series. The company is starting a single-make racing series where all of the cars run on bio-produced compressed natural gas. The model used in the series is the new Scirocco and should reduce racetrack CO2 output by 80 per cent over today’s racing fuels. The 2.0-liter 4-cylinder cars will have 220 horsepower on tap. Not bad for an alt fuel car!


On other green fronts, VW Group is working with Stanford University in California in a US$5.75 million project to make VW the largest carmaker with R&D in Silicon Valley. Already the two companies have produced autonomous (read self-driving) versions of the VW Passat and now the Audi TT-S. The Audi TT-S will attempt to drive itself up the 14,110-foot Pike’s Peak next year, according Wired.



Audi’s Johan de Nysschen, critical of the Chevy Volt, took an interview with Time recently to express his views on the state of the luxury auto industry. He stated that Audi’s goal is to be the “top” German luxury manufacturer, but not necessarily in terms of sales. He also reiterated the push for more fuel-efficient vehicles leading to Zero emissions cars in the not so distant future.



Bugatti has unleashed a new concept car the 4-seat, 4-door (can you believe it???) Galibier 16C. Autocar magazine claims the production will start in 2013 at £900,000. We will believe it when we see it! Interestingly, the car’s engine will be the same as in the Veyron but will only sport 800BHP. Apparently, 200 get lost when adding 2 doors.


Rarely does Caterham make the news, except when they unleash new, wildly fun lightweight roadster, but unfortunately, Caterham’s found Graham Nearn died in late October. Nearn has been selling the then-titled Lotus 7 since its introduction in 1959, and then when the car was discontinued in 1973, Nearn bought the rights and has been producing the car ever since and in more exciting, evolving versions. You can even buy a kit and put a Caterham 7 together yourself. If you are not familiar with this brand, you should be!

Top Gear featured it in a segment awhile back:



Beyond the KM has previously marveled at the sales resiliency of the Ferrari nameplate. But even THIS economy has the prancing stallion kow-towing to the bear market of Wall Street.

Its third quarter results for 2009 showed revenues of 396 million euros (£359m) – down from 450m euros (£408m) in the same period last year. It sold 1454 cars, down 4.3 per cent year on year.

However, Ferrari announced that it has grown its market share in every market it monitors, against a drop in supercar sales of around 40 per cent.


Weekend Entertainment: French car ads, good for a laugh

Friday, November 28th, 2008

Oh those crazy French ads…always the same end, but always a different means…

Renault Losing Steam in the EU

Thursday, April 12th, 2007

It should come as no surprise to most that Renault’s number have been “off” in the EU. Many have argued that earlier success by Carlos Ghosn was due to lucky timing. At his arrival, Renault was in the midst of a product renaissance of sorts. The result of the company-wide product refresh was impressive sales, which included large profits. Fast forward to 2007 and the honeymoon is all but over for Ghosn.

Renault announced today that EU sales for March 2007 dropped 5.6% from March 2006. Sales for the Renault brand worldwide dropped 7.2%. Despite this, Renault still continues to have its largest market penetration in two EU countries, Romania and France.

While Renault struggled in the EU, the results were not so disappointing worldwide. In fact marketing and sales executives should be pleased that Renault has performed best in non-EU countries. On a Russian market that rose 11.5%, Renault confirmed its remarkable sales growth with a 63.2% increase thanks to the success of the Logan and the entire product line. Renault reported record sales in Algeria in the first quarter, up 29%. Renault continued to advance in the Americas, with sales rising by 10.6%. Sales were up 20% in Brazil and 75.1% in Venezuela. The biggest growth in the first quarter came from Argentina (+50.2%) and Venezuela (+87.8%).

The overall result may be disappointing to some at Renault but it is good news that European manufacturers can thrive outside of the EU. While the USA has long been a key market for the Germans, the French have long been outsiders in the USA, and show no signs of returning. Of course, Renault can always rely on Nissan if they need help across the pond. We would expect sales to be strong for the next months due to the latest product announcements, but Renault will have to improve in the EU, its core market, if it expects the year to go well.

Sources: Renault

2007 Renault/Dacia Logan

Renault F1 + Information Technology = Success

Wednesday, March 28th, 2007

You probably knew that Renault has been responsible for championships in F1 during the last two seasons. But did you know that Renault’s F1 team spends just one-fifth of other F1 teams?

Check out this link:

2007 Renault F1 Car

Cost Cutting Ahead for European and US Automakers

Wednesday, February 14th, 2007

The big news today was of course DaimlerChrysler has announced massive layoffs – 16% or 13,000 – of their total US workforce at the Chrysler division. One article here. The layoffs come as Chrysler division struggles to bring costs under control and at the same time roll out highly successful products. Of late, Daimler’s US brand has successfully rolled out well-designed products, some of which have certain cachet to American buyers. Still, they have struggled to find mass-market appeal in key vehicles such as the Chrysler Crossfire and the Aspen. Most successful has been the 300C. A large part of this success can attributed to the designers – and the customizers who seem to “pimp” nearly every Black 300C to hit the road. God knows they aren’t buying the car for the amazing handling and braking (perhaps the 300C is meant to be a drag racer).

To return to the main point, European manufacturers are looking to cut costs. Most notably the changes are affecting Peugeot. Both Renault and PSA Peugeot-Citroën have gone from strong product lineups a few years ago to abysmal performance today. Sales are off and both companies are working to improve. Renault with the key ownership of Nissan is in a much different position than Peugeot. 2006 results showed that Peugeot sales slipped .7% to 1,960,000 from 1,995,000 the year prior. In line with these results Peugeot axed the CEO at the beginning of the year and has installed former Airbus and Saint-Gobain executive Christian Streiff.

Unlike Nissan-Renault’s Carlos Ghosn, who seeks to develop broad global alliances, Streiff is seen as a master of cost cutting. It is widely speculated that such cost cutting could come in the form of plant closure in France, Spain, or the UK as noted by the Financial Times earlier this month. Streiff could take two different approaches or a hybrid. One option would be to sell or spin off certain parts of Peugeot’s vertically integrated infrastructure, thus freeing up cash flow and at the same time driving cost competition among suppliers. A second, less likely, approach would be to adopt the aforementioned alliance schematic that Ghosn has adopted at Nissan-Renault.

We will continue to research and write about this topic for future articles, but we would close by noting that the auto industry is nearly cyclical in nature. VW with its governance problems, and Fiat with problems in every area, were considered in recent years to be quite poor off. VW has made a great comeback with 9.3% sales increase and Fiat’s turn around is also worth noting. Bottom-line is that the French automakers may be a bit down, but they are certainly not out.

Sources: Financial Times, January 9, 2007.
Examples of the latest Peugeot

ING Loves Renault

Monday, January 29th, 2007

Maybe ING saw our posting and saw the benefit of a sponsorship with the Renault Formula 1 team. Maybe they are just making too much money and need to “make an investment.” Either way the Dutch Banking and Insurance giant has signed a 3-year deal with team Renault for some prime ad space, and name sponsorship, on the next series of cars.

It is quite clear that Formula One reaches far more people than NASCAR in the US or GT racing in Europe. Despite running 2007 sans Fernando Alonso (two-time F1 champion), Renault has a full-sponsorship. ING CEO Michel Tilmant is right to think that F1 is an opportunity to build the ING brand globally in a quick way. The Shell-Ferrari relationship is a similar example.

Lessons in brand management that when you spend marketing dollars, they should be spent to gain positive exposure for the brand. The idea is to associate the brand with a winning concept. Renault has certainly proven itself a winner the last two years. It is estimated that the contract was equivalent to 5% of ING’s global marketing budget. We estimate that such a deal is worth over $85 million per annum.

One final note: our earlier analysis stated that sponsorship opportunities would come as a result of big tobacco being forced out of F1 racing in most countries. That foresight has proven correct as ING will replace a number of previous Renault sponsors, including Japanese Tobacco.

The New Formula 1

Sunday, October 29th, 2006

For the last billion years, motor sports, and more specifically Formula 1, has been dominated quite solidly by Scuderia Ferrari and its hallowed driver, Michael Schumacher. Last weekend marked the end of Michael Schumacher’s career and the end of Scuderia Ferrari.

That’s not to say that Ferrari won’t be returning to racing next year. Quite the opposite, actually. Felipe Massa will return to Ferrari next year along with a new teammate, Kimi Raikkonen. Both racers have achieved great respect and success of the GP circuit. Ferrari, despite coming in second in the constructor’s championship this year, will be powering more vehicles for next year. Unfortunately for Scuderia Ferrari, much of the technical team that helped Michael Schumacher win dozens of races and six championships is splitting up.

With so many changes, on might ask: will Formula 1 ever be the same? To answer this is to realize which changes will be made. First, no Schumacher in 2007. Fernando Alonso may be the best driver next year, and for all we know, he may eventually become the best of all time, but he is unlikely to have the same pull or marketing appeal to the sport that Schumacher brought.

Second Renault and Ferrari are both suffering from major team changes at the end of this year. Renault stands to lose everything with the change of its champion drive. Ferrari is likely to be diluted by having to produce more engines for more teams, assembling a new management team, and leaving Massa to take over for a top driver.

Third and most importantly, the money that pours into Formula 1 will be changing. New EU rules outlaw the Marlboro type of advertising. These new rules have prompted an exodus from F1 by tobacco companies including British American Tobacco (producer of Lucky Strike cigarettes), once a title partner with the Honda team will exit. Marlboro has promised to stay on with Ferrari, but will be severely limited in advertising for the 2007 season onward. This regulation means that some teams will have a very difficult time finding major sponsors for next year. Formula 1 after all, is not cheap to run. On the upside, Speed TV in the U.S. has succeeded in paying a lot of money to the Formula 1 Administration to broadcast races next year, so no team is likely to be starving.

Massa Wins, Alonso is Champion, & Schumacher Goes Out in Glory

Sunday, October 22nd, 2006

There was little surprise in today’s final Formula 1 race of the season. There were however many retirements, several car failures and accidents.

The important story of the day was Felipe Massa’s win, the first by a Brazilian since Ayrton Senna in 1993 on the home track. Massa dominated from the beginning and finished with a substantial lead over Fernando Alonso who finished second followed by an impressive third place finish by Jensen Button.

The finish meant that Fernando Alonso won the 2006 F1 Championship and Renault walked away with the Constructor’s Championship. It also meanth that with Schumacher finishing fourth, up from his 10th place start, that Ferrari finished second in the Constructor’s competition.

As for Michael Schumacher, today marked his last F1 race, but also represented an impressive display of driving. Early in the race, Schumacher’s left rear tire was nicked resulting in a very early pit stop, costing him dearly. He rejoined at the back of the pack. Combined with several retirements and what can only be described as amazing driving, Schumacher worked his way from 17th (after the pit stop) to fourth by the end of the race.

It is the end of the 2006 season and the end of Schumacher’s career, but 2007 will hold new challenges for Formula 1 with many changes for many teams and changes to the sport, some of which will affect the business-side of Formula 1.

Check back soon when Beyond the KM discusses implications of changes that F1 will make over the break and how that will affect the sport.

Are European automakers the new Ford and GM? Part 1

Wednesday, October 11th, 2006

Change is afoot in corporate offices in Europe’s automakers. GM and Ford have struggled for many years now with the harsh realities of the global auto market. Now those realities are knocking on the doors of the European automakers. About two-thirds of Western Europe’s carmakers have seen changes in the executive suite in the last two years.

The reasons vary, e.g. BMW’s Helmut Panke left due to age restrictions, yet the BMW board failed to grant him a waive to allow him to drive the ultimate machine longer. The fact remains though that boardrooms and shareholders, alike, are concerned about increasing competition from the Far East.

Once a joke to respectable manufacturers, the Chinese automakers – led by Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC) and Nanjing Automobile – are increasingly competitive. The Chinese are increasingly developing more and more sophisticated facilities and borrowing more and more from the Europeans. Take American Axle and Manufacturing. AAM has been setting up new factories at breakneck pace. Indeed some of the intellectual property has been sold to the Chinese as well.

What all of this means is that the Chinese now have a way to produce good quality cars, yet sell them for next to nothing. Therein lies the problem not just for Renault and Peugeot and VW. Mercedes-Benz and BMW must be careful in their strategies since companies like Chery, is planning to bring their “luxury” automotives to the U.S. market soon. At $20,000 Mercedes and BMW are tracking the company, you can be sure. In the end, automakers will find difficulty in beating the Chinese on price. They must find other ways or they will falter as Ford and GM have done.

The next part in this topic will deal with possible strategies that the European automakers might develop to combat the competition from the east.