It’s true to say that February’s Car Makers Premier League (based on the SMMT figures for UK new car registrations in February 2009) makes very interesting reading. We have said goodbye to Kia and Land Rover who have been relegated because their February registration figures have taken them out of the top 20 and welcome Skoda and Suzuki who have taken their place.
Based on year-on-year comparisons the new “Man United” is Mazda with a remarkable 32% increase on February 2008’s registration figures. Hot on their heels are Toyota and Hyundai who both notched up increases on last year’s figures so it’s automakers from the far east that make up top three this month. That, however is where the good news evaporates as in fourth place is Nissan (that’s three Japanese manufacturers in the top four) with an 8 per cent drop in registrations compared to last February. Unfortunately it’s all downhill from there and down at the bottom our relegation places are taken up by Peugeot, newly promoted Skoda and the new “West Bromich Albion” Renault, with a whopping 44% decline in registrations.
Will Mazda still be at the top next month? Will Kia or Land Rover make a comeback? As March is a massive “six pointer” of a month expect some interesting developments.
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This months Car Maker in Focus is….
Volkswagen Passenger Cars, also known as VW, is an automobile manufacturer based in Wolfsburg, Germany and is the original as well as the largest brand by sales volume within the Volkswagen Group.
Volkswagen means “people’s car” in German and the concept of the Volkswagen was created in 1934 by Ferdinand Porsche as an affordable and reliable means of transport for everyone. Since those early days the company has developed to become a major global force in car manufacturing.
Volkswagen began introducing an array of new models after Bernd Pischetsrieder became Volkswagen Group CEO (responsible for all Group brands) in 2002. The fifth generation VW Golf was launched in 2004, came runner-up to the Fiat Panda in the 2004 European Car of the Year, and has spawned several cousins: SEAT Toledo, Škoda Octavia and Audi A3 hatchback ranges, as well as a new mini-MPV, the SEAT Altea. The GTI, a “hot hatchback” performance version of the Golf, boasts a 2.0 L Turbocharged FSI direct injection engine. VW began marketing the Golf under the Rabbit name once again in the U.S. and Canada in June 2006. (The GTI had arrived to North America four months earlier). The fifth-generation Jetta, and the performance version, the GLI, are also available in the United States and Canada. The sixth-generation Passat and the fifth-generation Jetta both debuted in 2005, and VW has announced plans to expand its lineup further by bringing back the Scirocco by 2008. Other models in Wolfgang Bernhard’s (Volkswagen brand CEO) “product offensive” include the Tiguan mid-sized SUV in 2008 and a Passat Coupé. In November 2006 Bernd Pischetsrieder announced his resignation as Volkswagen Group CEO, and was replaced by Audi worldwide CEO Martin Winterkorn at the beginning of 2007. Winterkorn is credited with making Audi a challenger to the dominance of BMW and Mercedes, and his design-led strategy has led to Audi being considered one of the most important brands in the world.
The current European lineup is:
* Caddy Life
* Golf Mk6
* Golf Plus
* Golf Variant
* Jetta Mk5
* New Beetle
* New Beetle Convertible
* Passat Mk6
* Passat CC
* Polo Mk4F