Makeover Monday week 26, 2017: German Car Production

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During week 26 Andy and I will be running Makeover Monday live sessions in Frankfurt and Hamburg, hosted by The Information Lab Germany.
For this reason I chose to use data that is as German as it gets: German car production and export statistics.

The original viz comes from the website of the German car industry association:

week 26 original

What I like about it:

  • It’s a very clean and simple line chart that clearly shows the monthly fluctuations in production
  • The circle shapes that denote every month make it easy to see where the data points are
  • The interactive tool tips are well designed and provide additional context, comparing current figures to those from the same month a year ago
  • I can switch between passenger car and truck – I like having that flexibility
  • The legend is clear
  • Sources are stated


What I don’t like about it:

  • I’m not a fan of the colours. The brownish orange is uninspiring and while the green is probably related to the VDA logo, in combination with the orange it doesn’t do so well for colour blind people
  • The car vs truck selection button is green, while green is also the colour in the tooltip to indicate growth compared to the prior year. With only two colours in the viz, they should consistently relate to the same thing
  • Initially the car icon in the tool tip seemed like a nice idea but after looking at it a few times I find it distracting as it is very large and prominent. I’d rather focus on the message.
  • There is data going all the way back to 2008. Why not show it all or at least give me a choice of which years I want to look at?


What I did:

  • Due to holiday and travel plans I only got to start my makeover on Monday afternoon on a flight back from London to Munich. With a long drive ahead, I had to finish my viz during the 70min flight, 10min of which were taken up with sleeping.
  • I opted to do a simple makeover but I like the line plus circle approach of the original viz so I started with the same
  • I included all the years and decided to call out the weak ones where monthly production levels were below the overall average
  • For the colours I used yellow as my overall average line, red for below average production months and black for above average.
  • I added some text boxes for context and additional shading to highlight the ‘weak years’


week 26 makeover.png

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