* See the Top 75 China-made brands and Top 422 models by clicking on the title *
If you thought all records that could possibly be broken already have in China this year, think again. Consumers take advantage of the last month of purchase tax for vehicles with small engines reduced to 5% to once again flock to dealerships en masse. Light vehicle sales are up 9.1% to 2.67 million units, the largest ever monthly figure in China – and any country in the world. If sedans are down 3% year-on-year this month to 1.251.299 units and MPVs down 0.3% to 269.496, SUVs continue to be the sole responsible for the Chinese market growth in December, catapulting up 33% on December 2015 to establish a 4th all-time monthly record in as many months. After September (891.612), October (919.279) and November (1.023.633), December SUV sales lift the all-time high bar to 1.081.014 units. It is indeed only the second month in history that SUV monthly sales surpass 1 million in China. Freefalling microvans make up the rest of light vehicle sales.
In the brands ranking – with all figures in this article excluding imports and LCVs – Volkswagen doubles the market growth at +13% followed by Hyundai up 14%. The performer of the month is without a doubt Chinese SUV specialist Haval, up a gigantic 73% to a record 136.522 deliveries, shooting up to third best-selling brand overall in China. This month, Haval outsells household names such as Honda (133.225), Buick (123.278), Nissan (109.982), Ford (99.788) and Toyota (92.019), and sells almost three times as many SUVs than its followers in the segment: Changan (52.099) and Honda (50.623). The Haval H6 lodges a third straight monthly record: after 56.666 sales in October, 70.292 in November, no less than 80.485 H6 found a new home in December, up 89% year-on-year. Haval even has the two best-selling SUVs in the country this month with the H2 up 76% to 35.284, boosted by the arrival of the H2s. Finally the H7 continues to gear up with a new record at 10.852 sales.
Geely is the other stunning performer in December with once again sales doubling year-on-year at +101% to 109.328, a new record for the brand which has now posted six-digit sales figures for the second consecutive month – and ever. The Emgrand EC7 remains the brand’s best-seller at 28.539 units (+21%) but the Boyue SUV is catching up fast, crossing a new milestone at 20.377 sales. The Emgrand GS (10.222) and GL (10.103) also break their monthly record while the Vision (12.028) and Vision SUV (10.526) maintain themselves at very robust levels. Baojun is the third Chinese brand above 100.000 sales in December, and it passes its signpost for the first time in its history thanks to all-time high performances by the 730 MPV (50.128) and 310 hatch (17.896).
Further down, notice Changan (+43%), Dongfeng (+12%), Chery (+25%), Peugeot (+12%), GAC Trumpchi (+30%) and Roewe (+189%) resuscitated by the RX5 SUV breaking its monthly record again to 24.778 and 7th best-selling SUV. Historical event in the luxury brands ranking: for the first time in the history of automobile in China, Mercedes takes the lead thanks to a 14% lift to 34.582 sales, dethroning Audi down 42% to 27.063 while BMW lurks in third place at 26.427 (+9%). Mercedes is taking advantage of exceptional performances by the new E-Class (+72%) and GLC (+92%). Among smaller brands, Lifan up 108% thanks to the Myway at a record 10.138, Cadillac up 168% thanks to the CT6 and XT5, Jeep up 144% with the Cherokee and Renegade now joined by the Compass, JMC up 380% and Changhe up 99% are among the biggest gainers. We also welcome two new brands: Bisu and Horki. More detail in our “Focus on all-new models” December update coming shortly.
In the models ranking, other notable record-breakers this month include the Chery Arrizo 5 (21.148) now comfortably installed in 2nd place in the Chinese passenger car ranking below the Geely Emgrand EC7, the Hyundai New Verna (19.080), BYD Song (18.178), Dongfeng Fengguang 580 (17.078), BAIC Senova X35 (16.348), Peugeot 408 (14.855), Chevrolet Cavalier (14.834), Ford Edge (13.837), Chery Tiggo 7 (11.039), Citroen C3-XR (10.239), Jeep Cherokee (10.109), JMC Yusheng (9.623), SWM X7 (7.168), BAW BJ20 (6.637) and Hanteng X7 (6.031).
Among nameplates launched last month, three comfortably cross the 5.000 monthly sales milestone: the Karry K60 is first to the finish line in December with 6.829 sales, up 160% on its inaugural month, but it is followed closely by the Zotye SR9 up 105% to 6.747. The most impressive performance however is tdelivered by the GAC Trumpchi GS8 up 160% to 6.501 sales and mimicking the success of its little brother the GS4, a lot more affordable. Priced between 163.800 and 259.800 yuan (US$23.500 – 37.300), the GS8 has already smashed the bar for success we established at 6.000 sales. The Renault Koleos is up 9% to remain above the Kadjar but the VW C-Trek surprisingly dives 51% to just 2.772 sales. This month’s all-new nameplates will be covered in a separate post shortly.
Previous month: China November 2016: One million SUVs lift market up 17%
Full December 2016 Top 75 China-made brands and Top 422 models below.