7 Aug 2012

Car sales on the rise. BMW, Mercedes, Toyota, Ford, Fiat and VW all claim increasing sales

In these times of austerity it seems the larger automobile manufacturers are bucking the trend and shifting lots of new cars.

Recent figures released by BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, Ford, Fiat and Volkswagen would suggest they are all seeing increased sales compared to twelve months ago.

BMW claims to have had it's best July ever, shifting 135,537 cars worldwide in the month, increasing sales by 5% compared to July last year.  BMW also claim to have sold 1,036,088 cars in the first seven months of the year - a 7.2% increase since the same time last year - and the first time they have sold more than a million cars from January through to July.  Most of these increased sales came from Japan, Korea, China, America and Russia whereas sales in Europe were down 2.4%.  Worringly BMW motorcycle sales were down quite substantially on last year.  For the first seven months BMW Motorrad sold 3.2% less bikes than in 2011.

Mercedes-Benz have released figures for the UK market.  They claim 6,568 cars sold in July, an 11.3% rise on the year before, and 53,813 total cars sold January to July - a 13.7% rise on the same time last year.

Volkswagen's figures dwarf those of BMW and Mercedes-Benz put together.  They haven't released July only figures but say that they have sold 4.6million cars from January to July which is a 12.4% increase over the previous year.  This breaks down into VW - 2.4million , Audi - 678,000, Skoda - 408,000, Seat - 218,000 and Bentley 5000 with the balance coming from commercial sales.  All VW group brands have increased their sales since 2011.  Volkswagen boast of a €6.1billion trading profit with net liquidity of €14.9billion.

Toyota have released UK only figures.  They sold 5740 cars in July which is 25.1% more than last year.  In January to July Toyota sold 51,000 cars which represents a 18.98% growth over the year before.

Fiat group's figures are mainly financial although they do claim to have sold 1.1million cars worldwide January to July.  They made a loss in Q1 but a €1billion net profit in Q2 brought debt down to €5.4billion.  Interestingly Ferrari shipped 1,931 cars in Q2 and made a €92million trading profit in that quarter.  From the figures it seems Fiat's loss in Q1 was caused by the European market, which also made a loss in Q2.

Ford sold 1,201,564 cars from January to July in the UK - up 3.5%.  In July alone they sold 18,527 cars - a 1.6% increase.

What the above figures don't tell us is how financially healthy the manufacturers are with the exception of VW group (very healthy) and FIAT group (not very healthy but improving).  But what they do tell us is that the major manufacturers seem to be performing well in terms of punting units out of showrooms.  In other words they are all selling more cars.

And this can only be a good thing.  They are all having to increase investment in renewable technologies and alternative power-trains.  They are all suffering increased regulations on safety and the use of recycled materials.  And they are all facing an ever competitive market where industrial processes have to be fine tuned to shave time and money from manufacturing.

Modern cars are fast, efficient, safe and immensely superior to the machines they were selling us thirty years ago.  If we look at the above figures on face value the UK and worldwide automotive industry seems to be in relatively healthy shape.