China LCV January-February 2016: Pickups about to bounce back?

Huanghai N1 Series China February 2016Huanghai N1 Series – one tonne pickups could bounce back in 2016. 

* See the Top 50 best-selling models by clicking on the title *

As part of a partnership with Chinese consultant Cedars, we can share with you detailed data for the light commercial vehicle market in China with complete Minivan, Pickup and Mini Truck data by model as well as selected light truck/bus data provided by LMC Automotive. Minivans continue their freeflall in this start of 2016 with just 46.938 sales in February (-39%) and 103.513 year-to-date (-38%). The Mini Truck segment (=micro pickups) is once again the only one in positive at +7% in February (30.263) and +9% year-to-date (71.038) while Pickups slow down their fall at -9% in February (18.753) vs. -12% so far in 2016 (47.576) and this could be due to a much anticipated change in legislation by the Chinese government, a very significant development we go into much detail about further down.

Version 2The Wuling Mini Truck is the best-selling LCV in China so far in 2016. 

In the general ranking, the JAC Light Truck – including all of the brand’s medium pickups – surges 68% to lead the February charts with 18.687 but the Wuling Mini Truck, up 27% this month to 16.102 units, remains #1 year-to-date at 35.091 registrations (+13%). The Foton Light Truck (-5%) rounds up the podium, distancing a slew of freefalling minivans: the Chana Star (-40%), Wuling Sunshine (-44%), Hongguang V (-42%) and Rongguang (+2%).

China PC+LCV – February 2016:

Pos Model Pos Model
1 VW Lavida 9 JAC Light Truck
2 Wuling Hongguang 10 Dongfeng Fengguang
3 Haval H6 11 JAC Refine S3
4 Baojun 560 12 Chana Honor
5 Baojun 730 13 ChangAn CS75
6 VW Sagitar 14 Toyota Corolla
7 VW Santana 15 VW Jetta
8 Buick Excelle GT 16 Wuling Mini Truck

The LCV category adds two local nameplates in the overall Top 20 models ranking for February, lifting the Chinese models tally to 10 inside the Top 16 best-sellers, an all-time record as far as BSCB files show. See the full report on Passenger Cars sales for February 2016 here.

Dongfeng Rich China February 2016. Picture courtest xgo.com.cnDongfeng Rich. Picture courtesy xgo.com.cn

In our May 2015 report Where is China headed? we described one-tonne pickups as the largest untapped segment within the Chinese market. The reason: the 2003 Road Traffic Safety Law banning pickups from entering most Chinese cities on grounds of pollution and congestion which has muffled their sales since. At the time, we said the abolition of such restrictive laws is “a matter of when rather than if”. This moment has already arrived, with Beijing deciding last month to lift the ban in four provinces as part of a pilot project: Henan, Hebei (north), Liaoning (northeast) and Yunnan (southwest) which have a combined population of 250 million people. This is very big news for the Chinese pickup market and local manufacturers.

Great Wall Wingle 6 China February 2016. Picture courtesy auto.sohu.comHebei is the home of Great Wall, the #1 pickup manufacturer in China.

The Hebei province is the home of the two main Chinese pickup manufacturers: Great Wall and ZX Auto, Henan is home to Zhengzhou Nissan, with Liaoning and Yunnan other strong pickup assembling hubs. According to Automotive News China, the Chinese government will likely ask other provinces to allow pickups in their cities too in the near future. Then, the gold rush could finally start and foreign manufacturers could at last enter the local market. Only Nissan is taking part for now despite very high pent-up demand, as demonstrated by the presence of the Ford F-150 Raptor and Toyota Tundra in every Chinese city I visited.

ZX Auto Grand Tiger F1 China February 2016. Picture courtesy auto.163.comZX Auto is also based in the Hebei province.

For now, the Great Wall Wingle 5 still dominates the one-tonne pickup segment with 5.320 sales (-10%), followed by the ZX Auto Grand Tiger at 2.265 (+4%), JMC Baodian at 1.771 (-41%), Great Wall Wingle 6 (+29%), Dongfeng Rich, up 183% thanks to a new generation launched in late 2014, and Huanghai N2 Series. From over 392.463 sales in 2014, the pickup market fell 16% in 2015 to 328.933 sales. We forecast the one-tonne+ pickup segment could amount to as much as 10% of overall Chinese sales by 2030 – or 4 million annual vehicles – if Road Traffic Safety Law is completely abolished across the country.

Previous post: China LCV Full Year 2015: Sales transfer to mini pickups boosts Wuling Mini Truck

One year ago: China LCVs January 2015: Wuling Hongguang V appears

Full January and February 2016 Top 50 Ranking Tables below.         

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