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China April 2018: Focus on the All-new models

Hyundai Encino

As per the BSCB tradition, after covering April 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 – and largest – automobile market in the world: China. Our “Focus on the All-new models” updates remain based on wholesales data. Like last month, the class of April 2017 counts 5 newcomers, but this time it’s 3 SUVs, one MPV and one station wagon. Keep track of the fast-expanding list of all active Chinese brands by consulting our Exclusive Guide to all 146 Chinese Brands, updated live.

1. Hyundai Encino (#127 – 4.385 sales)

By far the most successful new entrant in April, the Hyundai Encino is in fact a slightly longer Kona at 4.195m instead of 4.165m. China is the second market in the world not to adopt the original name: it is called Kauai in Portugal because Kona sounds like Portuguese for an expletive describing female genitalia…but despite some research I still don’t know why the name was changed for China – if you do please comment. The Encino lands in the red-hot small crossover segment where Hyundai has managed to be a lot faster than Toyota with its C-HR.

Hyundai Encino interior. Picture autohome.com.cn

The stars of the segment, the Honda XR-V/Vezel tandem, sold exactly one million units in China since their launch in late 2014, so the commercial potential of the Encino is huge. Despite being longer than the overseas version, it is still shorter than most of its competitors. Its pricing is in line with most of the Westerners in the segment: from 129.900 to 155.900 yuan (US$20.400-24.500 or 17.300-20.800€) vs. 127.800-162.800 for the Honda XR-V, 128.800-189.800 for the Honda Vezel and 139.800-189.800 for the Nissan Qashqai. Only the less sophisticated Nissan Kicks at 99.800-134.800 is priced lower. Within the Hyundai lineup however, the Encino will need to count on its quirky styling to justify a higher pricing vs. the larger ix25 (109.800-152.800) and ix35 (119.900-161.900). We expect at least 10.000 monthly units to call it a success.

Bar for success: 10.000 monthly units

2. Nissan Terra (#204 – 2.211 sales)

The Nissan Terra is for now exclusive to China and manufactured by the Zhengzhou Nissan joint-venture. It is the SUV variant of the Nissan Navara pickup, also produced in China. It replaces the Nissan Paladin that will also continue to be sold. The Terra is therefore the latest in an expanding list of pickup-based mid-size SUVs that also includes the Toyota Fortuner, Mitsubishi Outlander Sport, Isuzu MU-X, Chevrolet Trailblazer and Ford Everest. However the Terra is the odd one out as it is priced significantly lower than all its aforementioned siblings: from 169.800 to 245.800 yuan (US$26.700-38.600 or 22.600-32.700€) which is a lot of foreign SUV for the money – the Terra is a 4.88m long 4WD powered by a 184hp 2.5l engine mated with 6-speed manual or 7-speed automatic.

Nissan Terra interior. Picture autohome.com.cn

The Terra is even cheaper than the much smaller Nissan X-Trail (179.800-268.800 yuan). This cut-throat pricing transpires in the cockpit, very basic with a 5 inch touchscreen – Chinese models costing one-third of the price wouldn’t be seen with anything less than double that – and the fact that it is strictly a 5-seater contrary to most of its competitors. These include the Honda Avancier (220.000-329.800 yuan), Ford Edge (229.800-429.800), Toyota Highlander (239.800-422.800), VW Teramont (308.900-518.900) and Toyota Prado (464.800-636.800). But its true siblings are the pickup-based Isuzu MU-X (178.800-268.800), Ford Everest (265.500-357.700), and the imported Toyota Fortuner (250.000) and Mitsubishi Outlander Sport (368.000-398.000). Its price even enables the Terra to compete with large Chinese 5-seater SUVs such as the Haval H8 (183.800-231.800) and GAC Trumpchi GS7 (149.800-209.800).

Bar for success: 6.000 monthly units

3. Roewe RX8 (#276 – 998 sales)

The RX8 is Roewe’s new flagship: a 4.93m long 7-seat SUV powered by a 224 hp 2.0 turbo engine and based on the same platform as fellow SAIC output the Maxus D90. The RX8 showcases its 4WD abilities loud and clear with no less than six driving modes, from off-road to snow to sport. Both exterior and interior designs are very pleasant and give the RX8 almost a luxurious feel. However well designed the central console is with a seamless integration of the touch screen (tell that to Mercedes!), material quality is not quite up there yet as I could verify at the Beijing Auto Show last month.

Roewe RX8 interior. Picture autohome.com.cn

The RX8 has for objective to replicate the tremendous success of the RX5 in a segment one notch above and the one to follow among Chinese carmakers in this exercise is clearly GAC Trumpchi which managed to be the first local manufacturer to truly crack the large SUV equation with the GS8. That very nameplate is in the RX8’s direct line of fire. Priced from 168.800 to 251.800 yuan (US$26.500-39.500 or 22.500-33.500€), the RX8 almost exactly matches the GS8 price range of 163.800-259.800 with other competitors including the Maxus D90 (156.700-266.300), Haval H9 (199.800-272.800) and among foreigners the much smaller Mitsubishi Outlander (159.800-223.800) and Chevrolet Equinox (174.200-250.900).

Bar for success: 7.500 monthly units

4. BAIC Hyosow H5 (#329 – 473 sales)

Although the Hyosow H5 MPV hasn’t officially launched yet, it already appears in the sales charts with 473 wholesales. It is powered by the same 133hp 1.3 engine that can be found on the Hyowsow S5 SUV and should see its pricing start under 60.000 yuan (US$9.400 or 7.990€) given the smaller H3 MPV (55.800-69.000) and equivalent S5 SUV (59.800-85.800) price ranges.

BAIC Hyosow H5 interior. Picture autohome.com.cn

The Hyosow lineup has come a long way since the launch of the S3 in August 2014 (peak of 20.868 in December 2015) and the H3 in October 2015 (peak of 12.333 in December 2016) with both exterior and interior designs improving by leaps and bounds. However, somewhat paradoxically sales also seemed to take a hard hit in the past year or so so commercial prospects for the modern-looking H5 are a little uncertain.

Bar for success: 4.000 monthly units

5. FAW Jumpal CX65 (#365 – 216 sales)

Final entrant for the month, the FAW Jumpal was originally unveiled as a half-concept at the Shanghai Auto Show a year ago before officially appearing in Guangzhou last November. It’s the latest iteration of fast-improving FAW and the second “cross-country” station wagon by a Chinese manufacturer after the Dongfeng Fengshen AX3 launched in January 2016. The CX65 combines sharp exterior design with a surprisingly classy dashboard but is powered by a weak 115hp 1.5 engine and indeed aligns its pricing almost exactly on the AX3: from a ridiculously low 70.000 to 90.000 yuan (US$10.995-14.100 or 9.300-11.990€) vs. 69.900-87.900 for the Dongfeng. The CX65 is based on the Jumpal A50 sedan (55.900-72.900).

FAW is trying to replicate the success of the VW C-Trek with the Jumpal CX65.FAW Jumpal CX65 interior. Picture autohome.com.cn

Inspired by the cross-country Volvo wagons such as the defunct XC70, the V60CC and V90CC, the CX65 positions itself as a half-price VW C-Trek, which peaked at 7.812 sales in October 2017 and goes for 116.900-162.900 yuan. Other models targeted by the CX65 include the Skoda Octavia Scout (119.900-179.900), VW Cross Lavida (148.900-171.900) and, to a lesser extent because not SUV-looking, the Excelle GX (119.900-146.900). More realistic sales benchmarks would be the 4.624 record sales hit by the Dongfeng Fengshen AX3 in January 2017 and the high of 2.198 managed by the Jumpal A50 sedan so far, in February 2018. In this context, aiming for at least 3.500 monthly units seems reasonable.

Bar for success: 3.500 monthly units

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

Volkswagen has now sold over 1 million vehicles in China in 2018. The Lavida is #1 in April.

* See the Top 80 China-made brands and Top 435 models (wholesales) by clicking on the title *

Based on wholesales data released by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM), new light vehicle sales in China soar 11.2% year-on-year in April to 1.913.400 units. Adding 404.200 commercial vehicles (+13%) brings the total sales figure for April to 2.318.600 (+11.5%), a new record for the month. For once the regular cars segment almost matches the market growth at +10.8% to 928.300, while SUVs continue to be the engine of growth at +18.3% to 810.000, with MPV down 4.6% to 137.100 and microvans down 30.7% to 39.000. Year-to-date, light vehicles are up 4.4% to a record 8.011.400 units, with regular cars up 3.1% to 3.790.500, SUVs up 12.9% to 3.654.400, MPVs down 12% to 613.600 and microvans down 36.9% to 141.800. Commercial vehicles are up 6.6% to 1.481.900, lifting the YTD total vehicle sales up 4.8% to a record 9.501.200. Chinese-branded passenger cars see their sales trail the market ever so slightly at +10.5% to 810.400 to account for a 42.3% share vs. 20.4% for German cars (390.800), 17.7% for Japanese (339.200), 11.5% for American (221.000), 5.4% for Korean (103.100) and 1.8% for the French (34.300).

Geely posts an incredible 25th consecutive double-digit gain in April.

In the brands ranking, keeping in mind these figures are wholesales excluding imports, Volkswagen posts its largest year-on-year gain since last September at +9% to a little over 235.000 units, sending its YTD volume across the 1 million mark after just four months (+5%). Scoring a 7th consecutive month in second place, #1 Chinese brand Geely impresses once again with a 42% year-on-year surge. Now pause for a second: this is Geely’s 25th double-digit year-on-year gain in a row, with no interruption since March 2016! At just under 120.000 units, it’s also the brand’s 8th consecutive six-digit monthly sales figure and its 11th ever. Honda reclaims the #3 spot it holds YTD despite a 11% decline while Nissan soars 17% to #4 and now ranks #7 YTD. It distances Buick (+1%), Toyota (+3%) and Baojun (+21%) signing a 13th double-digit gain in a row.

Hyundai is back in the game with sales doubling year-on-year.

Hyundai (+100%) spectacularly recuperates from a nightmarish 2017 linked to Korea-China tensions around the North Korean situation, lodging only its second monthly gain in the past 14 months and edging up to #8 brand overall. In the tail end of the Top 10, Changan (+56%) posts its largest gain since September 2016, helped by its three star SUVs (CS35, CS55 and CS75) as well as the new generation Eado (+97%) while Chevrolet (+55%) has its largest improvement in at least five years, with the Cavalier (+83%) accounting for one-third of its April sales. Further down the ranking, Qoros (+401%) thanks to the 5 SUV, Kia (+115%) in the same situation as Hyundai, Jaguar (+94%) thanks to the new XEL sedan and Zotye (+81%) thanks to a slew of new models including the T500 and T300, now the brand’s two best-sellers, deliver the best performances.

The Haval H6 reclaims the title of #1 SUV in China.

Also standing out are Denza (+73%), MG (+65%), Citroen (+62%), DS (+61%), Volvo (+43%), Roewe (+42%), Maxus (+37%), Cadillac (+29%), Skoda (+28%), Mercedes (+27%), Bisu (+25%) and BYD (+20%). The list of struggling carmakers is however almost as long and aside from Fiat (-72%), Acura (-53%), Jeep (-44%) and Ford (-22%) is composed exclusively of Chinese carmakers, namely Kandi (-94%), Cowin (-81%), Jinbei (-79%), Borgward (-59%), Weichai (-52%), FQT Motor (-49%), Great Wall (-48%), Soueast (-44%), Haima (-43%), SWM (-35%), Yema (-33%), JMC (-28%), Landwind (-27%), Hawtai (-25%), Brilliance (-24%) and Foton (-20%). WEY once again recently launched brands but retracts 7% on March to 13.139 and is now almost 40% below its December 2017 record of 21.349. In contrast competitor Lynk & Co improves 6.7% to a record 9.079 with just one model: the 01. Traum (-1%), Yudo (+64%) and Dearcc (-50%) follow but all stand below 1.300 sales.

The Nissan Sylphy misses out on its first overall monthly win by just 89 sales.

The models ranking displays further signs of fragmentation with the VW Lavida returning to the overall lead for the first time since last September despite dropping 5% year-on-year. It distances the Nissan Sylphy (+16%) by just 89 units and the Haval H6 (-6%) by just 542. The H6 therefore reclaims the title of best-selling SUV in China for the 56th time in the past 58 months after being outsold for two months of Baojun 510, itself up 50% year-on-year to #4 in April. Leader in March and YTD, the Wuling Hongguang skids 12% to #5 this month despite the help of the new S3 SUV variant. VW has the Tiguan (+24%) at #3 SUV and continues to show its power in the sedan category by placing 4 nameplates in the segment’s Top 6: the Lavida, Sagitar (+26%), Magotan (+26%) and Jetta (-14%). Geely’s best-seller is the Boyue (+8%) ending April as the 4th best-selling SUV in the country while the Emgrand EC7 leaps up 41% year-on-year to rank #10 overall, its highest ranking since November 2013.

The Baojun 530 breaks the 15.000 monthly unit benchmark for the first time.

The Baojun 530 is now the most popular recent launch in China (<12 months), improving 25% on March to cross the 15.000 monthly units milestone for its third month in market and ranking 10th best-selling SUV in the country. It distances the Geely Vision X3 breaking its volume record at 10.965, ahead of the Lynk & Co 01 also at a record high 9.079 and now frankly outselling both the WEY VV5 (6.630) and VV7 (6.509). In between, the Geely Vision S1 (7.841) and Kia KX Cross (6.902) slot in. Among last month’s launches, the Zotye T500 gains 23% and 32 spots to #101, the Haval H4 is up 256% and 135 ranks to #120 and the Roewe Ei5 is up 96% and 67 to #245. The BAIC EC-Series continues to dominate new energy models with sales soaring 72% year-on-year to 7.471, ahead of the BYD Qin at 5.497 (+480%), BYD e5 at 4.294 (+71%), Zhi Dou D2 at 4.152 (+12%), JAC iEV at 3.803 (+89%), Chery eQ at 3.799 (+262%) and Baojun E100 at 3.760.

The Lynk & Co 01 is above 9.000 monthly units for the first time.

Previous month: China March 2018: Hyundai and Chevrolet shine in market back up 4.7%

One year ago: China April 2017: Market marks a pause at -3.7%

Full April 2018 Top 80 China-made brands and Top 435 models below.

China March 2018 – New Energy: Corolla Hybrid & JAC iEV6e on top

JAC iEV6e

* See the Top 103 All New Energy models (Retail sales) by clicking on the title *

After China Retail sales, this is the second new Chinese monthly update exclusive to BSCB we are kick-starting this month. China has become the largest market in the world for New Energy vehicles, meaning electric, hydrogen, PHEV and hybrid models. We will now follow the evolution of this booming segment of the market monthly for China, referring to retail sales including imports as these offer a much more complete picture of New Energy sales.

This month as well as year-to-date, the Toyota Corolla Hybrid is the most popular New Energy vehicle in China and one of five foreigners in the Top 10. The JAC iEV6e leaps up 9 spots on February to overtake the traditional leader, the BAIC EC-Series, by over 500 sales. The EC-Series was #1 in 2017 but is #2 so far in 2018 below the Corolla Hybrid. The Toyota Levin Hybrid and BYD Qin round up the Top 5 above the BYD Song EV and Lexus ES Hybrid.

The Lexus ES Hybrid, Tesla Model X, Roewe eRX5 and Honda Accord Hybrid complete the Top 10. The Nio ES8 comes in at #98 with 2 sales. Since publication, Nio has contested this figure with us but wouldn’t provide actual orders or sales figures in replacement.

Full March 2018 Top 103 All New Energy models (Retail sales) below.

China March 2018 Retail sales: Toyota Corolla surprise leader

The Toyota Corolla is the best-selling vehicle in China in March in our new Retail reports.

* See the Top 95 All China-made brands and Top 580 models by clicking on the title *

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

This is a new, exclusive, update on BSCB, and for the second time we can share with you complete retail sales figures for China. These paint a very different picture than the wholesales data we have been publishing and will continue doing so. Volkswagen remains by far the most popular marque in the country, but only one other carmaker posts a six-digit sales figure in March: Toyota, up from #6 in February. Geely is down one spot to round up the podium ahead of Honda and Nissan.

Very first appearance of the Nio ES8 in the Chinese sales charts.

Helped by the addition of microvans in the Retail ranking, Wuling climbs up to #6 overall, distancing Buick (-3), Baojun (-5), Hyundai (+1) and Audi (+7). Changan, Dongfeng and Haval are grouped just outside the Top 10, all within 338 sales. Among recent brand launches, WEY is down 4 spots on last month to #37 while Lynk & Co is up 7 ranks to #43, Yudo up 12 to #70 and Traum up 4 to #73. Below Sinogold (#80), Xpeng (#81) and Arcfox (#82), Nio makes its very first appearance in any Chinese ranking with two ES8 crossovers finding a new home this month.

The Wuling Hongguang ranks #2 overall even when stripped out of its S3 crossover sales.

Over in the models ranking, the separation of some variants and the closer-to-market retail figures make for a completely different ranking. Whereas it has never topped the wholesales charts, the Toyota Corolla is the best-selling retail model in China in March with over 35.500 units (up from #8 in February), including 8.293 hybrid variants, making it the best-selling New Energy vehicle in China this month. Stripped of its S3 crossover variant (itself down 21 spots on last month to #42), the Wuling Hongguang however manages a 34.800-strong result in 2nd place overall, with over 100.000 sales in Q1 (#2 also). The VW Lavida (ex-Gran Lavida and Lavida Cross) rounds up the podium both in March and YTD, ahead of the Nissan Sylphy (+2).

The Baojun 510 has topped the Retail SUV charts for 7 of the past 8 months.

As it is the case in the wholesale rankings, the Baojun 510 is the best-selling SUV in the country, ranking 5th overall but #1 YTD thanks to 104.330 units sold so far this year. Contrary to the wholesale situation however, the 510 has topped the SUV ladder for 7 of the past 8 months starting last August, as the Haval H6 is here stripped of its H6 Coupe variant. In fact, for the first time since we have access to retail data (April 2017) the H6 falls to under 20.000 monthly units to #10 and #3 SUV below the VW Tiguan. Volkswagen indeed manages to place an astounding 7 nameplates inside the March Top 13: the Lavida (#3), Santana (#6), Jetta (#7), Tiguan (#8), Sagitar (#9), Bora (#12) and Magotan (#13).

Over 4.000 Jinbei X30 found a new home in China in March.

This retail ranking also includes some microvans such as the Wuling Hongguang V shooting up 38 spots on February to #15, the Wuling Sunshine up 51 to #44 and the Wuling Rongguang up 84 to #89. Among other nameplates that don’t show up in the wholesales data, the Baojun 310W station wagon is down 24 spots on February to #48, the Haval H6 Coupe is down 23 to #88, the JAC iEV6e is up 148 to #114, outselling the BAIC EC-Series (#127), the Jinbei X30 is up 105 to #124, the Dongfeng Fengxing Jingye X5 down 64 to #131, JMC Teshun up 125 to #133, JAC Refine M3 up 47 to #143, Chevrolet Malibu XL up 22 to #155 and Haval H2s down 46 to #163.

The Changhe Q7 makes its first appearance in any Chinese ranking.

Among recent launches, the Baojun 530 confirm its wholesale surge with 9.420 retail sales, up 131 spots on February to crack the Top 50 at #50. Most March wholesale launches however don’t appear yet in the retail rankings – somewhat logically – such as the Haval H4, Roewe Ei5 and DS 7. The Zotye T500 ranks at #329 and the Yudo π3 at #453. Reversely we have three new models appearing for the first time in the Retail charts this month: the Skoda Karoq already features in the wholesales data and lands here at #292, but the next two are exclusive to Retail for now: the Changhe Q7, launched at the Guangzhou Auto Show last November, ranks at #447 with 84 sales and the Nio ES8 electric crossover points its sculpted bonnet at #557 with two units.

Previous month: China February 2018: Discover exclusive Retail Sales figures

Full March 2018 Top 95 All China-made brands and Top 580 models below.

China Imports March 2018: Lexus ES reclaims control

The Lexus ES is the best-selling import in China both in March and YTD.

* See the Top 50 All imported brands and Top 234 models by clicking on the title *

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

China imports data is a new monthly update on BSCB. Note no media outside of China is reporting on these figures, BSCB being the first to do so. China President Xi Jinping announced this week that the 25% tax slapped in imported cars will be reduced – rumours are of a new rate as low as 5%, which will undoubtedly spur a volume increase, but this should be levelled somehow with the end of the joint-venture rule to allow local production, set to disappear for all vehicles by 2022. For now, import sales in China are up 4.7% year-on-year in March to 96.905 units, leading to a Q1 tally up 12.3% to 281.982. Mercedes brilliantly remains atop the brands imports ranking with deliveries up 17% to just under 17.500, cementing its YTD leadership (it ranked #2 in 2017). The best performer near the top of the charts is without a doubt Lexus shooting up 30% to over 14.000 registrations, by far the best-selling pure importer in China, selling almost 3 times the next best thing, Porsche (5.123). Leader in 2017, BMW drops a worrying 16% year-on-year to #3 this month but remains at #2 YTD (-3%) above Lexus (+28%). Toyota and Land Rover round up the Top 5, both gaining 21% on March 2017.

Tesla is up 13-fold to become China’s 10th best-selling imported marque in March.

If Audi beats the market at +14%, Lincoln (-5%) and Volkswagen (-24%) are in difficulty but Tesla posts the most spectacular gain in the Top 20, up 13-fold on its March 2017 score to land at #10 imported brand vs. #20 over the FY2017 thanks to extremely dynamic sales of the Model X up 1202% to #11 and the Model S up 1125% to #21. Just outside the Top 10, Mini (-17%) and Subaru (-23%) disappoint while further down, Mazda (+7325%) thanks to the newly imported CX-3, Aston Martin (+194%), Ssangyong (+83%), Buick (+65%), Ferrari (+50%), Bentley (+34%), Nissan (+34%), Mitsubishi (+32%) and Infiniti (+17%). Among newcomers (in market for <12 months), Alfa Romeo leads the pack at #22 with the Giulia and Stelvio while Ram ranks 33rd.

The CLA is Mercedes’ best-selling import in China in March.

Over in the models ranking, after being outsold by the BMW X5 for two consecutive months, the Lexus ES reclaims control in a majestic way: up 17% to just under 6.000 units, also earning the #1 YTD spot with sales up 21%. The BMW X5 is knocked down to #2 for the month and YTD, while the Mercedes CLA soars 42% to land on the third step of the podium. Stunningly, the NX (+41%) and RX (+3%) make it three Lexus in the Top 5 in March. The Mercedes S-Class (+75%), Toyota Land Cruiser (+54%) and Range Rover (+23%) also shine in the Top 10. Further down, notice the Mercedes B Class (+78%) and Nissan Patrol (+41%) while among recent launches (<12 months) the Range Rover Velar (#41) remains king above the Porsche 718 (#49), BMW 6 Series GT (#79) and Mazda CX-3 (#81).

Previous month: China February 2018: Exclusive imports data now available

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

Full March 2018 Top 50 All imported brands and Top 234 models ranking below.

China March 2018: Focus on the All-new models

Zotye T500

As per the BSCB tradition, after covering March sales in detail, we can now focus on the all-new locally produced launches so you can stay up-to-date on the fastest-evolving automobile market in the world. Note that with the arrival of bi-monthly updates for China on BSCB (wholesales and retail), you may have already picked up some of these new entrants in last month’s retail update, our “Focus on the All-new models” will remain based on our wholesales updates until further noticed. After just one new entrant in February – the Baojun 530 already above 12.000 sales this month – the class of March 2017 counts 5 newcomers, 4 SUVs and one station wagon, and two of them are New Energy vehicles. You can stay up-to-the-minute on the fast-expanding list of all active Chinese brands by consulting our Exclusive Guide to all 146 Chinese Brands, updated live.

1. Zotye T500 (#133 – 4.947 sales)

Unveiled at the Shanghai Auto Show back in April 2017 but launched only recently, the T500 pleasantly surprises as one (the only?) Zotye that is not copied on any German (read Volkswagen/Audi/Porsche) model. It logically slots in between the smaller T300 and larger T600 in the “standard” Zotye line-up. Priced from 69.800 to 123.800 yuan (US$ 11.100-19.700), it is powered by a choice of 116 hp 1.6 or 156hp 1.5 turbo engine and features a very attractively designed dashboard (see below). However, the T500 adds to the already crowded army of very similarly sized and priced Zotye already in market, such as the Damai X5 (69.900-111.900 yuan), SR7 (66.800-101.800) and the brand’s very first offer in the segment, the T600 (79.800-142.800 yuan).

Zotye T500 interior. Picture autohome.com.cn

Add to these two additional nameplates sold under different brands but remaining “Zotye-at-heart”: the Hanteng X5 (59.800-106.800 yuan) and Traum S70 (81.900-115.900 yuan). Local outlet Autohome.com.cn pits the T500 against such blockbusters as the Haval H6 (103.000-146.800 yuan), Changan CS55 (83.900-132.900 yuan) and Baojun 530 (75.800-115.800 yuan). Zotye has got us used to having its best-selling SUVs cross the monthly 10.000 unit-mark, such as the T300 (personal best of 12.093 in December 2017), T600 (15.547 in November 2015), T700 (14.411 in December 2017) or Damai X5 (12.266 in December 2015). Given its price, the T500 should also achieve this milestone to be deemed a success.

Bar for success: 10.000 monthly units

Haval H4 (red label)Haval H4 (blue label)

2. Haval H4 (#255 – 1.429 sales)

Haval being the #1 SUV brand in China, every new nameplate launch by the Great Wall-owned brand is an event. Unveiled at the Guangzhou Auto Show in November 2017, the H4 unfortunately looks like many of the brand’s or WEY’s recent launches, and is instantly available in red or blue label versions that only differ with their front and back body design. The H4’s interior is of great quality as we have come to expect from the brand, but a little schizophrenic, hesitating between the straight lines of its strangely floating touch screen and the more rounded aspects of the rest of its cockpit.

Haval H4 interior. Picture autohome.com.cn

The H4 is powered by a choice of two engines: a new 139hp 1.3 turbo and a 170hp 1.5 turbo, both mated to a seven-speed DCT. It is priced between 106.000 and 116.000 yuan (US$16.900-18.500) and slots in-between the H2s (84.000-103.000 yuan) and the new H6 (118.800-132.800 yuan), two Haval nameplates from which it only differs very slightly. Both Haval’s previous two launches have crossed the 10.000 unit-mark once since their launch: the H7 appeared in April 2016 and hit 10.852 in December 2016 while the M6 landed in August 2017 and reached 10.059 deliveries in November of the same year. We should expect the same from the H4, which autohome.com.cn pits against the H6, H6 Coupe, Geely Boyue (98.800-159.800 yuan) and Changan CS55 (83.900-132.900 yuan).

Bar for success: 10.000 monthly units

3. Roewe Ei5 (#312 – 714 sales)

The Roewe Ei5 is a rarity: it’s the first pure electric station wagon by a Chinese brand to be launched here. Under a stylish exterior in fact hides the platform of the Buick Excelle GX, thanks to the fact that SAIC, Roewe’s parent company, is one of the joint-venture partners of General Motors. The two models however do not compete with each other as the Excelle GX (119.900-146.900 yuan, or US$19.100-23.400) isn’t available as an electric variant while at this stage the Ei5 only exists as such, and is priced from 213.800 to 223.800 yuan (US$34.000-35.600) before government subsidies. The Ei5 follows a new naming pattern inaugurated by the i6 sedan launched a year ago in March 2017.

Roewe Ei5 interior. Picture autohome.com.cn

The Ei5 is powered by a 116hp electric motor, with Roewe announcing a 300 km range and 145 km/h top speed. Later in 2018, the carmaker will release petrol version of this model which will be called i5. They will be powered by the same engines as the Buick Excelle GX: a 125hp 1.0 and 163hp 1.3. Competitors for the Ei5 are spread across a large spectrum going from fellow station wagons – such as the Excelle GX itself, the VW Gran Lavida (112.900-162.900 yuan) and the C-Trek (116.900-162.900 yuan) – to similarly-sized New Energy vehicles such as the BYD Qin (185.900-260.700 yuan) and the Roewe RX5 EV (265.900-296.800 yuan).

Bar for success: (Ei5) 2.500 monthly units, (i5) 5.000 monthly units

4. DS 7 (#379 – 174 sales)

DS (pronounced déesse, French for goddess) is a French premium marque launched as a sub-brand in 2009 by PSA Peugeot-Citroen, then becoming a standalone brand in 2014. Its name is a reference to the historical Citroen DS and is an abbreviation of Different Spirit. The new DS 7, launched in late last year in Europe, has now reached Chinese shores and is the brand’s new flagship. I talked about it in my Guangzhou Auto Show 2017 highlights. Although all Peugeot and Citroen models are made in China by the Dongfeng-PSA joint-venture, DS cars are manufactured by the Changan-PSA joint-venture. DS is in dire straits in China with last year’s sales imploding 64% from 16.156 in 2016 to just 5.847 in 2016.

DS 7 interior. Picture autohome.com.cn

The DS 7 is thus awaited like the messiah but the task at hand is monumental: the DS brand hasn’t had a four-digit sales month since January 2017 and with just 174 sales for its very first appearance in the Chinese wholesales charts it already accounts for 56% of the brand’s volume in March… The rest of the lineup is all but dead: 72 DS 4S, 35 DS 5LS, 25 DS 6 and just 4 DS 5. Powered by a 217hp 1.6 turbo engine, the 7 is 4.57m long and based on the PSA EMP2 platform. It is priced between 213.900 and 314.900 yuan (US$ 34.000-50.100). If in Europe the DS 7 aims at the Volvo XC60 (369.900-479.900 yuan) and Audi Q5 (399.600-519.200 yuan), in China DS has priced its new flagship a lot lower. The result: the local press doesn’t really consider it premium and pits it against compatriots the Peugeot 4008 (185.700-273.700 yuan) and Renault Koleos (179.800-269.800 yuan) which actually makes more sense.

Bar for success: 3.000 monthly units

5. Yudo π3 (#398 – 70 sales)

Yudo New Energy is a new electric vehicle manufacturer partly owned by Fujian Motor and the Putian city, located in the eastern Fujian province. The brand’s first two production models, the π1 and π3 crossovers, were both unveiled at the Shanghai Auto Show in April 2017, with a commercial launch for the π1 happening in July 2017. We detailed its actual appearance in the wholesales ranking last January. Now is the turn of the much more extravagantly designed π3, landing just inside the March Top 400 with a very modest 70 sales for now. The initial annual capacity of Yudo’s factory in 80.000 units, so this figure can climb up comfortably in the near future.

Yudo π3 interior. Picture autohome.com.cn

Priced between 170.800 and 186.800 yuan before green cars subsidies (US$27.200-29.700) and announcing a 250 km range, the π3 competes with the likes of the Changan CS15EV (189.400-196.400 yuan) and JAC iEV7S (207.100 yuan).The success of electric vehicles remain for now heavily dependent on car-sharing schemes in China, with private ownership still nascent. Yudo’s association with a province may restrict its expansion across the nation and muzzle its sales though.

Bar for success: 2.000 monthly units

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

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

China March 2018: Hyundai and Chevrolet shine in market back up 4.7%

The renewed Hyundai ix35 is up 7-fold on the previous model a year ago.

* See the Top 78 China-made brands and Top 433 models (wholesales) by clicking on the title *

According to data released by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM), the Chinese new vehicle market is back in positive territory after dropping 11.2% in February due to the Lunar New Year holiday. Sales are up 4.7% to 2.66 million units with light vehicles up 3.5% to 2.168.600. SUVs are once again leading the charge at +10.7% and 921.200 units, while sedans are up a strong 3.7% to 1.026.500 and commercial vehicles surge 10.5% to 491.400. In contrast, MPVs are down 11% to 176.400 and microvans down 40.3% to 44.500. Over the First Quarter, the Chinese market is up 2.8% to a new record 7.186.700 units, with light vehicle sales up 2.6% to a record 6.100.300 and commercial vehicles up 4.1% to a record 1.086.400. In the detail of light vehicles, sedans return to grace at +0.8% to 2.862.200, SUVs shoot up 11.3% to 2.655.600 but MPVs drop 13.8% to 476.410 and microvans sink 37.2% to 105.900. New energy vehicles continue to soar, with sales of pure electric and plug-in hybrids up 117.4% in March to 67.778 and up 154.3% to 142.577 over Q1. Chinese brands hold 45.2% of the overall market over Q1, a slight decrease on the same period in 2017.

The new Lavida Plus means Volkswagen could continue outpacing the Chinese market this year.

Leader Volkswagen outpaces the market with a 7% year-on-year gain – its largest since last September – to 275.349 wholesales, lifting its Q1 tally to above 800.000 units (+4%). Geely manages a 6th consecutive month in the overall 2nd place and a 7th consecutive six-digit monthly volume (10th ever) with sales surging another 32% year-on-year. In spite of deliveries down 10% year-on-year, Changan is up two spots on February to land on the podium for the first time in a full year (since the #2 it reached in March 2017), while Toyota gains three ranks to #4 despite sales down 2%, distancing Honda (-13%) and Nissan up a robust 15% to #6. Baojun continues to improve at +24% to just under 98.000 sales at #7 above Buick (-2%) but the largest gainer in the Top 10 is Hyundai, posting its first YoY gain since February 2017 at +39% and finally recovering from a nightmarish stint linked to Korea-China tensions around the North Korean situation. Haval rounds up the Top 10 but sinks 18% on March 2017.

The Malibu (+96%) helps propel Chevrolet to its largest year-on-year gain in at least 5 years.

Just outside the Top 10, Chevrolet manages a very impressive 52% year-on-year gain, the brand’s largest in at least five years. Below and among foreign carmakers, apart from Citroen (+270%) on a very low base a year ago, Luxgen (+165%) and Kia (+97%) recuperating like sister brand Hyundai, it’s premium brands that fare the best, with Cadillac (+68%), Jaguar (+54%), Volvo (+40%), Audi (+28%) and Mercedes (+16%) all posting stunning gains. As it has become the norm in the past few years, the ranks of Chinese carmakers posting spectacular year-on-year improvements are more crowded: Qoros (+413%), Zotye (+97%), MG (+89%), Brilliance (+76%), JAC (+33%), GAC Trumpchi (+28%), Venucia (+27%), Chery (+19%), Roewe (+16%) and BYD (+10%) stand out. But Jinbei (-82%), Landwind (-80%), Cowin (-77%), JMC (-65%), Great Wall (-46%), Haima (-39%), Yema (-36%) and Changhe (-35%) are in great difficulty while among foreign brands Suzuki (-61%), Borgward (-34%), DS (-31%), Acura (-25%) and Jeep (-25%) struggle.

Lynk & Co posts all-time record sales this month in China.

Among recent brand launches (<12 months), WEY rallies back up 66% on February to 14.130 units, albeit still far off the three consecutive months above 20.000 units the brand managed between last November and January. Lynk & Co on the other hand soars 112% on last month to a record 8.507 units, breaking into the Top 40 brands for the first time. The remaining newcomers are way below: Traum is down 17% to 1.295 sales, Dearcc up to a best-ever 928 units, Yudo up 72% to 346 deliveries, Arcfox up 40% to 84 and Xpeng up 233% to 30.

The S3 crossover enables the Wuling Hongguang to comfortably dominate the March models ranking.

Over in the models ranking, helped by undisclosed wholesales of its new S3 crossover variant, the Wuling Hongguang signs a comfortable victory this month, almost 10.000 units above any other nameplates, and as a result snaps the YTD lead despite sales down 3% to just under 150.000. The VW Lavida is up two spots on February but down 21% year-on-year in 2nd place, and the launch of the new generation named Lavida Plus will likely remedy this slump. In fact, VW shows its power in the sedan segment this month with 5 nameplates in the Top 8: the Sagitar (+22%), Bora (+39%), Magotan (+55%) and Santana (-5%). In third place overall, the Baojun 510 (+128%), is the #1 SUV in China for the 2nd month running, repeating its victory over the Haval H6 (-4%) that ended the latter’s 55 months of reign in February.

The new generation propels the Changan Eado up 85%.

Both the Nissan Sylphy (+8%) and Toyota Corolla (+11%) beat the market while the Baojun 310 returns to the #1 Chinese passenger car spot with deliveries surging 78% year-on-year thanks to the 310W station wagon. Outside the Top 10, the Changan Eado benefits from the new generation to gallop 85% ahead of the previous model a year ago at #16 and outsell the traditional Chinese passenger car leader, the Geely Emgrand EC7 up just 4% to #18 overall. The Hyundai Elantra Lingdong recuperates 231% at #21, the Chana CX70 is up 19% to break its monthly volume record at 18.071, with the Hyundai ix35 lifted up 604% by the new generation, Nissan X-Trail (+94%), Audi A4L (+74%), Toyota Camry (+68%), Hyundai Mistra (+59%), Buick Verano (+54%), Geely Emgrand GL (+52%) and GS (+48%) also performing extremely well within the Top 50. Further down, the Hyundai Tucson (+1328%) and the MG 6, crossing the 10.000 monthly unit-milestone for the first time, stand out.

The Baojun 530 sells over 12.000 units for its 2nd month in market.

The Changan CS55 remains the most popular recent launch in China at #19 overall with 20.169 sales, ahead of the BYD Song MAX at a record #32, outselling the Baojun 730 (#35) for the first time to rank #2 MPV. Launched last month, the Baojun 530 is up 6-fold on its inaugural month and 134 spots to break into the Top 50 at #48 and 12.032 sales. It is followed by the Geely Vision X3 (#62), Lynk & Co 01 (#78), Zotye T300 (#82), GAC Trumpchi GS3 (#87), Geely Vision S1 (#88), Chery Tiggo 5x (#91) and Roewe RX3 (#92). The BAIC EC-Series continues to dominate New Energy nameplates at #85 with 7.818 sales (+117%), above the JAC iEV at 5.031 (+235%), BYD Song EV at 4.696, BYD Qin at 3.971 (+106%), BYD e5 at 3.798 (+142%) and Chery eQ at 3.279 (+356%).

Previous month: China February 2018: Baojun 510 #1 SUV, ends 55 months of Haval H6 reign

One year ago: China March 2017: Baojun wins 510 bet in market up 1.7%

Full March 2018 Top 78 All China-made brands and Top 433 models below.

China February 2018: Discover exclusive Retail Sales figures

The secret is out: official retail sales are now available for the Wuling Hongguang S3 crossover.

* See the Top 92 All China-made brands and Top 602 models by clicking on the title *

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

This is a new, exclusive, monthly update on BSCB. Up until now the traditional monthly sales figures published on this site for China were wholesales. Although they usefully track the success of locally-produced nameplates, wholesales can be subject to abrupt changes to reflect actual demand in dealerships, one example being the “disappearance” of the Baojun 560 from the rankings for the past couple of months. We now have access to monthly retail sales data so you can track the success of all China-made nameplates “in real time.” This month is dedicated to the outlining the models list differences between Wholesales and Retail Data, we will initiate proper commentary with March 2018 data.

Haval H6 and H6 Coupe (pictured) sales are split in these Retail rankings……as are sales for the Haval H2 and H2s (pictured).

Monthly data going back to April 2017 is also available on demand. The arrival of Chinese Retail Data on BSCB is part of our continued effort to give you the most detailed coverage of the largest car market in the world, and on top of exclusive figures we also have access to sales splits that are unavailable for wholesales. As a result, no less than 602 nameplates are covered in 2018 vs. just 415 for the wholesales data and 715 over the last 9 months of 2017 vs. 595 wholesales.

The Dongfeng Fengdu MX5, Fengxing Joyear X5 and X6 are now listed.

As such, exclusive retail sales figures are now available for the Wuling Hongguang S3 crossover (#21 in February and year-to-date), the Baojun 310W (#24 and #30), Haval H6 Coupe (#65 and #94), Haval H2s (#117 and #138) and variant detail for the Dongfeng Fengxing Joyear X3, X5, X6 and XV as far as nameplates inside the Top 200 are concerned, all the while the Baojun 560 returns at #73.

Landwind model splits are now available. Pictured: Happy, X2 and X7.

Most interestingly perhaps, we can finally share with you Landwind model splits, a carmaker that until now only shared brand wholesales data, revealing the X7 as the brand’s best-seller at #248 in February ahead of the X2 (#318) and X5 (#351) while the all-new Landwind Happy ranks at #387 and the X8 at #447. The Hongqi H7 finally benefits from uninterrupted sales reporting, while the entire Chana Raesor lineup is also a retail novelty, with the S50, S50T, M70, M80 and M90 now in the ranking.

Chana Oushang X70AChana Raesor S50TJAC Refine M4Zotye T500

The JAC Refine MPV lineup is now detailed into the R3, M3, M4, M5 and M6 variants while the JAC Refine S2 mini is separate from the S2 and he Haima S5 Young separate from the S5. The Dongfgeng Fengxing S500, F600 and Fengdu MX5 are now accounted for, as the BAIC Huansu H6, Chana Oushang X70A, Changhe A6, Changan Eado DT, Dongfeng Yufeng and Yufgeng S16, Foday Landfort, Foton Gratour im6, im8 and View, Hawtai Santa Fe 7, Jinbei S35, JMC Teshun and Zotye T500.

Chana Star 9Chevrolet Malibu XLHyundai CelestaHyundai Reina

The Retail ranking also includes some microvans and mini pickups that are also covered in the China LCV updates, such as the Wuling Hongguang V, Rongguang and Sunshine, Chana Star 2, 3, 7 and 9 and the Dongfeng Xiaokang K01 and C31. Among foreign nameplates, we now have access to regular sales for the Hyundai Reina and Celesta and the Chevrolet Malibu XL split (new generation). As far as new brands are concerned, Retail data includes the Sinogold GM3 (#478) and YGM E-Series (#524). I have made a point to illustrate this article as extensively as possible so you can catch up on all nameplates that weren’t included in our wholesale updates.

Full February 2018 Retail Sales Top 92 All-brands and Top 602 All-models below.

China February 2018: Exclusive imports data now available

The BMW X5 repeats at #1 in China’s imported models ranking in February.

* See the Top 46 All imported brands and Top 230 models by clicking on the title *

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

China imported data is a new monthly update on BSCB. Note no media outside of China is reporting on these figures, BSCB being the first to do so. Import sales in China are up 7.1% year-on-year in February to 64.005 units, leading to a year-to-date volume up 16.7% to 185.046 deliveries. #2 over the Full Year 2017, Mercedes however remains the best-selling imported brand in China, and by a large margin, thanks to sales up 18% to 12.114 while BMW edges up just 2% to 9.470. Lexus drops 4% in third place above Toyota (+45%) and Land Rover (+59%) both delivering stunning performances. In the remainder of the Top 10, Nissan (+148%) stands out while Audi (+21%), Lincoln (+11%) and Porsche (+11%) all beat the market but Volkswagen disappoints at -28%. Further down, Tesla (+122%), Bentley (+98%), Infiniti (+37%), Ssangyong (+35%) and Mitsubishi (+33%) post very solid scores while the newly imported CX-3 propels Mazda up 44-fold year-on-year… Newcomers Alfa Romeo (#22) and Ram (#32) remain discreet.

Imports of Toyota Land Cruiser are up 114% year-on-year in China in February. 

Model-wise, the BMW X5 repeats in first place, managing two consecutive wins for the first time in at least a year thanks to deliveries up 56% year-on-year whereas the FY2017 leader, the Lexus ES, drops 11% in 2nd place. The Mercedes GLE (+5%) climbs onto the podium ahead of the Toyota Land Cruiser more than doubling its sales year-on-year (+114%) at #4. The Porsche Macan (+12%) breaks into the Top 5, equal with the Mercedes CLA with the Mercedes S-Class (+64%) and Range Rover (+62%) also posting spectacular gains in the Top 10. Just outside, the Nissan Patrol soars 193% to #11, the BMW 7 Series is up 24% to #12, the Audi Q7 up 58% to #15 and the Porsche Panamera is up 13-fold to #16.

The Range Rover Velar is the most popular new imported launch in China.

Chinese imports remain a mostly premium affair: if we consider the Toyota Land Cruiser, Prado and Nissan Patrol as premium nameplates from mass brands, the Subaru Forester is the best-selling imported mass vehicle at a lowly #23 and the only in the Top 30 if we take the VW Touareg as premium. The Ford Explorer (#31) and Smart Fortwo (#40) follow. Mercedes places 6 nameplates in the Top 30, BMW 4, Lexus and Land Rover 3. The Range Rover Velar tops recent launches (<12 months) at #26, well ahead of the Porsche 718 at #65, BMW 6 Series GT at #83, Ford F-150 at #87, Mercedes AMG SLC at #92 and Alfa Romeo Giulia at #98.

Previous month: China January 2018: Exclusive imports models and brands data now available

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

Full February 2018 Top 46 All imported brands and Top 230 models ranking below.

China February 2018: Focus on the All-new models

As per the BSCB tradition, after covering February sales in detail, we now focus on the all-new locally produced launches so you can stay up-to-date on the fastest-evolving automobile market in the world. After 7 new entrants in December and 9 in January, the February 2018 class amounts to a very lonely single new start, due to the fact that the Chinese New Year Holiday falls right in the middle of the month this year. But as far as new starts are concerned, this could be one of the most anticipated this year. You can stay up-to-the-minute on the fast expanding list of all active Chinese brands by consulting our Exclusive Guide to all 144 Chinese Brands.

1. Baojun 530 (#182 – 2.005 sales)

Just this month, the Baojun 510 has managed to dislodge the Haval H6 from the SUV throne it held for the past 55 consecutive months. Yet at the time of launch in February 2017, the 510 was an audacious design bet, parting with the conservative (but extremely successful) lines of the 730 MPV and 560 SUV. A bet it has transformed in the most spectacular way: with 416.883 sales in its first 12 months, the Baojun 510 has become the most popular new car ever introduced in the world, beating the previous record held for the past 40 years by the Ford Fairmont with 405.780 units sold in its first year of sale in the US in 1978. The 510 also became the fastest nameplate in China to 300.000 units (10 months vs. 11 for the Baojun 560) and to 400.000 units (12 months).

Baojun 530 interior. Picture autohome.com.cn

The Baojun brand was founded in 2010 and is owned by the SAIC-GM Wuling joint venture. The low-cost marque builds on the extraordinarily successful 510’s sharp design with this larger 530 which has large shoes to fill to say the least. At 4.66m long, the 530 however remains a 5-seater and is priced from 75.800 to 115.800 yuan (US$11.970-18.300), to be compared with the 510 at 54.800-76.800 yuan and the 560 at 69.800-117.800 yuan, making the 530 Baojun’s new flagship. It is powered by a 150hp 1.5 turbo coupled with a six-speed manual or DCT or a 137hp 1.8 coupled with a 5-speed manual. No all-wheel-drive option is available.

The 530 enters a rapidly saturating market, competing with the likes of the Haval H6, Changan CS55 and CS75, all blockbuster sellers. Before it, the Baojun 560 managed to sell 112.000 units it its first 5 months and 319.536 it its first 12 and the 510 is the most successful car launch in history. Given how similar the 530 looks to the 510, it would be unreasonable to expect the same performance level, but Baojun should count on at least 20.000 monthly units to deem the 530 a success. The main challenge for the 530 will however be internal: minimising cannibalisation of the 510, as the latter has totally annihilated the 560.

Bar for success: 20.000 monthly units

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

One year ago: China February-March 2018: Focus on the All-new models

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