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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.

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.

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

Geely makes a splash in 2017 and overtakes Wuling and Changan to become #1 Chinese. 

* See the Top 95 All China-made brands and Top 595 models by clicking on the title *

Consult 35 years worth of Chinese Historical Data here

NOW UPDATED with additional data featuring Foday, GAC Gonow, Hongqi, Sinogold, Traum, Yudo and Zinoro and the addition of 19 nameplates.

New vehicle sales in China put on the brakes this year: after a 14% surge in 2016, the year-on-year growth slows down to 3.2% in 2017 to an all-time record 28.878.900 registrations. This upholds China as the largest car market in the world by far: the second largest is the U.S., almost 11.5 million units below. The reason behind this slowdown is the end of a 50% purchase tax cut that applied to small engine vehicles (1.6L or less), reduced from 10% to 5% from October 1, 2015 until December 31, 2016. It was raised to 7.5% on January 1, 2017 and back to 10% on January 1, 2018, meaning prospects for growth in 2018 are limited. Even though the growth rate is markedly below that of previous years, China races to its 27th consecutive annual sales record, with the last time deliveries declined year-on-year being in 1990.

The Baojun 510 has become the most successful launch in history in China.

Light vehicle sales edge up 1.4% to 24.718.300, this time solely pulled up into positive territory by the SUV segment. Sedans and hatches are down 2.5% to 11.848.000 units, MPVs are down 17% to 2.070.700 units and microvans down 20% to 547.000 but SUVs surge up another 13.3% to a record 10.252.700 deliveries. After breaking their monthly sales record four consecutive times at the end of 2016, SUV sales did so twice in 2017: in November (1.108.182) and December (1.173.000). Commercial vehicles (trucks and buses) also confirm their return to form, posting a second consecutive year in positive at a stunning +13.9% to 4.160.600 units. The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers predicts 2018 light vehicle sales up 3% to 25.6m with SUV sales up 11% to 11.5m, sedans down 1% to 11.8m, MPVs down 11% to 1.8m and microvans down 7% to 510k. This should bring the Chinese new vehicle market just across the 30 million mark for 2018, including 4.45m commercial vehicles.

The Wuling Hongguang remains the best-selling vehicle in China but drops 18%. 

Meanwhile, the most dynamic platforms remain the eco-friendly ones, with electric and plug in hybrid passenger cars even accelerating their growth compared to 2016: electric vehicles are up 59% to 652.000 units divided into 468.000 passenger cars (+82% vs. +75% in 2016) and 184.000 commercial vehicles (+21%). Plug-in hybrids are up 28% to 125.000 units including 111.000 passenger cars (+41% vs. +17% in 2016) and 14.000 commercial vehicles (-26%). All-in-all, a total of 770.000 “green” cars were registered in 2017 (+53%) placing China frankly on top of the world,  with the million unit mark likely to be surpassed in 2018. Beijing Auto has taken a stance in the segment this year, with BYD taking a step backwards as we will see further down this Report. Keep in mind that in China, only domestically built all-electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids and fuel cell vehicles qualify for government subsidies, whereas conventional hybrids do not, neither do imports.

The VW Lavida is down 6% but up to 2nd place in 2017. 

For the first time on BSCB we can share with you details of the Chinese market by geographic region, according to data submitted by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. It shows that the Eastern seaboard, by far the largest region in the country in terms of sales and accounting for 35% of the total market at 10.2m units, is in steep decline at -10.2%, Southwest China is also down at -4.9% to 3.02m units and North China is down 3.5% to 4.1m. Areas showing growth are the Northeast at +3.4% to 2.54m units, Northwest at +6.9% to 1.9m and, most strikingly, Central South China up a whopping 12.9% to 7.1m. Explore 30 cities and regions all around China with our detailed Photo here.

Haval H6 sales are down 13% despite the arrival of a new generation.

(The following data is retail sales data including imports as reported by manufacturers) The Volkswagen Group remains the most popular manufacturer in the country for 2017, outpacing the market with a 5.1% uplift to 4.18 million units, including 3.18 million (+5.9%) for the VW brand, 598.000 (+1.1%) for Audi, 325.000 (+2.5%) for Skoda, 71.500 (+10%) for Porsche and 265 for Lamborghini. General Motors for its part is up 4.4% to 4.040.789 units with SUV sales soaring 37%, Buick is stable at 1.18m units, Wuling tumbles down 16% to 1.14m units including microvans, Baojun is up 45% to 996.629, Chevrolet up 4.2% to 547.651 and Cadillac surges 51% to 175.489. Japanese carmakers had a fantastic year in China: Honda Motor is up 16% to 1.46m units, Toyota Motor is up 6.2% to 1.29m and Nissan Motor up 12% to 1.27m. Reversely, Ford Motor sees its sales drop 6.3% to 1.192.625.

The Buick Excelle is up 14% year-on-year but stays in 4th place. 

Audi managed to save its #1 spot in the luxury race by the skin of its teeth, handicapped for a large part of the year by a boycott from dealers who protested its plans to open a second distribution channel. The BMW Group was #1 up until end-November but Audi clawed back on top during the last days of the year with annual sales are up 1.1% to 597.866 vs. 594.388 for BMW and Mini (+15%). Daimler AG posted the biggest year-on-year gain by far at +26% to 587.868. Other notable improvements in the luxury aisle include Volvo up 26% to 114.410 sales and Lincoln up 66% to 54.124. A handful of other Japanese carmakers have also communicated retail sales: Mazda is up 8.3% to 309.407 while Mitsubishi is up 56% to 129.160, with both manufacturers’ China sales finally overtaking U.S. ones. Finally, Subaru, the only large carmaker with Lexus to not have a local production facility, is starting to seriously suffer from it at -35% to just 30.029 sales vs. 647.956 in the U.S.

The Nissan Sylphy steps up one spot on 2016 to 5th place this year. 

We are now back to wholesales data – keep in mind these exclude imports and light commercials which will both be covered in separate Reports. The 2017 brand ranking shows lots of movement at the top: below VW up 4% to 3.14m, Honda shoots up an impressive 18% to snap the #2 spot at 1.42m units but the stunner of the year is undoubtedly Geely. The private company surges 61% year-on-year and leaps from #10 brand in 2016 to #3 overall this year with 1.23m units. This makes Geely the most popular Chinese brand at home for the very first time, ending at least 8 years of domination by Wuling (1.14m), also overtaking Changan (1.06m) and Haval in one go! Geely even edges past Buick (1.22m, -1%) at the last minute to snap the third overall spot. The company is targeting 1.58 million sales in 2018 (+27%). Below Buick, Toyota (1.14m) and Nissan (1.12m) follow with 7% and 12% gains respectively, ahead of Changan (-8%).

The VW Tiguan shoots up 40% to 7th place overall thanks to the new model. 

The other winner of 2017 is Baojun, lifted to unheard-of levels thanks to the smashing success of its 510 crossover and 310 wagon. Launched in February, the Baojun 510 became the fastest nameplate in history to reach 300.000 sales: only 10 months vs. 11 for the Baojun 560 and 12 for the Baojun 730, the previous record holders. The 510 is also the fastest to 350.000 in 11 months vs. 14 for the Baojun 560. The 510 ends 2017 in 6th place overall and #2 SUV but should threaten the supremacy of the Haval H6 in 2018. For its part the 310 saw its sales take a completely new dimension with the arrival of the 310w wagon variant, hitting a record of 35.048 in December which is only a thousand units below the 36.046 reached by the BYD F3 in March 2010, still to this date the all-time record for a Chinese sedan/hatch. The 310 was China’s 4th best-selling sedan/hatch overall in December. As a result, Baojun wholesales majestically cross the million mark this year at 1.02m compared to just 761.000 in 2016, a 34% improvement.

GAC Trumpchi adds the GS8 to the smashing success of the GS4.

Haval disappoints in 9th place with deliveries down 9% to 850.000. Its parent company Great Wall Motors saw its deliveries slip 0.4% to 1.070.161 sales in 2017 despite the addition of the premium WEY brand (see further down) and strong Great Wall-branded pickup sales up 13% 119.846. There were many other double-digit gains however among Chinese carmakers further down the ranking: GAC Trumpchi doubles up on the tremendous success of the GS4 with a blockbuster GS8 and gains 37% to #17, Roewe surfs on the popularity of its RX5 crossover (#20 overall) and gains 59%, Soueast is up 50% thanks to the DX3 crossover crossing the 100.000 annual sales mark for its first full year in market, Venucia is up 25%, MG up 68%, Hawtai up 77% and Leopaard up 36%. Outside the Top 40, notice Hanteng (+285%) above 60.000 for its first full year, SWM (+150%) just under 65.000 over the same period, Denza (+117%), Zhi Dou (+109%), Foton (+73%), Maxus (+71%), Kandi (+68%), Borgward (+48%), JMC (+44%) and Karry (+25%).

WEY is by far the most successful brand launch of 2017. 

Among the new brands coming into the Chinese market in 2017, the most noteworthy is of course WEY. Launched in June, Great Wall Motors’ premium SUV marque sold a stunning 86.427 units in just seven months with both the VV5 and VV7 each posting two consecutive 10.000-sales months at the end of the year. Lynk & Co also made its appearance in December with a first month above 6.000 units, with Yudo, Yu Lu, Arcfox and Dearcc the only other new domestic brands above 100 units. Bisu, launched in late 2016, closely misses the 50.000 unit-mark. Struggling Chinese carmakers include Jiangnan (-71%), Landwind (-47%), JAC (-40%), Brilliance (-38%), Haima (-38%), Qoros (-36%), Weichai (-35%), Jinbei (-31%), Beijing Auto (-20%), BYD (-18%) and Chery (-12%).

The C5 Aircross arrived too late to reverse the PSA Group’s dismal performance in 2017. 

Continuing on the bad news but in the foreign aisle, Hyundai (-30%) goes from #5 to #11, suffering from a North Korea-related political row between South Korea and China, as does sister brand Kia down 44% to #23. The PSA Group had a nightmare year: Peugeot is down 29%, Citroen down 47% and DS down an abysmal 64% as the company rebuilds its dealer network. Fiat, now discontinued, is down 82%, Luxgen down 56% and Suzuki down 24%. Reversely, Jeep soars 57% and now has a three locally-produced model lineup (Compass, Cherokee, Renegade), Renault is up 141% to over 72.000 units with just the Koleos and Kadjar, Jaguar is up 296% to 22.340 and Acura lands at 13.191 deliveries for its first annual appearance as a local producer.

The Baojun 310 became the best-selling Chinese sedan over the last two months of the year. 

Over in the models ranking, the Wuling Hongguang celebrates five consecutive years as the national best-seller (no interruption since 2013), and this despite a steep 18% drop to 532.000 units. Astonishingly, this marks the 12th consecutive year a Wuling nameplate is the all-vehicle best-seller in China (2006-2012 were dominated by Wuling microvans). The Hongguang was shortly overtaken in the YTD charts during the course of the year by the VW Lavida, down 6% but up one spot to #2 and 517.000 sales including the Gran Lavida. One of the heroes of 2016, the Haval H6 goes backwards in 2017 despite the launch of a new generation with deliveries down 13% after a 56% gain in 2016 to a still extremely impressive 506.000 units. The Haval H6 remains the best-selling SUV in China, a title it has now held continuously since 2013 but that could be in jeopardy in 2018 if the Baojun 510 (#6 this year) avoids cannibalisation by the larger 530, which is uncertain given how the 510 absolutely butchered the 560 (-53%) in 2017. The Buick Excelle (+14%) and Nissan Sylphy (+10%) follow as reliable sedan blockbusters with the Toyota Corolla (+10%) a notch below, in a category that saw the VW Sagitar (-4%), Jetta (-9%), Santana (-10%) and Ford Escort (-4%) all lose ground year-on-year. The Chevrolet Cavalier posts a very strong first full year in the Chinese market (189.000).

Below the Baojun 510, the Changan CS55 is the 2nd most popular 2017 launch…

The VW Tiguan lifts up 40% thanks to the new generation to place #7 with a record-breaking 340.000 units, #3 SUV and one of only three foreign fares in the segment’s Top 10 along with the Buick Envision at #7 and the Nissan X-Trail at #10. The GAC Trumpchi GS4 (+3%), manages to beat an already stellar 2016 score while the Geely Boyue storms into the 5th SUV spot thanks to 286.000 sales for its first full year in market. The Changan CS75 (+15%) accelerates its growth slightly while the Roewe RX5 (+160%) lands at over 230.000 units for its first full year, never-heard-before heights for the brand. The Haval H2 (+9%) stays in positive thanks to the arrival of the H2s variant, the Dongfeng Fengguang 580 (+103%) becomes the brand’s best-seller while the Geely Emgrand GS (+149%) and Vision SUV (+157%) both post stunning first full years.

…followed by the VW Teramont. 

In the Chinese sedan category, the Baojun 310 outpaced the long-term best-seller the Geely Emgrand EC7 towards the end of the year but remains below annually at #21 overall vs. #16, while the Geely Vision (+5%) remains above the Chery Arrizo 5 (+6%) but the Geely Emgrand GL storms in just below with sales up 313% for the nameplate’s first full year in market. In the MPV aisle, the facelifted Baojun 730 remains a distant second below the Hongguang as its 26% sales drop pull it from #5 overall in 2016 to #15 this year, with the Buick GL8 an even more distant third but up 83% thanks to the new generation. The BYD Song MAX is an instant blockbuster and ranked third in the segment in December. The Audi A6L (+6%) retains the luxury model crown above the Mercedes C-Class L (+23%), BMW 3 Series L (+27%), Audi Q5 (-6%) and BMW 5 Series L (-16%). The Audi A4L (+19%), Mercedes E-Class L (+97%) and GLC (+28%) also cross the 100.000 annual sales mark. The green car ranking is completely reshuffled this year: the BAIC-EC-Series takes the lead with 78.000 sales ahead of the Zhi Dou D2 at 42.000, the JAC iEV at 28.000, the Chery eQ at 26.000 and the BYD Qin, #1 in 2016, at 25.000 (-21%). The BYD e5 (+50%) makes up for it at #6.

The BAIC EC-Series has become the best-selling green car in China in 2017. 

Finally, to cap our monthly “Focus on the All-new models” series and in anticipation of the December update, let’s have a look at the most popular 2017 launches. There’s no contest on top: the Baojun 510 is the most successful nameplate launch in the history of automobile in China and spat out almost 360.000 units in just 11 months. Below, far below is the Changan CS55 with just under 80.000 units, followed by the VW Teramont at 75.000 sales, the FAW Besturn X40 and MG ZS both at 70.000 deliveries, the Roewe i6 at 64.000, the Zotye T700 at 59.000, the Chevrolet Equinox and WEY VV7 both at 53.000, the Skoda Kodiaq, Nissan Kicks and Honda UR-V all around 44.000, the Chana Oushang A800 at 41.000, the Toyota Yaris L Sedan at 40.000 and the Haval M6, Leopaard CS9 and Toyota Vios FS around 35.000. In summary: 13 SUVs, one MPV and three sedans with 10 Chinese nameplates and 7 foreigners, very aptly illustrating the engines of growth and dynamism that were at play in China in 2017.

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

Previous year: China Full Year 2016: Tax cut boosts market up 14% to record 28 million sales

Two years ago: China Full Year 2015: Market up 4.7% to record 24.61 million despite sluggish summer

Full Year 2017 Top 95 All China-made brands and Top 595 models vs. Full Year 2016 figures below.

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

Zotye surges 83% to a record 61.290 sales thanks to the T700 and T300. 

* See the Top 80 All China-made brands and Top 455 models by clicking on the title *

It’s another setback for passenger car sales in China, posting their fourth year-on-year decline of the year after last JanuaryApril and May at -0.7% to 2.653.300 deliveries. The comparison set is harsh as December 2016 was the largest ever month of passenger car sales in China and the world (2.67m units). Commercial vehicles are up 5.7% to 407.700 units which leads to an overall market up 0.1% to 3.060.300 sales. Sedans and hatchbacks are down 4.3% to 1.2m units, MPVs are down 16% to 208.30 and microvans down 18.7% to 51.800 with once again SUVs the sole segment in positive at +8.4% year-on-year to break its monthly record at 1.173.000 deliveries, eclipsing the 1.108.182 units of last month. China-branded passenger cars go against the grain with a 3.4% year-on-year gain to 1.293.600 sales and 48.7% share vs. 45.8% a year ago.

The Boyue helps Geely break its all-time monthly volume record for the 4th month in a row.

In the brands ranking (wholesale figures), below Volkswagen following the market at -2% to 258.000 units, our two heroes of the year strike again. Firstly, Geely posts an astonishing fourth consecutive all-time monthly volume record: from 108.980 in September to 125.201 in October, 141.312 in November and 147.647 in December, up 36% on a December 2016 score that was a record at the time. This absolutely stunning streak obviously positions Geely as the #2 brand overall, only outsold by Volkswagen and eclipsing all other foreign carmakers. Geely has also become the uncontested #1 Chinese brand both in the passenger car segment and overall, overtaking Wuling. For perspective, its 147.647 sales score is the second largest monthly volume ever recorded by a brand other than Volkswagen in China, below the 151.587 from Honda in December 2015 and above the 146.008 from Hyundai in December 2016. No less than six Geely nameplates break their all-time monthly volume best this month: the Boyue is up 53% to 31.205 and third best-selling SUV, the Emgrand GS is up 84% to 18.850, the Vision SUV up 39% to 14.610, the Vision X3 up to 10.729, the Vision S1 up 427% on its inaugural month to 9.049 and the Vision X1 up to 3.371.

The 310 wagon boosts Baojun to a third consecutive all-time monthly record.

The other superstar of 2017, Baojun, also smashes its all-time volume record in December and for the third consecutive month thanks to deliveries up 39% to 140.268, after previous bests of 128.486 in November and 108.387 in October. This way, both Geely and Baojun are on the China brands podium for the first time in history. The Baojun 510 once again serves up a new monthly record, crossing the 50.000 unit-milestone for the first time at 54.050 (previous best 49.866 last month). Since its launch in February, the 510 as improved month-on-month during every single month of the year bar August. It is now the most successful Baojun nameplate ever as the previous monthly volume record holder for the brand was the 730 at 50.128 in December 2016. The 510 also becomes the fastest nameplate to 350.000 sales (11 months), beating the previous record held by the Baojun 560 by three months. The 310 also stuns and breaks its monthly volume record for the 5th consecutive month at 35.048 in 7th place overall and #4 sedan thanks to the new wagon variant. That’s less 1.000 units below the all-time record for a Chinese sedan held by the BYD F3 since March 2010. With the 730 at #9, Baojun places three nameplates inside the Top 10 for the 2nd month running vs. just one for VW.

The D60 posts its first five-digit sales month and lifts Venucia up 43%. 

Buick (+5%) follows in the brands ranking, posting an all-time record month just under 130.000 units, ahead of Honda (-3%), Nissan (+11%) and Hyundai back up three spots on November to #7 even though it  is down 17% year-on-year. Above Ford (-9%), Changan (+1%) is timid in 8th place with the CS55 posting a new all-time high result (17.612). The biggest loss in the Top 25 is delivered by Haval which had broken its all time record in December 2016 but plunges 35% to just under 89.000 this time, rounding up a Top 10 including four Chinese carmakers. Outstanding performance of Zotye this month, crossing a few milestones with sales up 83% year-on-year to 61.290, its first time above 50.000 monthly units, its highest ever ranking at #15 (previous best: #19) and only its second time ever inside the Top 20 brands in China. Two Zotye nameplates shoot up and break their all-time record this month: the T700 is up 37% on November to 14.411 – only posting month-on-month gains since its launch in May – and the T300 up a whopping 132% on last month to 12.093, only only on the up since its September debut.

The BYD Song MAX is the third best-selling MPV in China for its third full month in market. 

GAC Trumpchi also impresses at +37% and has the GS8 post a new monthly record at 10.498 units, Venucia is up 43% with the D60 cracking the 10.000 monthly sales milestone for its 2nd month in market while WEY lifts up to 21.349 units thanks to its two nameplates each breaking their record: the VV5 at 10.798 and the VV7 at 10.551. Hawtai is up 162% with the Shengdafei establishing a new all-time best at 14.573 sales, Maxus is up 155%, Bisu up 113%, MG up 105% just as the new generation MG6 hits dealerships, Leopaard is up 52%, Karry up 49%, FAW up 43%, Changhe up 34%, Hanteng up 33% and Brilliance up 28%. Struggling Chinese brands include Cowin (-58%), JMC (-56%), Haima (-47%), Qoros (-46%), Jinbei (-37%), Soueast (-31%), Zhi Dou (-31%), Foton (-29%), Yema (-26%), Great Wall (-24%), Dongfeng (-23%) and Wuling (-23%).

First five-digit sales month for the Karry K60. 

Wholesales results place Mercedes (41.518) well above BMW (35.549) and Audi (30.889) in the luxury race, but retail sales data including imports reported by manufactures paint a very different picture: Audi is up 34% to 69.160 ahead of BMW/Mini up 19% to 52.026 and Mercedes/Smart up 12% to 48.140, with the Mercedes GLC posting a new high at 11.640 units. As a result Audi retains the luxury crown in 2017 by the skin of its teeth as we’ll detail in our Full Year 2017 Report. Other great performers among foreign carmakers in China in December include Jaguar (+140%) as the XEL launches this month, Jeep (+45%) with the Compass at an all-time high 10.302 units, Mazda (+33%), Skoda (+25%) and Mitsubishi (+13%). At the other end of the scale the PSA Group grabs all the honours with the three worst results of the month: DS (-80%), Peugeot (-38%) and Citroen (-37%), followed by Kia (-29%) and Toyota (-20%). Finally, no less than three new brands launch in the Chinese market this month and they are all Chinese: Lynk & Co (6.000 sales), Arcfox (500) and Dearcc (100). We’ll explore these newcomers in a lot more detail shortly in our monthly Focus on the All-new models.

The Lynk & Co brand launches with the 01 crossover in China in December. 

Despite steep respective 23% and 32% year-on-year drops, the Wuling Hongguang and Haval H6 manage to remain on top of the Chinese models charts in December, while the Baojun 510 brilliantly rounds up the podium a mere 1.166 units below the H6. The VW Lavida (+9%) is knocked down one spot while the Nissan Sylphy (+1%) remains at #5, so does the Buick Excelle at #6 but with deliveries up 29% on December it hits a new all-time high for the nameplate at 40.939 units. The record-breaking Baojun 310 advances three spots to #7, ahead of the Ford Escort (+9%), Baojun 730 (-35%) and Geely Boyue. Among notable performances in December, let’s single out the BYD Song MAX up 52% on last month to a fantastic 15.606 units for its third full month in market, the Chery Tiggo 5x landing directly above the symbolic 10.000 unit-milestone at 10.693 which we will cover in our Focus on the All-new models, and the Karry K60 posting its very first five-digit sales figure at 10.070.

Previous month: China November 2017: Geely and Baojun push forward with new records

One year ago: China December 2016: Haval up 73%, Geely up 101% in final tax rush

Full December 2017 Top 80 All China-made brands and Top 455 models below.

China November 2017: Geely and Baojun push forward with new records

The Baojun 510 is the fastest nameplate to reach 300.000 sales in China.

* See the Top 77 All China-made brands and Top 450 models by clicking on the title *

With a very high base in November 2016 as customers rushed to benefit from the last couple of months of advantageous tax regime (5% on vehicles powered by engines 1.6L and under), light vehicle sales drop 0.03% year-on-year in China this month to 2.589.500 units according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. It is the second time this year that light vehicle sales are down after last January (-1.1%). Note the tax, lifted to 7.5% in January 2017, will go up to 10% in January 2018. In the detail, passenger cars are down 4.9% to 1.229.961 sales, SUVs up 8.3% to 1.108.182 units, a new all-time volume record for the segment eclipsing the 1.089.565 of December 2016, MPVs are down 5.5% to 214.574 and microvans down 21% to 41.300. However truck sales are up 5.6% year-on-year in November to 313.600 units and bus sales up 18.3% to 54.600, lifting the total market up 0.6% to 2.957.600.

Geely posts a third consecutive all-time volume record with 6 nameplates – including the Boyue – at record levels 

Year-to-date, sales of light vehicles in China remain at record heights with a 1.9% improvement to 22.041.400 units. This includes 10.648.000 passenger cars (-2.3%), 9.090.000 SUVs (+14.5%), 1.857.400 MPVs (-16.5%) and 495.200 microvans (-20%). Add to this 3.753.500 commercial vehicles (+14.8%) and the total market is up 3.6% year-to-date to a record 25.844.900 units. Chinese-branded light vehicle sales are up 5% to 1.186.200, representing a 45.8% market share up from 44.1% a year ago. Sales of electric and plug-in hybrid cars continue to greatly outperform the rest of the market with a 83% surge in November to 119.000 units, including 102.000 EVs (+75%) and 17.000 plug-in hybrids (+154%). Year-to-date, combined sales are up 51% to 609.000 units. The Chinese government is set to introduce a California-style carbon credit trading program in 2019 to force automakers to expand EV production, and expects EV sales to top 2.5 million by 2020. The market leader, the BAIC EC-Series, breaks a new volume record (15.719) as does the #2, the JAC iEV (5.660).

First five-digit sales month for the VW Teramont.

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), and the next few paragraphs are dedicated to these announcements – model sales remain locally-produced wholesales. Retail sales of the Volkswagen Group shoot up 15% year-on-ear to an estimated 429.000 with the Volkswagen brand up 16% to 331.100 (stable wholesales at 293.000), Skoda up 23% to 37.000 and Audi up 6.5% to 56.208 vs. 55.293 for BMW (+12%) and 50.813 for Mercedes (+22%). Year-to-date, Volkswagen Group retail sales are up 3.6% to 3.72 million while Audi remains in negative at -2.1% to 528.706. It looks like Audi will lose the #1 premium spot in China to BMW up 15% 542.362 with Mercedes in 2nd place at 539.728 (+27%). Model-wise, if the Lavida is back up from #11 overall in October to #3 this month, it loses the YTD top spot. The Tiguan is the only foreign SUV among the segment’s Top 8 best-sellers while the Teramont breaks its monthly volume record for the third month running, delivering its first 5-digit month at 11.238, as does the Skoda Kodiaq at 6.747.

Both the WEY VV5 and VV7 cross the 10.000 sales mark for the first time this month.

General Motors also frankly outpaces the market with a 13% lift to 418.225 units, adding up to 3.55 million year-to-date (+3.3%), with Baojun retail sales distancing Buick for the first time at 113.711 (+52%) vs. 112.738 (+3%). Wholesales put Baojun at an all-time high 128.486 (+41%), the third consecutive all-time record, while Buick is up 2% to 125.037, its second best-ever result below the 128.049 of December 2015. It is the second time Baojun is above Buick wholesale-wise after last February. Buick is helped by new monthly records by its two MPVs the GL8 (14.332) and GL6 (6.892). Chevrolet retail sales are up 17% to 61.228 with a new record by the Equinox (7.592) and Cadillac is up 23% to 16.629 (new record for the XT5 at 6.100) whereas Wuling is down 6.3% to 113.919 but the Hongguang reclaims the top spot both in November and YTD despite 17% drops each way.

The Baojun 310 is only the second Chinese passenger car to ever cross the 30.000 monthly sales mark.

The big story here is, like last month, Baojun’s unprecedented success. Two nameplates break new volume records this month: the 510 SUV soars to 49.866 units and, as predicted last month, becomes the fastest nameplate to reach 300.000 sales in China (10 months), beating the Baojun 560 (11) and the Baojun 730 before it (12). For now, the title of best-selling new car ever introduced still goes to the Ford Fairmont with 405.780 units sold in its first 12 months in the US in 1978. But it doesn’t end here for Baojun: boosted by the new station wagon variant, the 310 surges 107% year-on-year to land at #10 with a record 31.022 sales, becoming the first Chinese passenger car to rank in the overall Top 10 since November 2013 (Geely Emgrand EC7) and only the second Chinese passenger car to top 30.000 monthly sales, the only other one being the BYD F3, last in March 2010 with 36.046 sales which remains to this day the Chinese passenger car monthly volume record. With the 730 back up to #7 in spite of a 28% year-on-year drop, Baojun displays three nameplates in this month’s Top 10, a first, vs. just two for Volkswagen.

Geely Vision X3 sales are up 44% on October to pass 10.000 for the first time.

The other Chinese brand to break records this year is Geely, and November extends the trend: the private company sees its deliveries soar 38% year-on-year to a best-ever 141.312 units, the brand’s third consecutive all-time monthly volume record and lifting its YTD cume to 1.086.869 compared to its 2017 annual sales objective of 1.1 million. Geely remains in 2nd place in the overall brands ranking below just Volkswagen, and this for the second month running (and ever). No less than six Geely nameplates post a new all-time volume record in November: the Boyue (30.884), Emgrand GS (17.487), Emgrand GL (14.211), Vision SUV (13.647), Vision X3 (10.102, first five-digit month) and Vision X1 (3.320).

The C5 Aircross has managed to stabilise Citroen sales in China.

Nissan Motor is up 22% to 165.656 with a new record for the Kicks (10.959), Honda Motor is up 11% to 140.972 with new records for the Avancier (10.007, first five-digit result) and UR-V (6.586) while Toyota Motor is dow 1.3% to 109.600 mainly due to the Camry generation changeover (-98% to #396). Ford Motor continues to struggle at -8% to 117.593 units despite a 70% surge at Lincoln (6.006), leading to a 6% decline YTD at 1.06m, Hyundai seems to slow down its fall at -25% to 95.012 but Kia suffers again at -38% to 49.132 in spite of a new record by the KX Cross (7.947). Among other foreign manufacturers, Mazda is up 7% to 32.655, Peugeot is down 20% to 29.836 despite a new record by the 4008 (7.273), but Citroen has stabilised (-1%) thanks to the new C5 Aircross at an all-time best (6.759) while Mitsubishi drops 44% despite a new record by the Outlander (9.284). Jaguar (+38%), Volvo (+21%), Land Rover (+15%) and Renault (+9%) also progress but DS (-67%) continues to implode.

The BYD Song MAX leaps up 154% on last month to become the #4 MPV in China. 

There are a lot of very good results among Chinese carmakers also. Not part of them is Changan (-3%) which continues to slip away in spite of a record performance by the CS55 (15.457). The brand now consistently ranks third local below Geely and Baojun. Standing out once again is Great Wall’s new semi-premium fare WEY, with both the VV5 (10.277) and VV7 (10.183) simultaneously crossing the 10.000 monthly unit-milestone for the first time and lifting the brand to a record 20.460 units for the month and a stunning 65.078 since launch. Overall Great Wall Motors sales are up just 1.5% to 131.062 however due to a 17% drop at Haval (97.209) despite the first five-digit score of the M6 (10.059) and despite a 26% surge to 11.777 Great Wall pickup sales. YTD Great Wall Motors sales are up 2.2% to 944.576.

FAW has both the Besturn X40 and Jilin Xenia R7 crossing the 10.000 sales mark in November.

Beijing Auto hangs on and returns to positive thanks to its EV range as well as the Huansu S5 at a best-ever 5.057, as do GAC Trumpchi (+13%) with new records for the GS8 (10.082) and GS3 (5.138), Roewe (+14%) with a new record for the RX3 (4.740), Zotye (+16%) with new records for the T700 (10.510) and T300 (5.203), FAW (+7%) with new records for the Besturn X40 (10.671) and Jilin Xenia R7 (10.207) both posting their very first five-digit month and Leopaard (+16%) thanks to a new record by the CS9 (5.461). Qoros (+27%) thanks to a new record by the 5 SUV at 3.231), Karry (+42%), Hanteng (+46%), Zhi Dou (+62%), MG (+90%), Maxus (+104%), Hawtai (+236% thanks to a new record by the Shengdafei at 12.877) and Kandi (+294%) also post spectacular gains, but not as much as Soueast, up 179-fold (!) thanks to the success of the DX3, breaking a new volume record at 12.830 units. Finally, note that a fantastic score by the Song MAX (10.265, first five-digit score) doesn’t prevent BYD from falling 16%. Other struggling Chinese carmakers include Chery (-27%), JAC (-32%), Jinbei (-37%), Changhe (-40%), Haima (-41%), Cowin (-47%), JMC (-51%) and Landwind (-79%).

Previous month: China October 2017: Geely and Baojun post all-time record volumes

One year ago: China November 2016: One million SUVs lift market up 17%

Full November 2017 Top 77 All China-made brands and Top 450 models below.

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