A significant downturn in the Japanese auto market has been registered for the month of February, with a 50 percent drop in the number of cars manufactured for Sol Levante. This comes after the 41 percent drop experienced in January.
Nissan saw the greatest decline with a drop of 68.8 percent in vehicles destined for the local market, and a 37.8 percent drop in those headed for export. Mitsubishi and Toyota also followed with a 65 and 64 percent decline in the Japanese market.
Dramatic figures also come from Mazda and Honda with a drop of 54.6 and 48.4 percent respectively, while Suzuki is the only manufacturer managing to maintain decline at 19.6 percent.
Source | LeBlog Auto
The Chinese are well known for their efforts in adopting style and design across all products from other parts of the world, and hear we see a Chinese car copy of the Fiat Panda. Apparently the model pleases the local market, with Italy’s Repubblica newspaper reporting that the “Peri” will be produced and distributed in China after a High Court decision in Hebei rejected attempts to block the copy.
While perhaps questionable, the Fiat Panda Chinese copy will be restricted to that local market, with European exports prohibited and fines in place for any models that reach Western shores. With no further appeal possible, the Chinese “Peri” will be produced across the Asian territories.
As noted by the Repubblica, if the Fiat Panda copy is allowed, the Chinese could create a carbon copy of the entire list, composed of clones. After the jump is a digital comparison of the vehicles; the Chinese Panda’s future on the Asian market will be interesting to follow.
It may seem impossible with the current economic crisis to find a car manufacturer upbeat about 2009’s prospects for the car industry. But Alfa Romeo’s Luca de Meo is positive that the new year will be a good year for Alfa, especially with sales of the new MiTo, expected to reach between 60 and 70,000 units. 2009 will also herald the arrival of the new Alfa 149 in the final quarter, as well as an update on the 159 model.
If things go really well Alfa could even experience a sales increase on 2008, to between 115,000 and 120,000 cars. This is despite postponing the US Alfa launch, as the local market in Italy is likely to be the strongest with around 52,000 vehicles predicted to be sold. 2008 was a tough year for the Italian market, with the marketing director, Francesco Cimmino, saying that request was down on 2007 levels.
Source | La stampa
After only 92 sales from the previous month, it appears that even Ferrari sales are hit by the economic gloom around the world. Reports are also that Ferrari has laid off 300 workers (ten percent of the Ferrari workforce) and that the Christmas break from December 19 to January 7, having been criticised for being too generous in the first place, is in fact a stop in production.
According to Autocar however, Ferrari is denying any sales crisis, and is basing its decisions on economic nous given the current climate around the world. Some Ferrari models are building up in stock, especially in the UK which is a difficult market for the brand.
The F430 Spider is apparently suffering from the release of the California and the winter season, while Ferrari was relying on the one-to-one personalisation program to solve the stagnating sales problems of the 599 Fiorano and 612 Scaglietti.
While Ferrari will likely weather the storm well enough, it all depends on how long that storm lasts. Currently the 10,000 annual sales target for 2010 is looking a little ambitious.
Via | Autocar
While this material is more appropriate for Gossipblog.it, we’ve been watching the BMW difficulties with some interest. After news on the market crisis in the third quarter for BMW and the cancellation of the CS Concept, having an employee embroiled in a public extra-marital affair is hardly what is needed.
We leave out the details and hope that the Susanne Klattern affair doesn’t become a metaphor for the company’s future.
Via | Gossipblog.it
The biggest dealer in the world for the Lamborghini brand has closed its facilities at Orange County, leaving no communication as to the closure. This is according to the news reported by Jalopnik, from the Orange County Register.
“No comment” is basically the word from Vik Keuylian, owner of the dealership, contributing to the mystery surrounding the closure. Volkswagen hasn’t commented either, but it appears that poor business decisions, and not market downturn, may be the reason.
With the gates locked and offices empty, some Lamborghini owners have been left without service guarantees or any word on the future of their vehicles… Finding a good mechanic for your luxury car is always going to be a problem.
Source | Jalopnik
Fiat has presented its quarterly sales results with plenty of talk, considerations and future predictions. While the company says its well-equipped to confront 2009, this has nothing to do with the big news.
From the presenation slides, reproduced by the BorsaItaliana (Italian stock exchange), Fiat says: “The fundamental plan 2007-2010 will not be influenced by the temporary deviations foreseen for 2009, except for the return of Alfa Romeo to the US market, which has been postponed to 2011.”
So Alfa will not be celebrating its 100 years with the ambitious and much-awaited re-conquest of America, once again delaying an appointment with history. We’re a little disappointed, and will see how 2009 develops for the group.
Fiat could find itself in an interesting new partnership as Chrysler looks overseas to save the sinking ship. A collaboration with Tata Motors could also be on the cards as Chrysler attempts to enter the Asian and Indian markets with its Jeep Wrangler SUV.
As Fiat prepares itself for a re-launch in the US market, a trade off could be some extra production capacity from Chrysler. As Italy starts a new conquest in America, Chrysler is in stark contrast having announced significant financial loss and the closing down of its leasing business.
Via | Motorauthority.com
These two models weren’t on the list of Audi’s offerings: can it be that they forgot to add them? Surely not, even if the two in question, a compact SUV and a new supercar, will be destined for the US market, at least for the moment. The aim of 200,000 cars a year over the ocean needs to met as soon as possible.
Johan de Nysschen, executive vice president of Audi America, anticipates the compact SUV’s debut, smaller than the Q5: a kind of “lifestyle product” with a similar concept to the Toyota Rav4. “I think this segment will expand for some time,” says Nysschen, also revealing that they may eventually abandon the letter ‘Q’ after an agreement with Nissan: so this won’t be called Q3.
In the course of the same interview, a whispering about supercars also sparked some interest: it’s emerged that there will be the possibility of seeing a new supercar. It’s not clear whether the manager was referring to a change in the R8 (perhaps the spider or the V10).
It has also been revealed that the A1 has had its wings clipped: Nysschen has stated that the smaller car will not hit the US market in the first year of its life cycle.
With thanks to Bugatti&91
Via | Autoweek.com
Beautiful, comfortable, luxurious, sporty and well made - with this Class C Mercedes certainly has a feather in its cap to make record numbers. In fact, after only a year from its commercial debut on March 31 2007, the new car has sold about 300,000 units between the sedan version and the station wagon.
“The sedan had a brilliant start and, from its presentation, the station wagon was also very successful,” says Klaus Maier, executive vice president of sales and marketing. The numbers have taken the “C” to undisputed leader in its segment.