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China September 2018 Retail sales: market at standstill at -16%

No surprise: the C-HR/IZOA duo is instrumental in lifting Toyota up 12% in a depressed market.

* See the Top 95 China-made brands and Top 615 models by clicking on the title *

April 2017 – September 2018 monthly All-models China Retail data also available, Contact us

After exploring China wholesales for September 2018 meaning sales to dealerships, it is now time to study China September Retail sales, meaning sales to end-customers, a new monthly update exclusive to BSCB. We indeed now have two separate monthly updates for China in our endeavour to provide you with the most exhaustive coverage of the largest car market in the world. Note this update only covers China-made light vehicles. Retail and Wholesales are obviously inter-connected, with poor retail sales triggering poor wholesales the following month as dealer reduce their orders to allow existing stock to clear. Case in point, August retail sales down 10.1% threw September wholesales into double-digit loss at -11.5%. In an extremely worrying turn of event our exclusive Retail figures show a market close to standstill at -16% to 1.834.000 units vs. 2.180.000 in September 2017. Unless the Chinese government decides to wake up the market with lower taxes next week, this in turns means the October wholesales drop will be rather ghastly, at least -15%.

The new Tang helps lift BYD retail sales up 36% in September.

Volkswagen (-16%) follows the market, seeing its deliveries limp from 303.000 in September 2017 to 254.000 this month, but Toyota (+10%) is one of only two carmakers in positive in the Top 12 alongside Audi (+5%) and the only one managing posting a double digit gain with all its best-sellers improving this month – Camry (+100%), RAV4 (+21%), Corolla (+3%), Highlander (+4%) and Levin (+1%) and the C-HR/IZOA tandem already totalling almost 7.000 sales for the month. German premium marques ignore the market gloom: Mercedes (+18%) is lifted by the C-Class (+37%), E-Class (+20%) and GLC (+19%), BMW (+15%) is pushed by the 5 Series (+27%), 3 Series (+16%) and the new X3 while Audi (+5%) takes advantage of strong scores by the A4L (+30%), A6L (+21%) and new Q5L. There’s only two additional Top 30 brands in positive: BYD (+36%) thanks to the new Tang (+602%), Song MAX and Yuan (+99%) and MG (+30%) thanks to the new 6. Add Jinbei (+43%) and Qoros (+310%) and you have the mark of a true catastrophe: only 8 carmakers managing a year-on-year gain in the Top 40.

Haval (-8%) and its best-seller the H6 (-2%) are on the mend: no double-digit drops this month.

Back to the top of the brands ranking where even Geely (-9%) is in negative, arguably compensated by another stellar performance by Lynk & Co, stable above 10.400 sales for the 2nd straight month and unlike in the wholesales order where the 01 remains a notch above, September retail sales for the 02 are now just 100 units below the 01 at 5.158 vs. 5.262. This as archenemy WEY (-42%) tumbles down to 6.000 units. Hyundai (-3%) posts the smaller skid in the Top 10, with Haval (-8%) clearly on the mend after enduring drops going from -25% to -42% over the past 5 months. Nissan (-9%) also manages to remains within single-digits at #5 overall but it is not the case for Honda (-12%) still falling slower than the market though. Baojun (-38%) and Buick (-23%) are hit hardest in the Top 10, while further down Haima (-65%), Soueast (-63%), Peugeot (-55%), BAIC (-50%), Suzuki (-50%), Ford (-49%), Leopaard (-49%), Land Rover (-47%), Renault (-43%), Dongfeng (-39%), JAC (-39%), Chana (-37%), Citroen (-31%) and Changan (-30%) are all in great difficulty.

One Hongqi L5 found a buyer in China in September, the first of 2018.

We’ll finish with a handful of success stories: Chinese luxury marque Hongqi (+802%) surges thanks to the new H5 – also note one L5 sold this month (see pictured) – Foton (+126%), Maxus (+73%), Jaguar (+25%), Brilliance (+13%), Nio (1.759 sales) and newcomers Red Star (#88) and Weltmeister (#95). Over in the models ranking, the podium is unchanged on last month with the VW Lavida (-8%), Nissan Sylphy (-6%) and Toyota Corolla (+3%) in the lead, the Sylphy snapping the #2 YTD spot off the Corolla in the process. As illustrated by the brand’s much better score this month, the Haval H6 (-2%) posts its first single-digit drop of the year and climbs back up to #4 and #1 SUV, now just 1.800 sales below the Baojun 510 (-45%) in the YTD order. VW places the Jetta (-10%), Sagitar (-23%) and Tiguan (-24%) just below while the Honda Civic (+43%) manages the largest year-on-year gain in the Top 10. The Geely Emgrand (+5%) manages to remain inside this same Top 10, with the Hyundai ix35 (+609%) and Elantra Lingdong (+49%) also very dynamic further down.

First appearance of Weltmeister in the Chinese sales charts.

The Wuling Hongguang S3 (#33) rallies back up 19 spots on August to top all recent launches (<12 months) ahead of the GAC Trumpchi GA4 (#52), the Baojun 360 (#54), the latter two nameplates posting their first five-digit monthly volume, the Geely Vision S1 (#68), BYD Song MAX (#75), Baojun 530 (#79) already in decline and Roewe RX3 (#95). Note the Hyundai Celesta (7.460), Haval H4 (5.008), Chery Tiggo 8 (4.037) and Skoda Kamiq (3.870) all break their volume record as well. Among models launched in August, the Toyota C-HR is up 107% to #143, the Toyota IZOA is up 26% to #164 and the Leopaard Mattu up 21% to #245. Nameplates making their first appearance in the Retail ranking in September are the Kia Stonic (#210), SWM G01 (#294), Lifan 650EV (#387), Traum SEEK 5 (#411), Geely Binrui (#424), BYD Qin Pro (#487), MG HS (#505) and Hyundai Celesta RV (#539), all having been covered in our Focus on All-new models updates, as well as the Red Star Shining X2 (#535) and Weltmeister EX5 (#615), two EVs we will study in more detail in our upcoming New Energy September 2018 update.

Previous month: China August 2018 Retail sales: Crisis deepens – market down 10.1%

Full September 2018 Top 95 All-brands and Top 615 All-models below.


China imports September 2018: Lexus repeats at #1, market down 7%

Lexus and the NX spend a 2nd consecutive month atop the Chinese imports market.

* See the Top 50 All imported brands and Top 230 models by clicking on the title *

All-brands and All-models January 2017-September 2018 monthly data available, us here.

Complete Chinese imports data is now available for September, BSCB being the first media outside of China to report on these figures monthly. Since July 1 new cars imported into China follow a two-pronged tariff policy: 40% on U.S. imports and 15% on all other imports. For the first time since June, imports sales in China are down year-on-year at -7% in September to 101.146 units, signalling a possible negative impact on the raised U.S. tariffs. Year-to-date imports are now up 4% on the same period in 2017 to 842.343 units.

China is the first market to get the 2019 Cayenne, helping Porsche up 14%.

Whereas the Japanese premium marque had not topped the imported brands ranking this year, Lexus manages to repeat at #1 after its August win thanks to deliveries up a very impressive 37% to over 15.600, prompting Toyota to finally consider manufacturing cars in China now that joint-venture rules are loosening up. Lexus’ health contrasts with BMW and Mercedes both tumbling down 18% due to their reliance on U.S.-built imports: the Mercedes GLE (-40%) and BMW X5 (-29%) are hit hard this month. Porsche (+14%) overtakes Toyota (-9%) to step up to a brilliant 4th place, with Volvo (+25%) and Audi (+22%) also in great shape in the remainder of the Top 10.

Chrysler is now importing the Pacifica hybrid into China.

Model-wise, the Lexus NX (+263%) repeats in pole position thanks to stunning year-on-year gains, but is stuck at #3 YTD (+72%). The BMW X5 (-29%) and Lexus ES (-31%), best-sellers YTD, round up the podium ahead of a streak of 5 models producing double-digit gains, the most dynamic being the Porsche Cayenne (+35%), Mercedes CLA (+31%) and BMW 7 Series (+24%), with the Lexus RX (+11%) and Toyota Land Cruiser (+10%) a notch below. The Lexus IS (+414%) also post an extravagant uptick to close up the Top 10, just as the Mitsubishi Pajero (+147%), Porsche Panamera (+136%), Toyota Alphard (+88%) and Volvo XC90 (+63%) stand out. We welcome the Chrysler Pacifica hybrid at #127.

Previous month: China imports August 2018: Lexus snaps lead in market up 12%

Previous year: China Full Year 2017: Exclusive imports data by model and brand

Full September 2018 Top 50 All-Brands and Top 230 models below.

Taiwan September 2018: Toyota Auris lands, hurts Corolla in market down 1.8%

Will the new Toyota Auris topple the Corolla atop the Taiwanese sales charts?

* See the Top 10 best-selling brands and Top 80 models by clicking on the title *

New car sales in Taiwan reduce their fall from a ghastly -28.8% in August due to national holidays falling at a different time this year to – 1.8% in September at 30.799 units, leading to a year-to-date volume down 1.1% to 322.784. Brand leader Toyota (-8%) falls faster than the market to 19.7% share vs. 23.8% so far this year with Honda (-4%) also weak but Mitsubishi (+12%) and Nissan (+10%) post strong results in the Top 4. Lexus (+68%) and Volkswagen (+47%) are by far the most dynamic Top 10 brands this month with BMW (-24%) and Mazda (-20%) hit hard and Luxgen (-64%) in dire straits again. The Taiwanese models ranking may be on the verge of a major shakeup as the Toyota Corolla (-23%) now has to deal with the arrival of a new hatchback variant baptised Auris landing directly at #15 with 1.6% share this month. It’s ironic that Toyota Taiwan has chosen to name this vehicle Auris in complete opposition to Europe where that exact nameplate was discontinued after 12 years in favour of a return to “Corolla”. The CMC Veryca (+36%) leaps up to an outstanding 2nd place, distancing an SUV pack composed of the Honda CR-V (-1%), Toyota RAV4 (-23%) and Honda HR-V (-21%). Excellent scores for the Mercedes GLC (+50%) up to #8, Nissan X-Trail (+65%), VW Tiguan (+260%) and Lexus NX (+211%).

Previous month: Taiwan August 2018: Mazda, Volkswagen defy market down 28.8%

One year ago: Taiwan September 2017: Honda CR-V on podium, Luxgen U5 lands

Full September 2018 Top 10 brands and Top 80 models below.


Singapore September 2018: Honda leads, Mitsubishi shines

Mitsubishi sales are up 723% year-on-year in Singapore this month.

* See the Top 40 All-brands ranking by clicking on the title *

New car sales in Singapore record their 3rd year-on-year gain in 2018 with September volumes up 4.5% to 6.177 units, but the year-to-date tally remains in frank negative at -9.2% to 60.769. Honda (+83%) surges to retain the brands pole position it holds YTD at 17.3% for the month vs. 19.6% so far in 2018, distancing Toyota (+8%) at 15.2% vs. 16.9% and Hyundai (+58%) very strong again at 10.9% vs. 8.3%. Mercedes and BMW are stable and round up the Top 5 ahead of Mitsubishi (+723%) posting the largest gain in the Top 15. Mazda (-60%), Kia (-41%) and Nissan (-36%) suffer while further down Skoda (+3900%), Alfa Romeo (+400%), Bentley (+400%), Rolls Royce (+400%), Bluecar (+227%) and Seat (+210%) all post spectacular gains.

Previous month: Singapore August 2018: Hyundai soars 137% in market down 23.1%

One year ago: Singapore September 2017: Hyundai and Kia defy market down 25.6%

Full September 2018 Top 40 All-brands ranking below.


Europe September 2018: Post-WLTP knocks VW (-52%), lifts Opel to #1

Opel is the best-selling brand in Europe for the first time since March 2005.

* See the Top 10 best-selling groups and Top 15 brands by clicking on the title *

This is an early update on the European market for September focused on groups and brands, warranted by the current out-of-the-ordinary situation created by new WLTP emission standards in place since September 1. In August, an artificial 30.1% surge was triggered by pulled forward sales of non-compliant vehicles before the cutoff date. According to provisional figures released by ACEA covering the European Union and EFTA markets – a slightly larger pool than the monthly JATO figures we report on, September deliveries logically plunge 23.5% year-on-year to 1.123.184 units. Just as August 2018 was the largest volume in 20 years, this is the lowest September score since 1998 (1.068.622). The Top 5 markets are all down sharply: Germany (-30.5%), Italy (-25.5%)the UK (-20.5%), Spain (-15.9%) and France (-12.8%). Out of the 30 countries surveyed, only Bulgaria (+8.5%) and Croatia (+3.3%) post a gain. The markets hardest hit are Romania (-73.4%), Austria (-41.8%), Sweden (-39.7%), Slovakia (-37%), Luxembourg (-34.6%) and Belgium (-33.6%).

BMW (-7.4%) is up to #2 brand in Europe this month.

Last month Renault (+72%), Nissan (+49%) and Volkswagen (+44%) were the most aggressive users of artificial pre-WLTP stock clearances. Now burdened with large amounts of 0km vehicles to be sold as 2nd hand filling dealerships, they are among the ones enduring the harshest declines in September. The groups ranking indeeds gets a significant shake: PSA (-8%) is up two spots on August to lead the way with 18.2% share, firmly overtaking the VW Group (-48%) losing almost half its sales vs. September 2018 to 15.8% share vs. 23.2% a year ago and 24.2% so far in 2018. Renault-Nissan (-32.4%) and FCA (-31.4%) endure the largest declines, whereas the Geely Group (+3.1%), in fact Volvo, is the only Top 10 group in positive when Toyota Motor (-2%), Hyundai-Kia (-3.4%), the BMW Group (-8.8%) and to a lesser extent Daimler (-12%) and Ford (-13.5%) all contain their fall.

Mercedes (-12.1%) rounds up a very atypical European podium in September.

Brand-wise, it’s a lightning strike atop the ranking: replicating the wild situation we witnessed in Germany, Volkswagen (-52.1%) tumbles down to 5th place. According to ACEA, it is only the third time since the turn of the century that VW is not #1 in Europe, the other two times were in March 2004 and 2005. Then, the leader of the market was Opel/Vauxhall (-11.6%) which coincidentally leaps up 6 spots on August to land in the European pole position, a ranking it had not held, you guessed it, since March 2005. BMW (-7.4%) is up 7 ranks to #2, Mercedes (-12.1%) is up 3 to #3 and Ford (-13.5%) remains at #4. In the Top 20, Kia (+4.3%) up 8 spots to #9 and Volvo (+3.1%) up 3 to #17 are the only two brands in positive. Toyota (-1.2%) and Peugeot (-4.6%) also resist well in the Top 10 while Citroen (-3.6%) and Hyundai (-10.4%) are also relatively strong further down. Audi (-60%), Nissan (-43.8%), Fiat (-32.5%), Seat (-32%) and Skoda (-28.5%) would rather forget September 2018.

Previous month: Europe August 2018: Renault (+72%), Nissan (+49%), VW (+44%) play pre-WLTP game

One year ago (1): Europe September 2017: Nissan Qashqai up to record #2 in market down 2.2%

One year ago (2): Europe September 2017: Discover the Top 348 models and Top 55 brands

Full September 2018 Top 10 groups and Top 15 brands below.


China September 2018: Focus on the All-new models

The Jetour X70 is one of the cheapest 7-seat SUVs in the Chinese market.

After exploring September China wholesales, it’s now time to shed light on all the new locally produced launches hitting dealerships for the month so you are up-to-date on the fastest-evolving market in the world. Note these updates remain based on wholesales data. September wholesales confirmed the slump is here to stay and has now spread to sedans. Meanwhile, new models being launched on the market steadily continue to reflect the SUV surge we have witnessed for the past decade in China with the risk of now appearing out of step with current market conditions. In July, 5 of the 7 new launches were SUVs, in August it was 6 out of 7 and in September 9 out of 12. You can also keep track of the fast-expanding list of all active Chinese brands by consulting our Exclusive Guide to all 176 Chinese Brands, updated live.

1. Jetour X70 (#83 – 7.777 sales)

Sporting a suspiciously “lucky” sales figure this month (7 is considered a lucky number in China) is Jetour’s first nameplate, the X70 7-seater SUV. A very impressive start indeed, the strongest 1st month tally since the Baojun 360 last May. Now that Chery has a “clean” SUV lineup with the Tiggo 3, 3x, 5, 5x, 7 and 8 and after presenting the semi-premium Exeed SUV sub-brand last year (to no avail just yet), the company has judged it was time to spread its dwindling budget even thinner and launch a new brand, which is a questionable strategy especially looking at unstable Cowin, another one of Chery’s brands. But the first signs are very positive: the Jetour X70 is as soon as its first month in market the Chery Group’s best-selling SUV above the Chery Tiggo 8 (7.201) and 2nd best-selling nameplate outright below the Chery Arrizo 5 (8.185). In fact, the X70 actually delivers the goods as I was able to verify during the latest Beijing Auto Show in April this year where I selected Jetour as one of the “Top 5 brands you should know about” alongside Chana Oshan’s COS and EV-makers NIO, Weltmeister and Byton. Like COS with its 1°, the Jetour brand is a somewhat “macho” brands aimed at third-, fourth-tier cities and rural areas where Leopaard for example is doing very well, and the X70 offers the full package with 7 seats and a modern (if bland) design and a cut-throat pricing.

Jetour X70 interior. Picture

The Jetour X70’s pricing is indeed quite dramatically lower than its appearance would let us believe, from 69.900 to 120.900 yuan (US$10.100-17.450 or 8.750-15.100€). This significantly undercuts the COS 1° (93.800-145.800 yuan) and positions the X70 as one of the cheapest 7-seater SUVs in the Chinese market, at roughly the same level as much more blunt nameplates such as the Chana CX70 (59.900-109.900), Bisu T5 (72.900-104.900), BAIC Hyosow S7 (78.800-115.800) and Dongfeng Fengguang 580 (78.900-123.000), as well as Zotye’s better-designed Traum SEEK 5 (77.900-128.900) and S70 (81.900-115.900) and the Changhe Q7 (87.900-148.900). To better understand Jetour’s positioning vs. Chery, the Chery Tiggo 8, a 5-seater, is priced 40% higher from 98.800 to 142.800 yuan. The X70’s first month is already above our bar for success of 6.000 sales, the trick now will be to be stable at that level, keeping in mind scores such as the 19.771 peak reached by the Dongfeng Fengguang 580 or the 18.071 record of the Chana CX70 seem out of reach, especially for a new brand.

Bar for success: 6.000 monthly units

2. Geely Binrui (#122 – 5.029 sales)

Geely continues to renew and expand its lineup at breakneck speed, and this sharply-designed Binrui sedan manages an excellent start above 5.000 sales in a depressed context for Chinese sedans. 4.68m-long, the Binrui’s design is very close to the recently-launched 4.99m Emgrand GE – itself is a facelift of the Borue, also already above 5.000 monthly sales. Faithful to what has built Geely into the #1 Chinese manufacturer at home, the Binrui is cheap: from 79.800 to 110.800 yuan (US$11.500-15.990 or 9.990-13.900€), features a high-quality cockpit but mid-range engines with a choice of 133hp 1.4T or 136hp 1.0T mated with a 6 speed manual or CVT.

Geely Binrui interior. Picture

The fact that the Binrui enters an overcrowded Chinese sedan market goes without saying but it hasn’t prevented previous Geely sedans such as the Emgrand GL and GE from succeeding and it will also be the case for the Binrui. The oddity with the Binrui naming is that it uses neither the upmarket Emgrand nor the mass-market Vision sub-brands. Its pricing is closer to an Emgrand model. For comparison, the slightly shorter 4.60m Geely Vision (53.900-72.900 yuan) is a lot cheaper while the 4.63m Emgrand (69.800-100.800) and 4.725m Emgrand GL (78.800-115.800) are closer with the Emgrand GE (136.800-179.800) topping the range. Geely has managed to create an extremely successful sedan lineup thanks to its ability to go fight with foreign models and the Binrui is emblazoned with the same mission, taking aim at the VW Jetta (79.900-134.900), Toyota Vios (69.800-113.800) and Chevrolet Cavalier (79.900-114.900) while among local fares the Roewe 360 notably (77.900-129.900) is targeted. Because it’s a Geely model and because of the fantastic performances the brands has repeatedly aligned over the past couple of years, expectations are high for the Binrui.

Bar for success: 10.000 monthly units

3. Cadillac XT4 (#198 – 2.313 sales)

Another illustration of the prime importance of the Chinese market in the world today, Cadillac has launched Chinese production of its new small crossover, the XT4, at the same time as in the U.S. Even then, the XT4 may be arriving here two years too late, but better late than never. The XT4 joins the China-made XT5 and the imported Escalade in the American manufacturer’s SUV lineup, a smart “trickle-down” move that is making the brand more accessible to Chinese consumers the exact same way Volvo is doing with the XC40 and as all German premiums understood years ago. XT4 pricing starts at 259.700 yuan and ends at 399.700 (US$37.500-57.700 or 32.500-50.000€) almost exactly the same as its U.S. pricing but 40.000 yuan/US$5.800/5.000€ lower than Cadillac’s entry sedan offerings, the ATS-L (298.800-428.800) and XTS (299.900-359.900). Additionally, the XT4 is 100.000 yuan/US$14.400/12.500€ cheaper than the XT5 (359.900-539.900).

Cadillac XT4 interior. Picture

Equipped with a 241hp 2.0T engine, the XT4 enters a very competitive premium small SUV arena composed of the imported Lincoln MKC (275.800-385.800), BMW X2 (289.800-379.800) and Volvo XC40 (321.800-411.800) and a growing contingent of China-made blockbusters such as the BMW X1 (283.800-439.000), Mercedes GLA (269.800-395.800), Audi Q3 (246.900-340.700) and Jaguar E-Pace (288.800-395.800). The sales potential of the XT4 is strong yet paradoxically weaker than larger premium SUVs, with some Chinese buyers failing to see the use of paying a disproportionate amount of money for what they consider cramped vehicles. The largest volumes in the category flirt with 5 figures: 10.580 for the Q3, 9.984 for the X1 and 8.002 for the GLA. The American carmaker has some flex in terms of production capacity: the largest monthly volume reached by any Cadillac nameplate is 10.385 by the XT5 SUV in January 2018, with other personal bests including 7.500 by the XTS sedan and 5.919 by the ATS-L sedan. In a slightly morose SUV context, we want at least 6.000 sales to consider the XT4 a success.

Bar for success: 6.000 monthly units

4. Chevrolet Orlando (#209 – 2.095 sales)

In a challenging context for foreign mass market carmakers, Chevrolet surprises us with this second generation Orlando (the first one was never produced locally) which has morphed from a bland MPV into a racy crossover that starts relatively well above 2.000 wholesales. Classified by the CAAM as a sedan perhaps because it is very low, the Orlando is however definitely a crossover in the minds of consumers. By pricing it competitively at 119.900-154.900 yuan (US$17.300-22.400 or 15.000-19.400€), Chevrolet positions the Orlando more as a potential upgrade from sedans in its lineup such as the Cavalier (79.900-114.900) or even the Cruze (109.900-169.900) than a logical addition in its SUV lineup where it should definitely kill the already slow-selling, much smaller but similarly priced Trax (99.900-149.900). The Equinox (174.900-250.900) on the other hand is placed unequivocally above the Orlando.

Chevrolet Orlando interior. Picture

Touted as a 7 seater despite a relatively short 4.68m long, the Orlando is moved by a 163hp 1.3T mated with a 6 speed manual or auto, simple mechanics to help lower the price. Local automotive press is a little confused by the format, aiming it at a couple of low MPVs such as the Buick GL6 (141.900-168.900) or BYD Song MAX (79.900-129.900) or even the Honda Jade (129.900-179.900). Will choosing an unconventional approach pay for Chevrolet? It’s a worthwhile bet, and all will depend on whether the younger customer base will deem the Orlando cool enough. GM is definitely putting its right foot forward by focusing the communication on the sporty-looking (but actually not sporty) Redline variant. A refreshing entry in a saturated SUV segment, especially as the Equinox, on paper a straight-forward blockbuster, has been sputtering off (previous best at 7.697).

Bar for success: 6.000 monthly units

5. BYD Qin Pro (#287 – 1.003 sales)

BYD virtually launched the electric car market in China with nameplates such as the e6 hatchback and the Qin sedan. The Qin Pro is simply the 2nd generation of the model, allowed to co-exist with the first and therefore needing a specific denomination. The first month of sales is slow, and it remains to be seen whether the Pro will progressively swallow up the original Qin or whether it will act as a pricy and niche premium version. BYD will definitely be hoping for the former option, especially as the Qin Pro is the third model after the Song MAX and the new Tang to feature BYD’s new “Dragon Face” design language imagined by Wolfgang Egger, ex-Audi, that pretty much makes all BYDs look very much like Hyundais.

BYD Qin Pro interior. Picture

The Qin Pro is available in combustion variants powered by a 109hp 1.5 mated with a 5 speed manual or a 154hp 1.5T mated with a 6 speed DCT and going for a very attractive 79.800-115.800 yuan (US$11.500-16.700 or 10.000-14.500€) or hybrid powered by a 154hp 1.4 and pure electric priced at 149.900-299.900 yuan (US$21.600-43.300 or 18.800-37.600€). The combustion variants compete with the Geely Binrui (79.800-110.800) and foreigners such as the Buick Excelle (109.900-144.900), Honda Civic (115.900-169.900), Toyota Corolla (107.800-175.800) and VW Lavida (109.900-165.900) while the green variants compete with BYD’s very own e5 (220.700-230.700, the BAIC EU-Series (79.800-252.650), JAC iEVA50 (183.700-234.500), Geely Emgrand (165.800-238.300) and Geely Emgrand GE (199.800-232.800). Even though the new Qin Pro had already been unveiled by then, the Qin has managed record volumes in the past few months, hitting 5.597 last June. BYD will hope for at least the same for the Qin Pro.

Bar for success: 5.000 monthly units

6. VW Tayron (#290 – 954 sales)

Reacting with many years’ delay, Volkswagen has finally decided to significantly embolden its SUV presence in China with two nameplates exclusive to this market, both making their entrance this month: the Tayron and Tharu (see further down). To understand how these new SUVs position themselves in the China-made Volkswagen galaxy, it is essential to distinguish the carmaker’s two joint-ventures in this country. SAIC-VW has had a significant SUV presence in China for many years through the Tiguan – the first generation of the nameplate was kept on sale alongside the new generation Tiguan L aka Allspace, as well as the larger Teramont since January 2017. FAW-VW has been playing catchup this year, receiving its very first SUV in the form of the T-Roc in June, and the Tayron is its 2nd entry in the segment. The Tayron is in fact based on the second generation short-wheelbase Tiguan that is only imported into the country but not produced locally. Still with me?

VW Tayron interior. Picture

Dimensions may help clarify: the Tayron is 4.589m long, vs. 4.712 for the Tiguan L, 4.506 for the 1st gen Tiguan, 4.486m for the imported 2nd gen short wheelbase Tiguan and 4.318m for the T-Roc. Therefore Volkswagen has found a smart way to not put any of its China-made SUVs in a cannibalisation situation, something it had not managed with its sedan lineup, mirrored between the two joint-ventures. The Tayron comes with a 186hp or 220hp 2.0T engine mated to a 7-speed DCT. Although no pricing has been communicated yet as the Tayron’s official on-sale date is 22 October, it will slide in an overlapping spot bewteen the 1st gen Tiguan (199.800-237.800 yuan) and the Tiguan L (223.800-359.800) and accordingly, local automotive press pits it against the Buick Envision (219.900-319.900) and Toyota Highlander (239.800-422.800). It’s a Volkswagen and it’s an SUV, it’s FAW-VW’ best shot at SUV glory so far, so our expectations are high.

Bar for success: 17.000 monthly units

7. Ora iQ (#315 – 707 sales)

Instead of electrifying its existing Haval and WEY lineup, Great Wall Motors has preferred to create a standalone EV brand it unveiled at last April’s Beijing Auto Show: Ora. I have doubts on the viability of this decision, but the implacable GWM marketing machine is unstoppable and after an aggressive WeChat campaign counting down the days until launch, Ora’s first offering, the iQ, has now hit the sales charts with an ok 707 sales. The exterior design is… different, bold? and the interior looks like it has been patched up compared to a dreadful experience in Beijing.

Ora iQ interior. Picture

Powered by a 163hp electric engine, the iQ is priced between 188.800 and 204.800 yuan (US$27.250-29.600 or 23.700-25.700€) which is not cheap for a very standard-looking vehicle (I did not say low-cost, but…). The issue is the Chinese EV SUV pool is getting bigger every month, currently including the Chery Tiggo 3xe (157.800-189.800), BYD Song (176.900-219.900), BAIC EX-Series (183.900-202.900) and GAC Trumpchi GE3 (212.800-246.500). Setting goals for an entirely new brand is always difficult as there are no benchmarks, but GWM’s other attempt at an electric SUV has currently been pretty dismal with the WEY P8 culminating at just 570 units after 5 months, a result the cheaper iQ has already surpassed.

Bar for success: 3.500 monthly units

8. Citroen C4 Aircross (#324 – 650 sales)

Looks familiar, but this is not the C3 Aircross. In China, Citroen is upside down, firstly sales-wise (-45% in September) but also launch-wise: the larger C5 Aircross was commercialised a year ago just here as the C3 Aircross hit European dealerships. This year, the C5 Across is reaching Europe whereas a stretched version of the C3 Aircross, baptised C4 Aircross, is now available in China. Based on the C3 Aircross for all exterior and interior design elements, the C4 Aircross is 12 cm longer with a wheelbase 6 cm longer. The extra space goes to the rear passengers and the boot. The C4 Aircross  is priced competitively at 109.800-159.800 yuan (US$15.850-23.100 or 13.800-20.100€) but looking at Citroen’s current SUV lineup it also means it will kill the smaller C3-XR (108.800-171.800) while logically siding well below the larger C5 Aircross (152.700-236.700). To say that the segment it enters is crowded is an understatement…

Citroen C4 Aircross interior. Picture

The 4.27m-long C4 Aircross will compete with its cousin the Peugeot 2008 (89.700-128.700), but also such foreign blockbusters as the 4.27m Honda XR-V (127.800-162.800), 4.29m Hyundai ix25 (109.800-152.800), 4.31m VW T-Roc (139.800-209.800), 4.38m Nissan Qashqai (139.800-189.800), 4.39m Skoda Kamiq (109.900-130.900), 4.41m Roewe RX3 (89.800-135.800) and to a lesser extent the 4.40m Toyota C-HR (144.800-179.800). Citroen needs a success very badly these days and a lot of hope rests on the C4 Aircross, especially as the C5 Aircross bubble has already been busted: -66% to just 1.640 units in September. Realistically, even if it is successful the C4 Aircross won’t be enough to reverse Citroen’s fortunes in China, but regularly evolving above 5.000 monthly units would be a good start, if a tad frivolous in the current context.

Bar for success: 5.000 monthly units

9. Audi Q2L (#329 – 594 sales)

After adding the Q5L a few months back, Audi is expanding its China-made SUV lineup with this Q2L, supposedly with a  stretched wheelbase but in actual fact it is only extended by 2.7cm to 2.628m while the length is up just 4.5cm to 4.229m vs. 4.191m for the imported Q2. Powered by a 150hp 1.4TSI engine, the Q2L is entering a pretty empty competitive set as premium carmakers haven’t had the chance to launch small SUVs just yet.

Audi Q2L interior. Picture

Priced between 217.700 and 279.000 yuan (US$31.400-40.300 or 27.300-35.000€), the Q2L significantly undercuts its only competitor, the imported Mini Countryman (243.800-363.800) while safely residing well below the larger Audi Q3 (246.900-340.700). However Audi shouldn’t be too ambitious with the Q2L which could act as sales support for the Q3. Indeed at 4.236m long, Chinese customers will deem the Q2L cramped despite its slightly stretched wheelbase and may be reluctant to fork out this amount of money for a vehicle that will likely be considered impractical. As such, our expectations are somewhat limited at 4.500 sales/month.

Bar for success: 4.500 monthly units

10. Kandi Gleagle EX3 (#396 – 173 sales)

Part of the Geely Group, Kandi specialises in micro and small EVs. This EX3, using a Gleagle badge (previously a Geely brand), is in fact a simple electrified version of the Geely Vision X3. It is powered by a 67hp electric engine giving it 302km of autonomy and is 4.005m long. Priced from 76.800 to 96.800 yuan (US$11.100-14.000 or 9.600-12.150€), the EX3 is among the cheapest electric vehicles on sale in China at the moment, and competes with the likes of the Changan CS15EV (79.900-89.900) or BYD Yuan EV (79.900-99.900).

Kandi Gleagle EX3 interior. Picture

Electric vehicle volumes are traditionally seesawing depending on the time of the year, with November and December showing sudden surges in time to benefit from government subsidies. Looking at the performance of its direct competitors and taking into account the mighty production power of Geely we are setting the bar for success at 1.500 monthly units.

Bar for success: 1.500 monthly units

11. Hyundai Celesta RV (#401 – 164 sales)

Emboldened by the success of the Hyundai Celesta which is nothing more than a 18 year-old Hyundai Elantra Yuedong with an up-to-date bodywork, the Korean carmaker has now launched a station wagon variant of the Celesta, baptised Celesta RV and its first foray in this segment. At 4.40m long and powered by a 123hp 1.6 engine mated with a 6-speed manual or auto or a 130hp 1.4T engine mated with a 7-speed DCT, the Celesta RV is priced from 80.900 to 119.900 yuan (US$11.700-17.300 or 10.150-15.050€) which is a lot of car for the money indeed.

Hyundai Celesta RV interior. Picture

To pus this pricing into perspective, let’s note that the entry model Celesta RV is only a tad dearer than the top-of-the-range 4.62m Baojun 310W (42.800-69.800) while logically positioning itself above the 4.24m Kia KX-Cross (74.900-90.900). Station wagons are still a pretty rare occurrence on Chinese roads and in local lineups so it’s a make-or-break bet for Hyundai here, with models such as the 4.518m Dongfeng AX3 (69.900-87.900) and 4.538m Buick Excelle GX (119.900-146.900) falling flat in market whereas the VW Gran Lavida (112.900-162.900) has resonated with buyers. Hyundai should therefore be prudent in its sales expectations for the Celesta RV.

Bar for success: 3.000 monthly units

12. VW Tharu (#430 – 52 sales)

On top of the Tayron described earlier in this article, Volkswagen also launches the Tharu SUV this month. Unlike the Tayron, the Tharu is manufactured by the SAIC-VW joint-venture that already has the 1st gen Tiguan, 2nd gen Tiguan Allspace and Teramont in its SUV lineup. The Tharu won’t disorient SAIC-VW customers as it looks like a mini Teramont but is in fact based on the Skoda Karoq. So here too, Volkswagen has managed to insert a new nameplate in its range without creating a cannibalising potential given its other joint-venture, FAW-VW has the much shorter T-Roc as entry SUV. Yet this is all very confusing so as per the Tayron we’ll try and clarify the situation with dimensions. The SUV lineup of the SAIC-VW joint-venture is now composed of the 4.453m Tharu, 4.506 1st gen Tiguan, 4.712 Tiguan L and 5.039m Teramont. Across the road at FAW-VW we have the 4.318m T-Roc and the 4.589m Tayron.

VW Tharu interior. Picture

There is no price info yet for the Tharu as it is not yet officially listed but it will slide in-between the T-Roc at 139.800-209.800 yuan (US$20.200-30.300 or 17.550-26.300€) and the 1st gen Tiguan at 199.800-237.800 yuan (US$28.800-34.300 or 25.100-29.800€) which also means it will be priced at a significant premium over the Skoda Karoq (139.900-185.900) on which it is based. Therefore local automotive media pits it against the meaty end of the Chinese SUV world: the Toyota RAV4 (179.800-269.800), Honda CR-V (169.800-276.800) and Nissan X-Trail (188.800-271.300) while among Chinese fares the cheaper but larger Haval H6 (103.000-146.800) and GAC Trumpchi GS4 (89.800-151.800) would also enter into consideration. The Tharu won’t get as much attention within SAIC-VW as the Tayron should within FAW-VW simply because SAIC has its hands full already with 2 Tiguans and the Teramont, so our sales expectations are lower.

Bar for success: 12.000 monthly units

China September 2018: Sedans trigger third consecutive market decline

The Nissan Sylphy is the only Top 10 model in positive in September.

* See the Top 80 All China-made brands and Top 450 models by clicking on the title *

Wholesales seem to now be stuck in a downward spiral in China: September deliveries plunge 11.5% to 2.394.100 units, the second double-digit gain in 2018 after the last February (-11.6%). This steep drop logically echoes August retail sales down 10.1% as dealers adjust their commands to lower demand. Following -5.3% in July and -3.8% in August, this is the third consecutive year-on-year decline, a situation we haven’t seen since August 2015. At the time, the Chinese government halved the purchase tax on vehicles of 1.6L and less with instantaneous and spectacular results: double-digit gains from October to December 2015. The China Automobile Dealers Association in fact has started lobbying finance and commerce ministries in China last month, suggesting similar measures to salvage sales given the purchase tax was raised back up to 10% last January. In the segment detail, the main September news is sedans now joining SUVs in their freefall. Indeed sedans are down 13.4% to 1.005.000 units, SUVs down 10.1% to 872.800, MPVs down 11.4% to 147.000 and microvans down 21.9% to 34.900 leading to a light vehicle score down 12% to 2.060.500. Commercial vehicles slip 8.4% to 533.600 units to reduce the overall market decline slightly to -11.5%.

The Wuling Hongguang is back on the podium thanks to its facelift.

Year-to-date levels remain at record high for now at +1.5% to 20.409.000, with sedans up 1.3% to 8.426.900, SUVs up 3.9% to 7.235.500, MPVs down 13.1% to 1.261.400, microvans down 19.6% to 337.100 leading to light vehicles as a whole up 0.6% to 17.259.700 and commercial vehicles up 6.3% to 3.230.900. Yet what started as a sudden, surprising and historical plateauing of SUV sales last June (-0.5%) has now spread to every corner of the Chinese market in a worrying trend. In fact, Nomura Securities expect Q4 sales to drop 7.5% leading to an annual result for 2018 at -1.6% to 28.4 million which would be the first market decline since 1990. To keep things in perspective, we are still looking at an astounding 27 years of uninterrupted growth leading China from a non-existent car market then to the largest in the world by an unsurmountable margin now, and the 2nd largest annual volume reached by any nation in the world in the history of automobile. But it is the first time an annual decline is even talked about in China. How did we get to this?

Volkswagen (-16%) is planning to reverse its fortunes with a slew of new SUVs such as the Tayron.

We have already related the main reason behind faltering sales: a government crackdown on P2P digital lending platforms that led to roughly 10-15% of potential new vehicle buyers – mostly younger – being kept away from the market. Logically, the direct negative sales impact was first felt by Chinese SUVs, by far the most attractive to this segment for the younger  population hit by the lending crackdown due to low prices but hip status. More on the P2P lending impact on the 2018 Chinese car market here. This negative trend is now spreading to all segments in the market, which also worryingly means all layers of the population, helped by a 25% fall of the Shanghai stock market since the start of the year and a possible gradual loss of confidence in future economic climate triggered by the trade war with the U.S., although at BSCB we feel these latter two elements have had a much smaller impact on the recent evolution of the Chinese market.

The new X3 helps BMW up 25% in China this month.

In the China-made brands ranking, Volkswagen (-16%) posts the steepest decline in the Top 7 and its first double-digit drop since February 2016, an evolution we predicted due to depressed retail sales down for the past 4 months and at -10% in August. The German carmaker is now aggressively trying to prop up sales with a slew of new SUVs: after the T-Roc last June, the China-exclusive Tayron and Tharu make their first appearance in the Chinese charts this month, an arrival we cover in detail in our September 2018 Focus on the All-new models. Despite the sudden U-turn SUV sales have endured over the past few months, this is a valid strategy as foreign SUVs have mostly been unscathed to-date. Honda (+5%), Toyota (+12%) and Nissan (+2%) on the other hand all post market-defying positive results and knock Geely (+1%), ending 29 consecutive months of double-digit gains, to #5, its lowest ranking since September 2017. Geely remains the #2 brand YTD at 1.05 million wholesales.

Yema sales jump 85% year-on-year in September.

Below Buick (-8%) and Hyundai (-6%), Baojun (+21%), Changan (-23%) and Haval (-21%) round up the Top 10 but are in great difficulty due to their reliance on the embattled Chinese SUV segment. For example, the Baojun 510 (-31%) is back up 12 spots on August to #8 but has lost more than 30% year-on-year during each of the past 4 months, the Changan CS75 (-48%) has plunged at least 44% over the same period despite a facelift and the Haval H6 (-21%), still the #1 SUV in the country, has endured double-digit drops for 10 of the past 13 months. Among foreigners carmakers, only premium brands fare well thanks mostly to growing China-made lineups: Infiniti (+26%), BMW (+25%), Cadillac (+25%), Mercedes (+17%), Audi (+3%) and Volvo (+2%) all score positive results. In fact overall sales (including imports) show BMW above Mercedes for the first time this year. In the Chinese aisle, Qoros (+462%), MG (+85%), Yema (+85%), Hawtai (+43%), BYD (+38%), Cowin (+25%), SWM (+16%) and Chery (+10%) are among the most dynamic.

The new brand Jetour makes its appearance in Chinese charts this month.

Among brands launched over the past 12 months, Lynk & Co remains the standalone leader thanks to a 7th consecutive record volume. Up to almost 15.000 units thanks to just two nameplates – the 01 at 9.301 and the 02 at 5.556, this is 50% higher than established brands such as Mitsubishi or Geely-stablemate Volvo. Even more significantly, Lynk & Co outsells its Great Wall archenemy, WEY (-12%) for the third straight month, with both its nameplates now above the entire WEY lineup (VV5, VV6, VV7 and P8 all below 4.100 units). Two very significant new brands appear this month: Chery’s Jetour with almost 8.000 sales and Great Wall’s EV marque Ora at 700. Both Traum (2.714) and Yudo (1.050) also break volume records. However its bad news for Bisu (-79%), Landwind (-75%), Lifan (-69%), Changhe (-62%), Zotye (-62%), Karry (-61%), Leopaard (-55%), Haima (-54%), Beijing Auto (-50%), FAW (-42%) and Dongfeng (-40%), while among foreigners Suzuki (-73%), Peugeot (-63%), Renault (-61%), Ford (-60%), Land Rover (-52%), Jeep (-46%), Citroen (-45%), Acura (-43%) and DS (-37%) are hit the hardest.

The Camry (+153%) helps Toyota up 12% in China in September.

Model-wise, the VW Lavida (-19%) cements its YTD leadership with a 6th consecutive pole position despite a worrying gain given the new generation is only starting its career. The Nissan Sylphy (+8%), whose electric variant has now arrived (314 sales in September), is the only Top 10 nameplate to post a year-on-year gain, here too cementing its #2 YTD ranking. Yet, illustrating their fall from grace, sedans loosen their recent grip on the ranking with “only 5 in the Top 7, the Buick Excelle GT (-17%), VW Jetta (-15%) and Santana (-4%). The Wuling Hongguang (-6%) now helped with a new generation pictured above, posts its first podium and slimmest drop since last March while the Haval H6 (-21%) returns to the #4 spot it holds YTD. The largest gains in the Top 50, in the past few months a sedan exclusive, sees a slightly more balanced scorecard this month, with the most dynamic being the Hyundai ix35 (+288%), Toyota Camry (+153%), Hyundai Elantra Lingdong (+67%), Chevrolet Sail (+59%), Nissan Qashqai (+57%), Honda Fit (+42%), XR-V (+35%), Civic (+30%), Nissan X-Trail (+28%), Mercedes E-Class L (+27%) and Honda Accord (+25%).

The Baojun 360 remains by far the most successful launch of the past 12 months.

Recent launches are once again dominated by the Baojun 360, up 23% on August to a new record 18.943, ahead of the VW T-Roc (#67), Lynk & Co 01 (#69), Baojun 530 (#71) down 21% on last month, Jetour X70 (#83) covered in our Focus on All-new models, Skoda Kamiq (#87), the brand’s best-seller for the first time at a record 7.341, Chery Tiggo 8 (#88), Toyota C-HR (#101), BMW X3 (#103), Lynk & Co 02 (#105) and Brilliance V6 (#115), all breaking new volume records. Other record-breakers in September include the BYD Tang (10.435) up 10-fold on the previous generation in September 2017, the GAC Trumpchi GS3 (9.637) continuing a steady year-long progression and the Hongqi H5 (2.974). As for nameplates launched in August, the WEY VV6 is up 189% and 86 spots to #175, the MG HS is up 328% and 87 ranks to #267, the YGM E-Series up 1097% and 108 spots to #298 and the Roewe MARVEL X up 1279% and 38 ranks to #390 but the Traum SEEK 5 is down 23% and 38 spots to #318 and the Jaguar E-Pace down 36% and 53 spots to #332.

Previous month: China August 2018: P2P lending crackdown triggers 2nd decline in a row

One year ago: China September 2017: SUVs post smaller gain, VW Lavida now #1 YTD

Full September 2018 Top 80 All China-made brands and Top 450 models below.


France September 2018: Toyota scores first Top 5 in market down 12.8%

Toyota is up to 5th best-selling brand potentially for the first time in French history.

* Now updated with the Top 40 best-selling brands, Top 265 models and Top 10 private sales *

The French market was one of the most sensitive to pre-WLTP stock clearances in August with sales surging 40% artificially as the necessity of registering non-compliant cars before September 1 was coupled with the price increase of a high number of vehicles due to greater emissions under the new testing. In that context, I was bracing for a much larger drop than the -12.8% in September at 148.752 units which translates into -8.5% in daily rates as there was one less opening day compared to September 2017. This keeps the year-to-date volume up 6.5% to 1.662.684, the 4th highest 9-month tally in French history and the highest in 17 years, since the 1.713.958 reached in 2001 (see table below). Private sales drop just 8.2% year-on-year to reach 50.6% share vs. 48% a year ago just as artificial channels logically retreat:  short-term rentals (-40.4%) and demo sales (-6.7%) amount to 23.9% share vs. 28.2% in August and 27.1% YTD, while fleet sales are at 22.6% share vs. 24.3% due to long-term leases down 24.8%.

The Citroen C3 hits its highest market share since March 2011. Pictures

Annual volume records9 months volume records
2.309.130 (1990)1.750.049 (1990)
2.274.307 (1989)1.713.958 (2001)
2.268.671 (2009)1.691.132 (1989)
2.254.732 (2001)1.662.684 (2018)
2.248.100 (2018 predicted)1.661.376 (2011)
2.217.149 (1988)1.632.617 (2002)
2.212.661 (2010)1.621.977 (2010)
2.204.065 (2011)1.613.501 (2009)

Peugeot (+0.7%) snaps the #1 brands ranking at home for the 5th time this year at 19.7% share, enjoying the benefits of a WLTP-compliant lineup just as Renault (-23.5%), down to 18.9% share, is enduring the hangover from a aggressive pre-WLTP push last month. The two brands show even more radically opposed fortunes in the private sales channel with Peugeot up 11.2% to 14.155 or 48.2% share while Renault freefalls 26.1% to 12.954 or 46.1%. Citroen (+4.7%) also manages a solid gain to 10.6% share, its highest since last January, thanks to very strong private sales accounting for 55% of its mix vs. just 38% a year ago. Dacia (+5.5%) is doing even better to cement its #4 YTD spot ahead of Volkswagen and confirming it is the #3 brand with French private buyers thanks to 90.704 sales vs. 80.805 for Citroen.

Peugeot is the best-selling brand at home for the 5th time this year vs. 4 for Renault.

Up to 5th place overall, Toyota (+11.7%) is the best performing carmaker in the Top 12 and the only one sporting a double-digit gain, with very healthy indicators showing private sales up 13% to 68.5% share and demo sales down 22% to just 10.5%. Even if in atypical circumstances, this is the first time Toyota breaks into the French Top 5 brands since at least 2012 and potentially ever. As a reminder Toyota produces the Yaris locally in Valenciennes. Ranking-wise, Toyota has benefitted from post-WLTP hangover of Volkswagen (-34.4%) in dire straits even though the German carmaker attempted to pad its freefalling private sales (-46%) down to 41.6% share with a hefty lot of demo sales (+46.2%) reaching 26% of its sales.

The Opel Corsa is the most popular foreign nameplate in France for the first time since May 2011.

Opel (+9.9%) is the other great performer in the Top 10 thanks to – how unusual – an exceptional performance in the private channel at +28% to 59.7% share, well above the market. This frankly contrasts with lukewarm scores in recent times prior to the PSA buyout and aligns with PSA’s almost perfect September scorecard – only DS (-8.4%) is down. Overall in the Top 40, only Lotus (+54.5%), Jaguar (+46.3%), Mitsubishi (+40.7%), Hyundai (+36.4%), Volvo (+29.2%), Ferrari (+11.8%), Mini (+8.4%) and Kia (+5.5%) are in positive but Audi (-55.4%) and Skoda (-20.6%) suffer greatly. The most impacted by post-WLTP hangover are Nissan (-76.6% year-on-year) going from 9.296 sales in August (#6) to 1.458 in September (#21), Alfa Romeo (-75.8%) from 1.404 to 169, Jeep (-44.5%) from 1.573 to 491, Porsche (-69.5%) from 902 to 124, Subaru (-78.1%) from 151 to 16 and Infiniti (-93.9%) from 421 to… 6. Note all percentages are year-on-year vs. September 2017.

Hyundai (+36.4%) is the fastest-growing carmaker in the Top 20 this month.

The Top 2 best-selling nameplates in France weather the storm and stay identical vs. August and YTD: the long-running Renault Clio (-5%) and Peugeot 208 (+6%) evolve like their respective marques but camp on their positions, meaning a 25th consecutive monthly win for the Clio. The Citroen C3 (+38%) finally seems to be taking off, scoring this 3rd generation’s only 2nd podium ranking after May 2017 and highest share to-date at 4.4%. Note this is only the third time in four years the Citroen C3 nameplate ranks on the French podium (add October 2014) and only the fourth time this decade the C3 is at or above 4% share at home alongside March 2011 (4.9%), January 2014 (4.1%), October 2014 (4.1%), January 2018 (4%) and February 2018 (4%). Since 2010, the C3 hit the 2nd place overall twice in March 2011 and December 2013.

First-ever monthly Top 20 ranking for the Mercedes A-Class in France.

Peugeot completes the Top 5 with the 3008 (+15%) up two spots on August to #4 and the 2008 (-1%) up five to #5. The Citroen C3 Aircross (+71%) scores its third-ever Top 10 after January (#10) and July (#9), the Opel Corsa (+72%) snaps its first #1 foreigner crown since May 2011 at #12, also its highest ranking since May 2011 (#9), followed by the Toyota Yaris (+26%) at #13 and now #1 foreigner YTD, the Fiat 500 (+1%) at #15 and the Mercedes A-Class (+55%) at #19, breaking into the French Top 20 for the first time in history (pb #21 in December 2017) and scoring the highest ranking by any Mercedes in France since the Class C in August 2004 (#19). Extremely rare feat – we have no trace in our records of it happening at least since 2004: all Volkswagens are relegated well outside the Top 20: the Polo (-37%) at #23, Golf (-53%) at #27, T-Roc at #29 and Tiguan (-49%) at #34. Outside the Top 50, three recent launches break ranking records: the BMW X2 is up 22 spots on August to #64, the Hyundai Kona is up 42 to #65 and the Volvo XC40 up 37 to #67.

Previous post: France 1-4 October 2018: No improvement yet for Audi (-75%), VW (-50%), Nissan (-47%)

Previous month: France August 2018: Pre-WLTP stock clearance pull market up 40%

One year ago: France September 2017: Best September since 2009 but up a shy 1.1%

Full September 2018 Top 40 brands, Top 265 models and Top 10 private sales below.

Australia September 2018: Top Five brands are 100% Asian for first time

The Nissan Navara (+46%) hits its highest Australian ranking in almost 3 years.

* Now updated with the Top 35 best-selling brands and Top 275 All-models *

The Australian new vehicle market endures a 6th consecutive month of year-on-year decline in September at -5.5% to 94.711 units. It is the longest negative streak in over four years, a time that saw 8 consecutive negative months between January and August 2014. This shy performance pulls the YTD volume down 0.9% to 881.005 which is now not the 2nd anymore but 3rd largest 9-month result in history below 2017 (889.168) and 2016 (887.076). State-wise, Queensland, Tasmania, Western Australia and Victoria are all up whereas New South Wales (-4.4%), South Australia and Northern Territory are down. Following on a years-long trend, SUV sales go against the grain once again with a 6.2% uplift to 41.420 sales and 43.7% share vs. 38.9% a year ago whereas passenger cars continue to implode at -20.1% to 30.487 and just 32.2% share vs. 38.1% in September 2017 just as light commercials edge down 2.3% to 14.354 and 15.1% vs. 14.7%. Without solid business sales (+0.5% to 40.678) and rentals (+18.1% to 9.199) the market drop would have been a lot steeper as private sales tumble down 15.8% to 38.172 and government sales lose 2.6% to 3.156. The most popular fuel type is petrol (59.354) ahead of diesel (29.557) and hybrid/electric (1.161) not including Tesla. Looking at production origin, Japan leads again with 29.010 (+4%) ahead of Thailand at 24.152 (-4%), South Korea at 14.446 (-3%), Germany at 7.244 (-12%) and the USA at 3.181 (-18%).

The ageing Mitsubishi ASX is the best-selling SUV in Australia for the first time.

Brand leader Toyota (+0.1%) resists the gloom and scores a 18.4% market share, more than double any other carmaker present in Australia. Mazda (-31.5%) freefalls after a strong August score, enabling Hyundai (-0.2%) to step up to #2 for the first time in almost a year (since October 2017) and sending Mitsubishi (+7.9%) onto the podium for the 2nd time the past 6 months (after last March) but also only the 2nd time this millennial and potentially in history. Nissan (+29.1%) posts the largest gain in the Top 15 to break into the monthly Top 5 for the first time since January 2016. This means the Top 5 brands in Australia are 100% Asian for the first time in history. If Kia (+7.3%) and Subaru (+2.5%) defy the depressed climate, Volkswagen (-4.2%) roughly matches the market but Ford (-25.7%) and most strikingly Holden (-32.4%) literally implode, the latter equalling its worst ranking “record” of #10 first hit last March. Boosted by the new XC40 and XC60, Volvo soars 116.5% to #19, by far the most impressive year-on-year gain in the Top 20, with Suzuki (+13.8%) and Skoda (+9.5%) also solid. Further down, MG (+857.5%), LDV (+156.9%) hitting a record #21 also reached last March, Ram (+154.1%), Jaguar (+65.3%) and Great Wall (+55.6%) impress.

First Australian Top 15 finish for the Hyundai Kona. Pictures

The evergreen Toyota Hilux (+14%) scores an 11th consecutive monthly win, cementing its YTD domination over the Ford Ranger (-25%) now amounting to 7.000 sales. The Hilux also wins in the lucrative 4×4 ute segment at 3.338 vs. 2.870 for the Ranger, which should be helped by a facelift now in dealerships and the much-awaited (and overhyped?) Raptor variant. The Toyota Corolla (-5%) and Hyundai i30 (+9%) are the top passenger cars, while we have a new entrant inside the Top 5: the Mitsubishi ASX (+40%) smashing its previous ranking of #8 it hit 4 times prior (December 2015 and from last March to last May), also becoming the country’s vest-selling SUV for the first time. The Nissan X-Trail (+43%) follows at #6, also breaking its ranking record (pb #7 last March). There are four pickups in the Top 9 with the Mitsubishi Triton at #7 (+7%) and Nissan Navara at #9 (+46%) scoring its first Top 10 since May 2016 (#10) and best ranking since November 2015 (#8). The Toyota RAV4 (+11%), Prado (+42%) and Hyundai Kona celebrating one year in market with a record #13 (pb #22 last January) all outsell the Mazda CX-5 (-21%), traditional SUV leader, while the Subaru Forester (+41%) breaks into the Top 15 for the first time since March 2016. We welcome the Jaguar i-Pace (#226) and Lamborghini Urus (#266) in the charts.

Previous month: Australia August 2018: Mazda shines, Holden burns in 5th market decline

One year ago: Australia September 2017: Ford Ranger best-seller for the first time

Full September 2018 Top 35 brands and Top 275 All-models below.

Norway September 2018: Tesla leads, breaks record share at 19%

The Tesla Model X is the best-selling vehicle in Norway in September with 11.6% share.

* See the Top 35 All-brands and Top 20 models by clicking on the title *

Although not part of the European Union, the Norwegian new car market is still impacted by the WLTP changeover due to available stock of compliant vehicles then sold in the country. As a result September sales plunge 21.2% to 10.620, pulling the year-to-date tally down 4.2% to 111.500 units. A new record is beaten this month in Norway: electric vehicles surge 24.7% year-on-year to 4.802 units, hitting an all-time high 45.3% share of the total market. Add 1.585 plug-in hybrid and the share of EV/PHEV shoots up to 60.1%, also a record.

The Tesla Model S ranks 3rd this month.

Traditionally a lot stronger in end-of-quarters (albeit artificially as it pushes deliveries to March, June, September and December), Tesla (+1%) replicates its performance of September 2017 with a third ever 2.000+ monthly volume in Norway, snapping its 2nd largest volume in the country below the 2.455 sales of December 2017 and snapping the overall brand leadership for the 2nd time ever since, again, last December. This month Tesla holds 19% of the Norwegian market, a new record for the brand in any country in the world, almost double Nissan (+223%) at 10.9% and Toyota (-18%) at 10.5%. Volvo (+0.4%) and BMW (-17%) also overtake YTD leader Volkswagen (-74%) with Audi (-76%), Honda (-66%), Skoda (-57%), Mercedes (-51%), Lexus (-49%), Ford (-46%), Opel (-39%) and Suzuki (-31%) also freefalling. In contrast, Jaguar (+381%), Smart (+141%), Hyundai (+63%) and Renault (+46%) all post spectacular gains.

Jaguar is up 381% year-on-year thanks to the arrival of the electric i-Pace.

Model-wise, the Tesla Model X (+24%) takes the lead for the 2nd time ever in Norway after last December, breaking the symbolic 10% share milestone for the first time at 11.6%. The Model X now ranks #4 year-to-date. It distances the Nissan Leaf (+865%) at a strong 10.1% share vs. 8.1% so far in 2018, and the Tesla Model S (-22%) at 7.4% vs. 2.5% year-to-date. The BMW i3 (+46%) and Volvo XC60 (+70%) round up the Top 5 with the Renault Zoe (+224%), Hyundai Ioniq (+95%) and Mazda CX-5 (+77%) also in outstanding shape in the Top 10 whereas the VW Golf (-80%), Audi A3 (+78%), VW Passat (-76%), Volvo V90 (-67%), Mercedes GLC (-65%) and Skoda Octavia (-55%) all implode.

Previous month: Norway August 2018: Nissan Leaf reigns in market up 8.3%

One year ago: Norway September 2017: Tesla snaps staggering 15% share

Full September 2018 Top 35 All-brands and Top 20 models below.


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