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Market Insight: January winners and losers

Stepping up: Demand and ready availability of Renault SUVs – including its new Arkana (pictured) – helped the French brand notch up a 150 per cent sales increase last month.

Challenger brands benefit in battle against chip shortages and ongoing pandemic


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14 Feb 2022

JANUARY was a mixed bag of winners and losers, with the latter outweighing the brands that increased sales.


On a year-on-year basis, big losers were hit by poor parts availability during production, bottlenecks in delivery, some hiccups at the retail level and, overwhelmingly, by so much demand that factories could not keep up.


Even though the total vehicle market in January was down 4.8 per cent, that result was attributed to vehicles simply not being available.


Through the gloom there were winners and in certain cases, the manufacturers that lifted sales were in the right spot at the right time.


Burgeoning luxury marque Genesis recorded a 433.3 per cent rise on the previous corresponding month as it sold 80 cars in January, up 65 units.


French brands also benefited, Renault jumping 150 per cent on its new Arkana and demand for the Captur and Koleos while Peugeot was up 72 per cent as its new range hit it off with buyers and Citroen was up 70.6 per cent. 


MG lifted 46.9 per cent and fellow Chinese manufacturer LDV was up 36.6 per cent, while South Korean challenger brand SsangYong was up 44.6 per cent.


Some buyers, who may not have previously considered these brands, turned up at the showroom after being told their first-choice car would have a substantial wait time.


Even pockets of the luxury sector did well, with Maserati up 22.2 per cent and Ferrari up 25 per cent.


Of the mainstream players, Mitsubishi rose 26.1 per cent, mainly on strong interest in its latest Outlander, healthy Triton sales and the run-out of its Mirage.


For car manufacturers and retailers, these results augur well for the future when demand will remain strong – with the only qualifier being how long the inequity of supply and demand will last.


Overall, small wins were made in the segments of 4x4 utes (up 1.3 per cent); light SUVs (up 0.5 per cent); medium SUVs (up 0.9 per cent) and micro cars (up 0.3 per cent).


People movers and the medium passenger car category both rose 0.2 per cent, gains for the latter a surprise given the historical move away from mid-size sedans.


The mid-size sedan segment was pushed along by Camry, Passat and Mercedes-Benz’s CLA Class.


Against this backdrop, the small passenger car segment took a surprising hit of 3 per cent while upper-large SUVs fell 1.2 per cent and the sports category slipped 0.3 per cent.


Individual brands to feel the heat included Jaguar (down 37.7 per cent) and its sibling Land Rover (off 36.8 per cent). 


JLR spokesperson James Scrimshaw echoed the situation of other brands, with the semiconductor shortfall and delays in production and distribution attributed to reduced workers because of COVID-19.


He said that demand, meanwhile, was very strong and the sales figures were a result of the company’s inability to deliver cars to customers as quickly as it had in the past.


Some other luxury and prestige brands to feel the pinch were Audi (down 46 per cent); Lexus (down 29.1 per cent); Mini (down 39.4 per cent); and Porsche (down 31.6 per cent).


The upper level manufacturers did not escape either, with Rolls-Royce unable to deliver in January, Aston Martin down 53.3 per cent, Bentley down 70.6 per cent, Lamborghini down 91.7 per cent and McLaren off 20 per cent.


Some of the less-expensive brands had a rough January also. Nissan fell 37.9 per cent and reported that its factory produced no Patrols in November; Hyundai was off 13.8 per cent, Honda was down 48.8 per cent, Skoda dipped 63.4 per cent and Volkswagen was short by 43.9 per cent.

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