Thursday 15 October 2009

Kia & BMW sales soar globally, Land Rover sales rocket in UK

Kia has resisted the global economic downturn by posting a 40.4% increase in worldwide sales.

The South Korean brand reported year-on-year sales increases in every region, including China, North America and Europe, selling 155,223 units in September.

Kia shifted 9,772 cars in the UK in the same month, giving Kia a 2.66% market share in the UK, a new record for the manufacturer.

“We are pleased to see Kia post sales growth across all markets this month,” Hyoung-Keun Lee, president of Kia Motors said.

“Although scrappage programs in many key markets are currently being phased out, we are confident that we are well positioned for continued growth with our new, exciting product introductions that will continue into next year and beyond.”

BMW expects to finish 2009 in profit after posting its first year-on-year volume gain in September. The firm’s group sales last month were up 0.7% on last year’s levels to 122,354 vehicles. This was helped by a 9.5% growth in Mini sales, while BMW sales were down 1.2%.

Group sales chief Ian Robertson said in a statement: “There is a good chance that we will end this year with a moderate decrease in sales of only 10 to 15% from 2008 levels, despite difficult economic conditions overall.”

Robertson said barring any major economic setbacks, the upwards sales trend will continue for the rest of the year due to the launch of new models.

“Provided there are no economic setbacks, we should continue to make gains throughout the remaining months of the year -- not least thanks to the new BMW models X1 and 5-Series Gran Turismo, which will join our model range in late October,” he said.

Land Rover’s UK sales were up for the second consecutive month in September, a rise of 27% year-on-year.

Year-on-year Discovery sales were up 48%, Freelander sales by 37%, Range Rover sales by 25% and Range Rover Sport sales were up by 20%.

John Edwards, managing director, Land Rover, said: “It is encouraging that for the second consecutive month Land Rover has seen an improvement in sales figures.

“This is testimony to the outstanding success of the new 2010 model year vehicles and reflects a stability starting to return to the marketplace which is critical to the business.”

Ford’s monthly sales across its key 19 European markets rose 12.3% year-on-year in September, the fourth monthly rise in a row.

Ford’s market share in the markets is now at 10.1%, which is its highest for eight years and is also 0.8% higher than last month.

Ingvar Sviggum, Ford of Europe's head of marketing, sales and service, said: “Traditionally we expect Ford to have a good month in September given the surge of new car sales in the UK due to the registration plate change, but September 2009 has surpassed expectations.”

Ford’s sale have been boosted by strong demand for its cars under pan-European scrappage schemes, with new Fiesta and Ka models proving particular popular. Sviggum said Government intervention was still needed in European markets and the firm is concerned what effects the end of scrappage will bring.

In the first nine months, Ford sold 1.1 million vehicles in the 19 European markets, 4.5% lower than in the same period in 2008. This compares with a total industry decline of 9.7%.

Sviggum said Ford’s sales success had brought in good revenue for the firm.

“Ford has now gained nine months of year-over year monthly sales share improvement and month-on-month volume increases for the last four months,” he said.

“But market share and volume success are only valuable if they are achieved through high quality sales that generate good revenue, and we certainly saw that in September with retail sales accounting for 60% of Ford passenger car sales.”

Meanwhile, new car sales in China for September were up 84% year-on-year, helped by the success of government incentive packages.

New car sales for the month totalled 1.015 million units. In August, when sales were up 90%, the government introduced a £372bn designed to mask China from the global industry downturn in new car sales.

General Motors, which is the largest foreign firm selling in the country, doubled September sales from a year earlier to 181,148 vehicles. In the first nine months, it sold 1.29m, which surpasses the number for the whole of 2008. Volkswagen boosted nine-month China sales to 1.06m vehicles, beating the 1.02m it sold in the whole of 2008.

Chinese industry insiders claim the Government may withdraw the stimulus package by the end of the year to stop the market from growing too quickly.

“It may end them [stimulus packages] to prevent the industry from growing too quickly,” said a source. “The Government is probably worried that strong auto demand would put pressure on energy and raw-material supplies.” However, GM CEO Frtiz Henderson told reporters in Shanghai that he expected strong growth in China to continue.

“I don’t think for a second that it’s a blip,” he said, referring to the apparent artificially high growth in China compared to the rest of the world. “China will continue to grow at a very significant pace.”

Picture from Autocar 

European new car sales rose 6.3% year-on-year for September, a rise contributed to the continued success of scrappage incentive schemes across the continent.

Official figures released by the European automakers association ACEA said Germany had the largest increase, up 21% on last year, while Spain, France and the UK all saw double digit increases in sales.

In the first nine months of 2009, overall European sales were down 6.6% on last year to 1,946,161 units, with Germany, Austria and France the only countries to post year-on-year increases.

Europe’s largest manufacturers also saw increases in their sales in September. VW sales were up 15.4%, Skoda’s were up 12.3% and Renault saw a 21.1% increase.

Although scrappage has helped manufacturers of smaller cars, premium manufacturers are still seeing their sales plunge. Audi’s year-on-year sales were down 23.4%, Mercedes’ were down 11.4% and BMW’s 2.3%.

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