China September 2016: Market up 29% anticipating expiring incentives
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After gaining 26% in both July and August, the Chinese new light vehicle market gets another stunning boost in September at +29% to 2.27 million units just as buyers rush to dealership to benefit from the 50% tax cut to 5% on small engine-vehicles, an incentive that is set to expire at the end of the year. This score is very close to the highest monthly volume ever recorded in China (2.44 million in December 2015). Year-to-date, sales in China are up 15% to 16.75 million units. After over a year of sales boosted by the tax cut, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers anticipates a significant slow down in 2017 if the tax cut ends as planned. It is therefore lobbying the Chinese government to extend the tax cut, but the government hasn’t responded yet. It is in fact in its best interest to keep uncertainty going as the effect on sales this year has been spectacular.
The SUV segment is once again the engine of growth in China with a whopping 52% year-on-year gain in September to 879.000 units, but MPVs – up 37% to 221.500 – and sedans – up 17% to 1.12 million – also show very healthy figures. Only microvans (-33% to 48.600) have gone out of fashion. The Volkswagen Group outsells General Motors this month as the largest carmaker in China with sales up 20% year-on-year to 382.300, adding up to 2.85 million year-to-date (+11%). Its namesake brand remains the most popular in the country by far, replicating the market’s growth at +29% to 280.708 units, 2.4 times higher than any other brand. Over the first 9 months of the year, Volkswagen is up 11% to 2.16 million, Audi up 6% to 440.200, Skoda up 17% to 234.500 and Porsche up 11% to 49.200.
General Motors on the other hand is up 16% this month to 343.773, boosted by Buick up 13% to 110.395, Wuling up 6% to 108.225 including LCVs, Baojun up 46% to 70.081 and Cadillac up 63% to 12.539 including imports. CAAM data indicates Chevrolet is down 10% to 51.078 but the manufacturer reports sales up 3% to 51.932. In any case the arrival of the Cavalier – with almost 10.000 sales this month – will give the struggling brand a welcome boost in the coming months and will be covered shortly in our special “All-new models” article. Year-to-date, GM sales are up 9% to a record-high 2.72 million units. In the China-made brands ranking, below Volkswagen Honda snaps the 2nd spot thanks to sales up 31%, distancing Changan (+73%), Buick (+13%), Hyundai (+16%), Nissan (+34%), Ford (+49%) and Toyota (+6%).
Among Chinese manufacturers, both Haval (87.627) and Geely (76.796) surge 68% year-on-year in September to complete the podium below Changan. Below, Beijing Auto (+52%), Dongfeng (+70%), Chery (+51%), GAC Trumpchi (+69%), Zotye (+108%), Roewe (+204%), Soueast (+625%), Leopaard (+58%) and Changhe (+141%) all spectacularly outpace their home market. Newcomers Cowin (#43), Brilliance-Shineray SWM (#44) and Borgward (#48) all fit within the Top 50 brands. In the luxury race (figures include imports), Audi continues to see its once unsurmountable advantage over its two German rivals shrink. Its sales are up a meagre 2.6% in September to 54.499 vs. 49.204 for BMW and 46.443 for Mercedes-Benz, both up 20%. Year-to-date, Audi is up 6.2% to 440.233, followed by Mercedes at 344.791 (+30%) and BMW at 330.000 (+10%).
In the models ranking, the Wuling Hongguang (+4%) manages to hold the pole position for the 5th time this year and remains in the year-to-date lead despite deliveries down 1% on the same period in 2015. The Haval H6 (+74%) is aggressively catching up though, posting its first-ever month above 50.000 monthly units at 53.268. The VW Lavida (+18%) rounds up the podium and crosses the 400.000 sales mark year-to-date (+22%), above the Baojun 730 enjoying a definite revival at +88% in 4th place. The VW Jetta (+86%), GAC Trumpchi GS4 (+81% to a record 34.202), VW Sagitar (+41%), Ford Escort (+60%), Hyundai Elantra Langdong (+43%) and Buick Envision (+80%) also frankly outpace the market inside the Top 15.
A seemingly endless list of nameplates break their monthly volume record this month – a large majority being SUVs. Among them, the Haval H2 (20.242), Hyundai Tucson (20.175), Buick Verano (17.992), Nissan Qashqai (15.412), Mazda3 Axela (14.910), Chery Arrizo 5 (14.770), Geely Boyue (14.053), Roewe RX5 (13.751), Dongfeng Fengguang 580 (13.022), BAIC Senova X35 (10.189), Geely Vision SUV (10.056), Jeep Cherokee (9.500), Geely Emgrand GS (8.524), Lifan Myway (6.237), Cadillac XT5 (5.234), Haval H7 (5.192) and Borgward BX7 (5.133). Finally, we welcome no less than 9 all-new nameplates in this month’s charts, including the Chevrolet Cavalier, Baojun 310, Chery Tiggo 7 and Citroen C6. These will be covered in detail in a separate update as per the BSCB tradition.
Previous month: China August 2016: Second consecutive month up 26% – SUVs up 44%
Full September 2016 Top 70 China-made brands and Top 400 China-made models below.