Germany February 2017: Audi snaps 10% share of falling market

Audi snaps 10% of the German new car market in February for only the second time this decade.

* See the Top 50 brands and Top 325 models by clicking on the title *

German new car sales mark a pause in February at – 3% year-on-year to 243.602 registrations, yet thanks to a 5.5% improvement in January, the year-to-date tally is still in the black at +3.5% to 485.001 units. Market leader Volkswagen tumbles down 19% on an already weak February 2016 figure to 17.5% share vs. 19% year-to-date, and if last month Mercedes was the premium leader and crossed the 10% market share milestone for the third time in the past six months, this time it’s the turn of Audi. The Ingolstadt carmaker is up 4% to a round 10% share in February.

Alfa Romeo sales are up 83% thanks to the Giulia. 

This is only the second time Audi reaches a two-figure market share this decade – and potentially ever – along with January 2016. In the premium race, Audi comfortably distances Mercedes down 2% year-on-year at 8.9% while BMW sinks to #6 overall and 7.3% with deliveries down 9%, overtaken by mass-market Opel (-6%) and Ford (+1%). Year-to-date though, Mercedes remains above Audi for just 92 sales (46.137 vs. 46.045), both manufacturers commanding a 9.5% share of their home market.

Cadillac lodges the largest year-on-year improvement in market at +135% this month.

Renault lodges the largest year-on-year improvement in the Top 10 at +16% to 8.769 sales and 3.6% share. Further down Kia (+16%), Fiat (+18%), Toyota (+24%), Dacia (+30%) and Suzuki (+56%) are the best performers among the 20 most popular marques in Germany. As far as smaller brands are concerned, Jaguar (+36%), Ssangyong (+49%), Lada (+70%), Alfa Romeo (+83%), Maserati (+120%), Tesla (+122%) and Cadillac (+135%) make themselves noticed.

 The Audi Q2 leaps up to a record 35th place in February at home.

Over in the models ranking, the VW Golf falls flat at -22% but remains by far the best-selling vehicle in the country with 15.028 sales vs. 5.225 (-27%) for the VW Passat at #2 and 5.093 (+1%) for the VW Tiguan at #3, the latter having seemingly ended its new generation honeymoon period. The Opel Astra (-5%) and Skoda Octavia (-9%) round up the Top 5, knocking the VW Polo (-20%) down to #6. Illustrating its record February share, Audi places the A4 at #8 (+19%), the A3 at #9 (-19%), the A6 at #13 (+7%), the Q5 at #22 (+84%), the A1 at #36 (-22%), the Q3 at #38 (-30%) and the A5 at #45 (-27%). But the real winner is the Q2, slicing its record ranking in more than half from #80 last month to an all-time high #35 in February thanks tho 1.840 sales.

The Lada Vesta makes its entrance onto the German market this month. 

Inside the Top 50, the greatest performers include the Mercedes E-Class up 24%, the Nissan Qashqai up 25%, Renault Captur up 57% and Toyota Yaris up 60%. Among recent launches, let’s single out the Toyota C-HR up 19 spots on January to #88, the Suzuki Ignis up 30 to #108, the Skoda Kodiaq up 102 to #125, the Alfa Romeo Giulia up 36 to #154 and the Fiat Talento up 24 to #214. We welcome one newcomer in the German sales charts in February: the Lada Vesta landing at #241 with 54 sales.

Previous month: Germany January 2016: Mercedes above 10%, BMW X1 up to record #7

One year ago: Germany February 2016: Volkswagen continues to lose share

Full February 2017 Top 50 brands and Top 315 models below.


France February 2017: Citroen C3 and Toyota C-HR impress

Citroen C3 – a first WRC win in Mexico coincides with a 2nd place in the French private sales charts. 

* See the Top 50 brands, Top 275 models, Top 10 private sales and Top 20 LCVs by clicking on the title *

1. Passenger cars market – brands

In January, French new car sales were up 10.6%, but just 0.5% once adjusted for daily rates. In February we witness the opposite: sales are down 2.9% but with one less selling day than in February 2016, this drop actually equates to a 2% annually adjusted gain. Renault fell to 2nd place in the brands ranking in January due to a now routine “start of period fatigue” after loading up on tacticals in December as per every quarter end. In February, Renault reclaims the brands top spot despite a 6% year-on-year drop, followed by Peugeot (-8%), Citroen (-3%) and Volkswagen (-9%), plunging the entire Top 4 best-sellers into negative territory.

The new generation Nissan Micra makes its landing in France.

In fact, Dacia (+6%) Fiat (+7%) and Toyota (+26%) are the only carmakers posting year-on-year gains in the Top 10, with Nissan (-19%) suffering the most. BMW snaps the luxury crown despite sales down 6%, ahead of Mercedes (+7%) and Audi (-13%). Further down, notice Kia up 12%, Suzuki up 22%, Seat up 27%, Volvo up 28% but DS down 34%. Among smaller brands, Infiniti (+28%), Jaguar (+30%), Maserati (+33%), Aston Martin (+133%), Tesla (+148%) and Lamborghini (+200%) all impress.

The Toyota C-HR ranks at #25 in France this month, up two spots on January. 

2. Passenger cars market – models

The Renault Clio remains sovereign in the models ranking despite deliveries down 7% to 8.656. The Peugeot 208 (-12%) stays in 2nd place while the Peugeot 308 (-19%) climbs back onto the podium above the Peugeot 2008 (+4%) – that’s three Peugeots in the Top 4 vs. three in the Top 8 for Renault (Captur at #5 and Mégane IV at #8). The third generation Citroen C3 nudges up one spot to #6 with 5.002 sales, but its performance comes to light after a further study of the sales figures: adding the second generation’s sales brings the C3 February total to 6.537 and allows the nameplate a third place overall behind the Clio and 208, a ranking the C3 nameplate had not held since October 2014. The C3 does even better with private buyers, as we detail further down.

The third generation Citroen C3 breaks into the Top 5 and ranks #2 with private buyers. 

Looking into a couple of long running rivalries among French nameplates shows dominance of the PSA Group: Renault Mégane IV – although up 114% year-on-year to #8 – remains well below its rival the Peugeot 308 at 4.052 sales vs. 5.465, the Peugeot 3008 II (3.976) dominates the Dacia Duster (2.959) and Renault Kadjar (2.108) and the Citroen C4 Picasso (3.234) reclaims the MPV lead off the Renault Scénic IV (2.339). The locally produced Toyota Yaris (+14%) is the most popular foreigner this month at #13 – meaning that just like in January the Top 12 best-sellers in France are all locals. The VW Polo (-24%) ranks 2nd foreigner above the VW Tiguan lodging another outstanding performance at +86% to #16 overall. Note the Tiguan brilliantly remains above the Golf (down 6% to #20) in the year-to-date charts at 4.768 sales vs. 4.396.

The new generation Kia Rio shows up directly at #102 in France this month.

Among further recent launches, the Toyota C-HR continues to impress and edges up two spots on January to a best ever #23 thanks to 1.734 sales, the Fiat Tipo is up 16 spots to obliterate its personal best at #27 – previously #43 hit last month and in November 2016), the Audi Q2 is up 8 ranks to #58, the Seat Ateca up four to #61, the Ford Ka+ up 17 to #67 and the Suzuki Ignis up 15 to #76. This month we welcome two new entrants inside the French new car sales charts: the new generation Kia Rio landing directly at #102 and the new gen Nissan Micra at #213.

The Dacia Sandero frankly dominates the private sales charts in France. 

3. Private sales

After being edged out of the annual pole position at the last minute in 2016, the Dacia Sandero reclaims the throne in 2017 with 4.410 private sales in February (+20%) and 8.704 year-to-date (+18%). Surprise in 2nd place: the Citroen C3 gains 10% to 3.818 sales and also ranks #2 year-to-date at 8.153 units (+15%), distancing its two arch-enemies the Peugeot 208 at 6.980 (-12%) and the Renault Clio at 6.584 (-2%). Back to the February charts where the Peugeot 2008 posts a splendid third place with 3.397 sales, outselling the 208, Clio and Captur. The Dacia Duster is the best-selling SUV with private French buyers at #6. The Peugeot 3008 ranks 10th.

Renault Trafic

4. Light Commercial Vehicles

The LCV market goes against the grain in February with a 4.2% year-on-year gain (+9.4% annually adjusted) to 34.616 deliveries. The Renault Kangoo firmly holds onto the top spot with 9.4% share ahead of the Renault Clio at 7.5%. The Renault Trafic gains three spots on January to #3, the Renault Master is up one to #4. the Peugeot Expert also up one to #8 and the Ford Transit 2T up three to #14. The Mercedes Vito (#18) and Renault Mégane IV (#20) break into the Top 20 this month.

Previous month: France January 2017: Four Peugeots in Top 5, Citroen C3 III up to #7

One year ago: France February 2016: Dacia and Opel shine in market up 13%

Full February 2017 Top 50 brands, Top 275 models, Top 10 private sales and Top 20 LCVs below.

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Italy February 2017: Market up 6.2%, Suzuki Ignis breaks into Top 50

The Suzuki Ignis has struck a chord with Italian buyers: #42 this month.

* See the Top 45 All-brands and Top 50 models by clicking on the title *

The Italian new car market gains 6.2% in February to 183.777 registrations, which means the year-to-date total is now up 8.1% on the same period last year at 355.656 units. Once again though, this growth can be labelled as artificial.  Italian sales are pushed up by business sales up 43.9% to 33.700 units and 18.2% market share as well as rental sales up 6.3% to 45.555 and 24.6% share. Long-term rentals do the heavy work with a 21.1% gain to 24.445 while short-term rentals are down 6.8% to 21.110. Private sales are actually down 2.5% to 105.778 and 57.2% share vs. 60% year-to-date and 62.1% a year ago in February 2016. A caveat to this analysis is the fact that long-term leases can intersect with both private sales and business sales.

The Renault Clio signs the largest year-on-year gain in the Top 10. Picture by 

Brand-wise, the entire Top 10 remains unchanged on January, with Fiat remaining largely in command at home, following the market at +6% to 38.896 deliveries and 21.2% share. It distances Volkswagen (+7%), Ford (+2%), Renault (+5%), Peugeot (+3%) and Opel (+3%). Toyota (+15%) and Citroen (+17%) deliver the biggest year-on-year gains in the Top 10. Further down, let’s single out Kia (+12%). Nissan (+12%), Skoda (+21%), Alfa Romeo (+23%), Honda (+33%), Seat (+34%) and Suzuki (+83%). Among smaller brands, Maserati (+122%), Infiniti (+130%) and Jaguar (+154%) shine, all boosted by their new SUV lineup.

 The VW Tiguan is up 5-fold on the previous generation a year ago.

Over in the models aisle, the Fiat Panda edges past the market growth at +8% to comfortably retain the pole position at home with 15.997 units. It distances the Lancia Ypsilon (+6%) back to its long-term 2nd place and the Fiat 500L (+8%), this month the leader of the 500 series as the Fiat 500 drops back down to #5 from #2 in January and the 500X is up 7 spots on last month to #7. The Renault Clio (+23%) signs the largest year-on-year increase in the Top 10. Outside, the Hyundai i10 (+43%), Nissan Qashqai (+43%), Ford Kuga (+44%), Citroen C3 (+54%) and Fiat Tipo (+79%) impress, but none as much as the VW Tiguan, up 5-fold or 379% on its January 2016 score thanks to the new generation.

The Toyota C-HR leads hybrid sales in Italy for the second month running.

Among recent launches, the Toyota C-HR is up one spot on January to #28, the Suzuki Ignis is up 18 spots to break into the Top 50 for the first time at #42 and the Audi Q2 repeats at #46. Looking into the segment rankings in more detail the Fiat Tipo remains the best-selling station wagon in Italy with 1.069 ahead of the Audi A4 (1.024), Ford Focus (938) and Skoda Octavia (821). It also leads year-to-date at 2.664 units above the Audi A4 (1.849), Peugeot 308 (1.779) and Ford Focus (1.670). The Toyota C-HR once again leads the hybrid sales charts with 1.599 units or 93% of its total sales, distancing the Toyota Yaris (1.153), Auris (868), RAV4 (495) and Kia Niro (310). Year-to-date, the C-HR adds up to 3.141 above the Yaris (2.384), Auris (1.368) and RAV4 (930).

Previous month: Italy January 2017: Fiat 500 up to 2nd place, Toyota and Citroen shine

One year ago: Italy February 2016: Entire Fiat 500 family fits within Top 5 for 1st time

Full February 2017 Top 45 All-brands and Top 50 models below.


Portugal February 2017: Renault Clio leads, Fiat Tipo in Top 20

The Fiat Tipo breaks into the Portuguese Top 20 for the first time this month.

* See the Top 35 All-brands and Top 230 All-models by clicking on the title *

The Portuguese new car market is up 4.6% year-on-year in February to 18.861 registrations, meaning the year-to-date tally is now up 6% to 33.889. Traditional leader Renault reclaims the top spot off Peugeot – #1 in January – thanks to sales up 31% to 2.938 for a 15.6% market share vs. +19% to 2.055 and 10.9% for Peugeot. Volkswagen is up two spots on January but down 5% year-on-year to #3, ahead of Mercedes (+2%) and BMW (-7%). Fiat (+15%), Dacia (+14%), Mini (+11%) and Hyundai (+26%) are the only other carmakers posting double-digit year-on-year gains inside the Top 20, with Volvo (-7%) and Toyota (-33%) in trouble. Further down, Mitsubishi (+24%), Jaguar (+51%), Maserati (+67%) and Porsche (+70%) shine.

Over in the models charts, the Renault Clio consolidates its leadership by ranking #1 for the 13th month in a row thanks to sales surging 35% to 1.288 and 6.8% share. The Peugeot 208 is up 70% to #2, ahead of the Renault Mégane (+55%), Nissan Qashqai (+78%), Mercedes A-Class (+40%), Citroen C3 (+33%) and Fiat 500 (+47%). Yes, you read that well, the entire Top 7 best-selling models all post gains above 30% year-on-year… The VW Golf (-17%), Opel Corsa (-24%) and Renault Captur (-25%) struggle on the other hand. Among recent launches, the new generation Fiat Tipo celebrates one year in market by breaking into the Portuguese Top 20 for the very first time at #17, the Toyota C-HR is up 16 spots on last month to #44 (not its best ranking though), the Renault Kadjar is up two to #56, the Audi Q2 is up 17 to #57 but the Seat Ateca is down 25 to #68.

Previous month: Portugal January 2017: BMW 1 Series leaps up to 2nd place

One year ago: Portugal January-February 2016: Renault Captur shines, market up 22%

Full February 2017 Top 35 All-brands and Top 230 All-models below.


South Korea February 2017: Hyundai Grandeur cements leadership

The Hyundai Grandeur is the best-selling nameplate in South Korea for the third month running.

* See the Top 5 All local brands and Top 55 local models by clicking on the title *

Sales of local models in South Korea are up 8% year-on-year in February to 119.612 units, lifting the year-to-date tally up half that at +4% to 225.821 given January sales were stable. Market leaders Hyundai (+6%) and Kia (+0.1%) continue to lose market share at home but still account for a staggering 76.1% of all local sales (foreign marques excluded). General Motors Korea (aka Chevrolet) drops 2% but remains a strong third with 9.4% share while Ssangyong (+16%) is back above Renault Samsung, the latter delivering by far the largest year-on-year improvement among local brands at +88%. Genesis is a disaster at home: -51% in February and -60% year-to-date.

Kia Carnival sales are up 44% year-on-year in February, the 2nd largest increase in the Top 10.

Model-wise, the Hyundai Grandeur confirms it is now the country’s favourite nameplate with a third consecutive monthly win and third consecutive five-digit sales figure at 10.913, up a gargantuan 182% on the previous generation a year ago. Hyundai monopolises the podium with the Porter (+8%) and Avante (-7%) followed by the Kia Morning (+7%) and the Hyundai Santa Fe back up 11 spots on last month to #5. The Kia Bongo (+30%), Carnival (+44%) and SSangyong Tivoli (+42%) also post spectacular gains inside the Top 10. Further down, the Samsung SM6 (aka Renault Talisman) celebrates one year in market at #13, the Chevrolet Malibu is up 5-fold on a year ago to #16 thanks to the new model

Previous month: South Korea January 2017: Hyundai Grandeur confirms top spot

One year ago: South Korea January-March 2016: Genesis EQ900 and Samsung SM6 hit bullseye

Full February 2017 Top 5 All local brands and Top 55 models below.


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

The arrival of the H2S lifts Haval H2 nameplate sales up 127% to #2 SUV below the Haval H6.

* See the Top 72 brands and Top 385 models by clicking on the title *

We’re catching up on lost time for the largest car market in the world now with February updates.

1. Overall sales figures

Traditionally carmakers combine January and February figures as a more reliable way to read the market as the end January-early February period is always biased by the Lunar New Year holidays, varying between the two months depending on the year. By this logic, the Chinese market is up a strong 8.8% year-on-year over the first two months of the year. Light vehicles are up 6.3%. After a 1.1% dip in January, this means a 22% surge in February to 1.9 million units according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. And this despite the tax on small-engine vehicles having been raised from 5% to 7.5% in January, with a plan to bring it back up to 10% in January 2018. According to Automotive News, sales of electric cars jumped 30% year-on-yearin February, following a 74% plunge in January when subsidies were reduced 20%.

The Wuling Hongguang is back atop the Chinese sales charts. But the MPV segment is struggling.

MPVs getting out of fashion?

Looking into sales by segment, once again SUVs are the engine of growth in the Chinese market: they surge 39% year-on-year to 673.448 units all the while sedans gain 15% to 769.575. After Chinese consumers transitioned from microvans onto MPVs over the past couple of years, would MPV now have gone out of fashion? They are down a dismal 13% year-on-year in February to 145.991 units, their lowest monthly score since August 2015 (133.814). The next few months will decide whether this is a longer-term trend or just a wholesale blip. An encouraging sign is the continuing good health of the Wuling Hongguang, the segment and overall market leader, stable in February at 41.261 sales or 28.2% share of the segment and returning to the YTD top spot with 101.393 units (-9%) after the VW Lavida won January. The rest of the crop is struggling though: the Baojun 730 is down 22% to #9, the Chana Honor is down 24% to #29 but the Chana Oushang is up 46% to #42.

General Motors is back above Volkswagen AG thanks to strong Buick and Baojun sales. 

2. Selected retail results

This section details retail results reported by manufacturers themselves – they include imports and therefore vary slightly from the figures we report in the tables at the end of the articles, the latter being wholesales of vehicles produced locally. Once again the two main automotive groups are in a tight fist-fight this month: General Motors takes the lead year-to-date despite a 15% plunge to 567.994 deliveries in two months. In February, GM is up 0.4% to 246.730 units vs. -24% in January. Volkswagen AG for its part is down 9.6% year-to-date to 567.000 units, slipping back below GM. Volkswagen, Skoda and Audi all post year-on-year drops so far in 2017: VW is down 7.6% to 441.300, Audi is down 24% to 67.336 and Skoda is down 9% to 45.000. Porsche data is not available. Further down the ranking, Nissan Motor is up 3.1% to 194.241, Honda Motor is up 18% to 194.169 units year-to-date but Toyota Motor is down 3.6% to 183.600.

Mercedes is the new premium king of China, dislodging Audi for the third month running.

In the luxury aisle, Daimler-Mercedes cements its newfound premium king status with sales surging 40% to 95.076 vehicles in two months vs. 67.336 to Audi (-24%) while BMW official retail data isn’t available. February Mercedes sales are up 42% to 36.277. Audi’s troubles stem from angry dealers that have stopped ordering new vehicles in January in response to the brand’s plans to set up a second joint-venture and distribution network with Volkswagen’s other partner, SAIC (more detail in our January update here). Finally, local carmaker Geely announced retail sales up 105% year-to-date to 191.629 units with a 167% improvement in February following a 71% surge in January.

Geely is up 166% year-on-year to break into the Chinese passenger car brands podium for the first time.

3. Brands wholesale results

Looking into wholesale February data for passenger car brands produced locally (Top 70), we find Volkswagen in the lead despite a 2% dip to just under 190.000 sales, that’s exactly double the #2, Changan up 10% to 95.675 deliveries. Geely is up 166% year-on-year to 88.931 sales, up one spot on January and seven on its FY16 ranking to break into its home podium for the very first time at #3.  Toyota (+44%) and Honda (+51%) round up the Top 5, followed by Baojun up 13% on February 2016 and four spots on last month to 70.201 sales. Haval (+34%), Nissan (+84%), Mercedes (+91%) and GAC Trumpchi (+102%) post the other largest year-on-year increases in the Top 20, with BMW up 108% at #21.

The new Outlander lifts Chinese Mitsubishi sales up 470% in February.

A quick snapshot at the luxury race under the local production angle shows Mercedes (33.862) well above Audi (28.694) and BMW (27.210). Among other great performers for the month, let’s single out FAW (+43%), Lifan (+48%), Venucia (+71%), Soueast (+104%), Leopaard (+113%), Jeep (+126%), Cadillac (+166%), Roewe (+174%), Mitsubishi (+470%) and JMC (+1055%). Renault (#43) is the most popular recent local producer launch (<12 months) with 5.781 sales in February and 14.189 in two months. The French carmaker is followed by Cowin (#47), Land Rover (#48), SWM (#50), Hanteng (#51), Borgward (#55), Bisu (#56), Zhi Dou (#57) and Jaguar (#64).

VW Bora sales are up 117% year-on-year thanks to the new model. 

4. Models wholesale results

February volumes being much lower than January, we have “just” 46 nameplates with five-digit sales figures this month vs. 72 in January. As we described above, the Wuling Hongguang is back in charge of the Chinese sales charts with stable sales in February (41.261). It is followed by the Haval H6 up one spot on January to #2 and 33.684 units and the VW Lavida, down 33% to 31.620, completes the podium but ranks #2 year-to-date above the Haval H6 thanks to an outstanding January score. In fact, removing Gran Lavida sales from the Lavida score brings the Buick Excelle (+51%) up to best-selling sedan in the country ahead of the Lavida (30.009), Toyota Corolla (+57%), VW Sagitar (+9%) and VW Bora (+117%).

The Dongfeng Fengguang 580 breaks its volume record this month at 18.634 units. 

The main event inside the February Top 10 is the return of the Haval H2 to a 6th place it had already held back in December, this thanks to the success of the sporty variants H2S picture atop this article. With the GAC Trumpchi GS4 up 61% to #8 and the Baojun 560 down 26% – due to the arrival of the 510, detailed in our upcoming “Focus on All-new models” post – we have four Chiunese SUVs in the February Top 10. In fact, with the Changan CS75 at #12, the Geely Emgrand EC7 at #13 and Geely Boyue at a record 14th place with 20.137 sales, there are 9 Chinese nameplates in the Top 14 vs. 8 in the Top 12 a year ago in February 2016. Notice also the Dongfeng Fengguang 580 up 13 spots to a record #17 and an all-time high 18.634 sales and the  Baojun 310 up 6 spots to a best-ever #21.

The Baojun 310 is knocking at the Chinese Top 20’s door this month.

5. Recent launches

Looking into nameplates launched within the past 12 months, below the Geely Boyue (#14), Dongfeng Fengguang 580 (#17) and Baojun 310 (#21) mentioned above, the Chevrolet Cavalier follows at #25 (+18 spots on January), ahead of the Roewe RX5 (-14), Chery Arrizo 5 (-4), Geely Vision SUV (+24) posting a 6th consecutive month above 10,000 sales and breaking into the Top 50 for the first time at #45, the Baojun 510 (more on this in our upcoming Focus on the All-0new models post), Geely Emgrand GS (#58) and Geely Emgrand GL (#61). Notice also the FAW Jilin Xenia R7 at a record #64, the GAC Trumpchi GS8 up a further 8 spots on January to a best-ever #70, the Soueast DX3 back up 38 ranks to a record #76 for its this r pmonth in market and the VW C-Trek breaking into the Top 100 for the very first time thanks to 5.563 sales, up 43 spots on January. All in all, there are 18 new nameplates inside the Chinese Top 100 in February and 84 in the overall ranking, or an astounding 21.8% of all nameplates selling at least one unit this month.

The Brilliance H3 is the best-performing January launch in February.

6. Results of January launches

Finally we take a look at how January launches have fared. Ranking-wise, the Brilliance H3 is the best-performing with a 123 rank gain to land at #165 with 2.541 sales, up 409% on its inaugural month. The Kia KX7 also shows significant progress at +50 spots and 206% to land at #255. The Changhe Freedom M70 on the other hand is showing the wrong sings: already down 26% on last month to #239 and 1.046 deliveries. The remaining three nameplate had made their appearance ahead of their March official public launch and therefore remain at very discreet levels: the Changan CS95 at #323 (+20), the BAIC Huansu S5 at #326 (+10) and the VW Teramont at #366 (-7).

7. February launches will be covered in a specific update

Previous month: China January 2017: Audi tumbles down 35% in market down 1.1%

One year ago: China February 2016: VW Lavida #1 but 8 in Top 12 are Chinese

Full February 2017 Top 72 brands and Top XXX models below.


Europe January 2017: Discover the Top 340 models and Top 57 brands

First Top 100 European ranking for the Ford Ka+ in January. 

* See the Top 57 brands and Top 340 models by clicking on the title *

Today we can share with you final data for Europe 27 markets for January – Turkey and Russia excluded. The final figure for January is 1.188.607 units, up 8.9% year-on-year. Brand-wise, the Top 6 best-sellers are identical to the preliminary ranking: Volkswagen (+8.8%) followed by Ford (+6.9%), Opel (+5.2%), Renault (+9.2%), Peugeot (+10.2%) and Mercedes snapping the #1 luxury spot (+15.8%). Audi on the other hand (-6%) is overtaken by both Fiat (+16.6%) and BMW (+10.9%) to fall flat to #9. Toyota (+19.9%) rounds out the Top 10. No change all the way down to #41 with MG up two spots on its preliminary position despite sales down 34.5% while Cadillac overtakes Rolls Royce to #45. Most impressive year-on-year gains are delivered by Suzuki (+30%), Alfa Romeo (+31.3%), Jaguar (+49.4%), Tesla (+82.1%), Maserati (+128.5%), Infiniti (+145.6%), Aston Martin (+148.7%) and McLaren (+350%).

The Kia Niro is up to #110 Europe-wide this month.

Model-wise, the only change in the Top 10 is the Opel Corsa passing the Nissan Qashqai to #8 overall. Inside the Top 50 there are a lot more differences between the preliminary results and the final scores, Among them, the Ford Focus (#12) is above the VW Passat (#13), the Toyota Yaris (#14) is above the Citroen C3 (#15), the Mercedes C-Class (#18) is above the Peugeot 2008 (#19), the Opel Mokka/Mokka X (#21) is above the Skoda Fabia (#22), the Peugeot 3008 jumps up to #26 with the addition of the previous generation, the Renault Mégane falls down to #33 and the Toyota C-HR remains at #34 but slides above the Fiat Tipo. Outside the Top 50, we find the next most popular all-new nameplates (<12 months) – all trailing the Toyota C-HR and all gaining ground on their December ranking: the Seat Ateca up 14 spots to #57, the Ford Ka+ up 33 to #95, the Kia Niro up 50 to #110, Suzuki Ignis up 58 to #113, Jaguar F-Pace up 19 to #120, the Alfa Romeo Giulia up 6 to #149, Suzuki Baleno up 25 to #153 and Hyundai Ioniq up 19 to #1457.

Previous January post: Europe January 2017: First ever Top 5 ranking for the VW Tiguan

Previous month: Europe December 2016: Discover the Top 345 models and Top 56 brands

Previous year: Europe Full Year 2016: Discover the Top 385 models and Top 60 brands

One year ago: Europe January 2016: Discover the Top 333 models and All-brands

Full January 2017 Top 57 brands and Top 340 models below.

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China January 2017: Focus on the All-new models

The Brilliance H3 lands directly at #288 at home in China.

As per the monthly BSCB tradition, we put a laser focus on the new China-made nameplates that make their appearance in market so you are on the bleeding edge of knowledge as far as the largest car market in the world is concerned. 2017 is a wobbly start in China with passenger cars down 1.1%. Yet the flow of new locally-produced nameplates popping up each months is far from drying up. After a 13-strong December 2016 class, January 2017 offers us six new entrants, four of them Chinese and four of them SUVs.

1. Changhe Freedom M70 (#216 with 1.415 sales)

Yet another clone from Beijing Auto, the Changhe Freedom M70 is a step-up from the M50 but remains cut-throat priced between 52.900 and 61.900 yuan (US$ 7.700-9.000). This is one more attempt by Beijing Auto at destabilising the MPV supremacy of SAIC’s Wuling Hongguang S1 (53.800-64.800 yuan) at which it is aiming squarely, but also the Baojun 730 (58.800-100.800 yuan). The M70 will also compete with the likes of the Chana Oushang (43.900-69.900 yuan), the Karry K60 (59.000-79.000 yuan) launched last November and the Cowin V3 (60.800-77.800 yuan). Problem is, a significant part of its competition is internal to BAIC with the cheaper Freedom M50 and the Weiwang M50F. Launched in January 2015, the Changhe Freedom M50 peaked at 4.761 sales in July 2015, and in this context the M70 should aim at 3.500 monthly sales on average to be deemed a success.

Bar for success: 3.500 monthly sales

2. Brilliance H3 (#288 with 499 sales)

In the past two years, Brilliance has been smartly focusing all its energy on the V3 small crossover, an instant blockbuster that enabled Brilliance to be reborn from close to ashes and accounted for no less than 63.8% of the brand’s sales in China last year at 103.342 units. Brilliance is now begining the long process of replacing is slower-selling sedans, and the H3 comes in to erase all memory of the H330 (27.419 sales in 2016). Its styling is a lot sharper than the previous Brilliance sedans and with an air of Citroen C-Elysée coupled with a Fiat Viaggio. Priced between 63.900 and 88.900 yuan (US$ 9.300-12.900), the H3 enters the most competitive segment in the Chinese market: compact Chinese sedans, but should really be aiming at long-term segment best-sellers the VW Jetta (starting at 82.800 yuan) and Santana (84.900 yuan). The H330 peaked at 7.128 sales in March 2016 but spent most of its career between 4.000 and 6.000 monthly sales. To show it is now a serious competitor in the sedan segment, Brilliance should aim at 7.500 monthly sales for the H3.

Bar for success: 7.500 monthly sales

3. Kia KX7 (#305 with 298 sales)

In effect a current generation Kia Sorento adapted for Chinese tastes with more long on the front end, the KX7 appears in the Chinese ranking two months before its official launch date of March 16, 2017. Produced in partnership with Dongfeng-Yueda, the KX7 is Kia’s new flagship SUV and should climb up the sales charts pretty quickly. Kia used to import the Sorento from South Korea but import taxes lifted its price range to a hefty 205.600-335.60o yuan (US$29.900-48.700). Producing it locally brings the price down to a more palatable 179.800-276.800 yuan ($26.100-40.200). This way, the KX7 competes with some very strong sellers in China, such as the Buick Envision, Honda CR-V, Toyota Highlander and Ford Edge. It could well unlock some untapped potential for the brand in China, or be snubbed altogether.

Bar for success: 6.000 monthly sales

4. BAIC Huansu S5 (#336 with 76 sales)

BAIC continues to expand its Huansu lineup in less time than it takes to write these lines: the S5 SUV makes its appearance this month with a definite air of bargain basement Lexus. With a price expected to start around 70.000 yuan (US$10.200), the 4.46m-long S5 uses the same platform as the 4.41m BAIC Senova X55, itself priced from 76.800 to 119.800 yuan (US$11.200-17.400). Beijing Auto is thus building two parallel lineups at lightning speed, with the Huansu series manufactured by a joint venture between Beiqi and Yinxiang Motorcycle Group based in Chongqing and now comprising the H2, H3 and H6 MPVs as well as the S2, S3, S5 and S6 SUVs. The S5 is powered by a 1.3L turbocharged engine that also powers the recently launched Bisu T3. You still with us? The Senova X55 peaked at 6.492 units back in January 2016 which was its 2nd month in market but has all but disappeared since. The Huansu S6 for its part peaked at 5.150 also in January 2016, spending most of its career above 3.000 monthly sales. The Huansu S3 has been in a category of its own, with a personal best of 20.868 in December 2015. Beijing Auto should aim somewhere in between the S3 and S6 scores and its aggressive design will mark bonus points with the youngsters, so the marque should be optimistic.

Bar for success: 8.000 monthly sales

5. Changan CS95 (#343 with 51 sales)

Unveiled as a concept at the 2013 Shanghai Auto Show with the production version launched in April 2016 at the Beijing Auto Show, the very impressive Changan CS95 finally hits Chinese roads, albeit with tiny sales figures for now. Changan openly admits the CS95 is inspired by the Toyota Highlander, and it is powered by a Blue Core turbo 2.0L engine developed jointly by Changan China and its UK R&D Center in Birmingham. The CS95 is expected to be priced between 150.000 and 200.000 yuan (US$ 21.800-29.000) and will fight with the luxury Chinese offerings such as the GAC Trumpchi GS8 or Haval H7. Changan has a spotless track record of success as far as its crossovers/SUVs are concerned: the CS15’s personal best is 10.430 sales (Dec-16), the CS35 is at 22.155 (Jan-15), the CS75 at 27.148 (Jan-16) and the CX70 at 14.506 (Jan-17). The CS95, more expensive, should logically fall a little behind, but Changan could unlock a more premium positioning on the Chinese market if the CS95 consistently breaks the 10.000 monthly unit-barrier.

Bar for success: 9.000 monthly sales

6. VW Teramont (#359 with 45 sales)

Along with the Tiguan L (the Chinese name for the new generation Tiguan), Volkswagen suddenly wakes up to the SUV wave that has been engulfing the Chinese market for the past three years. It’s about time. Problem is: we believe at BSCB that the Teramont is a little too big and too expensive to single-handedly lift Volkswagen up. But we may be wrong. The Teramont is the production of the CrossBlue concert that has already been copied by Zotye. Launched at the Guangzhou Auto Show last November ahead of a commercial launch this March, the Teramont slots in between the Tiguan L and the imported Touareg. It will be called Atlas in North America, its other main market. Expected to be priced between 300k and 450k yuan (US$43.600-65.300), the Teramont will test Volkswagen’s mass market boundaries as it will compete with the likes of the Toyota Highlander (239.700-330.800), Ford Edge (249.700-429.800), Ford Everest (265.800-360.800) but also the Land Rover Discovery (368.000-518.000). The pent-up demand for an “affordable” VW SUV is high though, so the Teramont should be a success. A blockbuster though? Not so sure.

Bar for success: 8.500 monthly sales

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

The Jeep Compass sees a 613% increase on its inaugural month last December to #200.

* See the Top 70 All-brands and Top 365 All-models produced locally by clicking on the title *

With a month delay we are able to cover the Chinese car market for January on BSCB. February will follow very shortly. Note only passenger cars and light commercial vehicles produced in China are accounted in this data set, no imports and no medium-heavy commercials. Light vehicle sales in China are down 1.1% year-on-year to 2.219.564 vehicles according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. The China Passenger Car Association on the other hand reports a 9.8% decline to 2.12 million units. In any case, this is the first year-on-year drop in China in a year, and the direct effect of the tax hike on vehicles with 1.6L engines and below from 5% over the course of 2016 to 7.5% from January onwards. It is still a very modest decline taking into account forward sales in December to still benefit from the lower tax. Also coming into the picture is the Lunar New Year celebrated in January vs. February last year and resulting is fewer selling days. All-in-all, adjusted annually, January Chinese car sales should actually be up.

The All-new Tiguan L should boost VW sales in China this year. 

In January, the SUV segment is the only one in positive albeit at a slower rate: +9.7% year-on-year from 805.673 in January 2016 to 883.804 now. This is well below the million units hit both last November and December but the SUV market share of passenger cars continues to climb: from 35.9% a year ago to 39.8% this month. Reversely, “traditional” passenger cars are down 3% to 1.079.146 and see their market share drop from 49.6% in January 2016 to 48.6% now. MPVs seem to have hit a wall: down an abysmal 19.2% year-on-year to just 205.634 units just as the Wuling Hongguang takes 2nd spot in the models ranking just below the VW Lavida (see further down). Finally microvans continue their race to oblivion with a further 28% decline to 51.000 vehicles sold.

Something we predicted in our 2015 analysis of the Chinese market: the rise and rise of used-car sales. According to the China Automobile Dealers Association, these are predicted to surge 20% to 12.5 million units in 2017, after gaining 10% to 10.4 million in 2016, as provinces ease restrictions on sales of used vehicles from other regions. The ratio is still in favour of new car sales by a large margin though. Another interesting evolution is the 74% plunge of electric and plug-in hybrid sales to just 5.682 units as the government penalises companies that cheated to inflate their EV subsidies. In the detail, battery-electric sales are down 68% to 4.978 units and plug-in hybrids are down 90% to 704…

As this is a delayed analysis of the Chinese market we will concentrate on highlights today so the February update can come as soon as possible with more detail.

Audi sales in China skid down 35% in January.

1. Audi frankly outsold by both Mercedes and BMW

In 1995, the Volkswagen Group started producing Audi models in China through a joint-venture with FAW Group, and thus virtually created the luxury segment in China. It has led the luxury charts ever since its introduction in market – a fantastic 22 years in a row. Yet in January Audi misses out on the luxury top spot for the second month running and could be facing a very difficult year indeed. Down a devastating 35% year-on-year to 35.181 units, not only did the marque not rank #1, it was also frankly outsold by both Mercedes-Benz up 39% to 58.799 and BMW up 18% to 51.345. Meanwhile Cadillac is up 116% to 18.011 and Volvo up 16% to 8.362. According to Automotive News China, Audi’s paltry performance is the result of two main events. First: in 2016 the brand dumped excessive vehicle inventories on its dealerships, and most of them lost money. Second: Audi signed a tentative agreement with SAIC in November to establish a second dealership network. Audi dealers – who operate under the original FAW joint-venture, have been aggressively fighting these two events, and the situation is now at a standstill, with dealers demanding 28 billion yuan (US$4 billion) to cover losses that they blame on the company adding too many distributors, and Audi refusing to shelve its plans of a second joint-venture and distribution network. At the start of the year, Audi dealers threatened to stop ordering cars and it turns out a significant part of them were not bluffing, hence the gigantic drop we are witnessing.

Renault is the most popular newcomer among local producers.

2. Global carmakers suffer, selected Chinese manufacturers post healthy gains

Audi stirs the entire Volkswagen Group down 14% this month to 344.000 sales with Skoda down 4.3% to 30.000 and Volkswagen official retail data n/a. Yet General Motors fares worse at -24% to 321.264 units, Ford is down 32% to 88.432 and both Toyota and Nissan also plunge. Hyundai is the exception: up 6.4% to 80.017 deliveries. Among the numerous Chinese carmakers selling at home, a few post spectacular results in an adverse environment: Geely and SAIC and both up 71%. GAC is up 29%, Changan up 7.7% and Great Wall Motors up 0.7%. Looking into the detail of wholesales figures (data table below the jump), Volkswagen (+7%) distances Changan (+7%), Buick (-5%), Geely (+70%) and Honda (+18%). Ford (-28%) and Dongfeng (-16%) struggle but in this ranking Audi (-8%) is still ahead of Mercedes (+44%) and BMW (+14%). The most popular new brand – launched in the past 12 months – among local producers is Renault (#39) ahead of SWM (#45), Cowin (#47), Hanteng (#49), Borgward (#53), Land Rover (#55), Bisu (#59) and Jaguar (#63)

Geely sales are up 71% year-on-year in January. 

4. Best-selling models

In January the VW Lavida edges past the Wuling Hongguang to claim the title of best-selling vehicle in China with 60.233 sales (+8%) vs. 60.132 (-14%) for China’s favourite MPV. The Haval H6 is knocked down one spot to #3 but still gains 9% year-on-year to 45.993 units. The VW Jetta is back up 38 spots on December to #4, the GAC Trumpchi GS4 is up 21 to a record 5th place (also hit last July), the Buick Excelle GT is down 1% but up 4 spots on last month to #6 and the Nissan Sylphy is up 99% on a particularly weak January 2016 score to #7.

Thanks to the arrival off the new generation and a 7-seat variant dubbed Tiguan L, the VW Tiguan cracks the Chinese Top 10 for the first time since September 2015 and hits its highest monthly volume since January 2015 at 31.092 units. In the SUV charts, the Tiguan ranks 3rd below the Haval H6 and GAC Trumpchi GS4 but distances the Buick Envision (+18%), Baojun 560 (-32%), Haval H2 (+44%), Geely Boyue and Roewe RX5, all aforementioned nameplates selling upwards of 20.000 units this month.

GAC Trumpchi GS8 sales hit a record 9.418 units in January.

Further down the ranking, a handful of high profile nameplates manage to break their volume record despite a slower market compared to December. Among them, notice the Baojun 310 at 18.006 (#27), the Geely Emgrand GS at 10.333 (#68), Geely Emgrand GL at 10.208 (#70), GAC Trumpchi GS8 at 9.418 (#78) and the Renault Koleos at 4.814 (#135). Finally, let’s note that there are 12 Chinese nameplates among the 15 most popular new comers (<12 months). Led by the Geely Boyue (#20), Roewe RX5 (#21), Baojun 310 (#27), Dongfeng Fengguang 580 (#30), Chery Arrizo 5 (#35) and Changan CX70 (#38). The Chevrolet Cavalier (#43), Hyundai New Verna (#58) and Mazda CX-4 (#98) are the only new foreigners to crack the January Top 100.

Bisu T3 China December 2016Bisu T3 sales are up 349% on last month to #215 

5. Results of December launches

Among the 13 locally-produced new nameplates that hit the Chinese market in December, the Jeep Compass fares the best with a 613% increase on a modest 300 sales for its inaugural month up to #200 with 2.138 sales. Also displaying explosive growth is the Bisu T3 up 349% on its December score to #215 and 1.436 deliveries. The Venucia T90 follows with a very impressive 71% gain to 4.252 sales at #147 and the Dongfeng Fengshen AX5 edges up 7% to #188. Leader of all newcomers last month, the Soueast DX3 seems to have already eaten up its potential with deliveries down 26% to a still very respectable #114.

Venucia T90 sales are up 71% on December. 

6. All-new launches for January are covered in a separate post as always

Note: Main article brands data is retail sales unless indicated otherwise, data tables below are wholesales. Overall market = Light vehicles + Commercial trucks and buses. Light vehicles = passenger cars + microvans. Passenger cars = sedans+SUV+MPV.

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

Previous post (LCV): China LCV Full Year 2016: Wuling Mini Truck leads, pickups up 11%

Previous month: China December 2016: Haval up 73%, Geely up 101% in final tax rush

One year ago: China January 2016: Baojun 560 threatens Haval H6 for SUV title

Full January 2017 Top 365 All-models produced locally below.


Puerto Rico (USA) January 2017: Toyota Tacoma #2 as SUVs surge

The Toyota Tacoma ranks #2 in Puerto Rico this month.

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

Today we can share with you monthly data for Puerto Rico, another market dominated by Japanese manufacturer Toyota, which holds the first four spots in January as it did over the Full Year 2016 with the Yaris, Tacoma, Corolla and RAV4 in the lead. The main trends to note this month in Puerto Rico are the particular strength of the SUV and pick-up segments. This month in Puerto Rico there are five SUVs in the Top 10: below the RAV4 at #4 (-1 spot on FY16) we find the Hyundai Tucson at #5, the Nissan Rogue at #6 (+6), Kia Soul at #7 (+4) and Toyota Highlander at #10 (+6%). But the most notable move is the Toyota Tacoma gaining two spots on its FY16 ranking to an overall 2nd place. A Tacoma win by the end of the year would make Puerto Rico the second U.S. state/territory to crown this nameplate alongside Hawaii.

Previous post: Puerto Rico (USA) Full Year 2016: Toyota Yaris outpaces Corolla to #1

Full January 2017 Top 50 models ranking below.