A new low for European sales
Ford, PSA Peugeot Citroen and Toyota led European car sales to a new low in January, kicking off 2013 with an 8.5 per cent decline, the Association of European Automakers said yesterday. Registrations fell to 918,280 new cars, the Brussels-based industry body said in a statement, the slowest January since its records began in 1990.
Ford, which is cutting back its European production capacity with three plant closures to stem regional losses, recorded a 26 per cent sales plunge to 61,544 cars. Peugeot and Toyota posted the next-biggest declines among major automakers, dropping 16 per cent each.
After falling to a 17-year low in 2012, European car demand is expected to contract further this year. Most carmakers see the regional market shrinking between 3 and 5 per cent in 2013.
Despite weak demand at home, Volkswagen increased its share of European sales. Its registrations fell a more modes 5.5 percent, while the premium Audi nameplate fell just 2.1 percent. Its two German luxury rivals proved even more resilient, with BMW brand sales rising 9.4 percent and Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz gaining 4.7 percent. Sales by Renault’s low-cost Dacia brand rose 8.5 percent, limiting the group’s overall decline to 6.1 per cent.
New Range Rover may be out of many buyers’ price range
Land Rover’s imperious new Range Rover has arrived in Ireland this week, and this time it comes with a price tag that will cause some sharp intakes of breath. The new Range Rover range now starts where most cars’ price lists end. The least you’ll be able to spend is €119,355 for the 3.0 TDV6 model.
In some ways, though, you could consider that a bargain. No, really. For a start, the new Range Rover’s lighter construction (it has done an Operation Transformation on its kerb weight, thanks to an all-aluminium body and chassis, dropping from 2.5 tonnes to 2.1 tonnes) means that the 3.0-litre engine can now offer the same performance as the outgoing 4.4 V8 diesel, while emitting 196g/km of Co2.
For all that, though, Land Rover Ireland admits that selling a car with a minimum six-figure price tag is going to be no easy job.
“In 2012, just over 30 new vehicles were registered in Ireland with a price above €100,000, so obviously it’s a very challenging time to launch a prestigious model in the Irish Market,” said Eddie Kavanagh, general manager of Land Rover Ireland.
“However, the new Range Rover is a very desirable product and against this backdrop we were forecasting sales of 40 units for Range Rover prior to launch. However, with global demand now far exceeding supply, we have a sold order bank of over 20 units and are now forecasting sales of 60 units in the full year.”
Nissan strikes a competitive Note
Nissan has launched the new version of its Note family car and there’s a subtle difference in the way it’s going to be sold. Previously, the Note was a rival to the likes of the Opel Meriva and Citroen C3 Picasso – a mini MPV, in other words. Now, however, although Nissan has kept the outgoing car’s interior space, it’s going to be pitched as a more spacious rival to the likes of the Fiesta and Polo. The new Note will come with a choice of two petrol engines: a three-cylinder 1.2-litre and a more powerful supercharged version of the same unit, and an updated 1.5 diesel that will emit just 95g/km of Co2. It’ll also be offered with some high-end options, including collision avoidance radar and a birds-eye-view parking camera system. The new Note will make its public debut at the Geneva Motor Show next month and will go on sale in the summer.