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Toyota has overtaken VW in global vehicle sales after releasing figures for the first nine months of 2015.
The Japanese automaker sold 7.5 million in the first three quarters of 2015, beating VW’s 7.43 million and General Motors’ 7.2 million.
After six months of 2015, VW was ahead of Toyota, in pole position for the first time.
VW’s emissions scandal emerged towards the end of September.
The discovery of software that was able to mislead emissions tests on diesel cars may have more effect on VW’s sales in the remainder of the year.
Toyota’s sales for the first nine months were 1.5% below the level at the same stage last year.
Toyota first overtook GM to take the top slot in 2008 and has kept it every year since, except 2011 when GM was the top seller after a tsunami in north-eastern Japan disrupted Toyota’s production.
Separately, there was relief for General Motors on October 25 when it reached an agreement with the United Auto Workers union, averting a threatened strike.
Details of the four-year labor deal were not released. It will now go to a vote of UAW leaders and then the union’s 52,700 workers at GM.
“We believe that this agreement will present stable long-term significant wage gains and job security commitments to UAW members now and in the future,” said UAW president Dennis Williams.
The union had threatened that it would terminate its existing contract at midnight Eastern time on October 25, meaning there could have been a strike.
With the current political agenda centred on whether or not the UK is experiencing any growth, one statistic in particular is capturing the attention of the media is the fact that new car sales rose 17.7% in March 2014, meaning that the UK has the fastest growing registration of new cars in Europe. 464,824 vehicles were sold in March, which is typically the busiest time of year for new car sales; 688,122 new cars have been sold so far this year.
UK’s new car sales rose 17.7 percent in March 2014 (photo PA)
There are plenty of reasons for this growth – some superficial, other less so. Consumer spending is rising and this is reflected in new car sales, but one point that seems far more pressing is the fact that the UK’s new car market is subject to all sorts of interesting new finance schemes. If you buy a new car these days, you’re often given the chance to pay a monthly rate for three years before trading in your car for a new model. To some degree you’re effectively leasing the car, but there’s always the option to buy.
Anyone who has bought a new car recently will probably be looking at it in terms of monthly payments, rather than the overall price on the ticket or the cars residual value – just like they would a mobile phone contract or a gym bill. It seems that personal contract purchases are now part of the fabric of everyday life, and the fact that the new car market in the UK is the first to jump on this wagon could either be seen as a good or a bad thing.
The UK car market is also surrounded by plenty of cheap credit which is encouraging people into the market and now they can feel the ‘green shoots of recovery’. Contract-type schemes are less prevalent in Europe where car sales have floundered over the last 6-10 years. Car sales in the EU region fell by 2.7% in 2013.
This is good news for used car sites such as CarShop, and the second hand car market as a whole. The stock of used cars will rise with the purchase of new ones, and there’s set to be some superb bargains. Cars like the Volkswagen Up, Skoda Citigo, Seat Mii, Ford Ka, Toyota Aygo and the Peugeot 107 reflect a new, more economical attitude to driving and many of these marks will now be flooding onto the second hand market as people upgrade or renew.
It’s also worth noting that sales of cars which run on alternative fuels rose by 63.8% to a significant 8,713. This figure might not be enough to show that the UK has turned the corner in terms of green energy, but it certainly illustrates that the hybrid car is a credible alternative.
Cuba has decided to ease restrictions on people buying foreign-made new and used cars, according to state media.
Cubans will no longer need government permits to buy modern cars from state sellers.
Until new regulations in 2011, people could only sell cars built before the 1959 revolution.
Private property has been severely restricted on the Communist country since 1959. The changes are part of a shake-up of Cuba’s struggling economy.
Following reforms adopted two years ago, Cubans can buy and sell used cars from each other, but must request authorization from the government to purchase a new vehicle or a second-hand one from state-controlled retailers.
Priority for the permits was given to people “in positions of benefit to the government”, such as doctors and diplomats.
Cuba has decided to ease restrictions on people buying foreign-made new and used cars
But the Communist Party newspaper, Granma, said the Council of Ministers approved new regulations on Wednesday that “eliminate existing mechanisms of approval for the purchase of motor vehicles from the state”.
As a result, the paper said: “The retail sale of new and used motorcycles, cars, vans, small trucks and mini buses for Cubans and foreign residents, companies and diplomats is freed up.”
People who already have permits are expected to be given priority, however. And buyers will still need to purchase vehicles through state retailers.
Cubans and foreigners will not be able to import their own cars.
The new regulations will be published in the official Gazette in the coming days and become law 30 days later, according to Reuters.
The move is part of a series of reforms driven by President Raul Castro aimed at updating the Cuban economic model.
President Raul Castro has championed limited free-market reforms since taking the reins of power from his brother Fidel in 2008.
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US car sales jump to near six-year high in August as consumers grew more confident about an economic recovery.
Sales jumped 17% from a year ago to 1.5 million vehicles. That translates to sales of some 16 million a year.
Japan’s carmakers Toyota, Honda and Nissan all increased sales by more than 20%. The US’s Ford, General Motors and Chrysler also saw double-digit growth.
US economic growth has been picking up pace indicating the world’s largest economy may be getting back on track.
Revised figures released last month showed that the US economy grew at an annualized pace of 2.5% in the second quarter of the year – more than double the pace recorded in the previous three months
Mustafa Mohatarem, chief economist at General Motors, said the robust sales pace “reflects the underlying fundamentals of the economy”.
US car sales jump to near six-year high in August as consumers grew more confident about an economic recovery
The US is the world’s second-biggest car market. However, the sector suffered i the years following the 2008 – 09 global financial crisis.
The crisis resulted in a sharp slowdown in the US economy and a rise in unemployment levels in the country.
Those factors dented consumer confidence and saw them cut back on their spending.
But the US economy has now been showing signs of a sustained recovery.
The jobless rate has been going down, while other key indicators such as manufacturing and property prices have been picking up.
Industry players said that had helped boost confidence among consumers.
They added that the sales were also being boosted by the fact that people need to replace ageing cars after putting off purchases in recent years in the wake of the crisis.
“People are just tired of waiting,” said Fred Diaz, US sales chief for Nissan.
“They need new transportation, and they’re feeling confident about the jobs and secure about their careers.”
The average age of vehicles in the US is currently at a record 11 years.
Porsche has announced it has already beaten its annual record for most cars sold.
The carmaker sold 128,978 cars worldwide in the 11 months to November – already beating the 118,868 sports cars sold in the whole of last year.
Porsche marketing and sales chief Bernhard Maier said that last month alone was up 39% on November 2011.
Demand came from China and the US, where there was 70% more demand for Porsches last month than in 2011.
The demand from other countries has picked up for slack demand in recession-hit Europe.
The result has been a 7.1% fall in car sales in Europe so far this year, with some southern European markets seeing sales slump by about a fifth.
Porsche sold 128,978 cars worldwide in the 11 months of 2012, already beating the 118,868 sports cars sold in the whole of last year
Premium carmakers, such as Porsche and BMW, and budget manufacturers, such as Hyundai, are doing relatively well. But mid-market players – such as Ford and General Motors’ Opel and Vauxhall units – are having a torrid time, suffering falling sales, profits and market shares.
David Bailey, a professor of international business strategy and economics at Coventry University Business School, told the BBC that Porsche’s success was driven by “huge growth in emerging markets”.
“The premium producers are doing very well and the lower end is doing well too. What you have is a bit of a squeezed middle.”
GM estimates it stands to lose more than $1.5 billion (1.2 billion euros) on its European operations this year. This week, it said it would end car production at its Bochum manufacturing plant in Germany in 2016.
“People want to be seen in a BMW or an Audi or a Mercedes, it’s a rapidly-developing consumer market,” said IHS Automotive analyst Tim Urquhart.
On Porsche, he said that the “Cayenne has really captured the imagination in the US and China”.
At the higher end of the car market, Italy’s Maserati sold 6,200 last year and said on Wednesday that sales in the first nine months of this year were up 2% to 4,754.
But it hopes to sell 50,000 Maserati a year by 2015. It plans to sell the sixth-generation of the four-door Maserati model, starting in the 150,000-euro range.
By comparison, a Ferrari starts at 20% below the Maserati. A Porsche Panamera costs from 77,000 to 166,000 euros.
Meanwhile, Indian-owned luxury carmaker Jaguar Land Rover said on Wednesday that it sold 324,184 vehicles during the first 11 months of the year, up 32% from the same period last year.
It is planning to set up a factory in Saudi Arabia and began construction of a factory in China last month.
In July, German mass-market rival Volkswagen agreed a deal to pay 4.46 billion euros ($5.6 billion) to buy the remaining 50.1% stake in Porsche it did not already own.
Volkswagen had acquired a 49.9% stake in Porsche in 2009.
Nissan has slashed its full-year profit forecast by 20% after car sales slumped in China amid anti-Japanese protests.
The Japanese carmaker now expects a net profit of 320 billion yen ($4 billion) for the year ending March 2013, down from an earlier estimate of 400 billion yen.
Nissan says car sales plunged 35% in China in September.
A territorial dispute between Japan and China over islands in the East China Sea has led consumers in China to boycott Japanese products.
Among Japanese carmakers, Nissan has been hardest hit by the anti-Japan sentiment.
Koji Endo, automotive analyst with Advanced Research Japan, said that close to 30% of Nissan’s vehicle sales come from China. By way of comparison, rival Toyota relies on China for about 10% of its global sales.
The company trimmed its 2012 China sales forecast to 1.175 million vehicles from a previous 1.35 million.
Nissan has slashed its full-year profit forecast by 20 percent after car sales slumped in China amid anti-Japanese protests
However, chief operating officer Toshiyuki Shiga said the company remains committed to China with no major changes in its long-term growth plans.
He did say, though, that it will assess future investments cautiously.
“We are gradually seeing signs of recovery [in China]. Customers are gradually coming back to dealerships,” Toshiyuki Shiga told reporters on Tuesday.
He said visitors to the company’s China dealerships were back to around 80% of pre-dispute levels, and orders were running at about 70%.
Nissan’s fortunes contrasted sharply with German carmaker BMW, which announced a record pre-tax profit of 2 billion euros ($2.5 billion) in the third quarter, thanks largely to booming sales in Asia.
The world’s largest luxury carmaker saw sales in China and Japan rise by 33% and 21.5% respectively in the nine months to the end of September.
Nissan said its setback in China was somewhat countered by growth in sales elsewhere, however, including in the US, Indonesia and India in the July-to-September quarter.
The company posted a net profit of 106 billion yen, an almost 8% rise compared with the same period last year.
Koji Endo said he remained optimistic about Nissan’s overall growth as the US market “seems to be very strong” for Nissan, and other Asian countries could also make up the shortfall in China.
“Asia is another very strong market especially in Thailand and Indonesia, Nissan seems to be aggressively investing in Thailand, so hopefully in the future, any weakness in the Chinese market can be offset by Thailand, Indonesia as well as in the US,” said Koji Endo.