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China June 2018: SUV sales drop for first time in 9 years in spectacular trend reversal

The VW Lavida is the best-selling vehicle in China for the third month running.

* See the Top 80 All China-made brands and Top 445 models by clicking on the title *

According to data released by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM), new light vehicle sales in China gain 2.3% year-on-year in June to 1.874.200 units. For the second consecutive month, the market is surprisingly pulled up by very dynamic sedan sales at +9.1% to 963.400. But the June thunderclap is the year-on-year drop of SUV sales at -0.5% to 737.600 units. After losing share year-on-year for the first time in 6 years last month, we estimate that this is the first decline for SUV sales in China in 9 years, since 2009 at a time when the segment only accounted for 8% of overall light vehicles sales vs. 39% this month. Now let’s pause for a minute to digest what is a spectacular trend reversal in the largest car market in the world. Up until two months ago, SUVs had been the unique engine of growth in the Chinese light vehicle market, the only segment enjoying year-on-year gains for the past couple of years just as all others (sedans, MPV and microvans) were declining sharply. So much so that almost all China-made car launches in the past two years have been SUVs, a new model trend that will continue deep into 2018 as these were conceived during the heydays of the SUV boom.

The Haval H6 (-25%) leads a suddenly weak SUV segment in China.

Is this the end of the SUV boom in China, and the world?

If one month of weakness could definitely be deemed a freak event, poor SUV sales have now been on display for two consecutive months in China, with the trend accelerating in June and pulling the segment into negative growth. It’s no secret that the SUV sales boom has been decelerating for some time already, with the explosive growth of 2015 (+52%) and 2016 (+45%) dampened by a more measured but still very impressive +13.3% in 2017. Before the slump of May, SUV sales were still up 12.9% year-on-year over the first 4 months of 2018 and remain more dynamic than sedans over the First Half of 2018 at +9.7% vs. +5.5%. However a worrying indicator is that the sudden fall of grace of SUVs in China is not just affecting a few selected models but is damaging the June sales of most best-sellers including the Haval H6 (-25%), Baojun 510 (-33%), VW Tiguan (-35%), GAC Trumpchi GS4 (-50%), Honda XR-V (-29%) and Changan CS75 (-44%).

Even the VW Tiguan is down 35% in June…

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, but it does appear that the Chinese have suddenly fallen out of love with SUVs, not just a couple of brands they could have been tired of. It’s useful to also keep in mind that a majority of local carmakers had dropped their prices significantly over the last couple of years in order to fuel continued growth (I’m looking at Haval here), and they are being caught up with this practice now with “real” sales exempt of price drops actually pretty weak. If confirmed over the next few months, this sudden turn of events will have a huge impact on the worldwide car industry as most global carmakers are now strongly influenced in their decision-making by the Chinese market. The plethora of SUVs that is still scheduled to hit dealerships over the next 18 months could find itself having a much harder time to shine. If confirmed, this sudden SUV slump will hurt Chnese carmakers much more than foreigners as the locals have put all their eggs in the SUV basket to survive over the past 5 years with foreign manufacturers struggling to keep their unabated SUV launch pace. A weakness that could turn out in foreign carmakers’ advantage: the manufacturers that will be able to weather this unexpected storm unscathed are the ones able to swap their reliance to a strong sedan lineup – and Volkswagen is best placed here.

Like in May, the Nissan Sylphy is the #2 vehicle in China this month, helping Nissan up 16%.

So if the SUV sales tap is drying out, where else can the Chinese market look for sustained growth? Sedans are the first bet with very dynamic sales over the past two months offsetting the SUV weakness to deliver overall monthly gains in the light vehicles segment. Meanwhile minibus sales drop 0.5% to 43.900 which is a striking slowing down of its freefalling pace over the past 5 years, but MPVs struggle again at -21% to 129.300 this month. Although they still account for a tiny part of the Chinese market, eco friendly cars continue to gallop ahead, up 43% to 84.000 in June, with EV sales up 30% to 62.000 and plug-in hybrids doubling year-on-year to 22.000. Finally, commercial vehicle sales surge 18% in June to 399.000 thanks to robust demand from shippers and domestic logistics providers. All-in-all, the Chinese total vehicle market is up 4.8% to 2.273.000 units in June, a new record for the month.

Geely manages a 27th double-digit gain in a row thanks to a strong sedan lineup.

A direct illustration of the increased sedan weight in carmaker’s fortunes this month is the China-made brands ranking, with the entire Top 6 in positive thanks to solid sedan sales. Volkswagen (+2%) ends the month just under 254.000 wholesales, that’s more than double any other carmaker in the country. Honda (+1%), Toyota (+4%) and Nissan (+16%) also shine but it’s Hyundai (+147%) that performs best near the top, offsetting a paltry start of 2017 handicapped by negative buyer sentiment towards South Korea in the wake of a tense North Korea situation. Up a formidable 35% on June 2017, Geely remains by far the best-selling Chinese brand at home, celebrating a 27th consecutive month of double-digit year-on-year gains and its 10th month in a row above 100.000 units. In the remainder of the Top 10, only Chevrolet (+18%) impresses while Baojun (+3%) has now stabilised and both Buick (-22%) and Changan (-20%) freefall.

Hyundai sales rally back up 147% in June.

Mercedes (+27%) is back above Audi (-4%) as the #1 premium brand in China in terms of wholesales, with BMW (+20%) also in great shape but almost 9.000 units below Audi this month. Total retail sales including imports place BMW much closer with Mercedes at 56.945 (+14%), Audi at 48.177 (+7.2%) and BMW at 48.062 (+1.6%). Chinese carmakers with a smile on their face in June include Qoros (+678%), Brilliance (+101%), MG (+100%) thanks to the new 6 sedan, Changhe (+90%), Maxus (+69%), Hawtai (+58%) thanks to a new electrified lineup, Roewe (+52%), Yema (+40%), Landwind (+38%), Borgward (+28%), Hanteng (+22%) and BYD (+17%). Among foreigners, the most impressive are Jaguar (+65%), Citroen (+59%) thanks to the new C5 Aircross, Infiniti (+55%) thanks to a new QX50, Kia (+49%) also catching up on a dismal 2017, Volvo (+29%) and Mitsubishi (+16%).

Brilliance sales are up 101% year-on-year in June, led by the H3 sedan.

Reversely, Jinbei (-78%), Bisu (-68%), Weichai (-66%), Cowin (-63%), Soueast (-62%), Haima (-57%), SWM (-46%), Lifan (-43%), Dongfeng (-39%), Leopaard (-38%), FAW (-25%), Karry (-25%), Wuling (-25%), JAC (-22%) and Haval (-20%) – hit full frontal by SUV disaffection, are the worst performing locals. Among foreigners, Fiat posts zero sale in June, Suzuki (-61%) has decided this month to pull out of the Chinese market, Ford (-55%) continues to freefall, while Denza (-54%), Acura (-40%), DS (-35%), Jeep (-34%), Mazda (-23%) and Peugeot (-19%) all implode.

MG deliveries double year-on-year thanks to the 6 sedan.

Among new brands recently launched in market, Great Wall’s WEY (+241%) shows spectacular year-on-year gains but has been steadily declining month-on-month since March, hitting just 10.481 units in June with 3 models (VV5, VV7 and P8) which is only 49% of its all-time high of 21.349 hit last December. In contrast, its direct competitor, Geely’s Lynk & Co continues to progress, up 0.1% on May to a record 9.247 sales this month and still with only one nameplate, the 01, with the 02 and 03 slated for H2 2018. These two carmakers dominate recent launches in China head and shoulders, with the next best thing being Traum which seems to already have plateaued at 1.168 units (-4% on May). Next are Yudo (461), Xpeng (146) and June arrival COS (80), a new marque by Chana Oshan (more on this shortly in the June 2018 edition of our Focus on the All-new models series). EV makers Arcfox and Dearcc are both below 10 sales for the month.

Volkswagen places 5 nameplates among the Top 7 best-selling sedans, including the Bora (+41%).

Over in the models ranking, confirming the fall of grace of SUVs, the Top 5 best-sellers are all sedans officially for the first time since August 2013 when the Wuling Hongguang was still counted as a commercial vehicle. However, inserting the Hongguang – as it should be – into the PC sales ranking from its launch in 2011 leads to an even more impressive feat by sedans this month: the Top 5 best-selling passenger cars in China are 100% sedans for the first time in 6.5 years since January 2012. Leading the way is the VW Lavida (+26%) boosted by a new generation – and snapping the YTD lead off the Hongguang – ahead of the Nissan Sylphy (+32%) and Toyota Corolla (-0.4%) reproducing the May podium. The VW Santana (+81%) and Jetta (+14%) round up the Top 5, with Volkswagen even placing 5 nameplates in the Top 7 sedans: add the VW Sagitar (+3%) and Bora (+41%).

The Baojun 360 scores a five-digit figure for its 2nd month but cannibalises the Wuling Hongguang.

The Wuling Hongguang (-25%) skids down to #7 – its lowest-ever ranking – cannibalised by the new Baojun 360 up 37% on its inaugural month in May to record 11.002 units, all the while the Baojun 730 implodes at -70%. The Haval H6 sinks 25% to #6 but overtakes the Baojun 510 YTD, and the Geely Boyue (+4%) steps up to #2 best-selling SUV in China for the first time and one of only two inside the Top 10. For once, sedans monopolise the largest year-on-year gains in the Top 50 with best performers including the Hyundai Elantra Lingdong (+740%), Hyundai Celesta (+485%), BMW 5 Series L (+123%), Toyota Camry (+73%), Geely Emgrand GL (+68%), Hyundai Mistra (+68%), Chevrolet Cavalier (+63%), Chevrolet Sail (+60%), Honda Fit (+58%), Mercedes C-Class L (+47%), Audi A4L (+31%), Mercedes E-Class L (+29%), Geely Emgrand (+25%), Honda Accord (+15%) and Geely Emgrand GS (+13%). Only the Hyundai ix35 (+1263%) boosted by the new generation, Changan CS35 (+19%), Nissan X-Trail (+14%) and Buick Envision (+10%) shine among SUVs.

The FAW Senia R9 is up 232% on its inaugural month in May to #160.

The 5-seat SUV Baojun 530 (#26) is the most popular recent launch (<12 months) but is already down 12% on May to just above 15.000 units. It is followed by the BYD Song MAX (#38), Baojun 360 (#50), Geely Vision X3 (#56), Lynk & Co 01 (#66), Geely Vision S1 (#86), GAC Trumpchi GS3 (#88), Haval H4 (#93) up to a record 6.114 sales and Kia KX Cross (#102). Among nameplates launched last month in May, the Baojun 360 is obviously the best performer at +37% to #50, followed by the FAW Senia R9 up 232% to #160, the Skoda Kamiq up 554% to #183, Jeep Grand Commander up 703% to #184, Changhe A6 up 31% to #215, BMW X3 up 3090% to #242, VW T-Roc up 25250% to #278 and WEY P8 up 13% to #319. The Changhe Q7 is the only May launch to see its sales drop vs. its inaugural month at -25% to #281.

Previous month: China May 2018: SUVs drop share for the first time in 6 years

One year ago: China June 2017: Buick Excelle in the lead, market back up

Full June 2018 Top 80 All China-made brands and Top 445 models below.

China May 2018 – New Energy: 13 Chinese models in Top 15

The Zhi Dou D2 is the 2nd best-selling EV in China in May.

* See the Top 55 brands and Top 108 models by clicking on the title *

This is a new Chinese monthly update exclusive to BSCB, part of our ever-expanding China coverage. And this month we have added a brands ranking so our perspective on this booming segment is more precise. New Energy vehicles include electric, hydrogen, PHEV and hybrid models. Keep in mind we are referring to retail sales including imports here as these offer a much more complete picture of New Energy sales than wholesales alone. BAIC BJEV takes the lead of the brands ranking thanks to a 564% surge due to the EC-Series (see further down), selling almost double the traditional leader Toyota (+69%). BYD (+116%) and Roewe (+360%) are both knocked down one spot on their April ranking but still post outstanding performances. JMC (+414%), Zotye (+307%), JAC (+127%) and Zhi Dou (+89%) also shine inside the Top 10 while Leopaard jumps up 10 spots on last month to #13.

Roewe Ei5

As we already described in our May 2018 Retail update, the BAIC BJEV EC-Series surges 10-fold year-on-year to dominate the New Energy ranking with over 24.000 units. In fact, this month’s New Energy push is almost solely brought about by Chinese manufacturers, with no less than 13 Chinese models in the Top 15. The only two exceptions are the Toyota Corolla Hybrid (+58%) at #2 and the Toyota Levin Hybrid (+47%) at #7. The Zhi Dou D2 soars 75% year-on-year and 12 spots on April to land on the third step of the podium, distancing the JMC E200 up 11-fold year-on-year and 25 ranks on last month, the Baojun E100 up three spots on April and the BYD Song EV us 16-fold on May 2017. This month we welcome the Roewe Ei5 at #21, the JMC E400 at #76 and the JAC iEVA50 at #92.

Previous month: China April 2018 – New Energy: Toyota, BYD and Roewe dominate

Full May 2018 Top 55 brands and Top 108 models below.

China May 2018 Retail sales: BAIC BJEV EC-Series up to #7

24.134 BAIC BJEV EC found a buyer in China in May: the electric invasion has started.

* See the Top 94 All China-made brands and Top 596 models by clicking on the title *

April 2017 – April 2018 monthly All-models data also available, Contact us here

After detailing China May Wholesales, it’s now time to go through China Retail sales, a new exclusive monthly BSCB update. Keep in mind Retail sales are dealership sales to end-customers whereas Wholesales are ex-factory sales to dealerships. These new Retail updates enable a second perspective, perhaps closer to the reality on the ground. Also, the way models are displayed is slightly different, allowing an unprecedented look at previously secretive brands such as Landwind with all models now separated, and new standalone variants such as the Wuling Hongguang S3 SUV and the Haval H6 Coupe.

The new China-exclusive Sportage helps Kia up 11% in May.

Brand-wise, Volkswagen edges up 2% to tower ahead all competition, with Toyota soaring 23% to remain at #2 ahead of Geely up another 24%. Nissan (+17%) also shines at #5, Baojun is a lot weaker than its wholesales figures, edging up just 1%. In contrast, Haval (-28%), Buick (-22%) and Honda (-15%) are in great difficulty, which augurs for difficult wholesales months ahead as dealers won’t be ordering much new metal given they’re not selling what they have in stock. Whereas its wholesales have clearly rallied back, Hyundai retail sales are still in negative at -4%. Just outside the Top 10, Audi (+5%) tops premium marques ahead of Mercedes (+16%) and BMW (+14%). BAIC (+37%), Roewe (+29%) and Chevrolet (+22%) post the largest year-on-year gains in the remainder of the Top 20.

Hongqi sales are up 9-fold on May 2017 thanks to the arrival of the H5.

Further down the ranking, the best performing foreign brands include Jaguar (+56%), Isuzu (+46%), Skoda (+35%), Mitsubishi (+30%), DS (+27%), Volvo (+24%), Cadillac (+21%) and Citroen (+18%). At the other end of the scale, Peugeot (-29%) is stuck in dismal waters at #29, as are Fiat (-91%), Acura (-37%), Suzuki (-33%), Luxgen (-23%), Jeep (-22%) and Infiniti (-19%). Among Chinese carmakers, the most impressive are Hongqi (+799%), Foton (+223%), Qoros (+217%), Maxus (+176%), JMC (+163%), Bisu (+112%), Zhi Dou (+89%), Jinbei (+62%), MG (+50%), Brilliance (+43%), Zotye (+39%), Denza (+37%), BYD (+30%), Hawtai (+28%), Landwind (+27%) and Yema (+20%).

Very first appearance of the Chery Tiggo 8 in any Chinese charts.

But there are also many that struggle, including Zinoro (-69%), FQT Motor (+46%), Weichai (-44%), Huasong (-40%), Soueast (-40%), Great Wall (-37%), Joylong (-37%), Lifan (-37%), Borgward (-35%), Foday (-34%), Chana (-30%), Karry (-30%), Cowin (-28%) and SWM (-26%). New brand arrivals remain dominated by WEY (#36) and Lynk & Co (#42), the rest including Traum (#73), Arcfox (#78), Sinogold (#84), Yudo (#85), Xpeng (#86) and Nio (#87), with Sinogold and Nio having yet to appear in the Wholesales charts.

Retail-wise, the Nissan Sylphy is the best-selling vehicle in China outright in May.

As it was the case in April and also in May Wholesales-wise, three sedans dominate the retail models ranking in China this month: the Nissan Sylphy (+24%) is the best-selling nameplate outright ahead of the Toyota Corolla (+30%) and VW Lavida (+16%). The Haval H6 (-22%) rallies back up 9 spots on April to #4 despite a harsh year-on-year drop and reclaims the title of best-selling SUV in China off the Baojun 510 for the first time since last December. Keep in mind retail figures separate H6 sales from the H6 Coupe (#93). The VW Sagitar (+8%) gains two spots on last month to #5, knocking down the Wuling Hongguang (-28%) to #6 while the Baojun posts its first ever decline at -14% to #8, confirming the softening we have witnessed in wholesales. As a result the YTD order is reshuffled, with the Lavida now in the lead above the Corolla, 510 and Hongguang.

The Zotye T800 has landed.

The main event in the models charts has an electric zing to it: with sales up a staggering 9-fold on May 2017 to over 24.000, the BAIC BJEV EC-Series shoots up to a record-breaking 7th place, scoring its second best monthly volume after the 32.781 it reached last December, but that only enabled it to rank #20 at the time. According to BSCB records, it is the first time a pure electric nameplate ever ranks inside the Chinese Retail Top 10. To gain the extend of this exploit, note the the 2nd ranked electric vehicles comes 99 ranks below at #106: the Zhi Dou D2 at 5.286 sales. More details in our dedicated New Energy update shortly.

Chana X70A

The Baojun 530 tops all recent launches at #41 with just under 11.500 sales, albeit already down 3% on April. In summary, the 530 has managed to tilt the 510 into negative but seems to have plateaued already with end-customers which will impact its wholesales in the coming months. The Geely Vision X3 (#48) follows, ahead of the BYD Song MAX (#57), Lynk & Co 01 (#63), Wuling Hongguang S3 (#65), Baojun 310W (#78), Chana Oshan X70A (#98) and WEY VV5 (#100).

JMC E400

There are no less than 12 new arrivals in the May Retail ranking. As it is the case for Wholesales, the Baojun 360 is the most popular (#101), this time with just under 5.500 units. The Haval H4 (#146), Roewe RX8 (#247), Roewe Ei5 (#263), Hyundai Encino (#333), FAW Jumpal CX65 (#446) and WEY P8 (#452) have all been already described in our “Focus on All-new models” updates that are dedicated to wholesales. Yet five new nameplates have not yet appeared in the wholesales charts and therefore make their first entrance in any Chinese ranking: the Chery Tiggo 8 (#352) – I discovered it at the Beijing Auto Show in April, Zotye T800 (#421), JMC E400 (#491) – essentially an electric Landwind X2, JAC iEVA50 (#527) and Lynk & Co 02 (#596) – check out my test drive of the 02 here.

Previous month: China April 2018 Retail sales: Three sedans on top, Baojun 510 #1 SUV

Full May 2018 Top 94 All China-made brands and Top 596 All-models below.

China imports May 2018: Mercedes CLA, Lexus NX up in market down 4%

The Mercedes CLA is the #3 best-selling import in China in May.

* See the Top 50 All imported brands and Top 240 models by clicking on the title *

All-brands and All-models 2017 monthly data available, us here for more details.

Complete Chinese imports data is now available for May, BSCB being the first media outside of China to report on these figures regularly. Last month the Chinese government announced it would lower the tariffs imposed on car imports by ten percentage points from 25 to 15%, applicable on July 1. However there is still great uncertainty around imports as a retaliation to Trump’s import tariffs could imply returning the rate to 25% for U.S. car imports. For now, imports are down 4% in May to a round 84.000 but remain up 7% year-to-date at 453.586.

Lexus NX sales are up 31% year-on-year in May.

The brands podium returns to its YTD order this month with Mercedes (+5%) still a notch above all manufacturers at over 14.000 units while BMW (-18%) climbs back above Lexus (+12%) for just 304 units and despite a steep decline mainly due to the transfer of the X3 into local production (see our May Focus on All-new models). Both carmakers are above 11.000 import sales for the month. A nice surprise from Porsche (-1%) stepping up one spot to #4 imported brand, taking advantage of weakening sales by Toyota  (-3%). Land Rover (+16%) is very robust in 6th place, delivering the largest year-on-year gain in the Top 10 thanks to the Velar. Lincoln (-0.2%) marks a pause but remains above Audi (-7%) while Volkswagen (-37%) crumbles down. Below, Mazda (up 266-fold due to the new CX-3 and MX-5), McLaren (+214%), Mitsubishi (+127%), Ferrari (+97%), Bentley (+60%), Aston Martin (+56%), Rolls-Royce (+19%) and Nissan (+19%) make themselves noticed.

The McLaren 720S has landed in China…

Over in the imported models ranking, the Lexus ES (+4%) retains the top spot just as the new generation is about to boost sales even further, with the BMW X5 (-1%) solid in 2nd place like YTD and FY2017. The Mercedes CLA soars 38% to reclaim the third spot it holds YTD off the Lexus NX (+31%) knocked down one rank to #4. The Porsche Macan (-9%) is up four spots on April to #5, with the Nissan Patrol (+24%) and Range Rover (+15%) also very robust inside the Top 10. Further down, the Mitsubishi Pajero (+128%), Lincoln Continental (+114%), Toyota Land Cruiser (+27%), Volvo XC90 (+27%), Mercedes GLC Coupe (+21%) and Mercedes S-Class (+14%) shine.

As has the Kia Stinger.

The Range Rover Velar (#31) tops all recent launches (<12 months) above the BMW 6 Series GT (#57), Ford F-150 (#67), Mercedes AMG GLC (#77) and Mazda CX-3 (#78). Finally, we welcome three new nameplates in the Chinese imports sales charts this month, a rare event in a traditionally tranquil ranking: the McLaren 720S at #152, the Lexus LC at #167 and the Kia Stinger at #207.

Previous month: China imports April 2018: Lexus up 34% to #2 below Mercedes

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

Full May 2018 Top 50 All imported brands and Top 240 models below.

China May 2018: Focus on the All-new models

Baojun 360

As per the BSCB tradition, after covering May China sales in detail, we now focus on the all-new locally produced launches so you can stay up-to-the-minute on the fastest-evolving market in the world. Note these updates remain based on wholesales data. Although this month – and for the first time in 6 years – sedans grow faster than SUVs, judging by the class of May 2018 new entrants this reverse of fortune is likely to only be temporary. Out of the 10 new launches making their first appearances in the wholesales charts this month (the largest field since last September), no less than 8 are SUVs… and some of them have very high sales potential. Keep track of the fast-expanding list of all active Chinese brands by consulting our Exclusive Guide to all 169 Chinese Brands, updated live.

1. Baojun 360 (#74 – 8.003 sales)

Only three months after the appearance of the Baojun 530 in February, the tremendously successful low-cost marque by SAIC-GM is not wasting time, now spurning out the 360 MPV unveiled in Beijing. Every single combustion Baojun launch in the past four years has been a blockbuster, and the 360 is headed this way too with a first month above 8.000 sales. The 730 MPV launched in August 2014 and peaked at 50.128 units in December 2016, the 560 SUV launched in July 2015 and peaked at 42.077 in March 2016, the 310 hatch and station wagon launched in September 2016 and hit a record 35.048 in December 2017, the 510 SUV launched in February 2017 and became the most successful launch in the history of automobile in China and the world (no less), hitting a monthly record of 58.006 in December 2017, and finally the 530 SUV appeared in February and has been progressing ever since, reaching 17.003 sales this month.

Baojun 360 interior. Picture

There are no more prestigious antecedents to follow and the pressure is on the 360 to succeed without hurting the larger 730. Powered by the traditional GM 112hp 1.5 engine the Baojun brand has been using for most of its nameplates, the 360 is priced at an impossibly low 56.800-75.800 yuan (7.600-10.100€, US$8.800-11.800) and once again features interior quality, materials and luxuries (electric seats…) that set it miles above the local competition. The only competing vehicle that could potentially come close is the markedly more expensive BYD Song MAX (79.900-129.900). But this is where things get challenging for Baojun, as its main competition is internal. The 360 is priced similarly to the Wuling Hongguang S3 (56.800-81.800) and undercuts the larger Baojun 730 (60.800-108.800) which it is already hurting: the 730 is down an abysmal 69% year-on-year in May. It looks like a frustratingly repeating scenario for Baojun as the 530 is slowly but surely hampering the 510 which itself absolutely annihilated the 560.

Bar for success: 20.000 monthly units

Changhe A6. Picture

2. Changhe A6 (#239 – 1.553 sales)

New owner BAIC continues to try and revive the Changhe brand from a low-cost MPV-maker into a generalist marque, however there had been a drought of new models since August 2016 and the launch of the Q35 small SUV. Even though these two nameplates have already appeared in the retail sales charts, Changhe launches a two-pronged attack this year, now apparent in wholesales, starting with the A6. It is unchartered territory for Changhe as the brand has never launched a standalone hatchback before, notwithstanding the cooperations with Suzuki, and it faced with an uphill battle in an extremely competitive field.

Changhe A6 interior. Picture

Priced between 69.800 and 99.800 yuan (9.300-13.300€ or US$10.800-15.500), the A6 competes with fellow BAIC sedan Senova D50 (67.900-113.800), also going against the outright leaders in the Chinese-branded sedan segment: the Geely Emgrand (69.800-100.800), Changan Eado (71.900-105.900) and Geely Emgrand GL (78.800-115.800), even though a more direct competitor would seem to be the similarly-shaped but surprisingly cheaper Chery Arrizo 5 (49.900-97.900). So in a few words, lots of sales potential for the A6 but a very crowded sandpit. Changhe should remain humble in its sales objectives given the lack of experience of the brand in this segment, so a modest 3.000 monthly units is our bar for success.

Bar for success: 3.000 monthly units

Changhe Q7. Picture

3. Changhe Q7 (#255 – 1.323 sales)

The second nameplate in a very impressive 2018 Changhe attack, the Q7 totally bluffed me when I discovered it at the Guangzhou Auto Show last November with a prestigious cockpit rarely seen in any Chinese manufacturer, let alone Changhe which comes at the tail end of local marques. While keeping all the luxuries it displayed in Guangzhou, the Q7 market launch reveals an impossibly low price – a Change trait – from 87.900 to 148.900 yuan (11.750-19.900€ or US$13.700-23.100). This sets it in the same bracket as blockbusters such as the Haval H6 (103.000-146.800), Geely Boyue (98.800-159.800) and Baojun 530 (75.800-115.800) except these are all 5-seaters whereas the Q7 is a generous 7-seater.

Changhe Q7 interior. Picture

In fact, the Q7’s true competitors are fellow dirt-cheap 7-seaters such as the BAIC Hyosow S7 (78.800-115.800), Bisu T5 (72.900-104.900), Chana CX70 (59.900-109.900) and Dongfeng Fengguang 580 (78.900-123.000). Even then, all of these offerings don’t come close to the refinement that the Q7 cockpit is offering, with only the Dongfeng able to pretend at anything else than a low-cost label. This makes the Q7 the best value for money 7-seat SUV in the Chinese market (therefore the world), no less. But although huge success would be deserved, as it is the case for the A6 Changhe should be prudent with sales targets as the Q7 is so off-brand (in a good way) that it may actually not be credible to its target customers for which the Changhe brand carries no prestige at all. Changhe could (should) be onto some gold here, but the hardest part will be convincing consumers to even consider the brand in the first place.

Bar for success: 3.500 monthly units

4. FAW Besturn Senia R9 (#277 – 993 sales)

The Senia R9 was the main attraction on struggling FAW’s stand at the Beijing Auto Show in April. First Auto Works, as its name indicates the very first automobile manufacturer to have been founded in China, is down 39% in May and 13% so far in 2018 so it needs all the help any new and modern-looking SUV can bring. Oddly, the Senia R9 appears twice in this month’s sales charts: once under the FAW-Jilin subsidiary with 634 sales (logical, as this is where the Senia sub-brand was born) and once under the Besturn sub-brand with 359 sales, which doesn’t make any sense. This naming confusion was already present at the Beijing Auto Show in April.

FAW Besturn Senia R9 interior. Picture

To add to the mess, Senia even seems to have been elevated to a brand, with its own logo on the grille and steering wheel. The first Senia was a rebadged Daihatsu Xenia (hence the sub-brand name) launched in 2007 and now called S80, and it was followed by the Senia R7 launched in May 2016 and peaking at 10.207 sales in November 2017. Depressingly for FAW, this month only the Besturn X40 manages to sell more than 1.000 units… Powered by a weak 1.2T engine, the R9 is priced from 83.900 to 125.900 yuan (vs. 66.900-106.900 for the R7) and comes in competition with virtually every strong selling Chinese SUV in the market, among them the Haval H6, GAC Trumpchi GS4, Geely Boyue and Changan CS55. There’s definitely room for more, but the fight will be tough. FAW desperately needs the R9 to succeed, even if it means killing 3-4 sedans to let it flourish.

Bar for success: 6.000 monthly units

5. WEY P8 (#330 – 503 sales)

WEY is a new SUV semi-premium brand launched in 2017 by Great Wall to top its Haval lineup. It has snapped blockbuster status straight away, becoming by far the best-selling new brand in China over the past year with a stunning 154.000 units sold in 12 months, including 67.000 so far in 2018. However, after brilliantly crossing the 20.000 monthly unit mark from November 2017 to January 2018, it has since depleted quite significantly, down to just 11.079 in May which is just enough to outsell its main local competitor Lynk & Co (9.234) even though the latter only has one nameplate in market. The VV7 (June 2017) and VV5 (September 2017) have nabbed almost identical volumes, the former peaking at 10.551 in December 2017 and the latter at 10.798 that same month. They are down to around 5.000 sales each this month, so it’s time for fresh metal to revive sales, and this is where the P8 comes in although it might struggle doing so with its high price tag.

WEY P8 interior. Picture

The P8 is Great Wall’s first hybrid SUV and the first vehicle built on the company’s Pi4 plug-in hybrid four-wheel drive platform that powers the front wheels with a conventional 234hp 2.0 petrol engine and the rear wheels via a dedicated 85kW electric motor. Its technology prices it between 292.800 to 312.800 yuan (39.200-41.850€ or US$45.500-48.600) well above the existing VV5 (150.000-163.000) and VV7 (167.800-188.800). It enters a relatively virgin segment, with only the BYD Tang (292.800-299.900) positioned similarly, and perhaps the RX5 New Energy (195.900-296.800). The Tang has a personal best of 5.503 sales in December 2015 while the RX5 NE’s best is 3.339 units this month. Hitting these scores would be a great start for the P8.

Bar for success: 4.000 monthly units

6. Skoda Kamiq (#343 – 402 sales)

The Kamiq is exclusive to China and Skoda’s third new SUV launch in China in the past year after the Kodiaq (April 2017) peaking at 7.030 sales in December and the Karoq (January 2018) up to 2.668 units in April. Skoda enjoys a more premium positioning in China compared to Europe and therefore is able to stick relatively expensive price tags on its models. The Kodiaq is available from 189.800 to 268.800 yuan (25.400-36.100€ or US$29.500-41.800) while the Karoq goes for 139.900-185.900 yuan (18.700-24.900€ or US$21.800-28.900) and although no official pricing has been announced yet, the Kamiq should follow the trend with an estimated 120.000-140.000 yuan price range (16.100-18.700€ or US$18.700-21.800).

Skoda Kamiq interior. Picture

This pits the Kamiq against similarly sized foreign-branded blockbusters such as the Honda XR-V (127.800-162.800) or Hyundai ix25 (109.800-152.800). This is a difficult spot for foreign carmakers as it makes these models compete with much larger and sophisticated local fares such as the Haval H6, GAC Trumpchi GS4 and Geely Boyue, and even much more refined 7-seaters such as the Changhe Q7 (see above) so the Kamiq has its work cut out. It is powered by an old-fashioned and weak 100hp 1.5 engine mated to a 5-speed manual or six-speed automatic which will make it all the more difficult to compete with more modern and cheaper Chinese fares, especially as the Kamiq is aimed at a younger, more affluent audience in large cities.

Bar for success: 5.000 monthly units

7. Jeep Grand Commander (#356 – 326 sales)

Almost three years after becoming a local producer with the Cherokee launched in November 2015, Jeep steps up to an essential step in becoming truly engrained in China: launching a nameplate exclusive to this market. It is the Grand Commander, the brand’s only 7-seater and the first China-only model in the history of Jeep, reviving the Commander nameplate that was used between 2005 and 2010. The Grand Commander is the production version of the Yuntu Concept presented at the Shanghai Auto Show in April 2017. It is powered by a 2.0T 234hp or 256hp engine both coupled with a nine-speed automatic gearbox. Strangely for the brand, the two base versions are 2WD only.

Jeep Grand Commander interior. Picture

Priced from 279.800 to 409.800 yuan (37.400-54.800€ or US$43.500-63.700), the Grand Commander competes with the Ford Edge (229.800-429.800), Toyota Highlander (239.800-422.800) and VW Teramont (308.900-518.900). These three models have all reached high sales volumes: the Edge’s personal best is 13.837 in December 2016, the Highlander’s is 12.018 in January 2017 and the Teramont’s is 11.238 in November 2017. As far as Jeep nameplates are concerned, the Cherokee peaked at 10.109 in December 2016, the Compass at 10.302 in December 2017 and the Renegade at 5.137 also in December 2017. Although it has been a smashing success in the past 2 years, the fact is in 2018 Jeep is in great difficulty with sales down a worrying 34% over the first five months and down 48% in May. The Grand Commander couldn’t come soon enough and should at least do better than the Renegade.

Bar for success: 6.000 monthly units

8. Borgward BX6 (#396 – 118 sales)

German marque Borgward was reborn in 2016 thanks to Foton Motor, property of the BAIC Group. Although selling overpriced rebadged BAIC SUVs under an unknown European badge seemed like a stretch at the time, especially after a disastrous unveiling at the Frankfurt Auto Show in September 2015, there’s no denying the Borgward reboot has been a success. In less than two years, Borgward has sold 86.798 units in China, for now the only market where the brand exists. The brand’s entire marketing revolves around its prestigious German past, with slogans such as “Since 1919″ despite the half-century production interruption and the listing of the brand’s achievements at the peak of its glory in the 1950s: “A direct competitor to Mercedes”, “One of Germany’s Top 4 Carmakers” (along with Volkswagen, Opel and Mercedes) and “Cumulative sales of 1 million units”. Borderline (or plain?) misleading, with the fact that not a single Borgward is manufactured in Germany conveniently bypassed by . Even the Chinese name for Borgward (Baowo 宝沃) has a premium European taste: it is a mix of BMW (Baoma 宝马) and Volvo (Woer’Wo 沃尔沃)…

Old and new Borgward logo

Borgward BX6 interior. Picture

And it’s worked. Focusing solely on SUVs which have been the main engine of Chinese growth over the past half-decade, Borgward has carved itself a place under the sun, but new metal is now needed to keep the marque afloat. The BX7 launched in July 2016 and hit a peak of 5.556 units in December 2016 but has not been above 3.000 units in over a year, even crumbling down to just 211 sales last February. The smaller BX5 launched in April 2017 and reached a personal best of 3.710 units in December 2017. Unveiled at the Geneva Auto Show in March 2016, the BX6 is based on the BX5 and took its sweet time to hit the market but its refreshing blend of SUV, sedan and coupe à la BMW X4 sets it apart from the mainstream pack of cloned Chinese SUVs. Priced between 182.800 and 199.800 yuan (24.500-26.700€ or US$28.400-31.100), it is on the dearer side like all Borgwards and could potentially compete with simialrly shaped locals such as the Venucia T90 (109.800-154.800), Lynk & Co 02 (142.000-198.000) and the upcoming Bisu T7.

Bar for success: 4.000 monthly units

9. BMW X3 (#415 – 48 sales)

The new generation X3 is only the second SUV manufactured by BMW in China. As an import it ranked 4th best-seller outright in 2017 with 34.442 sales below its larger brother the X5 ranking #2 with 51.878 deliveries. That should give a pretty good indication of the X3’s huge sales potential as a locally-manufactured nameplate. The X3 made and sold in China is exactly the same as the in the rest of the world (no lengthening of the wheelbase) and it should climb near the top of BMW sales in the country, even potentially becoming the brand’s best-seller in China if its competitors’ sales figures are anything to go by.

BMW X3 interior. Picture

The X3 is powered by a choice of two 2.0T engines at 184 or 252hp and is priced from 399.800 to 585.800 yuan (53.500- 78.400€ or US$62.200-91.100). It goes full-frontal against the Audi Q5 (396.400-519.200) and Mercedes GLC (394.800-579.000). Both German SUVs are their respective brands’ best-selling SUVs in China and third best-selling models outright. The Q5 ranks below the A4L and A6L so far in 2018 but ranked #2 Audi in August, September, December 2017 and January 2018, reaching a record 16.688 sales in January. The GLC ranks below the C- and E-Class but was Mercedes’ best-seller in China in April 2018, hitting a record 13.152 units in January. The X3 should aim at similar levels.

Bar for success: 7.500 monthly units

10. VW T-Roc (#439 – 4 sales)

Volkswagen’s compact crossover, the T-Roc, needs no introduction and as it is starting to make its mark in Europe, the much-awaited China launch is now upon us. The China-made version of the T-Roc is longer than the European one by 77 mm and higher by 9 mm with its wheelbase gaining the most at 84 mm, mainly to benefit back passengers. It is powered by a 1.4T 150hp engine Size: 4318/1819/1582, and as we write these lines pricing information is not yet known for China. Volkswagen has been surprisingly slow to react to the SUV storm that has engulfed the Chinese market for the past five years, only launching the 7-seat Teramont in January 2017. It peaked at 11.238 units in November 2017 while the Tiguan’s highest monthly volume stands at 37.971 in October 2017.

VW T-Roc interior. Picture

Volkswagen runs two joint-ventures in China and both its current SUVs are manufactured by the Shanghai-Volkswagen joint-venture. As incredible as it sounds, the T-Roc will be the first SUV manufactured by Volkswagen’s second joint-venture in the country, FAW-Volkswagen. This is the most important piece of information to remember about the T-Roc in order to predict its success, and needless to say that, as much as VW’s sedan sales remain extremely strong through both joint-ventures, FAW-Volkswagen dealers have been gagging for at least one SUV to add to their lineup for many years now. Therefore the sales potential of the T-Roc is enormous, and FAW-VW will expect it to weigh the same volume both the Tiguan and the Teramont currently command for Shanghai-VW. That’s a big ask, but they would be in their right to work towards it. Oddly, Shanghai-VW is getting a third SUV in the coming months, the Tharu, which is sure to enrage FAW-VW even further.

Bar for success: 20.000 monthly units

Previous month: China April 2018: Focus on the All-new models

One year ago: China May 2017: Focus on the All-new models

China May 2018: SUVs drop share for the first time in 6 years

The VW Lavida is the best-selling vehicle in China for the 2nd month running.

* See the Top 80 All China-made brands and Top 445 models by clicking on the title *

According to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM), wholesales of new light vehicles in China gain a solid 7.9% year-on-year in May to 1.889.500, lifting the year-to-date volume up 5.1% or almost 500.000 deliveries to a record 9.900.900 units. That’s higher than the CAAM prediction of +3% for the Full Year 2018. May 2018 may be remembered as the turning point where the SUV segment in China has become saturated. Let’s not overreact, but the facts are here: for the first time since 2012 and the start of the SUV tsunami that has engulfed the country, sedans grow faster this month at +12% to 940.100 whereas SUV “only” manage a 6.5% gain to 761.300 which is below the market growth. In other words, SUVs lose market share year-on-year in May for the first time in 6 years. It’s a very unusual month that also sees microvans bottom up (+1.7%) to 49.000 units whereas MPV post a somewhat muted 7.1% decline to 139.100. Of course the May surprises are not enough to dent the longer-term trends just yet, and YTD sedans are now up 4.7% to 4.730.600, SUVs up almost three times that rate at 11.6% to 4.415.700, MPVs down 10.4% to 752.700 and microvans down 30% to 190.800.

The Nissan Sylphy ranks #2 overall for the 2nd time in a row.

Brand-wise, keeping in mind these figures are wholesales excluding imports, market leader Volkswagen posts another very robust month at +8% to just under 248.000 sales, still more than double any other carmaker in the largest market in the world, an outstanding feat. Except even more vigorous growth over the remainder of 2018 as the T-Roc hits dealerships in June. Toyota soars 23%, enjoying the combined benefits of a new generation Camry (+95%) and a very dynamic Levin (+150%) to jump four spots to #2 overall, a ranking it had not reached in almost 3 years (since July 2015). This ends Geely’s streak of seven consecutive months in second place at home, but the carmaker’s most impressive streaks aren’t broken: at +49% year-on-year to 113.834 sales, it’s Geely’s 26th consecutuve month of double-digit gains and 9th month in a row above 100.000 sales. YTD sales are up 37% to above 600.000 units, keeping the #2 spot.

At #3, the Toyota Corolla makes the podium 100% sedan for the first time in 5 years.

Honda (-4%) drops one spot on April to #4 but remains well above the 100.000 unit-mark with Nissan up 13% to a strong showing at 97.309, Baojun slowing down its growth at +16% as the 310 stabilises, the 530 cannibalises the 510 and the 730 freefalls with the arrival of the 360 (more details in our upcoming Focus on all-new models). Hyundai (+71%) continues to erase its paltry scores of 2017 hampered by China-Korea tensions just as Kia (+80%) does further down and Chevrolet (+53%) compensates for the weakness of Buick (-10%) thanks to stunning sales of its low-cost Cavalier sedan (+160%) accounting for 38% of the brand’s sales in China this month. Changan (-9%) is now threatened by Baojun for the title of #2 Chinese brand YTD.

The Emgrand GL (+78%) helps Geely post a 26th consecutive double-digit gain.

Mercedes soars 19% to end the month just 171 sales below archenemy Audi (+2%) but is above the Ingolstadt marque when taking imports into account. BMW (+15%) also outpaces the market but is 8.000 units below. Further down the ranking, Qoros (+541%) continues to run after its survival thanks to much-improved 5 SUV sales (+766%), Changhe (+97%) is back on track thanks to the simultaneous arrival of the A6 hatch and Q7 SUV (covered in our Focus on All-new models), with Citroen (+66% on a nightmarish 2017), MG (+66%), Zotye (+59%), JMC (+54%), Mitsubishi (+50%), Jaguar (+50%), Roewe (+38%), Landwind (+37%), Beijing Auto (+29%), Skoda (+26%), Cadillac (+24%), Maxus (+20%), Chery (+17%) and Hanteng (+16%) all impress with very satisfying gains.

Could Qoros survive after all? Sales are up 541% in May thanks to the 5 SUV.

There are some big names among freefalls this month, starting with Haval (-18%) overly reliant on a stuttering H6 (-13%) that represents almost two-thirds of its May sales just as the H8 (-82%), H1 (-72%), H2 (-67%), M6 (-62% on April), H5 (-58%) and H7 (-32%) all implode. Only positives are the H9 (+30%) and the H4 painfully crossing the 6.000 unit-mark just outside the Top 100. Despite the arrival of the P8 hybrid in the charts in May, WEY cannot compensate for Haval losses: at 11.079 units on three nameplates the semi-premium brand is down 16% on April and down 48% on its high of 21.349 sales last December. In contrast, Geely’s Lynk & Co continues to progress: +2% on last month to a new record 9.234 sales on only one model (01) with the 02 landing in June and the 03 in H2 2018.

MG soars 66% thanks to the new 6 sedan.

Ford (-49%) is the foreign mass carmaker hit the hardest this month, suffering its 11th consecutive year-on-year drop. Jeep (-48%) follows closely and now rests all its hopes on the new China-exclusive Grand Commander (see upcoming May 2018 edition of our Focus on All-new models). Fiat (-96%), Acura (-62%), Suzuki (-37%), Infiniti (-27%), Peugeot (-17% despite the new 4008 and 5008) and Renault (-16%) also struggle. Among local brands, Cowin (-86%) continues to tumble down towards extinction, with Jinbei (-78%), Weichai (-61%), Soueast (-57%), FAW (-39%), Brilliance (-37%), SWM (-32%), Dongfeng (-28%), Lifan (-27%) also hit full frontal.

The Outlander (+89%) propels Mitsubishi sales up 50% in China this month.

Perfectly illustrating the shift of momentum out of SUVs back towards sedans this month, the models podium is composed at 100% of sedans for the first time since August 2013 when the Wuling Hongguang was still counted as a commercial vehicle. Helped by the arrival of a new model, the VW Lavida scores a second consecutive month in pole position with sales up 16%, and is followed by the Nissan Sylphy (+21%) and Toyota Corolla (+22%) also extremely dynamic despite being far into their respective life cycles. Confirming its implacable domination in the segment, Volkswagen places 5 sedans in the Top 8 with the Jetta (+18%), Santana (+25%) and Sagitar (+16%) all roaring ahead while the Magotan (-1%) takes a breather.

Lynk & Co continues to progress on the 01 alone, with the 02 slated for June.

Despite intense competition from the new Baojun 360, the Wuling Hongguang (-11%) manages to outsell all SUVs in market, keeping in mind its sales also include the S3 SUV variant. The Haval H6 (-13%) has now seen through the Baojun 510 threat to its supremacy at the country’s most popular SUV, distancing it by 6,500 units in May to snap the #1 SUV spot for the 57th time in the past 59 months. The VW Tiguan (-16%) also outsells the Baojun 510 to rank #2 SUV in China for the first time in 2018 despite a steep year-on-year drop. Responsible for the 510’s relative weakness this month is the progression of the larger 530, up 13% on April to a new record volume at 17.003 sales, ranking 7th best-selling SUV in the country.

The Cavalier (+160%) single-handedly lifts Chevrolet sales up 53%.

The Geely Boyue (+1%) has plateaued, the GAC Trumpchi GS4 (-46%) now needs a update, with the Chery Tiggo 3 (+96%) Changan CS35 (+94%), Mitsubishi Outlander (+89%), Geely Vision SUV (+28%), Geely Emgrand GS (+27%) and Nissan X-Trail (+18%) also strong in the segment. Geely dominates the Chinese sedan segment head and shoulders, monopolising the podium with the Emgrand (+18%), Emgrand GL (+78%) and Vision (+62%) distancing the Chery Arrizo 5 (+4%) and Baojun 310 (+9%). The BAIC EC-Series is up 3-fold on May 2017 (+224%) to retain the lead of new energy vehicles at #37 ahead of the BYD Qin (+365%) and JMC E200 (+654%). The Roewe RX8 (+169%) and FAW Jumpal CX65 (+320%) fare best among April launches whereas the Nissan Terra (-38%) and most strikingly the Hyundai Encino (-86%!) just can’t match their inaugural scores.

Previous month: China April 2018: Geely, Hyundai, Chevrolet lift market up 11.5%

One year ago: China May 2017: Second consecutive month of decline at -2.6%

Full May 2018 Top 80 All China-made brands and Top 445 models below.

BSCB Exclusive: Your Guide to all 176 Chinese Brands

It’s time to showcase our Exclusive Guide to all 176 active Chinese brands again! 8 months after we first published it, 48 brands have already been added. It is the result of research spanning three years and multiple investigating trips to China and includes car, electric vehicles, pickup, bus and truck manufacturers. For now we are keeping roughly 50 LSEV makers out, that’s low-speed electric vehicles that don’t require a drivers license and are restricted to rural towns. Nowhere else will you find such a exhaustive and up-to-date compilation of all active Chinese automotive manufacturers. Like it has been the case for this very website, it’s my need for such a list and its absence anywhere online that have triggered this endeavour. A very simple way to take stock of how much the Chinese brands list has grown over the years is this: there are probably just as many active automotive brands in China than there are in the rest of the world combined

The largest new vehicle market in the world, China is evolving at lightning speed with a myriad of local brands currently operating. Recently, the allocation of electric car production licenses by the Chinese government has triggered the creation of dozens of new NEV manufacturers and brands. In a way, China is now where the North American and European markets were in the 1920s with over a hundred brands competing for share in booming volumes. There is no doubt the number of Chinese brands will drastically reduce over the next few decades, but for now, with sub-brands becoming brands, brands appearing and disappearing on a weekly basis, it can be a truly confusing maze. No more.

This is a Live Guide, updated as new information comes about. Since the first version of this guide was published on 5th January 2018, 48 brands have been added: Aiways, CHJ, Chufeng, Ciwei, COS, CRRC, Dali, Dialev, Doda, Dorcen, Everus, Folor, Green Wheel, Hanergy, Huashen, Huatong, Jetour, Jiulong, JLM, Lark, Leap Motor, Link Tour, Linyu, LvChi, Neta, ORA, Qingling, Qingxing, Red Star, Sany, Senyuan, SF Motors, Shifeng, Sinogold, SiTech, SKIO, SOL, STR, Sunike, T-King, WAW, YGM, Yinlong, Youngman, Yuancheng, Zedriv, Zoomlion and Zuojun. 1 was discontinued (Hafei) and 1 demoted to sub-brand (Exeed). If you have information that would impact this Guide please make sure to share it in the comments below.

Please us here for a more thorough analysis of the Chinese new car market, or if you want to advertise on this page.


Founded in 2017, Aiways (in Mandarin 爱驰 Aichi) is an electric car manufacturer based in Shangrao in the Jiangxi Province with a subsidiary in Germany. The company’s factory is rather grandiose, under construction and announced to initially have a 150.000 annual capacity able to be cranked up to 300.000. In the long term, its range will include a few SUVs, crossovers, a sedans and an MPV. For now, the RG (pictured) is the carmaker’s halo vehicle and was unveiled at the Beijing Auto Show in April 2018, as well as an SUV concept called U5 ION. Aiways’ claimed specs for the RG are spectacular: 1200 km range, 0-100 in 2.5 seconds and 300 km/h top speed. RG stands for Roland Gumpert, the founder of supercar manufacturer GMG – now Apollo Automobil – and Chief Product Manager of Aiways as well as CEO of the German subsidiary. Confusingly, the RG had no Aiways branding in Beijing and was instead called the Roland Gumpert Nathalie. It is unclear whether the sportscar will remain under the Aiways brand when commercialised. .


Founded in 1997, Anhui Ankai Automobile (安徽安凯汽车) is headquartered in Hefei in the Anhui province and specialises in the production of buses and coaches. The company has three principal subsidiaries and distributes its products worldwide. The name “Ankai” is the abbreviation of Anhui-Kässbohrer, marking the cooperation between Hefei Feihe Automobile Factory and Kässbohrer from 1993 onwards. .

Aolong: see Jiulong


Arcfox is a BAIC brand dedicated to upmarket electric vehicles. Launched at the Beijing Auto Show in April 2016 when it displayed an impressive concept car inspired by the BMW i8, Arcfox unveiled its first production car, the Lite, in November 2017. The Lite is vying for the title of coolest Chinese electric car, with its bubbly design, its dashboard made of three giant touch screens and the fact that both driver and passenger can write and display digital messages on the car’s grille and rear end. At under 3m long, the Lite is light (895 kg) but not cheap: from 93.800 yuan (12.000 € / US$14.300) including government aids. Arcfox launched in market in December 2017 with 472 sales.

The full Chinese Brands Guide is below.

China April 2018 Retail sales: Three sedans on top, Baojun 510 #1 SUV

The Baojun 510 has now topped the Retail SUV charts for 8 of the past 9 months.

* See the Top 95 All China-made brands and Top 590 models by clicking on the title *

April 2017 – January 2018 monthly All-models data also available, Contact us here

Monthly Retail sales in China are a new, exclusive, update on BSCB we kick started with February data two months ago. Retail sales are dealership sales to end-customers whereas Wholesales are ex-factory sales to dealerships. This new Retail update comes in addition to our Chinese Wholesales monthly coverage we have shared with you every month for the past seven years. It enables a second perspective, perhaps closer to the reality on the ground. Also, the way models are displayed is slightly different, allowing an unprecedented look at previously secretive brands such as Landwind – all models now separated – and new standalone variants such as the Wuling Hongguang S3 SUV and the Haval H6 Coupe.

Volkswagen places seven nameplates in the Top 11.

The different method doesn’t dent Volkswagen’s domination of the Chinese market, with the German manufacturer totalling over 229.000 sales this month (+4%), more than double the amount of any other carmaker. Toyota (+16%) holds onto the 2nd spot ahead of Honda (-10%) up one rank to overtake Geely (+25%) growing by double-digits as per its wholesales results. Nissan (+19%) rounds up the Top 5, distancing Buick (-8%), Baojun (+8%) and Wuling (-4%). If Hyundai wholesales have pepped up frankly, retail sales are still stuck in negative at -5% in April.

The Hongqi H5 makes its first appearance in any Chinese sales ranking.

At #10, Audi (+14%) tops premium brands above Mercedes at #13 (+19%) and BMW at #19 (+14%). Among foreigners, Jaguar (+82%), Skoda (+63%), Volvo (+49%), Mitsubishi (+42%), Cadillac (+26%), Chevrolet (+24%), Isuzu (+19%) and Citroen (+17%) post splendid results but on the other side of the scale, Suzuki (-31%), DS (-29%), Acura (-25%), Ford (-24%), Infiniti (-22%), Jeep (-22%), Luxgen (-19%) and Peugeot (-14%) struggle.

Maxus is up 3-fold on April 2017 thanks partly to the arrival of the D90 SUV.

The list of Chinese brands scoring spectacular gains is long: led by Huasong (+384%), Maxus (+232%), Foton (+208%), Bisu (+106%), Qoros (+81%), Brilliance (+74%), Hongqi (+60%), Roewe (+58%), MG (+51%), BYD (+29%), Venucia (+29%), JMC (+24%) and Zotye (+24%). But the list of Chinese marques sinking by double-digits is longer, a testament of how incredibly competitive the market is. The hardest hit are Great Wall (-77%), Cowin (-60%), Chana (-50%), BAW (-49%), Karry (-46%), Haval (-42%), Soueast (-42%), BAIC (-39%), Borgward (-39%), Haima (-33%), Hawtai (-32%), Lifan (-32%), Foday (-29%), FAW (-25%) and Changhe (-23%). Along with WEY (#37), Lynk & Co (#39) and Traum (#70), five New Energy Chinese brands weren’t here last year: Yudo (#78), Sinogold (#80), Arcfox (#84), Xpeng (#85) and Nio (#86).

The Geely Vision X3 ranks #49 in April.

The models ranking is unusually dominated by three sedans: the Toyota Corolla (+26%) retains the top spot it held last month, and is now followed by the Nissan Sylphy (+23%) up from #4 last month and the VW Lavida (-2%) staying at #3. The Wuling Hongguang (-24%) drops two spots to #2 while its SUV variant, the S3, is counted separately in the retail sales ranking and down 19 ranks on March to #61. The Baojun 510 (+20%) remains the best-selling SUV in the country but also remains the #1 retail model in China thanks to almost 130.000 units in four months. Its main competitor the Haval H6 sinks 36% year-on-year to disappear from the Top 10 at #13, below the Geely Boyue (+7%). Keep in mind retail figures separate the H6 Coupe (#93).

The BYD Song MAX is up to #56

Volkswagen manages a very impressive feat in this month’s retail sales ranking: it places seven nameplates in the Top 11, including all models ranking from #6 to #11: the Santana (+10%), Sagitar (+7%), Tiguan (-10%), Jetta (-11%), Magotan (+14%) and Bora (+22%). Notice also the Roewe i6 up a fantastic 247% year-on-year and 62 spots on March to #24, becoming the second best-selling Chinese sedan below the Geely Emgrand EC7 (#15). The Hyundai Elantra Lingdong (+169%), Audi A4L (+61%), Toyota Camry (+47%), Geely Emgrand GL (+44%), Toyota RAV4 (+39%) and Nissan X-Trail (+37%) also shine in the Top 50.

The end of a fairy tale? Haval retail sales drop 42% in April.

Among recent launches (<12 months), the Baojun 530 confirms its outstanding wholesales debut and dominates at #36 with just under 12.000 sales, followed by the Geely Vision X3 at #49 (+3), BYD Song MAX at #56 (+12), Wuling Hongguang S3 at #61 (-19), Baojun 310W at #65 (-17), Lynk & Co 01 at #71 (+12), GAC Trumpchi GS3 at #91 (+6) and Kia KX Cross at #100 (+6). We welcome three new nameplates in the retail ranking this month: if the Nissan Terra (#362) and DS 7 (#524) have already graced our wholesales data and All-new models focus articles, the Hongqi H5, landing at #448 with 85 sales, is new through and through.

Previous month: China March 2018 Retail sales: Toyota Corolla surprise leader

Full March 2018 Top 95 All China-made brands and Top 590 models below.

China April 2018 – New Energy: Toyota, BYD and Roewe dominate

BYD is returning to its prominent position among New Energy carmakers. Qin 2019 pictured.

* See the Top 50 brands and Top 100 models by clicking on the title *

This is a new Chinese monthly update exclusive to BSCB, part of our ever-expanding China coverage. And this month we have added a brands ranking so our perspective on this booming segment is more precise. New Energy vehicles include electric, hydrogen, PHEV and hybrid models. Keep in mind we are referring to retail sales including imports here as these offer a much more complete picture of New Energy sales than wholesales alone.

Roewe advances 265% to third place in April.

Thanks to its successful hybrid lineup, Toyota dominates this segment for now with sales up 72% to 12.449 in April, followed by BYD (+97%) at 6.885, Roewe (+265%) at 5.770 and JAC (+592%) at 5.316. Relatively surprisingly, BAIC BJEV only comes up 5th with the second smallest year-on-year gain in the Top 10 at +26%. Lexus follows Toyota at a distance at #6, with Baojun making its way to the top at #7 vs. #10 YTD, ahead of Geely (+111%), Honda (+50%) and Zhi Dou (+18%) at #10. This means there are 7 Chinese brands in the New Energy Top 10 in April. Notice also Tesla coming in at #14 and #8 YTD.

Baojun is also fast becoming a force to be reckoned with thanks to the E100.

Model-wise, the Toyota Corolla Hybrid holds onto the pole position thanks to sales up 84% year-on-year, and is followed like last month by the JAC iEV6e (+858%) and the BAIC BJEV EC-Series (+77%). The BYD Qin (+298%) is up one spot to #4, overtaking the Toyota Levin Hybrid (+33%) while the Roewe eRX5 (+149%) is up three spots to #6 and the Roewe ei6 up four to #7. The Baojun E100 gains 10 ranks on March to #8, the BYD Song EV is down three to #9 and the Lexus ES Hybrid also to #10.

Previous month: China March 2018 – New Energy: Corolla Hybrid and JAC iEV6e on top

Full April 2018 Top 50 brands and Top 100 models below.

China imports April 2018: Lexus up 34% to #2 below Mercedes

The Lexus NX soars 56% year-on-year to #3. Picture

* See the Top 50 All imported brands and Top 240 models by clicking on the title *

All-brands and All-models 2017 monthly data available, us here for more details.

It’s time for complete Chinese imports data, BSCB being the first media outside of China to report on these figures regularly. Just this week China has lowered the tariffs imposed on car imports by ten percentage points from 25 to 15%, applicable on July 1. This will undoubtedly boost imports as carmakers are able to lower their price, such as Tesla which has already applied the lower tariff to its current pricing in China. For now, April imports into China are up 4.9% to 87.604 units, leading to a YTD volume up 10.4% to 369.586.

The Land Cruiser (+66%) pushes Toyota imports up 21% this month.

Mercedes (+9%) remains the most popular import in the country, both this month and YTD but in April Lexus soars 34% to snap the 2nd spot off BMW (-9%). Lexus is the best-selling pure importer in China. So far this year, BMW still has a 4.300 unit-strong advantage over Lexus. Toyota (+21%) remains in 4th place but Porsche (+17%) overtakes Land Rover (+19%) to #5 while more symbolically, Lincoln (+7%) passes Audi (+19%) to #7, a ranking it held over the FY2017. Volkswagen (-27%) is with BMW and Subaru (-18%) the only manufacturer in negative in the Top 12. Further down, Alfa Romeo (+149%), Mitsubishi (+104%), Ssangyong (+103%), Buick (+41%), Aston Martin (+31%), Rolls-Royce (+27%), Bentley (+26%), Infiniti (+22%), Ferrari (+15%) and Nissan (+14%) shine.

The Porsche Cayenne overtakes the Macan to become the brand’s best-seller in China.

Model wise, the Lexus ES (+14%) posts a 10th win in the past 12 months, with the BMW X5 (+14%) in tow like in FY2017 and so far in 2018 but over 1.000 units below. The Lexus NX shoots up 56% to land on the podium vs. #6 YTD, dislodging the Mercedes CLA (+17%) down to #4. The Toyota Land Cruiser soars 66% year-on-year and one spot on March to #6, while the Porsche Cayenne (+20%) becomes the brand’s best-seller in China, overtaking the Macan (-16%). The Mercedes S-Class surges 53% to round up the Top 10. Below, the Porsche Panamera (+854%), Lincoln Continental (+143%) and Mercedes C-Class Estate (+125%) impress. The Range Rover Velar is the best-selling recent import launch (<12 months) at #34, ahead of the BMW 6 Series GT (#74), Ford F-150 (#77), Mercedes AMG GLC (#84) and Mazda CX-3 (#86).

Previous month: China imports March 2018: Lexus ES reclaims control

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

Full March 2018 Top 50 All imported brands and Top 240 models ranking below.