China LCV June 2017: Pickups up 14%, Nissan Navara lands

The Nissan Navara is now produced in China also. 

* See the Top 45 best-selling models by clicking on the title *

Thanks to our partnership with Chinese consultancy outlet Cedars, we can share with you today June LCV data for China. This month minivans, down 7% to 47.144 are back above Mini Trucks (aka Micro Pickups) down just 0.4% to 41.856 while Pickups continue to strongly recover at +14% to 31.331 units. Halfway through 2017, Mini Trucks are the leading segment at 314.097 deliveries (+10%), followed by Minivans at 307.237 (-21%) and Pickups at 192.895 (+18%).

Chana Star Minibus sales rally back up 109% year-on-year in June. 

The Wuling Mini Truck dominates the LCV ranking once again with sales surging 16% ,ahead of the Wuling Hongguang V (-13%) while both the Chana Star Mini Truck (+63%) and Minibus (+109%) rally back up above the Wuling Sunshine (-27%). The Great Wall Wingle 5, still by far the best-selling pickup, outpaces its segment’s growth with a 19% gain to end the month just under 6.000 sales. It is followed by the JMC Baodian (-11%), ZX Auto Gran Tiger (+4%) and JMC Yuhu (+39%). The big news this month in the Chinese LCV ranking is the arrival of the Nissan Navara as #10 pickup, now that local production has started.

Previous month: China LCV May 2017: Pickups confirm rebound at +13%

One year ago: China LCV June 2016: Pickup sales surge 36%

Full June 2017 Top 45 models ranking table below.

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China June 2017: Focus on the All-new models

The much-awaited WEY VV7 makes its first appearance in the Chinese charts in June. 

Today we pay special attention to the new locally-produced launches in China so you stay aware of the latest development in the fastest-evolving car market in the world. In June, the Chinese market is back into positive territory and fittingly, the number of new launches goes from just three last month to eight. If you thought Chinese carmakers had exhausted their SUV opportunities now that they hold almost 60% of the segment, think again. This month, all new launches are Chinese and five of them are SUVs!

1. Leopaard CS9: 3.334 sales

Changfeng Leopaard has waited over two years to add a smaller sibling to the very successful CS10 that put the brand on the map. The brand is on a roll, with the CS10 posting its three largest monthly volumes in the past five months, and the CS9 already starts with the highest volume of all newcomers this month. Double that and Leopaard will be happy with the launch. At 4.315m long and priced from 76.800 to 116.800 yuan (US$11.300-17.300), the CS9 enters an extremely crowded marketplace and competes with the likes of the Haval H2, Soueast DX3, Changan CS35 and BAIC Senova X55.

It is powered by a 1.5L 122 hp Mitsubishi engine coupled with a five-speed manual or a CVT, with a 150hp 1.5T scheduled also. But the main attraction of the CS9 is its 12 inch touch screen, the biggest in its segment, that gives the cockpit an air of Tesla. Given the momentum the Leopaard brand is enjoying at the moment and its roots as sturdy Mitsubishi Pajero rebadges, the CS9 will – as it was the case for the CS10 – enjoy a widespread success across the nation, whether it be in the cities or the countryside. If it doesn’t cannibalise the CS10 (89.800-146.800 yuan), the CS9 could hit an even higher mark. We fix the success bar at 6.000 monthly units.

Bar for success: 6.000 monthly sales

2. JAC Refine S7: 3.203 sales

Adding to the S2mini, the S2, S3 and S5, JAC launches the Refine S7 SUV this month. If we described below Leopaard being on an upward trend, the complete opposite is true for JAC, down a harsh 40% year-on-year over the First Half of 2017. The brand is therefore in need of new models fast, but this S7 might be a little too big to generate the volumes that could reverse the downward spiral the brand has fallen into. The S7 is logically the largest SUV launched so far by JAC but this won’t last long as there are even larger ones in the works. Working for it, the Refine S7 sports a spectacular front design and a very original interior.

JAC Refine S7 interior. Picture autohome.com.cn

At 4.80m long, coming in 5- or 7-seat options and priced from 97.800 to 173.800 yuan (US$ 14.450 – 25.700), the Refine S7 competes with blockbusters such as the Haval H6 – the overall SUV segment leader, the Geely Boyue, Roewe RX5 and Changan CS75. This should lift the hopes for Refine S7 volumes pretty high, however JAC’s specialty until now has been with much smaller vehicles such as the tremendously successful – until this year- Refine S3. It remains to be seen whether the brand can extend this success to larger vehicles. The engines are reasonably powerful: a 174hp 1.5T and a 190hp 2.0T, both coupled with a six-speed manual or DCT, repackaging the engine lineup of the Refine A60 sedan.

Bar for success: 7.500 monthly sales

3. WEY VV7: 3.166 sales

It’s finally here. Last November at the Guangzhou Auto Show, Great Wall Motors revealed WEY, its new premium SUV brand positioned above Haval. Its ambitions were to compete with Lexus, Infiniti, Lincoln and Volvo, however this first offering sets the bar a lot lower as we’ll see further down. But first a bit of trivia. The WEY brand name unabashedly refers to Wei Jianjun, the founder of Great Wall Motors. It also refers to the State of Wei, an ancient Chinese state during the Warring States period (475-221 BC) which led to the Qin state’s victory as the first unified Chinese empire known as the Qin dynasty. Great Wall’s headquarters are located in Baoding in the Hebei Province which was once part of the State of Wei. Great Wall is using the old Wade Giles Romanisation system that spells Wei, Wey and Baoding, Paoting – hence that word also appearing on the logo which represents the flagpole in front of the local government house of Baoding City.

Very small touchscreen for a “premium” brand

The much-awaited first WEY nameplate is the VV7. It comes in basic (VV7c) and sporty (VV7s) versions, with prices ranging from 167.800 to 188.800 yuan (US$24.800-27.900). This is where the WEY brand starts to feel a lot less premium than its ambitions. This price range positions it right into Haval H7 territory (149.800-193.800 yuan), below the H8 (188.800 start) and the H9 (209.800 start). Among Chinese competitors it goes against the GAC Trumpchi GS8 (163.800-259.800) admittedly much larger, the Borgward BX5 (149.800-216.800) and the Qoros 5 (139.900-194.900). Local publication Autohome.com.cm pits it against the much cheaper Zotye T700 (106.800-155.800) as a valid alternative in terms of sophistication… As for foreign competitors in price, they range from the Nissan Qashqai (139.800-189.800), Kia Sportage (144.800-189.800), Peugeot 3008 (140.700-207.700), Mitsubishi Outlander (159.800-223.800), Honda CR-V (169.800-259.800) and Toyota RAV4 (179.800-269.800). Hardly premium brands although a fight with the mainstream foreigners may be all Great Wall was after after all. For comparison, the similar-sized SUVs by brands listed by WEY as its competitors are for the Infiniti QX30 249.800-389.800, the Lincoln MKC 298.800-458.800 and the Lexus NX 318.000-599.000.

At 4.749m long, the VV7 is built on an extended version of the new Haval H6 plaform, itself an updated variant of an old platform that underpinned the previous generation H6. In terms of engine, the VV7 utilises the same 230hp 2.0T as the H7/H7L. So the last advantage the VV7 has over the “bread and butter” Haval brand is its looks, but they are dangerously similar to the new H6. A lot of confusion, that WEY is decided to dissipate by selling WEY models in a completely separate dealer network. The big question will be to what extend WEY will cannibalise the existing Haval range. In June, only the H6 (35.171) and H2 (11.098) were above the VV7 (3.166), while the H7 (-41%), H5 (-32%), H8 (+72%) and H9 (+18%) fell way behind. It’s therefore a pretty solid start for a new brand, but Haval will want to reach higher targets.

Bar for success: 7.000 monthly sales

4. SWM X3: 1.676 sales

SWM launched its very first nameplate, the X7 SUV, back in September 2016 and has since found almost 55.000 new homes, a very solid success for a completely new brand. SWM is hoping to replicate this success with the smaller X3 SUV, looking like a cross with an MPV and a more modern Dongfeng somehow, pointing its bonnet in the cheap 7-seater SUV segment. Priced from 59.900 to 82.900 yuan (US$8,850 – 12.250), it competes with the likes of the Bisu T5, Changan CX70, Beijing Huansu S3, Lifan Myway and Dongfeng SX6. We could also add the Baojun 730 which, although an MPV, has variants that mimic SUVs the same way this X3 does. The X7 culminated at 7.168 units last December and the X3 will be the perfect test to see whether the brand can expand exponentially, launching more successful models one after the other. Given the scores of the Changan CX70 (pb 15.225) and the BAIC Huansu S3 (pb 20.868), this segment’s potential has clearly not been exhausted and hasn’t been invaded by dozens of offers either. Conservatively, we will put the X3 bar for success at roughly 60% of the X7’s personal best.

Bar for success: 4.500 monthly sales

5. Dongfeng Junfeng ER30: 1.000 sales

Dongfeng has launched a new EV brand, Junfeng, which local publications can’t seem to agree whether full-blown brand or a sub-brand, a subtle distinction as always in China. Launched at the Shanghai Auto Show in April 2017, the ER30 is based on the very slow selling Venucia R30, itself based on the 2010 Nissan March. The Junfeng logo is a reworked Donfeng badge with a blue dot in the middle (in China blue means green). The ER30 appears elevated in the manner of a crossover. It is powered by a 80hp electric motor for a 115 km/h top speed. Autonomy is 250km. The ER30 is built in cooperation with SKIO with the ER30 listed under the skio.cn website as well as the diandong.com website. Confusing? Welcome to China!

Bar for success: 2.500 monthly sales

6. Chana Oushang A800: 549 sales

The only new MPV to enter the Chinese sales charts this month, the Chana Oushang A800 is hoping to build on the tremendous success of the Chana Oushang which sold 170.511 units since its launch in December 2015 but has fallen below 6.000 units over the past three months. While the Oushang was priced between 56.900 and 70.900 yuan (US$8.400-10.500), the A800 starts where the Oushang ends: from 69.900 to 119.900 (US$10.300-17.700). The A800 is 4.81m long and is powered by a choice of 125hp 1.6 and 154hp 1.5T. In fact, the A800 is a redesigned Changan Linmax, launched last February, same size, using the same platform and engine. The Linmax has peaked so far at 5.232 (last May) while the Oushang has a personal best of 16.070 in January 2017. Autohome.com.cn sees it compete with the cheaper Baojun 730, the Dongfeng SX6 and the Baojun 310W (for wagon)… In this context, the bar for success has been placed in line with the Linmax rather than the Oushang.

Bar for success: 5.000 monthly sales

7. GAC Trumpchi GS7: 50 sales

An instant blockbuster with just under 60.000 sales in 8 months and a pb of 10.032 last March, the GAC Trumpchi GS8 7-seater has redefined success in the large Chinese SUV segment, and has stabilised at a very high level. 8 months after its introduction, GAC Trumpshi launches the identically-designed but smaller GS7 5-seater. Priced from 155.800 to 229.800 yuan (US$23.000-33.950), only marginally lower than the GS8 (163.800-259.800), Autohome.com.cn has it compete against the Haval H7 (149.800-193.800), Roewe RX5 (99.800-186.800), Zotye SR9 (108.800-169.800) and the Haval H9 (209.800-272.800).

GAC Trumpchi GS7 and GS8 comparison.

A frequent stake currently triggered by the multitude of SUV launches by Chinese brands is cannibalisation. Will the GS7 kill the GS8 the same way the edgy Baojun 510 annihilated the dated 560? It’s unlikely as their design are virtually identical. This will be a good test of popularity for 5-seater SUVs vs. 7-seater. With the relaxation of the 1-child policy in China, 7-seaters are becoming the norm, so this GS7 may fall short. The GS7 shares the same engines as the GS8: a 201hp 2.0T coupled with a six-speed auto. The GS7 is a 4WD called i4WD.

Bar for success: 6.500 monthly sales

Also new this month: BAIC changed the way it reports EV sales, now featuring EU-Series, EV-Series and EX-Series, and Hawtai launched the EV160 small electric hatch.

China First Half 2017: Market slows down growth from 9.2% to 1.6%

Baojun has a new blockbuster in its hands: the 510, but it killed the 560. 

* See the Top 82 All-brands and Top 531 All-models by clicking on the title *

One year ago, the Chinese passenger car market was up a robust 9.2% and improved further over the second half of the year. This time, the rise of the purchase tax for vehicles of 1.6L and under has stopped the market in its tracks. With a significant amount of sales pulled forward to the end of 2016, the perspectives for this start of 2017 weren’t bright. Still, the market is up – granted, by a meagre 1.6% – when we could have expected a drop. It did decline in February, April and May. According to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, Chinese passenger car sales total 11.253.000 units vs. 11.042.000 a year ago, and still beats a record. Sales of passenger cars of 1.6L and below are down 2.6% to 7.697.000, representing 68.4% of the passenger car market which is a 3 percentage point-drop. Commercial vehicles fare a lot better with a 17.4% year-on-year gain to 2.101.000 units. As a result, the total Chinese market is up 3.8% to a record 13.354.000 units.

The new Tiguan helped Volkswagen stay in positive in China so far in 2017.

Looking at segments in detail, SUVs continue to be the engine of the Chinese market growth but significantly reduce their gain from 42% a year ago to 17.7% this time at 4.530.200 units. All other segments are in decline, with sedans down 3% to 5.401.000 and MPVs down 16% to 1.010.600. New energy vehicles are up 14.4% to 195.000 sales with pure electric vehicles up 26.2% to 160.000 and plug-in hybrids up 19.7% to 35.000. A very interesting fact is that the market share of Chinese brands increases in the two largest passenger car segments. Overall, sales of Chinese-branded passenger cars are up 4.3% year-on-year to 4.940.000, accounting for 43.9% of the market, up 1.1 percentage point (pp). Chinese-branded sedans are up 0.8% to 1.064.000 or 19.7% of the market, up 0.8pp. The most impressive result is in the booming SUV segment where Chinese brands are up 24.4% to reach a best-ever 59.6% market share, up 3.6pp thanks to 2.700.000 units. Finally Chinese-branded MPVs are down 20.8% to 859.000 units or 85% share, down 5.4pp.

It’s a nightmarish First Half of 2017 for Korean carmakers Hyundai and Kia.

We have access to limited manufacturers retail data over the period (this data differs from our data tables that are wholesales excluding imports). The Volkswagen Group confirms it is the #1 in China despite seeing its deliveries slip 1.9% to 1.826.000 units. General Motors also declines at -2.5% to 1.765.828 vehicles. Ford Motor is faring a lot worse at -7% to 537.522 units. Among Japanese carmakers, Nissan Motor keeps the crown with a 6.7% increase to 650.525 but is now threatened by Honda Motor surging 19% to 644.167 while Toyota Motor is up 5.4% to 624.000. The victims of this First Half of 2017 are without a doubt the two Korean carmakers impacted by China’s diplomatic feud with South Korea triggered by U.S. anti-missile defense deployed in the country. Both Hyundai Motor and Kia Motor tumble 47% year-on-year over the period.

BMW bypasses Audi to become the #1 premium carmaker in China, but Mercedes lurks just behind. 

The main event in the premium race is the paltry performance of Audi, #1 for decades up until this year, handicapped by a boycott of its dealers unhappy about plans for a second distribution channel for the brand. These plans have since been postponed and Audi reclaimed the #1 premium spot in June but over the First Half of the year the picture is very different: BMW manages to take a slim advantage thanks to deliveries up 18% to 293.280 units, but Mercedes is aggressively catching up at a flamboyant +35% to 292.679 units. Audi lags far behind at 254.785 sales, down 12%. It will be very difficult for the brand to reclaim the #1 spot by year end. Note that locally-made wholesales still show Audi (-9%) above Mercedes (+50%) and BMW (+30%) as the latter two significantly rely on imports. Meanwhile Volvo, owned by local manufacturer Geely, is up a fantastic 28% to 51.914 units.

The Boyue helps Geely up 87% and Chinese SUVs reach 59.6% market share. 

Now a look at the China-made wholesales brands ranking (our data table). Volkswagen continues to be ultra-dominant, following the market at +2% to 1.47m units. That’s still well over double the sales of any other brand in the country. Honda surges 26% to 650.730 units to rank #2 overall, bypassing Hyundai (-43%), Toyota (+9%), Buick (-3%) and ChangAn (-6%). In 6th place we have the performance of the year so far: Geely up 87% and 9 spots to tease Changan for the title of most popular Chinese passenger car brand, a title it should hold by year end. Geely is reaping the fruits of a completely renewed range and three new best-selling SUVs: the Boyue, Emgrand GS and Vision SUV as well as strong selling sedans such as the Emgrand EC7, Emgrand GL and Vision.

The GS4 and new GS8 (pictured) lift GAC Trumpchi sales up 51% so far in 2017.

The Nissan brand follows at #7, up 15% ahead of Baojun up two spots and 22%, compensating for the falls of the 730 MPV and 560 SUV with the arrivals of the 310 hatch and 510 SUV. Haval drastically slows its galloping progress with a timid 4% gain as its range is starting to age. Its parent company, Great Wall Motors, is up 2.3% to 460.743. Rounding out the Top 10, Ford is down 10% and 3 spots to #10. Beyond, Wuling suffers at -12% (excluding LCVs), GAC Trumpchi shoots up 51% and 6 spots to #15 thanks to the continued success of the GS4 and the thunderous arrival of the GS8. In order of ranking, Roewe (+141%), Jeep (+106%), Cadillac (+98%), Soueast (+44%), MG (+61%), Leopaard (+36%), Mitsubishi (+166%), Renault (+357%), JMC (+486%) and Zhi Dou (+445%) post some of the largest year-on-year gains in market.

Renault has already reached 63% of its annual sales target for 2017. 

But not all Chinese brands register strong improvements over the period, and some should start to seriously worry, such as Beijing Auto (BAIC, BAW) down 26%, BYD down 15%, JAC down a harsh 40%, Zotye down 25%, Haima down 29% and Brilliance down 53%. For a handful of foreigners, 2017 is shaping up as the year to forget: wholesales put Hyundai at -43% and Kia at -56%, Peugeot is down 37%, Suzuki down 34% and Citroen down an abysmal 68%, ending H1 only 2.678 sales above newcomer and fellow countryman Renault, itself already hitting 63% of its annual sales target for 2017 (59.000).

SWM is the most popular of the nine new brands that entered the Chinese market since last year. 

A testimony of the dynamism of the Chinese market, we welcome no less than nine all-new brands in the H1 2017 ranking. They are led by SWM punching above 30.000 sales just as a second model hit dealerships, followed by Cowin just under 29.000 sales with three nameplates, Hanteng at roughly 27.500 with just one model, Borgward just under 22.000 with two, Bisu above 16.000 with three, Jaguar with 8.500 XFL, Acura with 4.500 CDX, Horki at 3.700 and Great Wall’s new “premium” brand WEY just under 3.200 units – all sold in June.

The Roewe RX5 is the 2nd best-selling new nameplate over the period with over 100.000 sales.

Now onto the models ranking, where the three best-sellers all lose volume, accelerating the fragmentation of the market. Both the Wuling Hongguang and the VW Lavida drop a heavy 11% and are only separated by 5.000 sales – the Hongguang ranked #1 only in February while the Lavida ranked 1st four times – with the Haval H6 falling a more restrained – but still surprising – 6%. The heroes of the period are below: the Buick Excelle rallies up 19% to #4 and ranked #1 in June, while the GAC Trumpchi GS4, now in its third year, shows no sign of running out of puff with a 20% surge and could soon go tease the Haval H6 for the title of #1 SUV in China.

The Haval H2S helps the brand stay in positive territory so far in 2017. 

The Nissan Sylphy also shows great strength in 6th place at +23%, overtaking the Toyota Corolla (+8%). The VW Tiguan, finally helped by the new generation, has been instrumental in keeping Volkswagen in positive over the period with a 43% surge lifting it to #8 overall and #2 VW model above the perennial strong sellers Jetta (-14%), Sagitar (-17%) and Santana (-15%). At #11, the Baojun 730 is now the brand’s best-seller despite a 9% drip, as we see a complete reshuffle of its sales order: hero of H1 2016, the Baojun 560 has been completely cannibalised (-48% and down from #5 to #23) by the brand’s new, edgier SUV, the 510. The 510 is the most popular newcomer over the period, landing directly at #21 with just under 103.000 sales.

The Fengguang 580 is now Dongfeng’s best-seller at home. 

The booming SUV segment has seen a lot of changes atop its sales charts: below the H6, GS4 and Tiguan, we now find the Geely Boyue up 548% on its launch period last year to rank #13 overall. The Boyue is now the brand’s best-seller at home, surpassing the Emgrand EC7 (+9%). The Buick Envision has reached its peak at #5 SUV and #15 overall (+4%), distancing the Haval H2 (+61% thanks to the H2S variant), Changan CS75 (+10%), Baojun 510 and Roewe RX5 (100.091 sales), the 2nd best-selling newcomer over the period. Notice also the Dongfeng Fengguang 580 becoming the brand’s best-seller, the Honda Civc rallying up 269% thanks to the new model, the Baojun 310 landing at #31, the Chevrolet Cavalier at #33 and the Chery Arrizo 5 up 91% to #43 and #3 Chinese sedan below the Geely Emgrand EC7 (#16) and Geely Vision (#38).

Previous post: China June 2017: Buick Excelle in the lead, market back up

One year ago: China First Half 2016: Tax cut, SUV wave spur 8% gain to record 12.8m

Full H1 2017 Top 82 All-brands and Top 531 All-models vs. Full H1 2016 figures below.

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China June 2017: Buick Excelle in the lead, market back up

The Buick Excelle is the best-selling nameplate in China in June. 

* See the Top 76 All-brands and Top 437 All-models by clicking on the title *

China-made light vehicle sales have ended two consecutive months of year-on-year decline in June at +2.3% to 1.83 million deliveries according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. This improvement is the sole work of SUVs up 14% to 741.400 units. All other segments are stable or decline: sedans are down 4% to 883.000, MPVs up 0.4% to 163.700 and microvans down 22% to 43.700. Yet despite some success stories as we’ll see further down, stock of Chinese-branded vehicles on dealerships is up to a 71-day supply vs 57 in May. Halfway through the year, the Chinese market (imports excluded) remains in positive, but just: up a meagre 1.6% to a record 11.3 million units. The positive trend is maintained thanks to price cuts, with average transaction prices dropping 4% over the first half of 2017. Apart from SUVs, one segment is in great shape: electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids, up 33% in June to 59.000 deliveries and 14% year-to-date to 195.000.

Honda XR-V sales are up 44% year-on-year. 

According to data released by manufacturers themselves – retail sales including imports, so the data differs from our data tables, General Motors is up 4.3% year-on-year to 285.191 units, with Buick up 13% to 96.913, Chevrolet up 7.2%, Baojun up 47% and Cadillac up for the 16th consecutive month at +35% to 12.886 whereas Wuling skids down 26% to 73.460. The Volkswagen Group does better with a 5.2% rise to 315.300 units, with the Volkswagen brand up 5.4% to 232.400 (up 13% to 247.882 wholesales) and Audi back into positive territory as we’ll see further down. Ford Motor soar 15% to around 100.000 units. Japanese carmakers continue to beat the market, partly benefitting from their Korean counterparts’ crisis: Nissan Motor is up 8.9% to 118.769, Honda Motor up 18% to 113.769 and Toyota Motor up 10% to 106.900. Following China’s diplomatic feud with South Korea about U.S. anti-missile defense, Hyundai (-64%) and Kia (-60%) continue to freefall.

Audi reclaims the premium leadership in China in June.

After a start of the year handicapped by a conflict with their dealers about a new distribution channel – now postponed – Audi reclaims the premium leadership, but just, as its recovery is sluggish: up 1.7% to 51.900 deliveries this month. In comparison, BMW/Mini is up 12% to 50.597 thanks to the X1 and newly-launched 1-Series sedan and Mercedes-Benz is up 28% to 50.090, citing record sales of the C-Class and strong Smart deliveries. Volvo for its part beats all the aforementioned manufacturers with a 31% surge to 10.113 units.

Geely sales are up 89% year-on-year in June. 

As always, it’s within Chinese brands that we find the most spectacular year-on-year gains, but some are starting to run out of puff. For the third month in a row, Geely is the most popular Chinese brand at home thanks to a spectacular 89% gain to just under 90.000 units. The brand benefits from very strong sales of recently-launched SUVs – the Boyue, once again beating its volume record this month, as well as the Emgrand GS and Vision SUV, with the Emgrand GL sedan also hitting the mark. ChangAn drops 1% to just under 82.000 units and Great Wall Motors worryingly drops 1.7% to 64.471 units, with its SUV brand Haval down 9% and this despite Great Wall-branded pickup deliveries up 17% to 8.055 and the arrival of its new premium brand WEY with 3.166 sales.

Although very successful, the Baojun 510 has annihilated sales of the 560.

Wholesales of Baojun are up 61% to above 60.000 units, GAC Trumpchi shoots up 52% to 43.360 with the large GS8 SUV continuing to post strong figures, Chery is up 14%, Roewe up 109% thanks to the RX5 SUV and the i6 sedan, Zotye up 31% with the new T700 its best-seller and a rare nameplate in its range that is not a clone, Soueast up 76% thanks to the DX3 SUV, Leopaard up 29% thanks to the arrival of the CS9 SUV, MG up 38% thanks to the ZS SUV, Karry up 67%, SWM up to #44 and Bisu up to #49. In contrast, Dongfeng is down 10%, Beijing Auto (BAIC, BAW) down 37%, BYD down 19%, JAC down 38%, Lifan down 12%, Venucia down 11%, Haima down 47% and Brilliance down 45%. It’s not all rosy among Chinese carmakers indeed. Among other manufacturers, notice Jeep up 66% and Renault up 160% but Peugeot down 32% and Citroen down 69%.

Still going strong: the GAC Trumpchi GS4 (+20%). 

In the models ranking, the Buick Excelle takes the lead for the first time for this generation thanks to sales up 15%. It is the first time since April 2012 that the Excelle nameplate dominates the Chinese sales charts. But this win wasn’t a blatant one as the photo-finish for the #1 position has never been so close in China: only 2.656 sales separate the #1 from the #5 ranked. At #2 despite sales down 19%, the VW Lavida makes it two sedans on top, ahead of the Haval H6 (-6%) and the Wuling Hongguang (-18%) confirming its current weakness. The Nissan Sylphy (-1%) and Toyota Corolla (+19%) follow. Below, three blockbuster SUVs shine again: the GAC Trumpchi GS4 hasn’t yet reached its full potential with deliveries up 20%, the Baojun 510 breaks another symbolic barrier – 30.000 monthly sales, annihilating the brand’s other SUV, the 560 down 69% to #101, and the VW Tiguan shoots up 79% on the previous model in June 2016.

Inside the Top 100: the VW Teramont. 

Volkswagen sees a shaking of its best-sellers: the Tiguan comes at #2 below the Lavida, with the long-running Jetta (-28%), Sagitar (-15%) and Santana (-38%) in great difficulty. In contrast, the Lamando breaks a new volume record above 19.000 units (+109%), the Magotan is up 67%, the Polo up 30%, the Bora up 45% and the Passat up 38%. Also in great shape near the top of the ranking: the Honda XR-V up 44% and the Changan CS75 up 79%. Among recent launches, the Honda Avancier (#80), VW Teramont (#87), Skoda Kodiaq (+68 to #106), Honda UR-V (+34 to #120), Zotye T700 (+242 to #136), Changan CS55 (+247 to #148), Peugeot 5008 (#155) and Bisu T5 (#164) all beat their monthly volume record.

Previous month: China May 2017: Second consecutive month of decline at -2.6%

One year ago: China June 2016: Market up 18%, next wave of Chinese SUVs arrives

Full June 2017 Top 76 All-brands and Top 437 All-models below.

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China LCV May 2017: Pickups confirm rebound at +13%

Sales of the facelifted Great Wall Wingle 5 are up 21% in May. Picture autohome.com.cn

* See the Top 45 best-selling models by clicking on the title *

Thanks to our partnership with Chinese consultancy outlet Cedars, we can share with you today May LCV data for China. This month the Chinese LCV market shows a slightly different outlook. Minivans continue to tumble down at -18% to 46.578 registrations and -23% to 263.389 year-to-date, that evolution has been valid for a few years now. The change is mini trucks now also marking a pause with a small 2% decline in May to 48.769 units vs. +11% to 272.241 so far this year, still above minivans. On the other hand, pickups confirm they are definitely on the mend at +13% to 31.231 registrations in May and +16% to 161.547 year-to-date.

Huanghai N2. Picture pcauto.com.cn 

The Wuling Mini Truck holds onto the LCV pole position with sales up 6% in May, followed by the Wuling Hongguang V down 16% and the Wuling Sunshine down 25%. The Chana Star Mini Truck (+35%) and Minibus (+213%) post spectacular gains on a particularly low base in May 2016. Among pickups, the Great Wall Wingle 5 gets a second wind thanks to its facelift at +21% in 6th place overall, selling more than double the #2 pickup, the ZX Auto Grand Tiger up 13%. The JMC Baodian (-17%) and Great Wall Wingle 6 (+14%) follow. Further down, notice the JAC Pickup (+84%) and Huanghai N2 (+38%) also very dynamic. The Maxus T60 climbs the sales charts and now ranks #27. The Nissan Navara, whose local production has now started, should appear in this ranking shortly.

Previous post: China LCV March 2017: Mini trucks and pickups shoot up

One year ago: China LCV May 2016: Minitrucks outsell minivans, pickups up 11%

Full May 2017 Top 45 models below.

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China May 2017: Focus on the All-new models

Lifan Xuanlang

* See the May 2017 Top 414 All China-made models and Top 74 brands here *

As is the case every month, we pay special attention to the new locally produced launches in China so you stay aware of the latest development in the fastest-evolving car market in the world. May marks the second consecutive month of year-on-year decline for the light vehicle market in China, and fittingly it is a very slow month for newcomers with only three new nameplates this month, all Chinese.

1. Lifan Xuanlang: 2.541 sales

With the recently launched Myway 7 seat SUV, Lifan had started to reassure us that they were back in the race. Unfortunately, here comes the Xuanlang. No, this is not a Ford S-Max, but an almost identical clone, up to the crease lines in the door and the alloys. The S-Max isn’t currently sold in China so unlike the Range Rover Evoque and its Landwind clone we can’t make a price comparison. The Xuanlang signals the fact that cloning is still very much present in the Chinese auto industry and not limited to Landwind and Zotye which we thought were the latest culprits of this dubious practice.

Lifan Xuanlang interior. Picture autohome.com.cn  

Seating seven and powered by a choice of three petrol engines:  1.8 (133hp), 2.0 (141hp) and 1.5T (141hp), the Xuanlang is priced very competitively from 69.800 to 106.800 yuan (US$10.250-15.700). This places it squarely against the #2 best-seller in the segment, the Baojun 730, as well as the Dongfeng Fengxing S500, Chana Ousheng and Changan Linmax. Already by far the most successful entrant this month with over 2.500 sales, this is unchartered territory for Lifan that hasn’t had a similar offering before. Doubling this initial monthly score would cement the Xuanlang as a force to be reckoned with in the MPV market.

Bar for success: 4.500 monthly sales

2. Zotye T700: 107 sales

Just as Lifan tests the murky waters of cloning, Zotye seems to have emancipated from it with this T700. Agreed, there is an air of Range Rover in the silhouette but the latest Zotye offerings had been almost identical clones so there is progress. Cue the Damai X7 (VW Cross Coupe GTE concept), T600 (Audi Q5), Damai X5 (VW Tiguan), SR7 (Audi Q3) and SR9 (Porsche Macan). The T700 is the new flagship of the brand and impresses with sharp design both exterior-wise and inside the cockpit featuring a 14 inch-touch screen.

Zotye T700 interior. Picture autohome.com.cn

The T700 is powered by a choice of three turbo engines a 1.8 (177hp) and two 2.0 (190 and 220hp) mated with a five-speed manual or six-speed DCT for the 1.8 and six-speed DCT for the two 2.0. It is priced from 106.800 to 155.800 yuan (US$15.700-22.900) and will aim at taking some business away from Haval. Zotye has been struggling lately with overall sales down 25% in May and its best-seller the T600 only gathering 3.654 deliveries, so our bar for success for the T700 is lowered down to 4.000 which would place it as the brand’s best-seller this month.

Bar for success: 4.000 monthly sales

3. Geely Yuanjing X1: 104 sales

Going from strength to strength with sales up 87% year-to-date thanks mainly to a series of new SUVs, Geely launches its smallest SUV to-date, the Yuanjing X1, unveiled at the last Shanghai Auto Show in April. Unfortunately, under a new nameplate and a seemingly new car hides a hastily facelifted version of the Geely Panda. The interior is its best asset with a huge 11.6 inch touch screen.

Geely Yuanjing X1 interior. Picture autohome.com.cn 

The X1 keeps the Panda’s 1.0 68hp engine and replaces the 1.5 by a 1.3 88hp engine, and its price range is at a tiny 39.900-57.900 yuan (US$5.850-8.500). It seems everything Geely launches is a success these days, but this X1 will have a tougher job in a segment that has traditionally struggled with big volumes. It will compete with the Baojun 510 (that proved this struggle wrong), the Haval H1 and the JAC Refine S2mini.

Bar for success: 5.000 monthly sales

Previous month: China April 2017: Focus on the All-new models

One year ago: China May 2017: Focus on the All-new models

China May 2017: Second consecutive month of decline at -2.6%

The VW Tiguan hits its highest ranking in two years at #6. Picture qq.com

* See the Top 74 locally produced brands and Top 414 models by clicking on the title *

The Chinese light vehicle market is starting to really feel the effect of a 5% to 7.5% tax hike on vehicles with engine displacements up to 1.6L last January. For the second consecutive month, overall sales of locally-produced light vehicles are down, this time dropping 2.6% to 1.75 million units according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. The continued strength of SUVs and crossovers, up 12% to 719.455 units, isn’t enough to compensate for the other segments’ losses anymore. Sedans drop 9% to 840.661, MPVs are down 14% to 142.665 and microvans down 25% to 48.100. Most tellingly, sales of small engine vehicles (1.6L or less) affected by the tax hike are down 9.2% year-on-year to 1.15 million units, representing 66% of the overall light vehicle market. Thanks to a relatively strong first quarter, the Chinese market is still in positive year-to-date though, at +1.5% to 9.42 million units.

The Baojun 510 is inside the Chinese Top 10 for the 2nd month in a row. 

According to retail sales data released by manufacturers themselves and including imports (this differs from the wholesale locally produced data provided in our data tables), General Motors posts stable sales at 294.425 units this month and shows very varied fortunes for its stable of brands: Cadillac is up 65% to 14.154 – the brand’s 15th consecutive double-digit year-on-year gain – and Baojun up 47% (wholesales up 72%), but the remainder of the brands are down: Buick (-6.8% to 94.023), Chevrolet (-1.4% to 37.571) and Wuling (-19% to 84.602 including microvans). Reversely, the Volkswagen brand manages to gain 4% to 241.600 units thanks notably to surging sales of the Tiguan (+71%) and Magotan (+77%). Adding Skoda, Audi and Porsche should make the Volkswagen Group the #1 Group in China although official figures aren’t available at this stage.

The Civic helps push Honda Motor Co. up 16%. Picture auto.sina.com.cn

Honda Motor Co. remains the best-selling Japanese carmaker this month thanks to a 16% year-on-year surge to 115.584 units, edging past Toyota Motor Co. up 12% to 112.800 and Nissan Motor Co. up 5.7% to 112.085. Brand locally-produced wholesales show a different picture with Honda brand sales up 18%, Toyota down 5% and Nissan up 27%. Honda benefits from the new Civic up 191% while the XR-V is up 4% and both the Vezel (-13%) and CR-V (-25%) struggle. Nissan has the Sylphy up 3% and the Qashqai up 22%. Japanese carmakers are likely to have benefitted from a sudden anti-Korean sentiment stemming from U.S. anti-missile defences deployed in South Korea. Hyundai (-65%) and Kia (-67%) both crumble this month. Ford Motor Co. for its part is down 3% to 87.733, adding up to a 11% loss year-to-date to 436.961.

Geely Vision SUV. Geely sales are up 87% so far this year. 

The luxury ranking continues to be reshuffled with the BMW Group taking first spot this month thanks to retail deliveries up 27% to 50.996, thanks to strong sales of the 3 Series (+57%) and X1 (+29%). Daimler AG is just below at 50.015, up 32% thanks to the new E-Class (+385%). Audi slows down its fall now that the dispute with its dealers over a new sales channel – postponed – is over but trails both its German rivals at -4% to 48.012.

Geely remains the star of Chinese brands with sales up 66% to 76.616 and up 87% year-to-date to 437.359. The brand outsells Changan (-26%) for the second consecutive month. Great Wall Motors on the other hand posts a second consecutive drop at -3.8% to 68.942 including 58.390 Haval sold (-6%). GAC Trumpchi surfs on the tremendous success of its GS4 and GS8 SUVs with sales up 47% to 44.148 but Dongfeng (-10%), Beijing Auto (-29%), Chery (-4%) and BYD (-21%) all retreat. Roewe is revived (+140%) thanks to the RX5 and the i6 sedan beating its sales volume record at 7.148, Soueast is up 43% thanks to the DX3 crossover and MG is up 87% thanks to the ZS crossover.

The Compass is now Jeep’s best-seller in China.

There are a few additional notable performances in the brands ranking: Jeep (+122%) stabilising around 20.000 monthly sales now has the Compass as best-seller (8.300), Mazda is up 24% mainly thanks to additional sales from the CX-4 and Mitsubishi is up 110% on the new Outlander. Just as French long-time local producers Peugeot (-38%) and Citroen (-63%) falter, newcomer on the China production scene Renault is gaining momentum above 6.000 sales for the third consecutive month. This places Renault only 1.500 units below Citroen in May.

Renault Koleos. Renault (+221%) is now teasing Citroen (-63%). Picture auto.lctongcheng.com

The VW Lavida/Gran Lavida is the best-selling nameplate in China for the third consecutive month despite deliveries down 12%. It distances the Wuling Hongguang down 19% and the Haval H6 down 6% in a podium strikingly 100% in negative. The Nissan Sylphy (+13%), GAC Trumpchi GS4 (+22%) and VW Tiguan (+71%) follow, trying to compensate for these losses. The Baojun 510 beats its volume record once again at 24.108 units and remains inside the Top 10, confirming it has all but “killed” the 560 (-46%), and the Geely Boyue posts another stunning month at 21.142 units just outside the Top 10 at #11. Among recent launches posting strong results, the FAW Besturn X40 racks up 8.781 sales for its third month in market, the Chevrolet Equinox is up to 6.278 units and the VW Teramont up to 6.033.

Previous month: China April 2017: Market marks a pause at -3.7%

One year ago: China May 2016: Price cuts lift market up 11%, Wuling Hongguang back to #1

Full May 2017 Top 74 locally produced brands and Top 414 models below.

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China LCV March 2017: Mini Trucks and Pickups shoot up

3. Wuling Rongguang Pickup MoheWuling Mini Truck sales are up 89% year-on-year in March.

* See the Top 45 best-selling models by clicking on the title *

After a couple of months hiatus, the China LCV ranking is back thanks to our partnership with Chinese consultancy outlet Cedars. This month the trends we have observed in the past year are confirmed yet in various degrees of strength. Minivans continue to drop but slow down their fall at -6% to 67.852 sales vs. -19% to 135.027 year-to-date whereas Mini Trucks (aka mini pickups) accelerate their growth at +36% to 70.793 vs. +26% to 157.857 year-to-date. Now that legislation restricting their access to the centre of big cities is being loosened up in some parts of the country, pickup trucks continue to gallop ahead with another double-digit gain at +14% to 38.960 deliveries vs. +19% to 96.783 so far this year.

Maxus T60. Picture courtesy auto.qq.com

The Wuling Mini Truck shoots up 89% to over 40.000 sales, dominating the ranking head and shoulders above the best-selling Minivan and one of the rare ones to improve significantly: the Wuling Hongguang V up 51% to slightly more than 25.000 units. The Wuling Rongguang (-11%) and Sunshine (-36%) continue their freefall just as the Chana Minibus (-43%) has its sales transferred to the Mini Truck (+9%). In the revived pickup aisle. the Great Wall Wingle 5, JMC Baodian and ZX Auto Grand Tiger remain in the lead despite all losing ground on a year ago, whereas the JMC Yuhu (+228%), Great Wall Wingle 6 (+22%) and Foton Tunland (+103%) all gain significant volume. Among recent launches, the Wuling Sunshine V doesn’t impress at less than 2.000 units while we welcome the Maxus T60 in the ranking this month, the brand’s very first pickup truck.

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

One year ago: China LCV March 2016: Mini Trucks shoot up 31% led by Wuling

Full March 2017 Top 45 models ranking below.

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China April 2017: Focus on the All-new models

We throw a laser focus on the all-new locally produced models hitting the Chinese market so you are up-to-date with all the latest news. No less than 11 new nameplates made their first appearance in the Chinese sales charts in April.

1. Chevrolet Equinox: 5.693 sales

Leading them all is the Chevrolet Equinox with an already very satisfying score. Manufactured by the Shanghai-GM joint-venture, the new generation Equinox is the first one to be produced in China and it’s another welcome breath of fresh air for the struggling Chevrolet brand after the arrival of the Cavalier sedan in September last year. Powered by a choice of 1.5T or 2.0T engines both matched with a nine-speed auto, the Equinox is priced from 174.900 to 249.900 yuan ($25.500-36.400), meaning Chevrolet had the choice of discontinuing the similarly priced Captiva or keep it at a discounted rate. Looking at the two lonely sales the Captiva managed to rack up in April, it would appear Chevrolet has decided to discontinue it instead.

The Equinox enters a very crowded foreign compact five-seater SUV segment that also includes the VW Tiguan, Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, Nissan X-Trail and Ford Escape. It bodes well for its chances of strong sales and has emboldened us to lift its bar for success to 15.000. General Motors has also positioned it frankly below the hot-selling Buick Envision (209.900 to 349.900 yuan) which should eliminate the risk of cannibalisation among GM brands. The Equinox is destined to become the best-selling SUV Chevrolet has ever had in China so far, as it already comes close to the Trax’s personal best of 6.937 units.

Bar for success: 15.000 monthly sales

2. Hyundai Celesta: 3.965 sales

Appearing in this month’s sales charts but already displaying a cumulative total of 11.983 sales, the Hyundai Celesta has chosen the wrong timing to enter the Chinese sales charts, in the midst of anti-Korean sentiment that has pulled both Hyundai and Kia sales down over 60% this month. Hopefully for the Korean carmaker this situation will recede shortly and its sales can return to their pre-crisis level. Under a new nameplate hides in fact the Hyundai Elantra Yuedong – the fourth generation Elantra – reskinned and with an updated interior. This is the same method Ford has adopted in China with the Escort, based on the previous generation Focus, and Chevrolet with the Cavalier which is a reskinned previous generation Cruze. Both the Escort and Cavalier compete with the Celesta.

Powered with the same 1.6L engine as the Yuedong matched with a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic, the Celesta is priced from 78.800 to 120.800 yuan (US$11.500-17.600) and adds to an already busy Hyundai sedan lineup. The Korean carmaker has indeed taken the habit of keeping older generations of the Elantra in production, and the Celesta slides above the new Verna (72.800-105.800 yuan) and the Elantra Yuedong (74.800-95.800 yuan) but below the two latest generations Elantra, the 5th – Langdong (105.800-127.800 yuan) and the 6th – Lingdong (99.800-151.800 yuan).

Bar for success: 15.000 monthly sales

3. Venucia M50V: 2.704 sales

Unveiled at the Shanghai Auto Show last April, the M50V is the first MPV by Venucia, Dongfeng-Nissan’s low cost brand. Previously Venucia models have been based on older Nissan platforms but the M50V is based on the Dongfeng Fengguang 360. It is powered by a choice of either 1.5 or 1.6L engines and comes in six or seven-seat configurations. As it is the case for all Venucia nameplates, the M50V is priced sharply at 65.800-84.900 yuan (US$9.600-12.400) which is slightly more expensive than the Dongfeng Fengguang 360 on which it is based (57.900-74.900). Venucia is a late-comer in the struggling MPV segment but its sharp design and modern interior for the segment will make it a worthy option and should trigger solid sales.

Bar for success: 7.500 monthly sales

4. Borgward BX5: 1.593 sales 

The BX5 is the second offering from the revived Borgward brand after the BX7 launched last year. Borgward is a German brand that was resuscitated with the financial backing of Foton Motor, a subsidiary of Beijing Auto. Despite being priced dearly, the BX7 has shown strong figures, peaking at 5.556 units last December, and the BX5 should too as it is more sharply designed and more affordable, priced between 149.800 and 216.800 yuan (US$21.800-31.600). The BX5 is powered by a 1.8T engine matched with either a six-speed auto or manual and both FWD and real-time 4WD configurations are available. A 1.4T and 1.4T hybrid are set to join the lineup in the near future.

Bar for success: 5.000 monthly sales

5. Cowin C3R: 1.093 sales

This month the Cowin C3 has been replaced by the C3R in the Chinese sales charts, a model that was launched in 2015 and a quirk of the rankings.

6. Chery eQ1: 1.035 sales

After the eQ, an electric version of the QQ, Chery launches the electric eQ1, a mini hatchback that fits right in with the latest mini electric offerings. Priced competitively from 49.800 to 99.800 yuan (US$7.250-14.500) including green car subsidies, the eQ1 features an attractive exterior design and very trendy interior filled with orange and a 10 inch touch screen. Its range is 180 km. A very interesting offering from Chery indeed, the brand having stepped up its design efforts with its latest launches.

Bar for success: 3.000 monthly sales

7. Skoda Kodiaq: 913 sales

The Kodiaq we know in Europe is now also produced in China. Sharing the same platform as the new VW Tiguan L, the Kodiaq is made here by the SAIC-Volkswagen joint-venture. It is available in a choice of three turbo engines: 1.4L, 1.8L and 2.0L and priced from 189.800 to 269.800 yuan (US$27.600-39.300), keeping in mind Skoda is positioned slightly more premium in China than it is in Europe. It competes with the likes of the Peugeot 4008 and Chevrolet Equinox we described earlier in the article.

The Kodiaq is the first in a four-pronged SUV attack by Skoda in China. Yet to come are the code named Model Q which will replace the existing Yeti, the code named model K which will be based on the current Yeti platform to spurn a budget crossover and a Kodiaq Coupe, the future flagship of the brand, to compete with the likes of the Honda Avancier and UR-V.

Changan CS55

Also launching in April are the electric JMC E160 (285 sales), the Peugeot 5008 (242) which is the same as the European one, the Buick Velite 5, a rebadged Chevrolet Volt (67) and the Changan CS55 (30), the one with the largest sales potential.

China April 2017: Market marks a pause at -3.7%

The 510 is now Baojun’s best-seller and the country’s third best-selling SUV. 

* See the Top 74 brands and Top 413 models by clicking on the title *

The increase of the purchase tax on small cars initiated at the start of the year has finally caught up with the Chinese light vehicle market, down 3.7% year-on-year in April to 1.72 million units according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM). The purchase tax on vehicles of 1.6L or less was raised from 5% to 7.5% on January 1 and will be back to 10% in 2018. Sales of such vehicles are down 10% to 1.14 million this month. The year-to-date tally remains in positive territory however at +2.5% to 7.67 million light vehicles. As it has become the routine over the past couple of years, SUV sales go against the grain at +12% to 691.497 units whereas MPVs are down a harsh 19% to 139.685 and passenger cars are down 8% to 836.683. This month the market is the theatre of some unusually harsh year-on-year drops for some brands and models as we will detail below, indicating a strong readjustment of the market.

The Tiguan L helps the Volkswagen Group to #1 in China this month.

Group-wise, according to figures released by manufacturers themselves (retail figures including imports), the Volkswagen Group remains the largest carmaker in the country with sales up 1.5% to 299.700 units. The Volkswagen brand is up 4.3% but Audi is down 6.9% and Skoda down 12%. Note wholesales of locally-made vehicles show a different picture with VW down 5%. Year-to-date sales for the Group are in negative at -4.8% to 1.19 million units. Its archenemy General Motors is down 1.9% to 272.770 units, with Buick down 15%, Chevrolet down 10%, Wuling down 16% but Cadillac up 98% and Baojun up 58%. Here too wholesales of locally-made vehicles show different evolutions, with Buick in positive notably.

BMW is the best-selling luxury carmaker in China for the first time.

One of the main events of the month is the leadership of the BMW Group among luxury carmakers for the first time in Chinese history. Retail sales including imports of BMW and Mini vehicles are up 39% to 48.869 units, edging past Mercedes up 35% to 47.627 and Audi down 6.9% to 46.166. This occurrence wouldn’t have been possible without the troubles Audi is currently encountering in China. The brand is now pulling out of an agreement with its Chinese dealers that it would not open a second distribution network with its partner SAIC until it sells 900.000 annual units in China. This means Audi resumes its standoff with Chinese dealers that have refused ordering new cars as a protest against the SAIC network plans, and sales of the brand will be affected for a few more months at least. Note looking at wholesales of locally-made vehicles, Audi is still ahead this month with BMW 2nd and Mercedes 3rd as detailed in the ranking table below the jump.

Honda sales are up 29% year-on-year this month. 

Japanese carmakers show a stark contrast with surrounding market conditions this month. Honda Motor is the April hero, posting a 29% year-on-year surge to 109.518 units, just as the XR-V crossover is up 23%, the Accord up 24% and the Civic up 184%. Toyota Motor is up 7.2% to 108.300 and Nissan Motor up 9.5% to 105.324, helped by Infiniti deliveries up 105% to 3.415. All three carmakers may have taken advantage of a sales transfer from Hyundai Motor still suffering from a diplomatic row between China and South Korea over the North Korean missile crisis. Hyundai is down 64% this month and Kia down 69%. Year-to-date, Nissan Motor remains in a tight lead with 419.671 sales (+6.3%) ahead of Honda Motor at 414.814 (+20%) and Toyota Motor at 404.400 (+3.1%). Keep in mind these totals include Infiniti, Acura and Lexus. On a separate note, after a painful first quarter, Ford Motor Co. rebounds in April at +11% to 93.967 sales.

The Boyue helps Geely sales up 88% in April. 

Among Chinese carmakers, Geely is the standout performer of the month with deliveries surging 88% thanks to the exceptional performance of its four most recent launches: the Geely Boyue beating its monthly volume record again at 21.263 and now the country 5th best-selling SUV – 11th overall, the Vision SUV (9.634), Emgrand GS (9.119) and Emgrand GL (9.073). After years of record-beating months, SUV carmaker Haval is down 7% this month just as its best-seller the H6 marks a pause at -17% and despite the H2 bouncing up 57% thanks to the new H2S model. But the most surprising evolution comes from Changan losing half its sales year-on-year and dropping from #2 to #10 in the brands ranking. GAC Trumpchi (+49%), Roewe (+155%), MG (+109%) and Leopaard (+51%) go forward, but two manufacturers that have built their recent success on shameless copycats now hit a wall: Zotye is down 58% this month and Landwind down 80%.

The ZS is already MG’s best-seller in China for its second month in market. 

Over in the models ranking, the top three best-sellers fit within 400 sales and all post double-digit declines: the VW Lavida/Gran Lavida is down 12% ahead of the Haval H6 (-17%) and Wuling Hongguang (-10%). The Hongguang remains the year-to-date leader ahead of the Lavida and H6. This trio is followed this month by the Buick Excelle up an excellent 39% to 32.962 sales and distancing the Nissan Sylphy (+1%) and GAC Trumpchi GS4. But once again the performance of the month goes to the new Baojun 510, beating its volume record to 21.987 and earning a 9th place overall and 3rd place in the SUV ranking. The 510 is now Baojun’s best-seller above the 730, 560 and 310 but it confirms this comes at a cannibalising price as the brand’s other SUV, the 560, is down another 60% this month. Let’s single out three additional high performing SUVs: the VW Tiguan up 14% to #10, the GAC Trumpchi GS8 remaining above 10.000 units for the second straight month and the MG ZS surging to 9.768 units for its second month in market, by far the brand’s best-seller already.

Previous month: China March 2017: Baojun wins 510 bet in market up 1.7%

One year ago: China April 2016: Haval H6 first SUV to lead the overall ranking

Full April 2017 Top 74 brands and Top 413 models below. (imports excluded)

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