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China September 2018: Sedans trigger third consecutive market decline

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chinese brand Bisu (-79%) had focused solely on SUVs and is now paying the price dearly.

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

Wholesales data released by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) shows a second year-on-year decline in a row for the Chinese new light vehicle market in August at -4.6% to 1.789.900 units. As a reminder, these are ex-factory sales to dealerships as opposed to retail sales that are direct to consumer and will be reported in a separate update. Once again, SUV sales are weak at -4.7% to 737.600 units but recover somewhat after dropping 8.2% in July. Sedans are down 3.4% to 901.100, MPVs sink 14% to 119.300 and microvans are up 5.1% to a still tiny 31.900 units. We have now identified the reason behind this sudden and unexpected market slump: a government crackdown on P2P digital lending platforms following a wave of lender scams and borrower defaults.

The new generations Tang (pictured) and Qin lift BYD up 46% in August.

These P2P platforms are used by a younger audience to finance their car purchase to the extent of 10-15% of total car sales and explains a very targeted market slump towards Chinese-branded SUVs in particular, a category of vehicles favoured by younger Chinese. As a result Chinese brands, many of which have been solely focusing on SUVs in the past few years, are struggling: down 11% in August after sinking 6.1% in July whereas foreign carmakers are stable. More on the P2P lending impact on the 2018 Chinese car market here. However a strong start of the year means the YTD volume remains at record heights after 8 months, up 2.6% to 15.2 million light vehicles. Meanwhile, commercial vehicles gain 1.1% to 313.000 units and are up 8.7% YTD To 2.903.300 units. This means the overall Chinese new vehicle market is down a more modest 3.8% to 2.102.900 units and the YTD volume gallops up 3.5% to a record 18.1 million units. Once again the most dynamic segment of the Chinese market is electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, up 50% to 101.000 units with EVs up 32% to 73.000 and PHEVs up 131% to 28.000. Year-to-date, EV sales soar 72% to 447.000 while PHEVs surge 160% to 154.000, bringing the category up 88% to 601.000.

Geely snaps a 29th consecutive month for double-digit year-on-year gains.

Volkswagen (-2%) remains comfortably in the lead of the China-made brands ranking but posts its first year-on-year wholesales decline in the past 5 months, a trend we predicted because the brand’s retail sales have been in negative for the past two months, and wholesales are bound to catch up at some point: declining retail sales to consumers mean higher dealer stock and lower orders the following months. Geely (+18%) climbs back to the 2nd place overall for the first time since last April and the 8th time in the past 11 months, managing an incredible 29th consecutive month of double-digit year-on-year gains and a full 12 months in a row above 100.000 monthly sales. Geely edges past Toyota (+15%) for just 568 wholesales, with the Japanese manufacturer scoring one of only two double-digit gains in the Top 6. Honda (-15%) takes a hit but post a 20th month in the past 25 above 100.000 sales. Nissan (+7%) is also solid but Buick (-12%) endures a fourth consecutive double-digit decline. Hyundai (+14%) confirms its recovery, rallying back up 11 spots on July to #7, with Audi (+20%) and Chevrolet (+12%) also very strong at the tail end of the Top 10. In contrast, Changan (-29%), Baojun (-26%) and Haval (-23%) are all hit full frontal by the SUV slump.

The ix35 is up 11-fold on August 2017, helping Hyundai up 14%.

In the remainder of the Top 20 China-made brands, BYD (+46%) now is in full swing thanks to the launch of new generations for the Tang SUV (+1068%) and Qin sedan (+102%) and the continued success of its new best-seller the Song MAX (#55). BMW (+30%) is lifted by strong sales of the 5 Series L (+67%) and new X3 (#125) and Chery (+49%) surfs on the success of the new Tiggo 8 (#79) hitting a new volume record at 7.187, the eQ micro-EV (+105%) and the new Tiggo 5x. The most impressive gains further down are almost uniquely Chinese with Qoros (+308%), MG (+102%), Yema (+80%), Hawtai (+70%), JAC (+53%), WEY (+41%) and SWM (+35%) among the most dynamic while among foreigners only Mitsubishi (+36%) and Jaguar (+23%) stand out.

Despite the arrival of the V7, Briliance sinks 47% due to an over-reliance on SUVs.

This month the four most popular brands launched in the past year all break their volume record, starting with Lynk & Co at 13.674, frankly outselling archenemy WEY (10.174) for the 2nd month running, Traum up to 1.990 thanks to the arrival of the SEEK 5 (see our upcoming August focus on the all-new models), COS scoring its first four-digit figure at 1.007 and Yudo up to 777. We also welcome YGM/Link Tour at #76 (more on this new carmaker in our Exclusive to all 175 Chinese brands). In contrast, some Chinese carmakers that had put all their eggs in the same SUV basket suffer greatly such as Bisu (-79%), Landwind (-79%), Lifan (-60%), Soueast (-57%), Changhe (-56%), Foton (-48%), Brilliance (-47%), Venucia (-43%), Dongfeng (-42%), Leopaard (-42%), Zotye (-42%), BAIC (-37%), FAW (-37%) or Jinbei (-37%). Some foreigners also have a terrible month, such as Ford (-65%), Suzuki (-63%), Peugeot (-57%), Land Rover (-53%), Acura (-51%), Renault (-42%), Jeep (-33%) or Citroen (-28%).

After only three months in market, the VW T-Roc already flirts with the 10.000 monthly wholesales.

Over in the models ranking, sedans confirm their return to grace by monopolising the Top 5 for the second time in the past 3 months: the VW Lavida (-1%) is the outright best-seller for the 5th consecutive month, cementing its YTD domination ahead of the Nissan Sylphy (+11%) now also #2 YTD, the VW Jetta (+14%), Toyota Corolla (+0.02%) and VW Sagitar (-1%). The Buick Excelle GT (-43%) and Geely Emgrand (+9%) make it 7 sedans in the August Top 10. The Haval H6 (-31%) remains the most popular SUV despite a 4th consecutive double-digit gain, the Wuling Hongguang (-33%) climbs back up 5 spots on July to #8 but continues to freefall just as the VW Tiguan (-23%) post a very disappointing score that may have a lot to do with the smashing success of the VW T-Roc, up 108% and 32 spots on July to 9.660 sales.

The 02 pushes Lynk & Co towards a new monthly volume record at 13.674.

Once again sedans post the majority of the largest gains in the remainder of the Top 50 with the Hyundai Elantra Lingdong (+139%), Chevrolet Sail (+126%), Toyota Camry (+108%), BMW 5 Series L (+67%), Audi A4L (+55%), Honda Accord, Civic and Fit (all at +32%), VW Magotan (+29%) and Chevrolet Cavalier (+28%). The sole SUVs standing out are the Hyundai ix35 (+1048%) and Audi Q5 (+21%). Below, notice the Geely Vision X3 (+2806%), BYD Tang (+1068%) breaking the nameplate’s volume record at 10.048 thanks to the 2nd generation, the Hyundai Celesta (+191%), Kia Sportage (+181%) and Hyundai ix25 (+102%). The GAC Trumpchi GS3 (8.650) also breaks its volume record this month.

The Toyota C-HR now outsells its twin the IZOA.

The Baojun 360 is up 22% on July to break its volume record at 15.391 wholesales, becoming the most popular recent launch (<12 months) at #26 ahead of the Baojun 530 at #48, the BYD Song MAX at #55, VW T-Roc at #63, Lynk & Co 01 at #67 (new record at 9.303), Chery Tiggo 8 at #79 and Skoda Kamiq at #87 (new record at 5.794). The Geely Vision S1 (#105), WEY VV5 (#106) and Geely Emgrand GE (#114) complete the Top 10 best-selling recent launches, making it an astounding 8 Chinese nameplates and 7 SUVs vs. 2 MPVs and one EV sedan. As far as models launched last month, the Lynk & Co 02 (+44%) remains in the lead at #117, but the most impressive surge is delivered by the Toyota C-HR (+2387%) at 3.756 sales #137), now outselling its twin the Toyota IZOA (+45%) at #142. The C-HR/IZOA tandem is already up to 7.434 wholesales in August vs. 25.259 for its archenemy the Honda Vezel/XR-V. The SWM G01 (+53%) impresses and slots in-between at #141, while the Kia Stonic (+259%) is also gearing up nicely at #163.

Previous month: China July 2018: Deepening SUV crisis pulls entire market down 5.3%

One year ago: China August 2017: Chinese SUVs near 60% segment share, market up 4.1%

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

China July 2018: Deepening SUV crisis pulls entire market down 5.3%

Geely posts a 28th consecutive month of double-digit gains thanks to a strong sedan lineup.

* See the Top 83 All China-made brands and Top 440 models by clicking on the title *

According to data released by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM), in July the Chinese new light vehicle market endures its second month of decline in 2018 after February when the Chinese New Year Holiday disrupted sales. Wholesales drop 5.3% to 1.589.500 units, yet the year-to-date volume remains strong at +3.4% to 13.364.500. Last month’s big story, the sudden decline of SUV wholesales after 9 consecutive years of monthly gains, gets a lot worse in July: after dropping just 0.5% in June, SUV wholesales dip a very worrying 8.2% to 632.700 units. Sedans are down also, but by just 1.3% to 814.600 with MPVs diving 22% to 106.600 and microvans getting a small respite at +30% to 35.600. It’s hard to emphasise enough how unexpected, sudden and steep this SUV crisis is turning out to be, and it now has the potential to turn local carmakers’ strategies and fortunes upside down as most had completely focused their energy on launching as many SUVs as possible, totally neglecting the sedan segment. With the notable exception of Geely, which made sure to strengthen its sedan game over the past few years, this SUV crisis will indeed paradoxically benefit foreign carmakers that had been a lot slower to launch their own SUV lineups and can now fall back on strong existing sedan ranges.

The new 6 sedan helps lift MG deliveries up 119% in July.

In the China-made brands ranking, once again the Top 3 best-sellers are in frank positive territory thanks to strong sedan sales: Volkswagen is up 9% to 234.000, Toyota up 13% and two spots on June to #2 and 118.000 and Geely up 18% to remain at #3 with 108.000 deliveries. That’s almost double any other Chinese brand (the #2 Baojun is down 9% to 57.000) and amounts to Geely’s 28th consecutive month of double-digit year-on-year gains and its 11th month in a row above 100.000 monthly sales. All other Top 10 brands are in negative bar Chevrolet (+17%) here too thanks to a strong sedan sales (Sail and Cavalier, see further down). Buick (-19%), Changan (-16%), Audi (-13%), Honda (-10%), Baojun (-9%) and Nissan (-7%) all fall faster than the market.

The arrival of the 02 (pictured) means Lynk & Co posts its first five-digit sales month ever.

Strong gainers further down include Qoros (+659%), MG (+119%), Hawtai (+76%), JAC (+39%), Brilliance (+34%), Mitsubishi (+34%), BYD (+30%), BMW (+25%), Chery (+23%), Hanteng (+20%), Cadillac (+19%) and Roewe (+13%) whereas Ford (-49%) continues to implode, Hyundai (-40%) is surprisingly back in hell, Dongfeng (-35%) is in great difficulty and Haval (-31%) marks a very worrying 16th consecutive month of year-on-year decline and a very clear worsening of its performance after losing 11% in April, 18% in May and 20% in June. There are more good news for the Geely Group and more bad news for Great Wall Motors: thanks to the arrival of the 02 crossover at over 3.000 units (see our upcoming Focus on the All-new models report), Lynk & Co lodges its very first five-digit month at a record 12.300 sales and #30, meaning it outpaces for the first time archenemy WEY, down a steep 32% on June and 67% on its monthly record to a meagre 7.080 units despite 3 models (VV5, VV7 and P8).

Kia Sportage sales are up a whopping 433% year-on-year thanks to the new model.

Model-wise, the VW Lavida enjoys a 4th consecutive pole position thanks to the new generation boosting wholesales up a smashing 34%, it distances the Toyota Corolla (+12%), Nissan Sylphy (+33%) and VW Jetta (+19%) meaning the Top 4 best-sellers are 100% sedans for the 2nd month running (it was the Top 5 last month), yet sedans break another record in July: they are 8 in the Top 10 with the great performances of the VW Passat (+152%) and Honda Civic (+23%), the Geely Emgrand beating a 5-year old ranking record at #9 (previous best #10 first hit in December 2012) and a disappointing show by the VW Sagitar (-12%) about to be renewed. The Haval H6 implodes 30% year-on-year but manages to hold onto the SUV lead by the skin of its teeth at #5 overall, with a meagre 487-unit advantage over the VW Tiguan (+21%) in excellent shape. Below the GAC Trumpchi GS4 (-26%) and Geely Boyue (-11%) in difficulty, the Wuling Hongguang (-45%) implodes to beat its worst ranking for the 2nd month running, falling from #7 in June to #12 this month. The culprit: the all-new Baojun 360, up 15% and 20 spots on last month to a new record 12.643 sales, also cannibalising the Baojun 730 (-74%)…

The Chery Tiggo 8 leaps up to #82 overall for its 2nd month of sale.

Fittingly, the majority of impressive gainers in the Top 50 are sedans, such as the VW Lamando (+119%), Toyota Camry (+107%) boosted by the new generation, Chevrolet Sail (+64%), BMW 5 Series L (+58%), Chevrolet Cavalier (+53%), Geely Emgrand GL (+50%), Honda Fit (+47%), Skoda Octavia (+35%) and VW Bora (+15%). A sprinkling of SUVs defy the overall gloom such as the Kia Sportage (+433%) lifted by a completely new model, Buick Envision (+29%) and Toyota RAV4 (+28%), but that’s it. More common among SUVs are ghastly falls such as the BYD Song (-68%), Haval H2 (-67%), Changan CS75 (-54%), the hero of 2017 the Baojun 510 (-49%), Honda UR-V (-47%), Nissan X-Trail (-45%), Dongfeng Fengguang 580 (-44%), GAC Trumpchi GS8 (-44%), Skoda Kodiaq (-44%), Toyota Prado (-44%), Audi Q3 (-43%), Honda XR-V (-37%), Jeep Compass (-37%), Ford Edge (-34%) and Honda CR-V (-33%).

The VW T-Roc has taken off: it breaks into the Chinese Top 100 for the first time in July.

The Baojun 530 remains the most popular recent launch at #23 (+3) even though it drops 7% on June, followed by the Baojun 360 at #30 (+20), Geely Vision X3 at #38 (+18), Lynk & Co 01 at #52 (+14) and a new record 9.260 sales, the GAC Trumpchi GS3 at #60 (+28) and a new all-time high 8.389 units, the Chery Tiggo 8 at #82 (+27) up 16% on its inaugural month to 6.051 deliveries, the VW T-Roc at #95 (+183) up 358% on June to 4.641 sales and the Skoda Kamiq at #100 (+83%) up 65% on last month to 4.335 units. In the good news aisle, let’s single out the BYD Qin (+864%), Qoros 5 SUV (+731%), BYD Tang (+622%), Hyundai ix35 (+483%), Changan CS55 (+257%), JAC Refine S5 (+209%) and MG ZS (+56%), all bar the Qoros and ZS due to new generations.

Previous post: China First Half 2018: Market accelerates to +5.6% despite sudden SUV weakness

Previous month: China June 2018: SUV sales drop for the first time in 9 years

One year ago: China July 2017: Haval H6 leads, market lifted up 4.9% by SUVs

Full July 2018 Top 83 All China-made brands and Top 440 All-models below.

China First Half 2018: Market accelerates to +5.6% despite sudden SUV weakness

Geely sales surge 37%, leaping from #6 to #2 in the brands ranking.

* See the Top 85 All China-made brands and Top 540 models by clicking on the title *

After slowing down from +9.2% in H1 2016 to +1.6% in H1 2017, the new light vehicle market in China rallies back up 4.8% over the First Half of 2018 to a record 11.8 million units. Sales were up each month during the period except in February (-11.2%) due to the Lunar New Year holiday. Although a momentous and spectacularly sudden trend shift is at play at the end of the period with SUVs losing share year-on-year for the first time in 6 years in May and actually losing volume year-on-year for the first time in 9 years in June, it does not yet appear in half-year figures. Indeed, SUV wholesales gain a sturdy 9.7% over H1 2018 to just under 5 million units, a pace still ahead of sedans up a very satisfying 5.5% to 5.7 million units. H2 2018 could however be a very different story and SUVs could end up dragging the market down. Elsewhere, green cars surge 112% to 412.000 units, with EVs up 96% to 313.000 and plug-in hybrids up 182% to 99.000. Adding commercial vehicles up 4.8% to 2.3 million units over the period, the overall Chinese new vehicle market is up 5.6% or 750.000 units to a record 14.1 million wholesales. At this pace, Chinese wholesales will easily break the symbolic 30 million annual units by the time 2018 comes to an end (exactly 30.5 million), keeping in mind China was already the only country in the world to ever cross the annual 20 million units back in 2013. Note used car sales advance even faster at +13% but still have a lot of ground to catch up at just 6.6 million units. Sedans are up 12% to 3.9m, buses up 15% to 701.000, trucks up 14% two 590.600, SUVs up 37% to 552.700 and MPVs up 13% to 386.400.

Chevrolet is up 40% on H1 2017 thanks to the continued success of the Cavalier (+55%).

In the brands ranking (no imports here, only wholesales to dealerships and not to end-consumers), Volkswagen (+5%) roughly follows the market to 1.54 million units, able to maintain an unsurmountable lead over all other carmakers in market: the German carmaker sells more than double the #2: Geely. The Volvo owner stuns once again with a splendid 37% year-on-year gain propelling it from #6 a year ago and #2 Chinese to a clear second so far in 2018 and by far the best-selling Chinese manufacturer with over 720.000 wholesales. Geely knocks Honda (+1%) and Toyota (+7%) down one spot to #3 and #4 respectively. Nissan soars 14% and two spots to round up the Top 5, overtaking Buick (-6%) and Changan (-9%) both in difficulty. The tail end of the Top 10 is extremely dynamic: Baojun gains 17% to over 470.000 units but could be handicapped in H2 by over-cannibalisation within its constantly renewed lineup (see further down). Hyundai (+26%) offsets a horrific start of year in 2017 when anti-Korean sentiment locked sales down. Finally, Chevrolet (+40%) posts the largest gain in the Top 25 thanks to the success of its low-cost Cavalier.

Suddenly, Qoros wakes up: +412% thanks to the 5 SUV accounting for 87% of sales.

The two manufacturers ejected from the Top 10 over the period are notable: SUV leader Haval drops 18% as the H6 struggles to compensate for an otherwise ageing lineup while for Ford, 2018 its annus horribilus with wholesales freefalling 39% to see its ranking drop from #10 to #19. Audi (+16%) manages to remain the #1 premium marque when only wholesales of China-made vehicles are taken into account, ahead of Mercedes (+21%) and BMW (+13%) but overall retail sales including imports place Mercedes #1 with 340.000 sales (+16%) above Audi at 306.590 (+20%) and BMW at 286.536 (+3.4%). In the Top 50, spectacular gains are rarer than usual in China. Among foreigners, Citroen (+72%), Kia (+36%) also benefitting from a low 2017 base, Cadillac (+39%), Volvo (+30%) and Mitsubishi (+26%) stand out, but the biggest improvements remain by and large a Chinese affair with Qoros (+412%), MG (+91%), Roewe (+40%), Zotye (+37%), Changhe (+28%), BYD (+21%), Venucia (+20%) and Hanteng (+17%) the most impressive.

WEY ranks #31 so far in 2018.

No less than 8 new brands have officially made their appearance in the Chinese wholesales ranking over the past year or so. Technically, WEY has been present for more than a year, resulting in a whopping 2353% gain to just under 78.000 sales with 3 nameplates (VV5, VV7 and P8) but is the only recent launch to approach the Top 30 brands over the period at #31. However WEY sales have kept decreasing throughout the year to fall to just 10.481 in June vs. a record of 21.349 in December 2017. Lynk & Co on the other hand continues to grow, hitting a record 9.247 units in June and up to #41 over H1 with a little over 46.000 wholesales. Below, Traum (#63), Yudo (#71), Dearcc (#73), Arcfox (#78), Xpeng (#80) and COS (#83) are also new.

2018 could be the year of the VW Lavida’s first annual win in China.

Over in the models ranking, capping 3 months on top and a new generation, the VW Lavida (-6%) edges past the Wuling Hongguang (-8%) to snap the top spot for just 1.114 sales with the Haval H6 (-3%) holding onto the #3 spot only 1.911 units above the Baojun 510 (+111%). There are a few forces at play here: despite the addition of an SUV variant (the S3) at the end of 2017, the Wuling Hongguang should be losing the annual position it has held without interruption since 2013 by the time 2018 comes to an end. Indeed the Baojun 360, launched in May, has already started cannibalising its sales and should increase the pressure in H2, at the same time killing the Baojun 730, down 55% over the period and falling from #11 to #55. It would be the very first annual crowning for the VW Lavida on the other hand, and the first Volkswagen to top the annual passenger car sales in China since the VW Jetta in 2008. The Haval H6 has managed to see through the Baojun 510 threat to the title of #1 SUV in the country it has held for 58 of the past 60 months. The 510, the most successful launch in automobile history, has ended the career of the 560, down from #23 and 90.600 sales a year ago to… zero so far in 2018, but the more recent and larger 530 (#63) has stopped its progression.

The BYD Song MAX is the most popular recent launch in China so far this year…

Surprisingly jolly despite being deep into their respective career cycles, the Nissan Sylphy (+17%), Toyota Corolla (+15%) and VW Sagitar (+11%) follow in the ranking while Volkswagen monopolises the remainder of the Top 10 with the Tiguan (-8%), Santana (+13%) and Jetta (-5%). The Chevrolet Cavalier soars 55% just as the Buick Excelle GT freefalls 42% from #4 to #18 in the leadup to the new generation Excelle launch. The Geely Boyue gains 12% and two spots to end the period just outside the Top 10, distancing in the SUV segment the GAC Trumpchi GS4 (-28%) desperately needing a new generation, the Roewe RX5 (+19%), Buick Envision (-6%), Nissan X-Trail (+32%) and Changan CS55 (+2510%) which launched a little over a year ago. Geely dominates the Chinese sedan segment with the ever-green Emgrand (+10%) ahead of the Baojun 310 (+23%), Geely Vision (+18%) and Emgrand GL (+51%).

… but the Baojun 530 was the best-selling new launch from April onwards.

From the whopping 72 new nameplates laughed in the past 12 months, the BYD Song MAX is the most popular so far in 2018, landing directly at #35 with just over 81.000 wholesales. It distances the Geely Vision X3 (#57), Baojun 530 (#62), Lynk & Co 01 (#78), Geely Vision S1 (#79), WEY VV5 (#90), Kia KX Cross (#93), GAC Trumpchi GS3 (#95) and Venucia D60 (#99). The SUV wave is indeed still front and centre over H1 with 7 of these 9 new launches being SUVs vs. only one MPV and one sedan.

Previous post: China June 2018: SUV sales drop for the first time in 9 years

One year ago: China First Half 2017: Market slows growth from 9.2% to 1.6%

Full H1 2018 Top 85 All China-made brands and Top 540 models below.

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: 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.

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: 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: Baojun 510 #1 SUV, ends 55 months of Haval H6 reign

One year after launch, the Baojun 510 is the #1 SUV in China for the first time.

* See the Top 75 China-made brands and Top 415 models by clicking on the title *

In 2017, the Chinese New Year holiday ran from January 27 to February 2, affecting January car sales adversely (-1.1%) while February caught up (+22%). This year the reverse has happened: January was surprisingly strong (+12%) but February is down as the New Year Holiday ran from February 15 to 21, putting a spanner in the works of local car sales. According to statistics compiled by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, light vehicle sales are down 9.6% to 1.475.500 units, with sedans down 12% to 677.000, SUVs uncharacteristically down 3.1% to 651.300, MPVs down 18% to 121.500 and microvans down 40.3% to 25.700. Commercial vehicle sales are hit the hardest at -19.2% to 241.100 units, resulting in a total new vehicle market skidding down 11.2% to 1.717.600 sales.

The S3 SUV helps the Wuling Hongguang snap the overall top spot in February.

Among passenger cars, Chinese-branded vehicles are down 11.1% in February to 692.920 or 47.4% market share, compared with 294.400 and 19.9% for German cars, 227.400 and 15.4% for Japanese, 167.750 and 11.3% for American, 57.100 and 3.9% for South Korean and 19.400 and 1.3% for French cars. Year-to-date, the Chinese new passenger car market edges up 2.1% to a record 3.931.700 sales, with sedans down 0.7% to 1.835.700, SUVs up 11.6% to 1.734.400, MPVs down 15.3% to 300.010 and microvans down 34.7% to 61.400. Commercial vehicles are down 0.7% to 595.000 units, resulting in a Chinese total new vehicle market up just 1.7% to 4.526.700 sales.

Geely continues to gallop ahead with sales up 19% in a market down 11%. 

This month we are inaugurating more detailed reporting for China, the largest new vehicle market in the world: we will shortly add a second monthly report dedicated to retail sales by brand and models, and this first update will now be entirely focused on wholesales figures. Market leader Volkswagen resists somewhat at -5% to just above 180.000 units, but Geely continues on its extremely impressive run with sales surging another 19% to 106.231 units, very aggressively cementing its #2 position in the market, leaving Honda (-1%) almost 30.000 sales behind.

Qoros sales are finally sparkling: +233% in February.

Baojun manages to leap another 10% to almost 77.000 units – for the second month in a row oddly not reporting a single 560 coming out of factories, with Changan (-27%) dropping below 70.000 deliveries but making it three Chinese brands in the Top 5. Dongfeng (-21%), Toyota (-22%) and most strikingly Haval (-37%) all fall heavily in the Top 10 while Nissan (+5%) and Buick (+0.3%) both manage a positive result. Some manufacturers do deliver spectacular gains, such as Qoros (+233%), not really used to such honours, Jaguar (+123%), Bisu (+90%), MG (+77%), Maxus (+71%), Cadillac (+49%), Roewe (+43%), Infiniti (+38%), Hanteng (+34%), Venucia (+30%), Audi (+27%) and Chevrolet (+27%).

Landwind wholesales implode 80% year-on-year in February. 

However this month brings an unusually long list of carmakers in very precarious positions. Keep in mind these are wholesales, ex-factory deliveries, which manufacturers can tune up or down drastically to adapt to retail and dealerships needs. Chinese brands are particularly affected, among them Landwind (-80%), Cowin (-78%), Hawtai (-78%), Jinbei (-77%), Foton-owned Borgward (-69%), JMC (-67%), Haima (-64%), Changhe (-60%), Zhi Dou (-58%), Great Wall (-57%), Yema (-51%) all lose more than half their sales vs. February 2017. Among foreign carmakers, Luxgen (-69%) is the worst hit, and the nightmarish 2017 year of Peugeot (-42%) and Hyundai (-41%) has now seeped through 2018. Jeep (-41%), Suzuki (-41%), DS (-40%), Ford (-30%) and Kia (-30%) are also in great difficulty.

New brand Traum goes against the grain, gaining 2.4% on January.

In the battle of the French, pure imported recently turned local producer Renault (5.800) outsells for the first time compatriot Citroen (5.332) down 15% with the all-new C5 Aircross worryingly falling below 1.000 monthly units in February. WEY remains the most poplar recent brand launch in the country at #31 but its volume dives from 20.289 in January to just 8.529 this month a steep 58% tumble. A fair way below we find Lynk & Co at #47 with 4.012 sales, down 35% on January, while Traum manages to keep sales stables on last month despite the surrounding decline, up 2.4% to 1.555. Acura is down 41% on last month to #68, Yudo is down 44% to #70, Arcfox is stable at #72, Dearcc reappears in the Chinese sales charts at #74 and Xpeng is down 77% to just 9 sales this month.

The last time the Haval H6 was not the #1 SUV in China, it was still branded Great Wall.

Over in the models ranking, the Wuling Hongguang manages to cling back onto the overall pole position for the third time in the past four months, this thanks to the S3 SUV variant oddly not counted as a separate model even though it belongs to a different segment. But the big news of the month is delivered by the Baojun 510, celebrating one year in market by overtaking the Haval H6 for the very first time – and by almost 10.000 units, becoming the best-selling SUV in China for the first time. The Haval H6 had managed to hold onto the SUV crown continuously since July 2013, that’s 55 consecutive months. The 510 even snaps the YTD pole position after two months. Like in January the podium is 100% Chinese, with the VW Lavida (-16%) and Toyota Corolla (-17%) rounding up the Top 5.

The VW Tiguan ranks 6th overall this month in China.

The VW Tiguan (+10%) shoots up 9 spots on last month to #6, followed closely by the Roewe RX5 (+77%) and Geely Boyue (+1%). At #10, the GAC Trumpchi GS4 (-26%) makes it six SUVs in the February Top 10 vs. just three sedans. The Geely Emgrand EC7 leaps up to #11, its highest ranking since November 2013. The Baojun 310 is back up to #14, the Changan CS55 advances to a record #17, the Geely Vision breaks into the Top 20 for the first time at #19, with the recently relaunched Hyundai ix35 (+169%), BYD Song (+168%), Honda Accord (+117%), Audi A4L (+100%), Buick Verano (+85%), Chevrolet Sail (+61%) and VW Passat (+52%) all posting spectacular gains in the Top 50.

The FAW Junpai A50 is the January launch gaining the most ground (+134 spots).

Among recent launches (<12 months), below the Changan CS55, the BYD Song MAX (#35), Geely Vision X3 (#40), GAC Trumpchi GS3 (#65), Geely Vision S1 (#70), Dongfeng Fengxing S560 (#71), Roewe i6 (#74), Leopaard CS9 (#87), Venucia D60 (#88), Kia KX Cross (#89) and WEY VV5 (#99) all fit within the Top 100, that’s 9 Chinese nameplates and just one foreigner, and 7 SUVs vs. just 3 sedans and 1 MPV. As far as January launches are concerned, the Traum S70 remains ahead, gaining 41 spots to #241, followed by the Skoda Karoq at #211 (+130), FAW Junpai A50 at #215 (+134) and GAC Trumpchi GA4 (#235).

Previous month: China January 2018: VW, Geely, Toyota, Audi, Mercedes and BMW all break records, market showing surprising strength at +12%

One year ago: China February 2017: Market back on track at +22% to 1.9 million units

Full February 2018 Top 75 China-made brands and Top 415 models below.

China January 2018: VW, Geely, Toyota, Audi, Mercedes & BMW all break records, market showing surprising strength at +12%

The Bora hits a new record, helping VW to its largest ever wholesale volume.

* See the Top 77 All China-made brands and Top 425 models by clicking on the title *

New light vehicle sales in China start the year a lot better than expected given the purchase tax on vehicles with 1.6L engines and below was raised back from 7.5% to 10% on January 1: the market is up 11% to 2.456.200 units. Once again the main engine of growth in China is the SUV segment up 22.9% to 1.081.300, still close to the 1.173.000 record set last month while sedans/hatches are up 7.3% to 1.158.800. In contrast, MPVs are down 13.4% to 178.600 and microvans freefall 30% to 35.700. Truck sales shoot up 18% to 353.100, meaning the total vehicle market in China adds up to 2.809.300 units for January, up 12% year-on-year. Eco-Friendly car sales are up a fantastic 4.3-fold on January 2017 to 38.470, including 26.753 EVs and 11.717 plug-in hybrids. Chinese brands continue to fare very well but trail the overall passenger car market this month at +9.4% to 1.068.700 units or 43.5% share vs. 44.1% a year ago.

Local carmaker Geely posts a 5th consecutive all-time volume record.

Some manufacturers officially announce Chinese retail sales including imports which differ from the data tables we provide further down in the article (locally-produced wholesales). This paragraph is dedicated to these announcements. The Volkswagen Group is up 16% to 398.600 retail, with the Volkswagen brand up 9.7% to 296.900 retail (almost 56% of VW’s global sales) and Audi up 73% to 60.688. That’s less than Mercedes up 16% to an all-time retail record of 68.425. BMW+Mini is up 6.5% to 54.675. General Motors gains 15% year-on-year to 367.712 units, with Chevrolet up 40% to 54.350, Baojun up 36% to 92.356, Cadillac up 12% to 20.222 (its 23rd consecutive month of double-digit year-on-year gains), Buick up 5.7% to 113.007 as Wuling totals 87.777 including microvans. Ford Motor plunges 18% to 75.990 sales whereas at 60.688 units, Audi surges 73% on a January 2017 figure hampered by a stop order by dealers due to plans to open a second distribution network. Great Wall Motor reports 110.040 sales up 20.6% year-on-year including 98.748 SUVs (+22.1%).

Toyota has its best month ever in China in January, with the Corolla at its highest too. 

Back to wholesales data of locally produced models, and at this game Volkswagen dominates as usual with factory deliveries up 6% year-on-year to 346.739, and according to BSCB records this is VW’s largest ever monthly wholesale volume in China, boosted by new volume records for the Bora (32.585) and Magotan (29.297) while the Tiguan drops 15%. Tellingly, 6 of the 8 best-selling sedans in China in January are VW nameplates. Geely manages the incredible feat of a 5th consecutive all-time record volume, lifting it to 148.916, up a smashing 46% year-on-year. Just as the Boyue remains above 30.000 monthly sales for the 4th time in a row, the Emgrand GS (20.987) posts its 7th consecutive monthly record and the Vision (20.055), Emgrand GL (15.163) and Vision S1 (10.303) also hit all-time bests. Honda soars 38% to its third highest monthly volume ever at 138.306 (below the 151.587 of December 2015 and the 140.963 of December 2014) with the Accord up 54%, the CR-V up 20%, the Vezel up 34%, the Crider up 38% and the Avancier up 142%.

The Baojun is now the most successful car launch in history, both in China and in the world.

Toyota surges 31% to break a new volume record at 129.336, almost 20.000 units above the previous best of 110.802 set in December 2014. Up 78% to 46.735 deliveries, the Corolla sets a new monthly volume record for a Japanese nameplate in China (beating the Nissan Sylphy’s 45.232 from November 2016) while the RAV4 is at its highest since December 2013. Changan is down 8% to 114.373 but sees the CS55 beat its volume record at 23.209, while Buick is down 4% to 112.344. Baojun is up 23% year-on-year but down 32% on December to 94.966 as the 510 crossover posts a 5th all-time record in a row, adding 4.000 units to its December score to 58.006 but bizarrely 560 model sales are not reported by the brand. Note only four nameplates have managed to cross the 60.000 monthly unit-mark in all of China’s history: the Wuling Hongguang (record of 82.543 in December 2016), the Haval H6 (80.495 in December 2016), Wuling Sunshine (73.302 in January 2011) and VW Lavida (61.568 in January 2014). With 416.883 sales in 12 months, the Baojun 510 has now become the best-selling 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 12 months in the US in 1978.

The Haval H6 is the #1 vehicle in China outright for the 5th time, all in the past 22 months.

In 8th place in the brands ranking, Nissan gains 16% to 94.595 units with the Qashqai hitting a new high at 16.519. Haval drops 4% to 78.459 but places the H6 in the overall models pole position thanks to sales up 29% to 59.133. It is the 5th time the H6 is the best-selling nameplate in China outright after April 2016, November 2016, July 2017 and October 2017. Rounding up the Top 10 whereas it ranked at a paltry #25 in December, Audi shoots up 35% to 69.194 wholesales – a new record, with the Q5 beating its volume record at 16.688. Both Mercedes (+34%) and BMW (+37%) also post their all-time wholesale monthly volume records with no less than three Mercedes nameplates reaching an all-time high wholesale volume: the C Class L (18.408), E Class L (15.041) and GLC (13.152) while two BMWs break records: the 3 Series L (14.370) and X1 (9.984).

Audi, Mercedes and BMW are all at record levels this month, with sedans doing the heavy lifting.

Other foreign carmakers posting sizeable wholesale gains in January include Jaguar (+190%), Mitsubishi (+96%) with the Outlander hitting a new high at 11.565 units, Land Rover (+94%), Citroen (+68%) even though the new C5 Aircross is down a steep 59% on December, Cadillac (+60%) with the XT5 the first Cadillac nameplate to crack 10.000 monthly sales in China (10.385, up 90%), Volvo (+53%), Chevrolet (+39%), Mazda (+27%) with the 3 Axela breaking a record at 15.952 sales (+63%) and Renault (+7%) setting a new benchmark at 9.000 units. Foreign manufacturers in difficulty this month include DS (-71%), Suzuki (-44%), Ford (-30%) hampered by the Kuga (-72%) and Edge (-62%), and Hyundai (-24%) even though the ix35 is boosted by the new generation to its 2nd largest monthly volume at 16.540 (record: 17.431 in Dec-14) and just as sister brand Kia rallies back up 1%.

Renault breaks its monthly volume record in China to 9.000.

Among Chinese manufacturers, some of the best performers in January are Yema (+350%), Qoros (+248%), MG (+166%) with the ZS posting its first ever five-digit result (10.913) and the 6 up 11-fold on the previous generation, Bisu (+98%), Brilliance (+81%) bolstered by the new V6 crossover, Maxus (+78%), Venucia (+69%), Soueast (+58%) helped by the DX3 hitting an all-time high (13.589), Roewe (+57%) with the RX3 at a new high (9.963), Weichai (+49%), BYD (+47%), GAC Trumpchi (+32%) as the GS3 breaks a new record (7.482), Zotye (+32%), Hanteng (+28%) and Leopaard (+22%) with a new all-time high for the CS9 (7.241). Those in difficulty this month include Hawtai (-82%), Jinbei (-75%), Cowin (-66%), Landwind (-65%), SWM (-59%), JMC (-58%), Changhe (-57%), Great Wall (-54%), Karry (-36%) and JAC (-32%).

The new 6 (+985%) helps lift MG sales up 166% in January.

Great Wall’s semi premium SUV brand WEY remains by far the most popular new brand launch of the past 12 months in China, eclipsing 20.000 monthly sales for the third time in a row. It is followed at a distance by Geely’s own premium marque, Lynk & Co, up a slim 2.7% on its inaugural score last month. We welcome new local brands Traum (1.518), Yudo (356) and Xpeng (39) in the local charts in January – all the new launches are covered in a separate update as always. As for December launches, the Chery Tiggo 5X is still in the lead but drops a heavy 30% to 7.527, the Changan Raeton CC is up 18% to 6.421, the Lynk & Co 01 up 2.7% to 6.173, the Jaguar XEL down 20% to 1.062, the GAC Trumpchi GM8 up 82% to 1.001 and the Arcfox Lite down 87% to just 60 sales, but far from showing a poor reception, this drop has more to do with the fact that BAIC had filled December wholesales up to benefit from the maximum amount of subsidies for 2017.

Previous post: China Full Year 2017: Geely becomes #1 Chinese brand, market up 3.2%

Previous month: China December 2017: Geely, Baojun and Zotye end year at record levels

One year ago: China January 2017: Audi tumbles down 35% in market down 1.1%

Full January 2018 Top 77 All China-made brands and Top 425 models below.

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