Archive for the ‘China’ Category

China 6 months 2014: Santana makes it 4 Volkswagens in Top 6

July 19th, 2014 5 comments

VW Santana new and old Kashgar April 2014Two generations of VW Santana in Kashgar, Xinjiang Uyghur – China May 2014.

* See the Top 352 All-local models ranking by clicking on the title! *

As is the tradition on BSCB, after exploring in detail June sales in China we now look at the year-to-date ranking to try an extract longer-term trends. As a whole the market is up 11% on the same period in 2013 to 9.634 million units excluding commercial vehicles and imports. Including the latter, we are looking at another record year in 2014 in China with 24-25 million vehicles by the time December comes to an end. In comparison, the US market, in great shape this year, will finish just under 17 million. Very little change in the models Top 10 compared to last month: the Wuling Hongguang still reigns supreme (+49%) ahead of the VW Lavida (+24%) and Ford Focus (+8%) however the Focus overtook the Lavida for the first time in 2014 in June so the 2nd half could see the two models in a tighter race for the 2nd place.

Haval H6 China June 2014. Picture courtesy of Haval H6 is the best-selling SUV in China with over 140,000 sales in 6 months.

The VW Santana up a gargantuan 134% and 26 spots year-on-year to #4 at 161,957 sales, the VW Sagitar (+13%) and Jetta (+35%) make it an unbelievable 4 Volkswagens in the Top 6 vs. just two one year ago. A 29% increase in sales to 145,214 enables the Nissan Sylphy to gain two spots and rank #8, remaining by far the best-selling Japanese model in the country and one of only two inside the Top 20 with the Honda CR-V (#19). Consistently excellent over the past 12 months, the Haval H6 accesses the 9th spot so far in 2014 vs. #19 one year ago with sales up 61% to 143,119, becoming the best-selling SUV in the country ahead of the VW Tiguan also in great shape at #12 (+27%).

Kia K3 China June 2014Kia K3

The Chevrolet Sail (-10 spots to #14) and VW Bora (-7 to #15) are penalised, whereas the Hyundai Verna, boosted by a very strong month of June (#11) becomes the brand’s best-seller in China at #16, overtaking the Elantra Langdong (#17). With the 7th generation now established in dealerships across the country, the VW Golf is up a spectacular 77% and 26 ranks to break into the year-to-date Top 20 for the first time at #20. Compared to last month, both the Kia K3 (#22) and K2 (#25) gain ground while the Honda Crider is not a newcomer anymore (launched in June 2013) but remains the brand’s best-selling sedan at #24 and 81,758 sales above the Accord (#82) and Civic (#101).

ChangAn EadoChangAn Eado in Kashgar, Xinjiang Uyghur – China May 2014

Helped by the arrival of the hatchback variant, the ChangAn Eado is now #28 compared to #62 one year ago with sales up 81% to 74,553, earning it the #3 spot among Chinese vehicles. The Chana Honor follows at #29 (+91%) above the Dongfeng Future at #32 (+23%), Emgrand EC7 at #34 (-26%), Roewe 350 at #44 (+14%) and ChangAn CS35 at #47 (+64%). That makes it 8 Chinese models in the Top 50 vs. 11 one year ago.

Hyundai Mistra China June 2014. Picture courtesy of Hyundai Mistra is the best-selling newcomer in China so far this year.

Despite being now by far the largest market in the world, China remains also the most dynamic and still among the ones with greatest potential to further increase. One proof: no less than 50 all-new locally produced models have made their appearance in the sales charts over the past 12 months! They are now led by the Hyundai Mistra which like the Honda Crider has created a new segment in-between the Elantra and Sonata, ranking at #35 with 63,222 sales and one of only two newcomers inside the Top 50 along with the Ford Mondeo at #48 and 52,320 units.

FAW Besturn X80 China June 2014. Picture courtesy of cheshi.comFAW Besturn X80

Beyond the #65 rank it gets a little crazy with newbies: the Chery Tiggo 5 is already #66 with 40,832 sales, the Toyota Yaris L lands at #69, the Chery E3 at #74, Beijing Auto Weiwang M20 at #75, Peugeot 301 at #79, Honda Jade at #97, Mazda CX-5 at #110, Brilliance H330 at #112 and Suzuki S-Cross at #118. Notice also the Toyota Vios up 4927% to #37 thanks to the new model, the BMW 3 Series up 44% from #81 to #57, the Audi Q3 from #158 to #64, Ford Ecosport up 102% to #71, Nissan X-Trail up 512% to #76 and the FAW Besturn X80 up 333% to 80.

Previous post: China June 2014: Audi breaks record in market up 11%

Previous month: China 5 months 2014: Wuling Hongguang tests new heights

One year ago: China 6 months 2013: VW Lavida reigns, Nissan Sylphy up 111%

Full 6 months 2014 Top 352 All-models Ranking Table below.

Read more…

Categories: China

China June 2014: Audi breaks record in market up 11%

July 17th, 2014 14 comments

Audi Q3 China June 2014. Picture courtesy of auto.qq.comThe Audi Q3 is up 63% year-on-year in June in China.

* NOW UPDATED with the Top 318 models and Top 64 brands! Click on title to see *

According to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, light vehicle sales in China are up a sturdy 11% year-on-year both in June to 1.564 million units and year-to-date at 9.634 million units. This figure does not include commercial vehicles and imports and based on annual sales trends in previous years this means the light vehicle market will reach 20 million units in 2014, an all-time high, while the overall market should settle around 24-25 million vehicles, here again an all-time record, and by far.

Mazda6 Atenza China June 2014. Picture courtesy of the Mazda 6 Atenza (pictured) and 3 Axela improve vastly on their first month of sales in June.

The June performance is mainly due to the exceptional health of the MPV (+50%) and SUV segments (+35%) while sedan sales are up a more modest 5%. Sales of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids, aided by government subsidies, surged 220 percent in the first 6 months of the year 20,477 units, including 11,777 EVs and 8,700 plug-in hybrids. Brand-wise, and once again this doesn’t include commercial vehicles or imports, Volkswagen leads the way with nearly 220,000 sales way above Hyundai (86,668), Nissan (79,722), Buick (71,060), Toyota (70,460) and Honda (69,023) with Nissan now #4 year-to-date above Toyota. Including imports, Audi lodges its very first month above 50,000 sales in China at a record-breaking 50,756 units.

Chery Tiggo 3 China June 2014. Picture courtesy of Chery Tiggo 3 is above 10,000 sales this month.

In the models ranking, below the Wuling Hongguang in pole position and up a splendid 76% year-on-year to 51,198 units, the Ford Focus overtakes the VW Lavida for the first time since last December at 33,614 sales (+7%) vs. 32,462 (+27%) now that the Gran Lavida is panting a little. The Lavida still has a 60,000+ sales advantage over the Focus year-to-date though. The rest of the Top 6 (all Volkswagens!) show remarkable stability: identical to both May and year-to-date with the Santana up a huge 90% to #4, the Sagitar up 9% to #5 and the Jetta up 56% to #6. The Haval H6 is back up one spot on May and up 73% on June 2013 to 7th place while the Chevrolet Cruze reappears in the Top 10 at #10.

BYD F3 China June 2014. Picture courtesy of to its facelift, the BYD F3 is back in business: #4 Chinese model this month.

Beyond the Top 10, the Hyundai Verna crosses the 20,000 monthly sales milestone for only the third time ever after January 2013 and 2014 in 11th place at 20,537 units (+32%), the VW Tiguan is up a robust 23% at #12, the VW Golf up 123% to #19, Honda Crider up 392% to #20, ChangAn Eado up 121% to #26, BYD F3 up 83% to #27 and #4 Chinese and the Nissan X-Trail is up 1140% on the previous generation to crack the Chinese Top 30 for the very first time at #30. Notice also the Venucia R/D50 up 55% to #31, the Citroen C-Elysée up 50% to #33 and Chery Tiggo (now Tiggo 3) up 25 spots on May and 71% year-on-year to #41.

Beijing Auto Weiwang M20 China June 2014. Picture courtesy of Auto Weiwang M20

Illustrating the trend towards budget MPV triggered by the country-wide success of the Wuling Hongguang and studied in detail in a previous Strategy article, the Beijing Auto Weiwang M20, launched in August 2013, breaks into the Top 50 for the first time in June at #49 thanks to sales up 32% on last month to an all-time high 8,700 units. Now that the new generation is available, the Honda Fit shoots up 99 spots on May to #56 while the Chery Tiggo 5 is up 3 to #58 and a record 7,976 sales. Note there are no all-new models popping up in the Chinese ranking this month which had never happened in the past year BSCB has focused on new launches in this market…

Luxgen 6 SUV China June 2014. Picture courtesy of chexun.comThe Luxgen 6 SUV is testing new grounds for the brand in China.

…But it’s around the #100 spot that things get a little agitated and very interesting. The Peugeot 2008 breaks into the Top 100 for its third month in market with sales up 9% to 4,937 at #98, the Mazda3 Axela does the same, up 29 ranks and 42% on last month to #100 and 4,735 units for only its 2nd appearance in the ranking, the Haima S5 is up 28 spots and 40% to #107, the Mazda6 Atenza up 54 ranks and 135% to #115, the ChangAn CS75 up 49 spots and 119% to #118, Audi A3 up 48% to #125 and the Luxgen 6 SUV up a massive 327% and 92 ranks on May to #130 and 3,208 sales, new frontiers for any Luxgen model so far.

Previous China post: Strategy: How can Chinese brands unlock their home market? (Part 5)

Previous month: China May 2014: VW Santana breaks record in market up 8%

One year ago: China June 2013: Ford Focus leads, Great Wall Haval M4 up

Full June 2014 Top 64 brands and Top 318 models Ranking Tables below.

Read more…

Categories: China

Strategy: How can Chinese brands unlock their home market? (Part 5)

June 30th, 2014 1 comment

GAC Trumpchi GS5 China May 2014. Picture courtesy of yiche.comGAC Trumpchi Transformers The GAC Trumpchi GS5 features in the Hollywood blockbuster ‘Transformers – Age of Extinction’

* See the Top 76 All-models and Top 43 All-brands rankings by clicking on the title! *

This is Part 5 of my special Strategy Series on Chinese manufacturers at home. You can check out previous parts of this series here: Part 1: Introduction and Medium & Heavy TrucksPart 2 :Small, Medium & Large Buses and Light TrucksPart 3: Pick-ups, Mini Trucks and MinivansPart 4: Commercial Vehicles summary and MPVs.

Today we explore the SUV segment, one of the fastest growing in China. Over the Full Year 2013, just under 3 million SUVs found a buyer in the country – 2,988,329 exactly –  and 1.2 million of them or 39.8% were Chinese models. So far in 2014 after 5 months, Chinese penetration of the SUV segment is stable year-on-year at 39.6%. In May, Chinese SUVs grew 32% to 122,143 registrations in an overall SUV market growing 38% at 318,190 units, resulting in a weaker 38.4% market share. April was at 40.2%. To put these market shares in perspective, Chinese penetration is around 37% at the moment across all segments.

Haval H9 2014 Beijing Auto ShowHaval H9 at the 2014 Beijing Auto Show

So this means Chinese manufacturers are doing slightly better in the SUV segment than they are overall, but also that they have managed to maintain their share in this fast-growing segment, doing a good job at countering the multitude of new foreign SUVs that keep being launched in the Chinese market. And this is no mean feat. A lot of Chinese manufacturers are starting to show great skills at making (almost) world-class SUVs.

Haval Dakar Rally 2014. Picture courtesy of bitautoHaval Racecar at the Dakar Rally 2014

Chinese carmakers wouldn’t be a near 40% market share in the SUV segment if if wasn’t for Haval, formerly one of Great Wall’s sub-brands that was promoted to full-scale SUV-specialised brand in 2013. Haval claims it has been the best-selling SUV brand in China for the past 11 consecutive years, which is technically correct if we take into account its sales as a sub-brand up until 2013. In May Haval holds 25% of the SUV market in China with just under 30,000 sales, above Toyota (22,840) and Hyundai (20,304).

ChangAn CS35 China May 2014ChangAn CS35

Haval was by far the most impressive Chinese brand at the 2014 Beijing Auto Show with world-class stand, models and staff (see Beijing Auto Show 2014: The most impressive carmaker: Haval). The H6 is currently the most popular SUV model in China with a whopping 118,700 sales in just 5 months so far in 2014, ahead of the VW Tiguan (107,300) and Honda CR-V (78,800). Illustrating its commitment to premiumise the Haval brand, Great Wall has postponed the launch of H8 twice amidst quality concerns, and the huge H9 (picture above), unveiled at this years’ Beijing Auto Show, will launch in H2 2014.

10. Chery Tiggo 5Chery Tiggo 5 in Chongqing, China – April 2014

Chery is the only other Chinese manufacturer to rank among the Top 10 SUV brands in May at #8 in-between Audi and Honda thanks to the Tiggo which has now developed into a range. The Tiggo used to be the best-selling Chinese SUV years ago but has weakened in recent times. The arrival of the Tiggo 5 could reverse the trend: it ranks #14 SUV model this month with 7,650 sales while the original Tiggo, now facelifted, is #17.

Zotye T600 Ürümqi April 2014Zotye T600 in Ürümqi, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region – China April 2014

The Haval H6 is followed by no less than 7 foreign SUVs before we find the 2nd best-selling local model: the ChangAn CS35 at #9 with 8,977 units (+57%),  spotted my times during my recent trip to China, especially in the countryside. The BYD S6 ranks #15 (+47%) while the GAC Trumpchi GS5 is #18 (+20%), managing to snatch its own Transformers character in Michael Bay’s Hollywood blockbuster movie released just a few days ago. Interesting evolutions include the FAW Besturn X80 at #26 (+97%), the Zotye T600 landing at #29 and the Landwind X-Series at #37 (+51%).

Landwind X8 China May 2014. Picture courtesy of bitautoLandwind X8

All-in-all, for now only Great Wall with its Haval brand is playing in the ‘premium’ SUV segment, with all other Chinese manufacturers competing in the budget end of the market. FAW with its Besturn sub-brand and Zotye are slowly but surely distancing themselves from the budget stigma and could join Haval in the quality stakes shortly. Design and quality have improved greatly over the past couple of years but the Chinese will need to continue to work very hard to hold off a continuous flow of new foreign SUVs and keep their market share at around 40%, let alone improve it. Big SUVs are especially successful in remote areas, so Haval’s strategy to go bigger, better and more expensive could pay off nicely. More local manufacturers need to follow these unbeaten tracks to ensure a prosperous future in the SUV segment.

Next Part in this Strategy series will be Passenger Cars, by far the segment where Chinese manufacturers perform the poorest.

Full May 2014 Top 76 All-models and Top 43 All-brands Ranking Tables below.

Read more…

Categories: China, STRATEGY

China May 2014 – Now updated with Top 10 LCVs!

June 26th, 2014 No comments

Wuling Sunshine China May 2014. Picture courtesy of 32% year-on-year but back on the podium: the Wuling Sunshine

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

Thanks to LMC Automotive I can now share with you more detail about the Chinese car market, including the Top 10 best-selling Light Commercial Vehicles which is a new monthly update on BSCB. LCVs are struggling once again this month in China with the Sunshine down a horrendous 32% on May 2013 to just 33,643 sales but this enables it to get back onto the podium, up from #6 overall last month. For its part the Wuling Rongguang is down 4% to #5 but the Chana Minibus is up a beautiful 18% to #7 thanks to the new gen. Notice the Wuling Mini Truck up 3 spots on April to #24, the Dongfeng Minibus up 9 to #30 and the Beijing Auto Minibus pointing its bonnet at #46 with 10,726 sales.

Previous post: Strategy: Scrapping ageing vehicles the key for Chinese brands?

Most recent year-to-date post: China 5 months 2014: Wuling Hongguang tests new heights

Previous May post: China May 2014: VW Santana breaks record in market up 8%

Previous month: China April 2014 – Now updated with Top 10 LCVs!

Full May 2014 Top 50 models Ranking Table below.

Read more…

Categories: China

Strategy: Scrapping aging vehicles the key for Chinese brands?

June 24th, 2014 1 comment

Dongfeng Xiaokang V27Dongfeng Xiaokang V27

I will resume shortly my Strategy Series “How can Chinese brands unlock their home market?”, but first a piece of information that could have a big impact on Chinese manufacturers in the near future. According to Autonews China, last month President Xi Jinping’s leadership team announced a plan to improve fuel economy and reduce emissions by scrapping no less than 13 million “yellow label” aging light vehicles, cars and trucks that fail to meet emission standards. Even by Chinese standards, 13 million vehicles is a lot! Roughly the equivalent of new car sales in Europe over 12 months… But wait it gets more drastic: Beijing plans to scrap a full 6 million vehicles this year and target the rest of the population of older vehicles over the next 3 year, setting precise targets for each of China’s 31 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions.

John Zeng, Asia director of LMC Automotive, says these “yellow label” vehicles are mainly light trucks, buses and microvans. So this is good news for China’s domestic automakers, the country’s main producers of light commercial vehicles. To fulfill their scrappage quotas, local governments will have to offer attractive cash-for-clunkers incentives. That will significantly boost sales at domestic automakers as China businesses replace their fleets, and will affect the minivan and MPV segments particularly, and in two ways. It could stop the decline of minivan sales and further boost MPV sales as municipalities upgrade from minivans to budget MPV in the same way a lot of Chinese countrysiders are currently doing. Think from a Wuling Sunshine to a Wuling Hongguang.

Links to Strategy series “How can Chinese brands unlock their home market?” (to be continued soon):

Part 1: Introduction and Medium & Heavy Trucks

Part 2 :Small, Medium & Large Buses and Light Trucks

Part 3: Pick-ups, Mini Trucks and Minivans

Part 4: Commercial Vehicles summary and MPVs

Categories: China, STRATEGY

China: Ford opens 88 new dealerships in… one day!

June 24th, 2014 2 comments

Ford Mondeo China June 2014. Picture courtesy of autoifeng.comThe Ford Mondeo is one of China’s best-selling all-new models in 2014.

If you are a regular BSCB reader you will know by now that the future growth potential of the Chinese market lies in secondary cities and countryside regions. Another illustration of this potential is the race for dealerships in this part of the country. According to Automotive News, over the span of just one day – June 19 – Ford opened no less than 88 dealerships in China, bringing its total to 750 outlets there. The bulk of those stores are, you would have guessed it, in up-and-coming lower tier cities. About three-quarters of the outlets operated by its local joint venture, Changan Ford Automobile Co., are now in Tier 4 cities or smaller.

Automotive News says “the June 19 blitz was so important for the Detroit manufacturer that CEO Alan Mulally, who will leave Ford in less than three weeks, flew in to oversee the christening of one shop, the Shanghai Jiuhua West Dealership. As a latecomer to China, Ford is expanding by leaps and bounds to become a top player. Its strategy hinges on stealing a lead in smaller cities primed for explosive growth and in areas such as the central and western parts of the country just starting to take off. Ford’s China sales soared 39 percent to 461,473 vehicles in the first five months of 2014.”

Previous China post: China 5 months 2014: Wuling Hongguang tests new heights

Categories: China

China 5 months 2014: Wuling Hongguang tests new heights

June 14th, 2014 1 comment

5 Wuling HongguangWuling Hongguang in Beijing

* See the Top 348 All-models and Top 66 brands by clicking on the title! *

As is the tradition on BSCB, after exploring the May sales figures in detail and focusing on the all-new models launched this month, we go through the year-to-date rankings to try and extract longer-term trends. 348 locally produced models ranked, one above 300,000 sales already this year, two above 200,000, 15 above 100,000, 164 above 10,000 and 51 all-new entrants: the Chinese year-to-date ranking is all yours below. According to many analysts (not me), every year is the year that the Chinese car sales ‘bubble’ will explode, as it cannot sustain such growth levels year after year. Well 2014 is not that year. The Chinese market is up a very healthy 9% on 2013 after 5 months to a record 9,84 million units, on track to reach an astounding 24 million by end of year.

VW Gran Lavida China May 2014. Picture courtesy of Gran Lavida

As opposed to last year when the race to pole position was rather tight, we have one clear winner in 2014: the Wuling Hongguang, gaining over 100,000 units year-on-year – the sales of the Chevrolet Cruze or Sail! – or 45% to reach a record 320,451 units. Never before had any Passenger Car passed the 300,000 annual sales so fast. The Hongguang is the poster child for a long-term trend at play in China: consumers in rural and remote areas upgrading their flimsy minivans (think Wuling Sunshine) to larger, sturdier, more ‘luxurious’ but not that much more expensive budget MPVs. The Chana Honor up 116% and 41 spots to #26 and the Dongfeng Future up 23% and 7 ranks to #31 also illustrate this trend.

Ford Focus China May 2014. Picture courtesy of Focus

The tremendous success of the Hongguang also shows that selling well in Top-Tier cities is not enough anymore to top the sales charts nationally. As more of these cities limit car purchase to curb pollution, lower-Tier cities, countryside and rural areas will weigh more and more in the sales charts, favouring more functional vehicles. In 2nd place like last year, the VW Lavida is up 24% to 230,722 sales, mainly due to the Gran Lavida hatchback variant, very successful at 51,603 units. Add to this the fact that 51.6% of the 167,850 Ford Focus sold in China so far this year (+9% in 3rd position) are hatchback, and you can start to see that even though China remains a sedan-buying country, launching a hatchback here is not a lost cause, far from it.

Haval H6 China May 2014. Picture courtesy of Haval H6 is up 59% and breaks into the Top 10.

Volkswagen cements its Passenger Cars ranking domination (ex-MPV, ex-SUV), placing no less than 4 models inside the Top 5! The German manufacturer has hit gold with the new generation VW Santana up 145% to 134,934 sales, followed by the Sagitar (+14%) and Jetta (+32%), while the Golf (+70%) and Tiguan (+28%) also outperform the market. The Nissan Sylphy is #1 Japanese at #8 (+29%) while the Haval H6 cracks the Top 10, up a fantastic 59% and 9 spots to #10 and 118,666 units. Sadly the Hongguang and H6 are the only two Chinese models in the Top 25 so far this year, with the ChangAn Eado (#29, +74%) and Emgrand EC7 (#35, -26%) the only two Chinese sedans in the Top 40! You can check out my Strategy analysis on How can Chinese brands unlock their home market here.

Hyundai Mistra China May 2014. Picture courtesy of Hyundai Mistra is on track to sell 100,000 units this year.

The two best-selling all-new entrants over the period uncover a new trend: the creation of intermediary sedan segments exclusive to China. Such huge overall volumes enable a more detailed segmentation and justify the launch of models dedicated to this market. The Honda CRider is slotted between the Civic and the Accord and already outsells both of them at #24 with 66,466 sales, while the Hyundai Mistra is equally as impressive at #37 with 52,200 units, below the Elantra Langdong (#16) and Yuedong (#25) but above the Sonata (#82). Interestingly the Crider and the Mistra are the only all-new entrants inside the Top 50…

Ford Mondeo China May 2014. Picture courtesy of bitauto.comThe new generation Ford Mondeo is the third best-selling all-new model in China in 2014.

…but there are 7 more in the Top 100, led by the Ford Mondeo at #51 with 43,351 sales, ahead of the Chery E3 at #62 and 34,634 units, the Chery Tiggo 5 at #69 and 32,856 sales, the Toyota Yaris L at #71 and 32,774, the Peugeot 301 at #79 and 31,432, Beijing Auto Weiwang M20 at #85 and 28,898 and the Honda Jade at #98 and 24,951. Add to this the Mazda CX-5 at #102 and 7 of the 10 best-selling new models in China over the period are… not Chinese, which is a little alarming given their shrinking market share at home. The Chinese fare better further down the ranking with 7 of the newt 10 new entrants.

FAW Besturn X80 China May 2014. Picture courtesy of bitauto.comFAW Besturn X80

Other noticeable gainers towards the top of the Chinese year-to-date ranking include the Ford Kuga up 96% to #33, the Toyota Vios up 7454% to #34 thanks to the new model, the Citroen C-Elysée up 77% to #39, the ChangAn CS35 up 70% to break into the Top 50 at #46, Skoda Rapid up 705% to #65, Beijing Auto E-Series up 118% to #66, Audi Q3 up 345% to #67, Ford Ecosport up 134% to #134, FAW Besturn X80 up 730% to #76, Haima M3 up 322% to #81 and the Dongfeng Fengguang up 8599% to #89 as it launched exactly one year ago. The trend here is clear: a very strong push from small and medium SUVs, both foreign and Chinese.

Previous post: China May 2014: Focus on the all-new models

Monthly post: China May 2014: VW Santana breaks record in market up 8%

One year ago: China May 2013: VW Lavida leads, Ford Ecosport up

Full January-May 2014 Top 348 All-local models and Top 66 brands Ranking Tables below.

Read more…

Categories: China

China May 2014: Focus on the all-new models

June 14th, 2014 No comments

Mazda3 Axela China May 2014. Picture courtesy of auto.163.comMazda3 Axela

* See the Top 327 models by clicking on the title! Thanks Carnewschina for the pricing info *

As is the tradition on BSCB, after going through detailed sales figures for May, I spend a bit more time acknowledging the all-new entrants in the models ranking, to ensure you are across the latest news in the biggest car market in the world. This month like in April 4 new models make their appearance in the Chinese ranking. Keep in mind all models detailed here are locally produced as import data is not communicated.

The most successful new entrant in May is the new generation Mazda3 Axela, differentiated from the other 2 generations of Mazda3 by its Japanese name. Priced between 114.900 and 159.900 yuan (US$18.500-25.800), it lands at a very satisfying #129 with 3,343 sales. This is already better than the Mazda3 Xingcheng (2nd generation) over the Full Year 2013 (#153) and the Mazda3 (first generation) at #203, so a great opportunity for Mazda to step up its overall sales in China with this new model… It will compete with the Ford Focus (#3), VW Golf (#20) and Honda Civic which it already nearly toppled (#126) so the sky is the limit for the 3 Axela which could push Mazda to new heights. A monthly Top 50 ranking before 2014 comes to an end would be a great achievement.

Beijing Auto Senova D50 China May 2014. Picture courtesy of Auto Senova D50

Just below at #132 with 3,238 sales is the Beijing Auto Senova (or Shenbao) D50, which is now separated sales-wise from the Senova D-Series (renamed D70) and therefore appears in the ranking for the first time even though it launched in April. Year-to-date sales add up to 4,918 in two months for a #204 ranking. The D50 is priced between 74.800 and 119.800 yuan (US$12.000-19.300) and is positioned below the D60 which was unveiled at this year’s Beijing Auto Show and will launch in August. It is based on the new M-trix platform, itself based on the Saab 9-3 platform which BAIC bought from GM in 2009.

With its May score the Senova D50 already beats the D70′s all-time record of 3,194 and #151 reached last December, so it is assured to bring the Senova sub-brand to new levels this year. The D50 has an air of ChanAn Eado which is a good thing, the latter currently being the best-selling Chinese sedan in the country. Breaking into the Top 100 would be a great start, but expect some cannibalisation once the D60 hits dealerships over the last Quarter of the year.

Mazda6 Atenza China May 2014. Picture courtesy of Atenza

A second very important Mazda makes its entrance in China this month: the new generation Mazda6, named Mazda6 Atenza at #169 with 1,731 sales. It is priced between 179.800 and 238.900 yuan (US$29.000-38.500) and competes with the Toyota Camry (#22 so far in 2014), Ford Mondeo (#51) and Honda Accord (#91). Similarly to the new gen Mazda3, its Japanese naming differentiates it from the first (Mazda6) and second generations (Mazda6 Ruiwing) still in production here. The first gen is surprisingly the most popular by far but is logically down 28% this month to #98 with 4,946 sales, ranking #72 year-to-date after being #56 in 2013. The 2nd gen is #243 in May and #199 in 2014.

The level at which the 6 Atenza launched means it could replace the 1st gen, not the 2nd, in the sales charts. Breaking into the monthly Top 100 and passing the Honda Accord would be a very noticeable step especially given the Accord is also new now. Mazda can genuinely aim at a Top 50 annual ranking in 2015 for the 6 Atenza, which would place it at the same level as the Ford Mondeo. Teasing the Camry seems far-fetched, but possible on a one-off basis.

Maxus G10 China May 2014. Picture courtesy of G10

Finally the last new-entrant in May is the Maxus G10 which I described during my visit to the Beijing Auto Show earlier this year. Launched last March, it only appears in the ranking now at #303 with 36 units which may be due to the CAAM hesitating on its classification as a Passenger Car or Commercial Vehicle (as it did for the Wuling Hongguang). From May onwards it is considered an MPV but it may have sold more units as an LCV prior to this. Ah the tricks of Chinese data… The Maxus brand was bought in 2010 from the British LDV Group by the Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC) which launched a first model, the V80, in September 2011.

The G10 is actually a pretty impressive-looking vehicle which picked my curiosity at the Auto Show. It is priced from 129.800 to 219.800 yuan (US$20.900-35.400) and has its sights firmly aimed at the Buick GL8, #58 so far in 2014 with 37,595 sales. Although we have seen that the budget-end of the MPV segment is the one currently booming in China, this is the first true attempt from a Chinese brand to compete in the luxury MPV segment. According to Carnewschina, these vehicles are used by many businesses as mobile offices, and by taxi companies for VIP transport. I did indeed spot an astounding amount of Buick GL8 in Beijing.

This concludes our focus on all-new models in China for May – stay tuned for the June update in one month!

Previous post: China May 2014: VW Santana breaks record in market up 8%

Previous month: China April 2014: Focus on the all-new models

One year ago: China May 2013: Focus on the all-new models

Full May 2014 Top 327 All-local models Ranking Table below.

Read more…

Categories: China

China May 2014: VW Santana breaks record in market up 8%

June 13th, 2014 4 comments

VW Santana China May 2014. Picture courtesy of chexun.comVW Santana

* See the Top 327 All-local models and Top 64 brands by clicking on the title! *

Still no sign of slowing down for the Chinese new car market, with May up another 8.5% to 1.91 million units across all segments, bringing the year-to-date total to 9.84 million units, up 9% on 2013. China Manufacturers Association CAAM tables on a 10% increase this year that would bring the overall market to an out-of-this-word 24 million units by end 2014, and we are in line with this projection after 5 months. Passenger cars are up a strong 14% to 1.59 million, Commercial vehicles are down 12% to 320,800. Among passenger cars, sedans are up 7%, SUVs up 40% and MPVs up 54%.

ChangAn Eado China May 2014. Picture courtesy of ChangAn Eado is the best-selling Chinese Passenger Car (ex- SUV and MPV) at #26.

The Wuling Hongguang continues to dominate the models sales charts thanks to exceptional penetration rates in rural areas, up a huge 85% on May 2013 to 50,333 sales and adding up to 320,451 units so far in 2014, a record for any Passenger car in the history of automobile in China. In fact this month the Top 7 best-sellers are identical to the year-to-date ranking: the VW Lavida is up 23% year-on-year to 37,557 sales, the Ford Focus up 22% to 33,341, the VW Santana up a massive 276% thanks to the new generation to an all-time high 28,440 units, the VW Sagitar up 13% to #5, VW Jetta up 61% to #6 and the Buick Excelle up just 3% to #7.

Nissan X-Trail China May 2014. Picture courtesy of new generation Nissan X-Trail definitely stroke a chord with Chinese buyers: +740%.

The Haval H6 pauses its unstoppable race to the top this month at 24,404 sales and #8 (+56%): only the 2nd time in the past 11 months that it doesn’t break its monthly volume record! Talk about being regular at the top… The VW Bora (#10), Passat (#11) and Tiguan (#13) make it an incredible 7 Volkswagens in the Top 13. Volkswagen’s domination in the hatchback/sedan market is such that it places 6 models in the Top 9 this month, all above 21,500 sales!

Peugeot 2008 China May 2014. Picture courtesy of auto.qq.comThe Peugeot 2008 is up 171% on April to #107.

Further down, the Honda Crider is back inside the Top 20 for the first time this year at #19, the Toyota RAV4 is up 16 spots on April and 92% year-on-year to #25, the ChangAn Eado continues to impress: up 81% to #26 and #3 Chinese with 12,991 sales and the BYD F3 is back in the game thanks to its facelift: up 91% to #31 and 11,590 units vs. #61 year-to-date, the nameplate’s strongest monthly score since March 2012 after reaching a low of 2,662 units last February. The Nissan X-Trail is up a further 11 ranks to #35 vs. #95 YTD and the Audi Q3 is up 39 to #51.

ChangAn CS75 China May 2014ChangAn CS75

Among recent launches, we have a lot of very interesting movement this month. Launched last month, the Chevrolet Trax is up 187% and 81 spots to break into the Top 100 at #88 with 5,293 sales, to be compared with #71 and 6,500 units for its twin the Buick Encore, released over a year ago. The Peugeot 2008 for its part is up an equally impressive 171% and 67 ranks to land at #107 with 4,510 sales, now the brand’s 5th best-seller below the 308 (#52), 301 (#73), 3008 (#83) and 408 (#93). The Top 100 could be for next month…

Zhongxing C3 Urban Ark China May 2014ZX Auto (Zhongxing) C3 Urban Ark

Also launched last April, the Haima S5 is a little more shy: up 7% and 4 spots to #135, while the DS5 LS is up 19% and 16 ranks to #172. First ‘real’ month of sales for the Audi A3, shooting up to #156 with 2,354 sales, while the ChangAn CS75 also takes off at +420% and 86 spots to #167, as does the Zhongxing C3 Urban Ark up 95 ranks on last month to #187. Finally the Qoros 3 remains extremely discreet and vastly below expectations at #231 with just 641 sales.

There are 4 all-new models making their first appearance in the Chinese ranking this month, and these are described in detailed in China May 2014: Focus on the all-new models.

Previous post: Strategy: How can Chinese brands unlock their home market? (Part 4)

Previous month: China April 2014: Now updated with Top 10 LCVs

One month ago: China April 2014: Haval H6 breaks records in market up 13%

One year ago: China May 2013: VW Lavida leads, Ford Ecosport up

Full May 2014 Top 327 All-local models and Top 64 brands Ranking Table below.

Read more…

Categories: China

Strategy: How can Chinese brands unlock their home market? (Part 4)

June 3rd, 2014 No comments

Beijing Auto Weiwang M20. Picture courtesy of carmakers are starting to make big waves in the MPV segment (Beijing Auto Weiwang M20)

NOW UPDATED with MPV analysis.

This is Part 4 of my special Strategy series about Chinese manufacturers at home. Check out Part 1 (introduction and Medium & Heavy Trucks)Part 2 (Small, Medium & Large Buses and Light Trucks) and Part 3 (Pick-ups, Mini Trucks and Minivans). We are exploring the Chinese market segment by segment and studying how local brands fare in each segment and every Commercial Vehicle segment has now been covered. Far from having to try ‘unlock’ these segments, Chinese manufacturers actually hold an almost unbreakable monopoly on local production and sales of Commercial vehicles.

Chana Taurus. Picture courtesy of Taurus. Chinese manufacturers monopolise all Commercial Vehicle segments at home…

The relative weakness of Chinese carmakers at home has often been pointed at as a factor that could potentially hamper their progression overseas, but the Commercial Vehicle sector in China actually behaves a lot like the Passenger Car sector in Japan and South Korea before their worldwide expansion. The Chinese are buying Chinese trucks of all size, buses, minivans and pickups and their strength at home is an invaluable base for progress in export markets. Neighbouring countries such as Mongolia and Vietnam already buy a majority of Chinese medium and heavy trucks, and the situation is likely to be similar in a lot of developing countries, except I can’t report it here because sales data is unavailable.

Segment Total Prod Chinese
Medium & Heavy Trucks 1,044,619 97%
Medium & Large Buses 175,266 97%
Small Buses 389,963 100%
Light Trucks 1,894,993 99%
Mini Trucks 527,232 100%
Minivans 1,634,922 100%
TOTAL 5,666,995 99%

Before we go into the Passenger Car segments in China let’s first take stock of the outstanding domination of Chinese manufacturers at home in all Commercial Vehicle segments. Keep in mind these are mainly production figures with a tiny part of it being exported, however imports are also minimal in these segments so it is a good summary of sales as well. Out of a 22 million vehicle-strong total market in 2013, Chinese manufacturers secure 5.6 million thanks to their near-monopoly of Commercial Vehicles. It also means that their share of the 16 million remaining Passenger Cars sold in the country last year is roughly 20%… Now that’s when we can talk about ‘unlocking their home market’ as per the title subject of this Strategy series…

Wuling Hongguang China 2013. Picture courtesy of nextcar.comThe Wuling Hongguang is responsible for the MPV sales explosion in China.


This is a key category in the Chinese market and one that will potentially make a lot of difference for Chinese manufacturers. I will go as far as saying MPVs are capital for Chinese brands to unlock their home market. In an overall market up 12% so far in 2014, MPV sales are up a gigantic 45% to 612,544 units in 4 months, that an impressive 1.8 million annual units rate. But even more tellingly, Chinese MPVs are up 51%, going from 85.7% to 89% market share. A testimony to its relatively late blooming, the MPV segment is still a little vague in China, with the Wuling Hongguang counted as a Commercial Vehicle by Chooseauto up until one year ago.

ChangAn Honor China March 2014. Picture courtesy of bitauto.comThe Chana Honor is the 2nd best-selling MPV in China.

The Wuling Hongguang is indeed responsible for the explosion of MPV sales in China, currently holding a 44% market share in the category. Along with Dongfeng and Chana, Wuling basically created the ‘affordable MPV’ category in China. My trip there unveiled the fact that affordable MPV are an upgrade for Minivans owners and the explanation for the Minivan plateauing we spoke about in the last Part of this Strategy series. At 1.8 million predicted units this year, MPVs should overcome Minivans for the first time in China.

1. Dongfeng FengguangDongfeng Fengguang in Kuqa, Xinjiang Uyghur – May 2014

The Wuling Hongguang is no less than the most popular vehicle in China outright nowadays, and its success relies on an incredible penetration rate in countryside and remote areas. When I travelled on the Karakoram Highway near the border with Pakistan, the Hongguang was simply the only new vehicle around. The Chana Honor, #2 most popular MPV in the country, sold over 20,000 monthly units for the very first time last March. This success has already spawned a few lightly disguised clones: the Dongfeng Fengguang, particularly popular in Kuqa in Xinjiang Uyghur, has already sold 23,000 units so far in 2014 while the Beijing Auto Weiwang M20 is just below at 22,300 sales.

Baojun 730Baojun 730 at the Beijing Auto Show last month

And the Chinese domination in the segment is set to continue: Baojun unveiled the 730 at the Beijing Auto Show whereas foreign manufacturers have yet to respond to the exploding demand for this kind of vehicles. The Top 5 foreign MPVs all behave worse than the market: the Buick GL8 is up 36%, the VW Touran down 7%, the Nissan NV200 up 38%, Toyota E’Z Yizhi up 15% and the Honda Odyssey down a horrendous 55%. As you can notice, none of them can be qualified as ‘affordable’…

Next stop: SUVs, so stay tuned!

Full China 4 months 2014 Top 33 All-SUV Ranking Table below.

Read more…

Categories: China, STRATEGY