Yes, you read correctly, and it is no use you get excited – I’m referring to the pro Germans (VW e.n.). The numbers speak clearly, whether you like it or not!
But what is surprising is how the news is virtually absent from any type of media; then perhaps we can find some painful – but true – explanation without a particular effort.
Thanks to our friends at carsitaly.net I received the official sales data of 348 models of cars sold in Europe throughout 2012. Mentioning Europe we mean Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the UK. (source: autoweek.nl and chooseauto.cm.cn)
In 2012 were registered 185,250 Fiat Panda and 113,809 VW Up!
Some might argue that in fact there are also Seat Mii and Skoda Citigo (are the same product). Well let’s consider the volumes of 18,822 Mii and 27,728 Citigo. Summing these figures the total is 160,359. A difference of 24,891 pieces in favor of Panda.
Well these are the official figures, but let’s make a few steps back at the end of 2011 – beginning of 2012.
All the magazines (and I highlight all …), blogs but especially the printed media, were competing each other to make exceptional reviews on the new Volkswagen Up! (to be precise we are talking about the three doors version).
Now, if it is true that for every Marketing department its own product is the best in the world, I wonder how renowned editors have bravely published enthusiastic reviews on a certainly likeable car, but with a number of limitations – sometimes abysmal – with regard to competitors.
And we reached the absurd when there were the main stream media lauding a small three doors city car with no memory seats, internal frame in view, swinging rear windows (even in the five doors version), not at all economic, as if it were the synthesis of the VW know-how, and the independent forums literally crushed it! Not to mention that since March there were already km0 cars available and the following summer there were also promotional sales with 24% discount.
What was supposed to be the “killer car” for the competition with Fiat, was an half-flop which only the power of VW could sustain.
Despite the release of multiple versions, throughout 2012, the numbers are not significant, especially if we consider that an “old” Fiat 500 (not including the L version) still sells 147,198 units across Europe.
And even in the beginning of 2013 the trend does not invert if it is true that Panda enters the Top Ten European Sales for the month of January with 14,307 sales (-5.5%) (source: Jato Dynamics)…
I will let you perform the analysis of these figures, giving you a few tips:
1) Launch of a product with high expectations, not at all maintained;
2) Presidium of a segment whose characteristics are diametrically opposite with respect to segments where VW is instead undisputed leader;
3) Lack of diversification, even from the marketing point of view, among the three products Up!, Mii and Citigo, and their powertrain variations.
What is interesting, in my opinion, is to emphasize that no one has the courage to write what you read above, for the simple reason that, TODAY, VW has the money to advertise and each Publisher wants to grab his slice.
So if Up! must be the best car in the world, no problem … even if it’s not!
RESULT: While the Publisher fills immediately its pockets with advertising, the credibility of the press dies and the professionalism of some reporters in the sector goes to hell … because, however, it takes coherence to write such things!