* NOW UPDATED with the Top 360 All-local models and Top 65 brands *
According to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, after dropping for the first time in 6 years in June, sales of new light vehicles in China decline for the second straight month in July at -7% to just 1.27 million registrations, the lowest monthly score since February 2014. Thanks to a good start of the year, sales are still up 3% so far in 2015 to 11.36 million. Medium/heavy commercial vehicle sales are unavailable for now. The SUV segment is the only one showing gains with sales up a stunning 41% on July 2014 to 403.091 deliveries. Reversely, sedans freefall 19% to 694.069 units, MPVs are down 8% to 107.807 and microvans down 16% to 74.300. The imploding of the sedan market is unheard of in China as we enter unchartered territory where an affordable SUV offering are becoming vital for a brand’s sales performance in the #1 market in the world.
The brands ranking is turned upside down with manufacturers displaying completely opposite behaviours. The “big bang” of the month is perennial leader Volkswagen tumbling down 31% to 152,300 sales (imports excluded), pulling its year-to-date total down 10% to 1.52 million units. Heavily reliant on sedans which account for 87% of its total sales in China this month, the German manufacturer pays the price for its weakness in the booming SUV segment, with even its Tiguan down 9% year-on-year. All its star models are falling sharply in July: the Lavida (-16%), Sagitar (-36%), Jetta (-43%), Santana (-42% despite the inclusion of the Gran Santana hatch), Golf (-11%), Bora (-40%), Polo (-50%), Magotan (-44%) and Passat (-49%). In terms of year-on-year sales evolution, Volkswagen has never been in such a fragile position in China, a market it entered 30 years ago.
Toyota snaps up the 2nd place in the July brands ranking with sales up a splendid 18% to 96.400 units (imports excluded), taking a strong option on retaining the #1 worldwide spot above Volkswagen, while Honda takes off in third place: +86% (without imports) or +50% (incl. imports) thanks to its XR-V and Vezel twin crossovers adding up to 20.289 sales. Nissan is up 3% but down 14% when including imports, Hyundai slips down 32%, Ford is down 19% (-6% incl. imports & Lincoln) and General Motors is down 4% with locally-assembled Chevrolet sales imploding at -44% and Buick at -7%. Notice Peugeot (-27%), Skoda (-27%) and Citroen (-42%) also paying the price for their weakening SUV offerings.
Chinese carmakers see varied fortunes: Changan is up 8% to lead the pack at #8 overall, Haval is up 27% to 38.851 units but with its namesake brand down 66%, overall Great Wall sales are down 2%. With the arrival of the 730 MPV and 560 SUV (see further down), Baojun sales are up 11-fold year-on-year (+975%!) to 33.325 whereas Wuling is down 41% to 32.185 not including microvans. Beijing Auto (+125%), JAC (+174%), GAC Trumpchi (+143%) and Brilliance (+39%) are reaping the benefits of model ranges now completely dominated by SUVs. The luxury game is also changing (all figures include imports unlike the raking below the jump): Audi is down 13% to 42.267 deliveries, BMW down 7% to 32.226 but Mercedes surges 42% to 29.540 units thanks partly to the success of the GLA crossover shooting up to #69 and 6.160 sales. This score earns Mercedes the premium pole position worldwide with 149.753 deliveries (+15%), edging past BMW at 147.513 (+6%) with Audi in third place at 146.100 (+1%).
In the models ranking, the Wuling Hongguang (-42%) and VW Lavida (-16%) stay on top but drop sharply, while the Toyota Corolla (+53%) rounds up the podium for the 2nd consecutive month. The Haval H6 is up one spot but down 13%, the Baojun 730 up two to #5, the Toyota Vios up 48% to #14, the BMW 5 Series slices its June ranking in two to jump to a spectacular 15th place overall (#9 among sedans!) and the GAC Trumpchi GS4 leaps 28 spots on June to land at #16 with 12.138 deliveries, meaning it is already the #3 SUV in the country behind just the Haval H6 (23.088) and VW Tiguan (17.466). The JAC Refine S3 is up 9 spots to #18, the Geely EC7 up 107% and 12 ranks to #23, the ChangAn CS75 up 111% to #24, Beijing Auto Huansu S3 up 17 to #26 and the Haval H2 up 12 to #36.
As expected, the Baojun 560 SUV is an instant hit with Chinese customers, landing directly inside the Top 50 for its first month of sales at #42 with 9.158 deliveries in July. Among recent launches, apart from the GAC Trumpchi GS4 already a blockbuster, the Brilliance V3 is up 14 spots on June to #64 with 6.751 sales, already accounting for 53% of the brand’s domestic sales this month, the Changfeng Leopaard CS10 is up 44 ranks to break into the Top 100 for the first time at #91, the BYD Qin is up a further 15 spots to do the same at #85 and a record 4.030 sales, the Geely GC9 is up 31 ranks to #113 and 3.200 units, the Buick Verano up 43 to #122 and the BYD Tang up 41 to #231.
Full July 2015 Top 360 All-local models and Top 60 brands below.