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China Full Year 2014: Growth cools to 7% to record 23.5m sales

January 23rd, 2015 No comments

Wuling Hongguang China September 2014. Picture courtesy of cheshi.com2Emperor of China: the Wuling Hongguang clocked up a record 750,000 sales in 2014.

* See the Top 402 locally produced models, Top 10 LCVs and Top 66 brands *

One of the main news items in the 2014 automotive world is the cooling down of the Chinese new vehicle market’s growth. I’m stressing the word growth here, because a lot of analysts have dramatised this trend to such an extent over the past 12 months that they make it look like the entire Chinese market is cooling down. Not so, only its growth is – a very big difference, dropping by half from +14% in 2013 to +6.9% in 2014 according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. This means an additional 1.5 million new vehicles were sold in China in 2014 compared to 2013 – a little less than the entire French new car market, lifting the all-time record for any country in the world to 23.49 million units.

Segment 2014 sales /13 2013 sales
Sedan 12,376,700 3% 12,016,200
SUV 4,077,900 36% 2,998,500
MPV 1,914,300 47% 1,299,200
Microvan 1,331,700 -17% 1,613,700
Passenger Car total 19,700,600 10% 17,927,600
Truck 3,184,400 -9% 3,494,300
Bus 606,900 8% 561,900
Commercial Vehicle total 3,791,300 -7% 4,056,200
Market total 23,491,900 7% 21,983,800

An analysis by segment clearly shows the engines of growth in China in 2014. Microvans are down harsh 17% to 1.33 million units as Chinese consumers upgrade to larger MPVs for commercial use, and trucks are down 9% to 3.18 million sales, bringing commercial vehicle sales down 7% to 3.79 million units. If Passenger Cars are up a robust 9.89% year-on-year to 19.7 million units (vs. +15.7% in 2013), sedans are only up 3% to 12.38 million units. The only two segments pulling the entire Chinese market up in 2014 are MPVs up a spectacular 47% to 1.91 million sales and SUVs up an equally impressive 36% to cross both the 3 million and 4 million annual sales benchmark for the first time at 4.08 million units. Worryingly for local manufacturers though, the share of domestic brands continued to drop, now at 38.44% of annual sales, down 2.1 percentage points from a year earlier due to the weakness of the truck market where Chinese manufacturers have an almost monopoly on sales at home.

Haval H6 China 2014. Picture courtesy of auto.sohu.comThe Haval H6 is the first SUV to break the 300,000 annual sale-milestone in China.

Yes, it’s a cooled down growth rate, but let’s not forget the Chinese market only grew by 4% in 2012 on the back of Japan-China tensions and stricter licence plate allocation in first tier cities. Aptly, far from slowing its growth further in 2014, the CAAM predicts another year at +7% in 2015, bringing the overall market above 25 million units for the first time. Of this, 21.3m units will be light vehicles, up 8% on 2014 and once again pulled up by SUVs (+25% to 5.1m) and MPVs (+35% to 2.6m) while sedans (+1% to 12.5m) and microvans (-20% to 1.1m) will underperform again. Thanks to rising household incomes, vehicle buyers will continue to migrate from sedans and microvans to larger and more expensive vehicles such as SUVs and MPVs. Geographically, customers in Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities are now buying their second vehicles, while those in smaller Tier 3 and Tier 4 are still buying their first vehicles, so there is still a very large potential for growth and, increasingly, renewal. A much more detailed forecast of the Chinese market will be published on BSCB shortly.

Hyundai Mistra China 2014. Picture courtesy of auto.sohu.comHyundai is the #3 brand in China, partly thanks to the success of the new Mistra (pictured above).

Keeping in mind that for now only detailed sales of locally produced vehicles are available, Volkswagen remains the most popular brand in this market by far with almost double the sales of the next most popular marque at 2.71 million units, outsmarting the market at +13% year-on-year. Thanks to the enormous success of its microvans and MPVs, local brand Wuling takes the 2nd spot with 1.4 million units, followed by Hyundai up 9% to 1.12 million. ChangAn is the second local brand inside the Top 4, here again thanks to successful microvans with sales just under the annual million units. Toyota (+11%), Buick (+14%) and Nissan (+2%) follow, with Ford, Honda and Chevrolet rounding up the Top 10.

BAIC Senova D50 China 2014. Picture courtesy of pcauto.com.cnBAIC Senova D50 – BAIC is among China’s Top 20 brands.

SUV-only brand Haval is up a stunning 53% to 429,328 units, Peugeot up 41% to 384,005, Audi up 25%, BMW up 34%, Baojun up 81%, Zotye up 62% and Fiat up 41%. Notice also the arrival of BAIC inside the Top 20, Great Wall down 47%, Brilliance down 27%, GAC Trumpchi up 36% and new SUV brand BAIC Huansu landing at #37. At 26,008 units, PSA’s premium brand DS finishes its first full year in market inside the Top 50 locally-produced brands.

GAC Trumpchi GA3 2014. Picture courtesy of hugcar.comGAC Trumpchi sales are up 37% year-on-year.

Stepping into the models ranking in China, there are 3 standout stars in 2014 and they are all Chinese. Firstly the Wuling Hongguang spends a 2nd consecutive month in pole position and improves its annual sales figure by an outstanding 67% on 2013 to 750,019, an all-time record for any passenger car ever on sale in the country, arguably mainly used as a commercial vehicle though. Seconly, after eclipsing 200,000 sales for its first full year of sales in 2013, the Haval H6 becomes the first SUV to cross the 300,000 annual unit-mark with 315,881 sales, up 45% year-on-year. The H6 spent almost all year breaking its monthly sales volume record (it did so 8 times in 2014 alone!) and is symbolic of the explosive growth the SUV segment is currently enjoying in China.

Baojun 730 China 2014. Picture courtesy of chexun.netThe Baojun 730 is the fastest-ever nameplate to hit 30,000 monthly sales in China.

Symbolic of the even more impressive growth of MPV sales, in a matter of months the Baojun 730 has become the most successful launch in the history of automobile in China, hitting 12,006 sales in its first month, 21,016 sales for its 2nd month in market and 30,089 for its 4th month, making it the fastest-ever nameplate to reach both the 20,000 and 30,000 monthly sales mark. It is of course #1 new nameplate for the year at #43 with 120,089 sales and could pretend at a podium ranking over the Full Year 2015.

VW Lavida China 2014. Picture courtesy of auto.ifeng.comThe VW Lavida is the best-selling sedan in China for the 2nd year running.

Back to the top of the ranking to notice the VW Lavida (+12%) and Ford Focus (-3%) maintaining their respective Top 2 sedans spots, the VW Sagitar and Nissan Sylphy both edging past 300,000 annual sales in the last hours of the year, making it 6 nameplates above that threshold vs. none in 2012. The VW Jetta (+13%) comes very close to also reaching that milestone, while the Buick Excelle (-1%) is the only nameplate in the Top 10 to lose ground year-on-year. The VW Santana (+58%) enjoys the benefits of its first relaunch in 30 years, the VW Golf (+90%) makes it 9 VW models inside the Top 20, the Kia K3 is up 30% to #20, Honda Crider up 72% to spend its first full year at #26, Ford Kuga up 42% to #33, the Hyundai Mistra exceeds Hyundai’s expectations at 135,000 sales (vs. a goal of 120,000), the Toyota Vios benefits from the launch of the new model to multiply its sales by 4.5 to #36 and the Citroen C-Elysée is up 75% to #37.

Geely Emgrand EC7 China 2014Geely Emgrand EC7

Below the ultra-dominant Wuling Hongguang and Haval H6, the Geely Emgrand EC7 keeps its title of best-selling Chinese sedan at #24 overall despite sales down 14% and an assault from the ChangAn Eado, up 71% to #28. The Chana Honor MPV is up 51% to #32, the Dongfeng Future up 14% to #39, Dongfeng Joyear up 65% to #44 and BYD F3 back up 33% to #47. Further down, notice the Chery Tiggo 3 up 37% to #51, Tiggo 5 up to #58 for its first full year in market and the Dongfeng Fengguang MPV up 181% to #63.

JAC Refine S3 China 2014. Picture courtesy autov.com.cnThe JAC Refine S3 topped all foreign SUVs in November.

64 new nameplates were spat out of local factories this year vs. 16 models discontinued for a net increase of 48 models ranked, bringing the total to 402. As a comparison, the net increase in both Europe and the USA is between zero and 5. Out of the 64 newcomers, 30 were SUVs, 38 were Chinese, and 19 were Chinese SUVs. The Baojun 730 is the only all-new nameplate in the Top 100, with the 2nd most popular nbeing the ChangAn CS75 SUV at #109 followed by the JAC Refine S3 at #115, Haval H2 at #116, Toyota Levin at #117, BAIC Huansu S3 at #119, Peugeot 2008 at #128, Chevrolet Trax at #130, BAIC Senova D50 at #134 and the Mazda3 Axela at #136.

Wuling Rongguang 2014The Wuling Rongguang is the best-selling LCV in China in 2014.

The Wuling Rongguang takes the lead of the LCV models ranking with sales up 2% to 345,102, while the Wuling Sunshine is down 32%, the Chana Mini Bus down 14% and the Foton Light Truck down 25%. The Wuling Mini Truck delivers the best performance in the Top 10 with sales up 25% to 219,466 units in 5th place, and we welcome the JMC Light Truck and Jinbei Light Bus inside the Top 10.

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

One year ago (PC): China Full Year 2013: Wuling Hongguang and VW Lavida on top

One year ago (LCV): China Full Year 2013: Discover the Top 10 best-selling LCVs

Two years ago: China Full Year 2012: Ford Focus triumphs

Full Year 2014 Top 402 All-local models, Top 10 LCVs & Top 66 brands vs. Full 2013 figures below.

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Categories: China

China December 2014: Focus on the all-new models

January 20th, 2015 3 comments

Ford Escort China December 2014. Picture courtesy of auto.163.comFord is reviving the Escort nameplate, for Chinese car buyers only.

* See the Top 362 All-models ranking by clicking on the title *

As is the tradition on BSCB, after exploring the monthly Chinese ranking, we explore in detail the all-new models that make their entrance in the biggest car market in the world, in other words models that have kick-started local production as imports data is still a very well-kept secret in China. After a record 12 all-new nameplates launched in November – and most of them improving further in December, we welcome another avalanche of newcomers in December: no less than 11 including 7 Chinese and a few very promising ones among them. Once again this is a lot better than the 8 all-new entrants from a year ago in December 2013. Complete analysis will follow shortly.

Beijing Auto Senova D20 China December 2014. Picture courtesy bitauto.com

1. Beijing Auto Senova D20 (#136 with 4,492 sales)

The D20 is none other than a facelifted E-Series moved under the Senova sub-brand as it was standing alone without any sub-brand attached to it up until now, a very rare situation for a Chinese nameplate. Available as hatchback or sedan, it is priced between 48.800 and 82.800 yuan (US$7.850-13.300) and based on the platform of the 2004 Smart ForFour. Interestingly, the E-Series hatchback outsold the sedan by about 2:1, at odds with the traditional Chinese love affair with sedans. As a logical result of the arrival of the Senova D20, the E-Series is down 56% to 5,192 sales in December, indicating an overall potential of 10,000 monthly units. The E-Series’ record monthly result is indeed 11,932 units exactly one year ago in December 2013.

Bar for success: #50 or 10,000 monthly sales

Ford Escort China December 2014. Picture courtesy of auto.sohu.com

2. Ford Escort (#156 with 3,710 units)

Over a decade after killing it in 2003 to make place for the Focus, Ford is reviving the Escort nameplate only for China with this model based on the current China-made Focus Classic, a slightly dressed up 2nd generation Ford Focus which it will eventually replace. The Escort enters the most crowded segment in China – compact sedans, and has big shoes to fill as the Focus Classic still accounts for around 40% of the 392,000 Focus sold in China in 2014, that’s roughly 160,000 annual units. To an already tough challenge on paper is added a surprisingly high price and disappointingly bare interior. Ouch. The Escort is priced at 96.800-119.800 yuan (US$15.500-19.200), a logical notch lower than the 119.000-169.900 yuan ($19.200-27.300) of the Focus. But.

Ford Escort China December 2014. Picture courtesy carnewschina.comNo LCV touch screen, instead: that. 

The compact sedans with which the Escort competes are all priced lower: see the Peugeot 301 at 84.700-116.700 yuan ($13.600-18.800), Citroen C-Elysée at 83.800-118.800 yuan ($13.500-19.100) and Toyota Corolla EX at 90.800-113.800 ($14.600-18.300). And the brand new Toyota Corolla is only slightly more expensive at 107.800-134.800 yuan ($17.300-21.700), making the Escort a good 13.000 yuan (US$2.500) too expensive, a price difference that could be fatal in this segment. Especially given the interior features no LCV touch screen or any other screen in any version. LCV touch screens have become a must-have in any car sold in China and local carmakers now have huge examples in 50.000 yuan vehicles ($8.000), or half the price of the Escort.

Ford Focus Classic China 2014Big shoes to fill: Ford wants to eventually replace the Focus Classic with the Escort.

According to local website Carnewschina, “buyers in the segment where the Escort operates are known to be mid-aged and conservative, so the conservative design of the vehicle makes some sense. However, younger buyers will walk away and that is the booming market Ford should really be after, in a time where other brands are designing cars especially for the young. All in all, it almost seems as if Ford didn’t really want this new Escort. The comments on Chinese websites are largely negative, with many commenters saying the Escort is too expensive for what it offers.” In this context, matching Focus Classic sales seems extravagant, where really the Escort should increase its predecessor’s sales by 20%.

Bar for success: #25 or 16,000 monthly sales

Hawtai Shengdafei China December 2014

3. Hawtai Shengdafei (#218 with 1,658 deliveries)

Citroen C3-XR China December 2014

4. Citroen C3-XR (#228 with 1,246 sales)

Wuling Journey China December 2014. Picture courtesy of chexun.net

5. Wuling Journey (#235 with 1,009 units)

Suzuki Alivio China December 2014. Picture courtesy of auto.sohu.com

6. Suzuki Alivio (#249 with 794 deliveries)

Honda XR-V China December 2014. Picture courtesy of auto.sohu.com

7. Honda XR-V (#267 with 526 sales)

Qoros 3 SUV China December 2014. Picture courtesy auto.sohu.com

8. Qoros 3 SUV (#314 with 181 units)

Ab Ende September kommt der rein elektrische DENZA in China zu d

9. Denza EV (#317 with 132 deliveries)

GAC Trumpchi GA6 China December 2014

10. GAC Trumpchi GA6 (#327 with 84 sales)

Yema T70 China December 2014. Picture courtesy cntv.cn

11. Yema T70 (#344 with 20 units)

Previous post: China December 2014: Chevrolet Cruze shoots up to 2nd place

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

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

Full December 2014 Top 362 All-models Ranking Table below.

Read more…

Categories: China

China December 2014: Chevrolet Cruze shoots up to 2nd place

January 20th, 2015 2 comments

Chevrolet Cruze China December 2014. Picture courtesy of autokon.comThe Chinese Chevrolet Cruze now looks very different to the rest of the world.

* See the Top 362 All-models ranking by clicking on the title *

Surprise surge of new car sales in China in December: up 12% to 2.41 million units, a new monthly volume record in China. Passenger cars are up a strong 11% to 2 million deliveries, MPVs are up 26% to just under 200,000 units and SUVs are up a stunning 55% to cross the half-million mark for the first time. A record 65 nameplate sell over 10,000 units this month in China, compared to 45 in the USA. To understand how much of a booming market China still is despite a lot of analysts announcing its demise (I’m not one of them), let’s simply notice that 27 out of the Top 50 best-selling models in December break their all-time monthly volume record. That’s an unbelievable feat in a market that will reach 25 million annual sales in 2015.

Baojun 730 China December 2014. Picture courtesy auto.sina.com.cnAnother outstanding sales month for the Baojun 730.

For once, the sales surge has benefitted Chinese manufacturers, with 9 of the Top 11 best-selling Chinese nameplates breaking an all-time record: at the top of the ranking the Wuling Hongguang is up a breathtaking 82% on December 2013 to lodge its 2nd best-ever month at 75,900 units, the Baojun 730 breaks into the Top 5 for the first time, selling a record 31,472 units and the Haval H6 breaks its monthly record for the 14th time in the past 18 months at 31,373 deliveries, its third consecutive month above 30,000 sales.

JAC Refine S3 China December 2014. Picture courtesy autov.com.cnThe JAC Refine S3 is testing new heights for the brand at home.

Outside the Top 10, the Geely Emgrand EC7 is at an all-time high 25,841 units at #14, the JAC Refine S3 has imposed itself as a blockbuster SUV only a couple of months after launch, continuing to improve at 17,133 sales in 22nd place and #4 SUV in the country, the Chery Tiggo 3 is up 153% year-on-year to #25 and a record 16,632 units while its larger stablemate the Chery Tiggo 5 also breaks its monthly record, up 126% on December to 12,469 sales at #42. Two additional Chinese SUVs break records: the Beijing Auto Huansu S3 is up a further 22% on November to 14,512 units and the Haval H2 is up to 12,259 sales at #44. We also have one record-breaking Chinese MPV in the Top 50: the Dongfeng Fengguang boosted by its new “360” SUV variant and up 91% to 14,481 units at #36. Finally, once #1 in China the BYD F3 is back in favour with Chinese car buyers, reaching its highest monthly volume since May 2011 at 16,078 sales.

Zotye T600 China December 2014. Picture courtesy aitupian.comThe T600 is the first Zotye nameplate to sell over 10,000 monthly units in China.

Further down, notice also the Zotye T600 breaking the 10,000 monthly unit-mark for the very first time exactly one year after launch at a best-ever #56 and 10,551 sales, the Chery 2 (formerly known as Fulwin 2) back up 37% to #58 and 10,414 sales, the Geely Vision up fourfold on a year ago at #72, the GAC Trumpchi GA3S smashing its all-time monthly record by 54% to 8,585 sales and breaking into the Top 100 for the first time at #73, the Beijing Senova D50 doing the same by 15% at #85 and the Beijing Huansu S2 taking off at +196% on November to 6,200 units for its 5th month in market.

Honda Fit China December 2014. Picture courtesy auto.163.comThe new generation has lifted Honda Fit Chinese sales to never-seen before heights.

Great December sales performances are not confined to Chinese nameplates, and far from it. Boosted by its facelift making it unique in the world, the Chevrolet Cruze spectacularly shoots up to 2nd place overall, up 46% year-on-year to smash its monthly volume record by almost 10,000 units at 35,603 sales (previous best: 26,273 in October 2013). The Nissan Sylphy lodges a 2nd month in a row at an all-time high third position thanks to an extremely robust 32,908 sales, outselling both the Ford Focus (31,944) and VW Lavida (28,221), this year’s two best-selling passenger cars. Honda traditionally delivers huge December figures due to heavy discounts and this year is no exception: the Accord is up 32% YOY to a record 29,184 units, the Crider is up 17% to a best-ever 26,387 and Fit sales are up a gargantuan fivefold on a year ago to an all-time high 15,886.

Toyota Corolla VW Lavida China December 2014. Picture courtesy of iweeklyauto.comThe Toyota Corolla outsells the VW Lavida for the first time.

Among other nameplates to break their all-time volume record in the Top 50, let’s single out the Toyota Corolla tripling its sales year-on-year to a 29,019 and outselling the VW Lavida for the first time, the Hyundai Elantra Langdong up 63% to 27,054, both the Kia K2 (+41% to 16,402) and K3 (+60% to 18,010), the Chevrolet Malibu at 17,080, Skoda Octavia at 16,750, Toyota Vios at 14,624, Hyundai Mistra at 13,036 and Ford Kuga at 12,830. Illustrating the exceptional month we are dealing with here, a few tried-and-tested nameplates also reach career highs, such as the Hyundai ix35 hitting 17,431 sales, the Audi A4L at 13,307 and the Citroen C-Elysée at 12,324.

DS 6 China December 2014. Picture courtesy of auto.sohu.comThe DS 6 already accounts for 73% of the DS brand’s sales in China this month.

As far as recent launches are concerned, the Toyota Levin delivers its third consecutive month above 10,000 sales at 11,006, both the Honda Vezel and Buick Envision impressively cross the same benchmark for their 3rd month in market at 11,639 and 10,008 units respectively, the Hyundai ix25 is up a further 21% on November to a record #82 and 8,038 deliveries with the Kia K4 behaving similarly at +19% to #84 and 8,017 sales and the DS 6 is up 69% to #167 and 3,325 units, making up for horrendous results from the brand’s two other nameplates, the DS 5 (-31% year-on-year) and DS 5LS (-72% on November).

BYD S7 China December 2014. Picture courtesy of auto.sohu.comBYD S7

Out of the 12 all-new nameplates hitting the market place in November, a few are already shooting up the ladder: if the Haval H1 is up ‘just’ 15% on last month to 6,983 sales and down two spots but staying inside the Top 100 at #99, the most spectacular progression is delivered by the BYD S7 going from #220 and 1,002 units in November to #116 and 5,547 units this month, already above its bar for success I set at 4,500 units but cannibalising sales of the BYD S6 down 41% to #104. Also impressive are the Dongfeng Fengshan AX7 up 113% and 42 spots to #145 with 4,171 sales (bar for success 5,000), the Chery Arrizo 3 also up 113% to #155 and 3,777 units (bar for success 5,000), Zotye Z500 up 212% to #179 with 2,841 deliveries (bar for success 4,000). The Lifan X50 is up 264% to a still discreet #212, the Infiniti Q50L up 45% to #225, the Haval H9 up 27% to #178 and the Chery eQ up 199% to #281. With the Kia K3S now incorporated into K3 sales, this means 9 out of the 11 nameplates launched last month are up. A good crop indeed.

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

Previous month: China November 2014: MPV sales up 43%, SUV up 38%

One year ago: China December 2013: Honda Crider breaks into Top 10

Full December 2014 Top 362 All-models Ranking Table below.

Read more…

Categories: China

China LCV November 2014: Wuling leads struggling segment

December 20th, 2014 No comments

9. Jinbei SY1025Jinbei Light Truck in Kashgar, Xinjiang Uyghur

* See the Top 8 best-selling models by clicking on the title *

According to data published by LMC Automotive, sales of Light Commercial Vehicles in China are down an estimated 15% year-on-year to 393,582 units, bringing the year-to-date total to 4,440,284 deliveries and despite the fact that LMC counts the Wuling Hongguang and Chana Honor as LCVs – they have been removed from the ranking below. This month the Wuling Rongguang steers safely away from its pickup variant the Wuling Mini Truck, with the two models leading the ranking at 22,680 and 19,300 sales respectively. The Foton Forland, Jinbei Light Truck and JMC Light Truck all improve their score vs. October whereas the Wuling Sunshine, once ultra-dominant in the segment, sinks further down to #6 and just 12,603 sales.

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

Previous China post: China November 2014: MPV sales up 43%, SUV up 38%

Previous month: China LCV October 2014: Wuling Light Truck teases Rongguang

Full November 2014 Top 8 models Ranking Table below.

Read more…

Categories: China

China November 2014: Focus on the all-new models

December 13th, 2014 No comments

Haval H1 China November 2014. Picture courtesy of auto.qq.comThe Haval H1 is the most successful new entrant in China this month.

* See the Top 343 best-selling local models by clicking on the title *

As is the tradition on BSCB, after exploring the monthly Chinese ranking, we feature in detail the all-new models making their first appearance in the world’s biggest car market this month. Keep in mind these are models produced locally as imports data is a very well-kept secret in China still. If anyone needed a proof that the ‘cooling off’ of the Chinese market is merely an optical illusion, here it is: in November, no less than 12 all-new nameplates entered production in the country – including 9 Chinese and 6 SUVs. Production doesn’t mean sales I hear you say and you would be right, however that is the same amount of new nameplates that would enter the U.S. market in a year. It is also the highest amount of new entrants in a single month since BSCB inaugurated this ‘Focus on all-new models’ series 18 months ago and more than double the 5 new nameplates launched in November 2013.

Haval H1 China November 2014. Picture courtesy of autofan.com.cn Haval H1 interior. Picture courtesy of changsha.auto.sohu.comHaval H1 detail

1. Haval H1 (#97 with 6,066 sales)

That the 3 most successful new entrants this month are Chinese SUVs and the Top 2 from the SUV-only Haval brand is no coincidence. Haval was by far the most impressive Chinese manufacturer at the 2014 Beijing Auto Show (more here: Beijing Auto Show 2014: The most impressive Chinese carmaker: Haval). The success of the brand has pushed its parent company, Great Wall, to all but ditch the rest of its brands – namely its namesake brand which wasn’t even present in Beijing. Haval has gone from a two-model lineup (H5 and H6) to a full blown 6 models in less than 12 months. The H1 is the latest and smallest arrival, but also the one that has the most potential in export markets given the current craze for small SUVs in Europe notably. The Haval H1 is based on the Great Wall Voleex C20R crossover, so development costs have been minimal and will have maximum effects. It is priced between 68.900 and 82.900 yuan ($11.100-13.400). The sky is the limit for the H1 which benefits from the solid Haval brand image but offers a crossover at a reduced price. Could this become Haval’s best-seller at home?

Bar for success: #50 or 10,000 monthly sales

Haval H9 China November 2014. Picture courtesy of cheshi

2. Haval H9 (#172 with 2,242 units)

The second Haval SUV to hit Chinese dealerships this month is the H9, the largest vehicle ever developed by Great Wall Motors. It is priced between 229.800 and ($37.200-44.100) which puts it in the same sandpit as the Honda CR-V and VW Tiguan, however it is much larger than these two and is actually aiming at eroding the success of such established vehicles as the Toyota Land Cruiser, Prado, Highlander and Mitsubishi Pajero. Bigger is better in China and the H9 will climb the sales ladder very high and very fast. Haval has gone to great lengths to make sure the H9 doesn’t disappoint. The interior is sleek with high quality materials and the infotainment system comes with a permanent internet connection.

Bar for success: #70 or 8,000 monthly sales

Dongfeng Fengshen AX7 China November 2014. Picture courtesy of auto.sohu.com

3. Dongfeng Fengshen AX7 (#187 with 1,956 deliveries)

Only two months after the Fengshen A30, Dongfeng launches the  mid-priced Fengshen sub-brand’s very first SUV: the AX7. After the S30 sedan in 2010, the H30 and H30 Cross hatchbacks in 2011 and the A60 sedan in 2012, Dongfeng is accelerating Fengshen and will also launch a full-size luxury sedan shortly. It is priced between 115.700 and 149.700 yuan ($18.700-24.200), positioning it in a very competitive segment of the SUV market. Taking exterior cues from the Honda CR-V and Hyundai Santa Fe and featuring an extra-large centre console screen, the AX7 undercuts these nameplates by 50% price-wise and will go full frontal with a slew of very successful Chinese SUVs like the Haval H6 and ChangAn CS75. Landing directly inside the Top 200, the AX7 will almost certainly become the Fengshen’s sub-brand’s best-seller in the coming months. The A30 is #145 but the H30/S30 (#193) and A60 (#231) are already below the AX7.

Bar for success: #100 or 5,000 monthly sales

Chery Arrizo 3 China November 2014

4. Chery Arrizo 3 (#194 with 1,777 sales)

The Chery Arrizo is the second car under the new classier Arrizo sub-brand after the Arrizo 7 that launched in September 2013, peaking at 4,251 units and #122 in January. The Arrizo 7 interestingly ranks just below the Arrizo 3 this month at #197. This new compact sedan is competitively priced between 53.900 and 75.900 yuan ($8.700-12.300) but enters a very crowded segment. However Chery has big plans for the Arrizo sub-brand: the Arrizo 5 is on the way, as well as an entry-level sedan called Arrizo 1 and a handful of hatchbacks called Arrizo 2, 4, and 6, then an MPV called Arrizo 8. Yes you counted well, that’s 8 new models in roughly two years. No SUV in the cards though, that’s the specialty of the Chery Tiggo family.

Bar for success: #100 or 5,000 monthly sales

Kia K3s China November 2014. Picture courtesy of cheshi.com

5. Kia K3S (#199 with 1,593 units)

The Kia K3S is the hatchback variant of the Kia K3, finally landing two long years after the sedan’s launch. It will be integrated into K3 sales figures from next month onwards but for now it is one of the 12 all-new nameplates to break into the Chinese ranking in November. The K3S is priced from 101.800 to 143.800 yuan ($16.500-23.300) and will compete with the likes of the Buick Excelle XT and Fiat Ottimo. As most hatchbacks in China, a country of sedans, the K3S is marketed as a sporty car to young people, whereas the K3 sedan is aimed at traditional buyers. If exterior and interior looks fit the sporty positioning, the old 1.6L engine does not cut it. Typically the Excelle GT sedans sells 4 times as much as the Excelle XT hatchback while the Fiat Viaggio sells roughly at 3 times the rate of the Ottimo hatchback. These are the sales benchmarks for the K3S vs. K3 sedan.

Bar for success: #150 or 3,500 monthly sales.

BYD S7 China November 2014

6. BYD S7 (#220 with 1,002 deliveries)

An excruciatingly long 18 months after its original presentation at the 2013 Shanghai Auto Show, the BYD S7 7-seater SUV finally hits the Chinese sales charts in November. This is a more luxurious and powerful version of the BYD S6, coming with a different front, rear and engine and a more premium interior but with the same overall body. The BYD S7 is the first car in the world with a built-in air purifier, filtering choking PM2.5 particles from the air. BYD will roll out this system over all its other models this and next year. It also features a 10.2 inch touch-screen infotainment system including satellite navigation, television, a 24/7 internet connection and 500 GB data storage. The engine is a new 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine the most powerful gasoline engine BYD has even built. The S7 is priced between 119k and 139.9k yuan ($19.200-22.600), much cheaper than the 150k-190k yuan price range local website Carnewschina.com had anticipated, and therefore becoming a very strong cannibalisation threat for the S6. Indeed if the S6 is up 12% year-to-date, it is already down 19% in November.

Bar for success: 4,500 monthly sales

Infiniti Q50L China November 2014. Picture courtesy of auto.sohu.com

7. Infiniti Q50L (#221 with 998 sales)

The Infiniti Q50L is a China-only stretched variant of the Infiniti Q50, manufactured by the Dongfeng-Infiniti joint venture and the first Infiniti ever to be made in China. It is stretched by just 4.5cm while most China-only stretched vehicles are extended by at least 6 to max 12cm. Priced from 280k to 320k yuan ($45.300-$51.700), the Q50L will compete with the Audi A4L (10,733 sales in November), BMW 3 Series L (7,656), Mercedes C-Class L (3,899), Volvo S60L (2,431) and Cadillac ATS-L (1,995). Sales forecast for the Q50L are unchartered territory as the first locally-produced Infiniti, but Nissan’s grip on the Chinese car market should allow it to battle with the big boys mentioned above.

Bar for success: 3,000 monthly sales

Zotye fun Beijing 2014bThe Zotye 500 at the 2014 Beijing Auto Show

8. Zotye Z500 (#225 with 912 units)

Fast-growing Chinese manufacturer Zotye tops up its range with the new Z500 sedan, the brand’s largest sedan so far. Now only missing is the Z400 which will be a crossover based on the Z300. Modern design inside and out, leather seats Bentley-style and large centre console screen: Zotye means business with the Z500 and has priced it at a very attractive 76.800 to 101.800 yuan ($12.400-16.500), undercutting the similarly-sized Kia K4 and Hyundai Mistra by half. The Z500 is powered by a new 1.5L turbo four-cylinder petrol engine giving 150hp. with a new 1.8L and 1.8L turbo launched later in 2015. Zotye is going from strength to strength with the large T600 SUV, beating monthly sales records one year after its launch at #69 and 8,221 units in November, however its sedan range is in need of a sales boost, with its best-selling Z300 down 17% so far in 2014. The Z500 could be the answer.

Bar for success: 4,000 monthly sales

Geely Emgrand GX9 Pride China November 2014. Picture courtesy of autohome.com.cn

9. Geely Emgrand GX9 Pride (#244 with 661 deliveries)

The design-challenged Geely Emgrand GX9 Pride 5-seater SUV finally launches in China, a full 5 years after its debut as the Emgrand EX8 concept at the 2009 Shanghai Auto Show. Geely has decided its slightly upper-scale Emgrand brand will become a sub-brand with its own logo, and this applies to the GX9 Pride which slots above the Geely GX7. It is priced between 122.900 and 152.900 yuan ($19.900-$24.700), positioning it at the high-end of the cheap-SUV market. Freed by the streamlining of all Geely’s confusing brands, the GX7 is up 38% in November to almost 7,000 sales and the GX9 should be able to reach at least half that level in the near future.

Bar for success: 4,500 monthly sales

Lifan X50 China November 2014. Picture courtesy of bitauto.com

10. Lifan X50 (#254 with 502 sales)

Lifan is getting onto the booming small-SUV bandwagon with the X50, based on the 530 sedan. Looking a little like a previous generation Opel Mokka if it existed, the Lifan X50 is priced between 59.800 and 82.800 yuan ($9.700-13.400), and will fight head-to-head with instant blockbusters like the JAC Refine S3 (#20 with 15,004 sales in November), Haval H1 described earlier (#97 with 6,066 units) and also the Beijing Huansu S2 (#177 with 2,101 sales). Lifan is trying to shake off its bargain basement image, but with such conservative styling and an awfully black and cheap-looking dashboard, the road ahead is still long and perilous. Its big brother the Lifan X60 is a long-term success both at home (+60% YOY in November) and in such export markets as Russia, Brazil or Iran, so the prospects are good for the X50.

Bar for success: #100 or 6,000 monthly sales

Chery eQ China November 2014. Picture courtesy of xcar.com.cn

11. Chery eQ (#302 with 136 units)

The Chery eQ is the electric variant of the diminutive Chery QQ and its starting price is 150.000 yuan or $24.200. Yes you have read this correctly. Thankfully the Chinese government is slashing that price by almost 100.000 yuan with its green-car subsidies to a 59.800 to 64.800 yuan range ($9.700-10.500), making it a much more attractive choice. Blue wheels come standard and the electric motor delivers 57hp for a range of 200km, a 100km/h top speed and a 8-10 hour charging time. Given the limited success of electric cars in China so far, Chery better not expect sales records to be broken but this is by far the cheapest offer in the segment so it will be interesting to follow its sales progression.

Bar for success: 1,000 monthly units

VW Lamando China November 2014. Picture courtesy of autohome.com.cn

12. VW Lamando (#323 with 28 deliveries)

Volkswagen adds to its ever-growing China-only range with the Lamando, based on the MQB platform that also underpins the Golf 7. Its a coupe-styled sedan that can best be described as a Jetta CC, a good 35cm shorter than the CC currently on sale worldwide. Volkswagen is launching the Lamando as a pre-emptive strike agains the very popular Mercedes CLA, currently imported into China but that will be made locally by the Beijing Auto-Benz joint venture in the near future. Currently in pre-production for an official launch in market in December, the Lamando’s starting price will be around 180.000 yuan or $29.000

Bar for success: #100 or 6,000 monthly sales

Previous post: China November 2014: MPV sales up 43%, SUV up 38%

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

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

Full November 2014 Top 343 models Ranking Table below.

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Categories: China

China November 2014: MPV sales up 43%, SUV up 38%

December 12th, 2014 No comments

JAC Refine S3 China November 2014. Picture courtesy of auto.sohu.comThe JAC Refine S3 outsells all foreign SUVs in China this month.

* See the Top 343 All-local models ranking by clicking on the title *

New light vehicles sales are up 5% year-on-year in China to 1.775.300 units in November, and once again the entire market is single-handedly lifted by MPV and SUV sales. While sedans (the Chinese description for passenger cars) are down 5% to 1.074.300 units and microvans are down a horrid 32% to 85,600 sales, MPV deliveries surge 43% to 200.800 and SUV are up an equally impressive 38% to 414.600. Overall, November is the third consecutive month when the sales growth rate has fallen below 7%, confirming the market is definitely losing some momentum. Year-to-date, China’s light vehicle sales are up 9% to a record 17.639.700 units – note this total does not include commercial vehicles, trucks and buses. This rush towards the MPV and SUV segments is now very clearly visible in the models ranking and for once it would appear it has mainly benefitted Chinese manufacturers, notoriously weaker than their foreign competitors even at home.

Baojun 730 China November 2014. Picture courtesy of autohome.com.cnThe Baojun 730 is now above 30,000 monthly deliveries.

Starting with the MPV segment, the Wuling Hongguang still reigns supreme at home with a huge 69,808 sales, its second best monthly volume ever below the 81,153 units it managed last January. But once again the most impressive performance is coming from the Baojun 730: the low-cost MPV astoundingly breaks the 30,000 monthly sales-milestone in November at 30,089 units for its 4th month of sales, becoming the fastest vehicle to reach that level of sales in the history of automobile in China. Given the Wuling Hongguang and the Baojun 730 come from the same company (SAIC GM), we are witnessing a great example of successful segmentation as the two models are definitely not cannibalising each other.

Dongfeng Fengguang 360 China November 2014. Picture courtesy of 52che.comDongfeng Fengguang 360

All the next best-selling MPVs shine: the Chana Honor is up 52% YOY to #21 and 14,310 sales, the Dongfeng Joyear is up 65% to break its monthly volume record for the third month in a row at #25 and 13,666 units, the Dongfeng Fengguang is up 117% to reach a record monthly tally of 13,114 sales parky thanks to the introduction of the ‘360’ crossover-looking variant, and the Beijing Auto Weiwang M20 triples its sales YOY to break the 10,000 monthly unit-barrier for the first time at 11,801 sales and #40, also a ranking record for the nameplate.

Haval H6 Sport China November 2014. Picture courtesy of 1qibi.comAnother record month for the Haval H6.

Moving on to the SUV segment: one month after becoming the first-ever SUV to sell over 30,000 monthly units in China, the Haval H6 does it again this month, breaking its volume record again at 31,019 sales. Get this: it is the 13th time in the past 17 months that the H6 beats its monthly sales record! But another Chinese SUV manages to surprise even more. Launched last August, the JAC Refine S3 is up 52% and 36 spots on October to stunningly break into the overall Top 20 at #20 with 15,004 sales. This means the Refine S3 is the 2nd best-selling SUV in the country below just the Haval H6 and above all foreign nameplates, including such established blockbusters as the VW Tiguan (#26), Hyundai ix35 (#34) and Honda CR-V (#35)! This is also the first time any JAC model manages to rank within the 20 most popular at home since BSCB started following on the Chinese market monthly a decade ago: the brand is normally relatively discreet in the passenger car category, with its expertise being trucks.

Beijing Auto Huansu S3 China November 2014. Picture courtesy of chexun.netBeijing Auto Huansu S3

In a context particularly favourable to SUVs, the sky is the limit for Great Wall’s SUV-only brand Haval, selling a record 53,703 units in November. Apart from the record-breaking H6, the H2 reaches a best-ever 12,007 sales at #37 and both the H1 (#97) and H9 (#172) simultaneously hit the sales charts – which will be covered in detail in the China November 2014: Focus on the All-new models post. Another Chinese SUV making sparks this month is the Beijing Auto Huansu S3 up 28% on October to pass the 10,000 monthly units for the first time at 11,905, also delivering its very first Top 50 ranking at #37. Notice also the Chery Tiggo 3 up 164% YOY to #44, the ChangAn CS75 above 10,000 units for the 2nd consecutive month and the Zotye T600 selling a record 8,221 units.

Honda Vezel China November 2014The Honda Vezel already sells more units in China than at home in Japan.

Fortunately for the rest of the world’s automotive industry, a few foreign-branded (but locally-produced) SUVs also perform extremely well this month. Leading the charge for the first time is the Nissan X-Trail: its facelift increases sales 8-fold compared to a year ago, reaching a record #24 and 14,121 units, outselling the Qashqai by more than 2 to 1. Also, the two nameplates launched last month that rank the highest in November are two foreign SUVs. The Honda Vezel is up 702% and 153 spots to an excellent #57 and 9,697 – already not too far from the CR-V (12,256) and selling way more than in Japan this month (6,157). I predicted last month that a Top 50 ranking was well within reach for the Vezel and we are already almost there. Most importantly, the Vezel already outsells all its competitors by a comfortable margin: the Peugeot 2008 is #78 with a (record) 7,321 units, the Buick Encore is #105 and the Chevrolet Trax #131. The second best performing October-launched nameplate is the Buick Envision, up 136% and 66 ranks to #87, already inside the long-term Top 100 target I had fixed last month and instantly well above its stablemate the Encore. A real success for the American brand. Before we leave the SUV segment, let’s salute the Hyundai ix25 up a further 4 spots to #90.

Nissan Sylphy China November 2014. Picture courtesy of autov.com.cnThe Nissan Sylphy delivers the highest monthly sales figure for a Japanese model in China.

The ‘sedan’ segment (Chinese for all passenger cars that don’t qualify as SUV and MPV) may slide by 5% in November, there are a few spectacular performers keeping the sales charts well and truly alive. The VW Lavida leads them all once again, up 41% to 38,072 sales but the star of the month is the Nissan Sylphy: thanks to sales 10% to 34,480 units, it delivers its best-ever monthly result and the highest-ever sales figure for any Japanese model in China. Note this figure includes two generations of the nameplate still on sale here. The Sylphy outsells the Focus (32,650) for the first time and outsells the Lavida as well if we exclude its Gran Lavida hatchback variant (28,800). Boosted by its facelift, the Chevrolet Sail is up 7 spots on October to #7, the Hyundai Elantra Langdong is up 45% YOY to #9 and the Toyota Corolla is up 141% to break its monthly volume record for the 2nd straight month at 21,569 units.

Peugeot 408 China November 2014. Picture courtesy of autohome.com.cnThe new model lifts Peugeot 408 sales up 74%.

Further down, the VW Golf impresses again at +97%, the Honda Fit takes full advantage of its new generation, up 319% to a record #31 and 13,061 sales, the facelifted BYD F3 reclaims some of its past shine, up 139% YOY to #35 and 12,201 units, the Toyota Levin brilliantly maintains itself above 10,000 sales at #48, the Peugeot 408 is up 74% now that the new model is in dealerships and the Beijing Senova D50 makes its first incursion inside the Top 100 at #85 and a best-ever 6,937 sales. The Kia K4 continues to climb the ladder at #88 and a record 6,748 sales, having no negative impact on its twin the Hyundai Mistra (#32, +108%) but in essence killing the Honda Crider (-51% to #68). A good operation for the Korean manufacturer.

MG GT China November 2014. Picture courtesy of xgo.com.cnThe MG GT already accounts for 68% of the brand’s sales in China.

Among other October launches, let’s single out the MG GT that goes from 13 lonely units sold last month to a 2,959 for a #155 ranking. This is impressive, simply because it instantly propels the GT to best-selling MG in China by far, representing 68% of the brand’s sales in November! Whether this is a result of the GT launch or not, the MG 3 is down 75% YOY to #236, the MG 6 is down 74% to #261 and the MG 5 is down 83% to #299. An unthinkable situation in most other world markets, in China such a fast turnaround is possible as brands are still very young with very little loyalty and consumers tastes can report themselves instantly to a new model. Has the GT single-handedly revived the MG brand in China (and therefore the world)? Answer in the next few months. Still among October launches, notice also the Volvo XC60 up 296% to #159, the DS 6 up 51% to #186 and 1,971 sales – the brand’s best monthly volume (previous best: 1,739 by the DS 5LS last June), and the FAW Junpai D60 up 96 spots to #198.

Previous post: China LCV October 2014: Wuling Light Truck teases Rongguang

Previous month: China October 2014: Baojun 730 up to 6th place

One year ago: China November 2013: Nissan Sylphy delivers best month ever for a Japanese model

Full November 2014 Top 343 All-local models Ranking Table below.

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Categories: China

China LCV October 2014: Wuling Light Truck teases Rongguang

November 25th, 2014 No comments

10. Wuling Light TruckWuling Light Truck in Kashgar, Xinjiang Uyghur – April 2014

* See the Top 55 local models by clicking on the title *

Thanks to LMC Automotive I can share with you today the Top 10 best-selling LCVs in China for October. This segment is one of the main culprits of the cooling off of the overall Chinese vehicle market in October, with sales of microvans down a very harsh 33% year-on-year while commercial trucks and buses are down 15%. The reason: a change in emission laws for commercial vehicles that has upped their retail price and delayed purchased from merchants. As a result the Wuling Rongguang is down to #8 overall vs. #4 YTD and is now threatened by its pickup variant the Wuling Light Truck at #9 and 24.598 sales vs. 24.910, the latter seemingly the only microLCV to survive the slaughtering this month. The Foton Forland ranks at a weak #20 vs. #13 YTD, the Chana Minibus is #30 vs. #11 and the Wuling Sunshine is standing on the brakes: down to #32 with a mere 13.039 sales vs. #5 YTD and a monthly average of 27.550 units so far this year. Talk about a fall of grace.

Previous China YTD post: China 10 months 2014: Discover the Top 379 models ranking

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One year ago: China October 2013: Ford Focus, Chevy Cruze, Haval H6 & Emgrand EC7 hit records

Full October 2014 Top 55 models Ranking Table below.

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Categories: China

China 10 months 2014: Discover the Top 379 models ranking

November 15th, 2014 1 comment

Haval H6 Sport China October 2014. Picture courtesy of qc188.comHaval H6 Sport

* See the Top 379 All-local models ranking by clicking on the title *

As is the tradition on BSCB, after detailing October sales and focusing on the all-new models entering the ranking this month, we explore the year-to-date ranking in China to try and extract longer-term trends. In spite of a cooling off in the past couple of months, the total passenger car market in China is still up a very robust 10% year-on-year after 10 months to 15.9 million units. The commercial truck and bus market is struggling however at -6% on 2013 to 3.1 million deliveries, bringing the total vehicle market to 19 million units after 10 months, which means a projected 23.3 million over the Full Year 2014, up a soft 6% on 2013, which would be the lowest year-on-year increase since 1990. The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) is a little more pessimistic and forecasts 23 million units for 2014 (+5%). The growth may slow down but it’s not like the market as a whole is decreasing, and once again in 2014 no other nation will have bought that many new vehicles in a year since the creation of automobile.

VW Lavida China October 2014. Picture courtesy of bitautoLavidas Lavidas everywhere: the VW Lavida is still the best-selling sedan in China.

The Top 4 best-sellers so far this year in China are unchanged compared to last month: the Wuling Hongguang continues its solo run and has now passed the 600.000 units at 604.311 (+74%), still on track to finish the year above 700.000 deliveries, the VW Lavida (#2) and Sagitar (#4) have stabilised their YOY gains at 13% but the Ford Focus (#3) is now stable vs. 2013 at 327,187 sales, meaning it is actually losing market share. The big change inside the Top 10 is the Haval H6 accessing to a brilliant 5th position at 253,489 units (up from #7 last month) thanks to another record month of sales in October. It is up 48% year-on-year and the first SUV to rank among the country’s 5 best-selling vehicles in a YTD ranking, knocking down the VW Santana (+75%) and Jetta (+16%) to 6th and 7th places respectively. The VW Passat passes the Hyundai Verna and VW Bora to #15 and the VW Polo up one spot to #22 makes it an incredible 10 Volkswagens inside the Top 22 best-sellers…

Chery Tiggo 3 China October 2014. Picture courtesy of xcar.com.cnThe Chery Tiggo 3 is almost back inside the Top 50.

There is a big gap between the Wuling Hongguang (#1) and Haval H6 (#5) and the next best-selling Chinese passenger cars: the ChangAn Eado is up one rank to #24 (+88%), followed by the Emgrand EC7 at #29 (+4), Chana Honor at #30 (-1 but +66%), Dongfeng Future at #36 (-1), Dongfeng Joyear at #42 (+5 and +69%), ChangAn CS35 at #49 (+43%) and BYD S6 at #50. The Chery Tiggo 3 up 7 spots on the last YTD ranking to #54 makes it 13 Chinese in the Top 55 along with the BYD F3 (#51), Venucia R50/D50 (#52) and Roewe 350 (#53). Other big gainers inside the Top 50 include the VW Tiguan up 24% to #11, the VW Golf doubling its sales to #19, the Honda Crider up 135% to #27, Ford Kuga up 48% to #34, Toyota Vios up 3585% to #37 thanks to the new model, Citroen C-Elysée up 89% to #38, Ford Mondeo up 332% to #45 and the Nissan X-Trail up 665% to #48, here too thanks to its new generation.

Baojun 730 China October 2014bIn just 3 months, the Baojun 730 has sold more…

The Hyundai Mistra tops the all-new models at #35 with 108,954 units, already above the brand’s annual objective (100,000 sales) after just 10 months. It is joined in the Top 75 by the Chery Tiggo 5 at #61 and 74,300 sales and the Peugeot 301 at #75 and 60,700 units. But the most impressive new arrival, as detailed in the October update, is without a doubt the Baojun 730 at #80 and 58,500 sales in just 3 months, including over 25,000 in October alone. The 730 has properly annihilated the other two models in the Baojun range: the 630 is at 1,767 sales in October (-67%) and 31.153 YTD and the Yuechi is at 1,300 (-57%) and 21.300 YTD. Expect the low-cost MPV to rank among the 5 most popular nameplates in the nation in 2015, if not higher: the MPV trend is here to stay and it should give export ideas to Chinese manufacturers, towards markets like Indonesia for example.

Baojun 630 China October 2014…than the rest of the Baojun range all year!

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

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One year ago: China 10 months 2013: Discover the Top 339 All-models ranking!

Full 10 months 2014 Top 379 All-local models Ranking Table below.

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Categories: China

China October 2014: Focus on the all-new models

November 14th, 2014 No comments

Buick Envision China October 2014. Picture courtesy of auto.ifeng.comThe Buick Envision is the most successful all-new entrant in China this month.

* See the Top 325 All-local models ranking by clicking on the title! *

As usual after exploring the monthly Chinese ranking, we detail the all-new models making their first appearance in the world’s biggest car market this month. Even though some say (I’m not one of them) the Chinese automotive market is “cooling off”, the rhythm of new nameplate introductions into local production lines does not slow down at all, a sure sign of China’s incredible dynamism. After welcoming 8 new models in August and 3 in September, we are back up to 9 in October…

1. Buick Envision (#153 with 2,880 sales)

The most successful new entrant this month is the Buick Envision, tellingly launching in China first before a US release scheduled for the 2016 model year. It is manufactured by the Shanghai-GM joint venture and based on GM’s Delta global-compact platform. The Envision positions itself above the China-made Buick Encore and below the Buick Enclave that is currently imported into China. It is priced between 269.900 and 349.900 yuan (US$44.100-57.100) with only a 2.0 turbo engine available for now, to be soon joined by a low-output variant of the 2.0 turbo and a 1.5 turbo priced at 230.000 and 210.000 yuan respectively or $34,300 and $37,600. The Envision is the first Buick-badged vehicle to sport an Off-Road driving mode.

Vegetating in the US (#18 so far in 2014) and not sold much elsewhere, the Buick brand only owes its survival to its Chinese success where it regularly ranks within the Top 5 most popular brands, frankly outselling Chevrolet. The brand even sold over one million vehicles worldwide in 2013, topping a sales record that dated back to 1984 when China was out of the picture. The Envision’s bar for success here is a Top 100 ranking in the long run. The Encore ranks #65 so far in 2014 with 70,000 sales, but the Enclave is  above the real core of the Chinese SUV market in both size and price, and a good benchmark is the Hyundai Santa Fe, currently #88 and priced similarly.

Volvo S60L China October 2014. Picture courtesy of chexun.com

2. Volvo S60L (#162 and 2,552 sales)

Even though it launched at the end of last year, monthly sales of the Volvo S60L only pop up now, along with two other Volvos detailed further. The S60L is produced in a new Geely-funded Volvo factory in Chengdu in central China, and L means it is a China-only stretched variant of the Volvo S60, extended by 8 centimetres in the middle for more space in the back as a majority of Chinese buyers in this category have drivers rather than drive their cars themselves. The S60L is priced between 269.600 and 348.900 yuan (US$44k-57k) and competes with other China-only stretched sedans such as the Audi A4L, BMW 3 Series L and the upcoming Mercedes C-Class L.

Its October performance already positions the S60L as the brand’s best-selling sedan in China by very far with the S80L at #256 with just 354 sales (#267 and 3,848 units year-to-date). Volvo did not communicate monthly data to CAAM and therefore the car hasn’t appeared in the ranking up until now but the Volvo website states 17,564 S60L have been sold so far in 2014, placing it at #183. In its line of fire, the Audi A4L sold 96k units (#41) and the BMW 3 Series L sold 78k (#56), out of reach at this stage for the S60L. A Top 100 ranking stretch target by the time 2015 comes to an end would mean Volvo has become a potent player in the Chinese premium segment, a Top 140-150 would be more realistic given the S60L has already stabilised around its long-term level.

DS 6 China October 2014. Picture courtesy of pache.com

3. DS 6 (#199 and 1,308 deliveries)

The new premium brand by Peugeot-Citroen PSA, DS, debuts its third locally-produced model this month: the China-only DS 6 SUV. It comes after the DS 5 hatchback launched in December 2013 and the China-only DS 5LS sedan launched last April, is based on the same platform and also manufactured in Shenzhen by the Changan-PSA joint venture, a second joint venture by the PSA group along with the one it has with Dongfeng. The DS 6 is priced between 199.000 and 309.900 yuan, or US$32.500-$50.600. While the DS brand has been created solely to aim at the German premium trio Audi-BMW-Mercedes, it will take a while before DS can pretend to play in the same sandpit. The Audi Q3 (#64 with 70,200 sales so far this year) and BMW X1 (#120 and 37,900 units) are the logical benchmarks as we await the production start of the Mercedes GLA.

In this context a first month inside the Top 200 is a good start for the DS 6, better than the DS 5 has ever done (best ranking: #206). Both previous DS models have tended to be quite front-loaded, reaching their best sales volume in their first few months: the DS 5 never topped the 1,271 units it sold in December 2013 and has fallen to a paltry 210 sales this month while the DS 5LS’s peak occurred in its third month in June with 1,739 units (best ranking: #172). However the DS 6 should improve progressively as this is the most promising segment for the brand in China. A Top 150 ranking would make the DS 6 the best-ranking DS ever, a Top 100 would cement it as a true competitor to the Audi Q3 and BMW X1.

Honda Vezel China October 2014. Picture courtesy of xgo.com.cn

4. Honda Vezel (#210 and 1,209 sales)

If you are a regular BSCB reader you will already know that the Honda Vezel is a runaway hit at home in Japan where it ranks #7 overall so far this year and will sell upwards of 100,000 units by the time 2014 comes to an end. The Vezel is now produced in China also and therefore enters the sales charts this month, a welcome breath of fresh air for the Japanese manufacturer that has been seriously struggling here of late, in steep YOY decline over the past 4 consecutive months. Honda has set very competitive prices for the Vezel (128.800-189.800 yuan or US$21k-31k) which should allow it to rise up the ladder fast.

Logical competitors are the Nissan Juke (not produced in China therefore not in the ranking), Buick Encore (#65 in 2014 YTD), Peugeot 2008 (best ranking so far: #75) and Chevrolet Trax (best at #78). Given Honda’s footprint in China, the Vezel can reasonably hope for better scores than all the aforementioned models. Failing to break into the monthly Top 100 will make the Vezel a dud, a Top 50 ranking seems well within reach and a Top 20 not impossible. Why so high? The small SUV segment is so hot right now in China and a semi-premium offering like the Vezel will make Eastern Chinese female car buyers hyperventilate.

Volvo XC60 China October 2014. Picture courtest of auto.msn.com.cn

5. Volvo XC60 (#234 and 706 units)

Unlike the S60L launched late last year, the XC60 has just kick started local production and therefore logically hits the models ranking this month, the third Volvo to be manufactured in China after the Geely take-over along with the S60L and the XC Classic detailed further down. The XC60 is manufactured in a Geely-built factory in the city of Daqing in Heilongjiang province, and is priced between 366.900 and 539.900 yuan (US$59.900-88.200). It competes with the Audi Q5 (#47 with 88,000 sales in 2014) and Mercedes-Benz GLK, the brand’s best-seller in China at #121 with 37,500 units so far this year. A shy start for now but a Top 150 ranking soon must be in the cards if Volvo really wants the XC60 to compete with the German premiums.

Yema F16 China October 2014. Picture courtesy of xcar.com.cn

6. Yema F16 (#254 with 388 deliveries)

Yema Auto (Chinese for wild horse or Mustang) is a little-known Chinese manufacturer based in Sichuan province that currently builds small SUVs based on the ancient Austin Montego/Maestro platform that it acquired in 2008. All current Yema models have the shape of the first generation Subaru Forester, with only the front grille and headlights changing. The F99 and F10 do look like the Forester, the F12 looks like a Kia Sportage and somehow this new F16 doesn’t look like anything else from the front. Progress. The F16 is priced between 80.000 and 110.000 yuan (US$13k-18k) and this kind of large-for-the-money vehicles are still very popular in China’s vast countryside and in second and third tier cities, where citizens finally have enough cash to buy their first car, but not enough to buy a recognised brand.

Yema F16 interiorYema F16 interior

In line with the Chinese’s fascination for dashboard touch screens, the F16 has one that is bigger than in most Fords for example, including the Kuga. F16 sales potential can be gaged based on that of other Yema models: the F12 finished 2013 at #246 and currently ranks #226 this year, the F10 was #277 in 2013 but has been discontinued since, only ranking #317 this year, and the F99 is further down at #338 in 2013 and #365 in 2014. In this context the initial sales figures for the F16 are very encouraging for the brand. The highest ranking ever reached by a Yema model in China is #177 by the F12 in May 2014, and the F16 can do better. Reaching #150 would mean more Yema models should hit Chinese roads in the coming years. Whether that is a good thing remains to be seen…

Volvo XC Classic China October 2014. Picture courtesy of pcauto.com.cn

7. Volvo XC Classic (#279 and 191 sales)

As its local production debuted last September, the Volvo XC Classic logically appears in the sales charts this month, albeit still at a modest level. It may seem counterproductive to launch production of the first generation XC90 in China at the same time the new XC90 is unveiled worldwide, but it is not uncommon here and explains the choice of the XC Classic name. Manufactured in a new Geely-funded factory in Daqing in Heilongjiang Province, the XC Classic is priced between 548.900 and 638.900 yuan ($89k-104k). The new 2015 Volvo XC90 will be imported into China starting in H2 2015, priced above 818.000 yuan or $133k, so a distinct notch above the XC Classic. The car’s Chinese tagline is “Legacy Continues.” Indeed, its production is scheduled to run four years with a facelift after two years. It is very difficult to forecast sales volumes as it is one of the rare large luxury SUVs to be produced locally. The Toyota Land Cruiser 200 for example vegetates at 2.500 sales so far in 2014 and the XC Classic is already above that level for its first month, so a Top 200 ranking with 1.000+ monthly sales would be a great achievement.

FAW Junpai D60 China October 2014. Picture courtesy of pcauto.com.cn

8. FAW Junpai D60 (#294 and 89 units)

Originally called the FAW Xiali T012 and still referred to as such in CAAM’s official sales statistics, the FAW Junpai D60 is yet another small Chinese SUV hitting the roads this year. ‘Junpai’ is a new brand under the First Auto Works (FAW) umbrella which will focus on cheap-but-trendy vehicles for second and third tier cities, and the D60 is the brand’s first car. It is manufactured by Tianjin-FAW, a FAW subsidiary based in the great city of Tianjin, and is priced between 64.900 and 99.900 yuan or US$10.600-16.300.

FAW Junpai D60 interiorFAW Junpai D60 interior, looking pretty good for the price

The Junpai D60 is in the bullseye of the fastest growing segment in China this year, competing with the likes of the Changan CS35, Haval H2, JAC Refine S3, and Chery Tiggo 3, all currently within or close to the country’s 50 best-sellers overall. With a somewhat good-looking exterior design and snazzy interior but old and underpowered engines, the D60 should position itself quite significantly below the aforementioned models, yet a great surprise isn’t to be discarded. Bar for success is the Top 175. Anything above is bonus for FAW.

MG GT China October 2014. Picture courtesy of xgo.com.cn MG GT China October 2014. Picture courtesy of xcar.com.cn

9. MG GT (#314 with 13 deliveries)

Last but not least in this list of new entrants on the Chinese market in October is the MG GT, arguably the trendiest Chinese MG so far, showing a sleek sporty fastback shape but actually a sedan based on the same platform as the MG5 and Roewe 350. MG continues to draw parallels with the old British MG models as seen at the Beijing Auto Show, this time actively advertising the MG GT along the old MGB GT, MGC GT and MGB GT V8 which was manufactured from 1973 to 1976.

MG GT interiorMG GT interior

The 13 deliveries occurring in October are dealer demo models as the MG GT only launched to the public on November 1, so expect a much higher ranking next month. But how high can the GT go? Reasonably priced between 95.900 and 149.900 yuan (US$15.700-24.500), the GT should be able to revitalise MG sales as all models are currently in decline: the MG 3 is down from #110 in 2013 to #156 this year, the MG 6 down from #182 to #219, the MG 5 down from #226 to #238 and the MG 7 down from #333 to #363. A Top 200 ranking would be a good start and would logically position the GT as MG’s 2nd best-seller below the cheaper MG 3.

Full October 2014 Top 325 All-local models Ranking Table below.

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Categories: China

China October 2014: Baojun 730 up to 6th place

November 13th, 2014 1 comment

Baojun 730 China October 2014. Picture courtesy of mycar168.comThe Baojun 730 is the 6th most popular light vehicle in China this month.

* See the Top 325 All-local models and Top 10 manufacturers by clicking on the title! *

Sales of new passenger cars in China confirm their cooling off, up ‘just’ 6.6% year-on-year in October to 1.708.900 units, still a higher growth rate than the #2 market in the world, the USA. Although most analysts announce the end of double-digit growth in China “forever” and use words such as the Chinese market is “struggling”, I remain positive about the largest new vehicle market in the world. This modest (for China) YOY increase reflects a particularly high October 2013 which was up 24% on the year before, as the abating of tensions with Japan meant Japanese carmakers were absorbing a backlog of missed sales.

The different segments evolve in radically different ways: while microvans dropped a very harsh 33% to 84.800 units and sedan sales were down for the first time this year at -1% to 1.052.500 SUVs surged 37% to 388.729 (after gaining 73% in October 2013) and MPVs increased by 33% to 178,321 units after tripling one year ago… All in all, this brings the Chinese passenger car year-to-date total to a record 15.888.300 deliveries, still up a robust 10% on 2013. That’s for passenger cars, but China’s commercial truck and bus market remained weak this month: down 15% to 278,300 units. As a result, combined sales of passenger vehicles and commercial trucks were up only 3% in October to 1.987.200. The total vehicle sales for its part is up 7% to 18.988.100 units. At this rate the Chinese market will absorb a record 23.3 million new vehicles over the Full Year 2014, up from 22 million in 2013.

Haval H6 China October 2014. Picture courtesy of autohome.comThe Haval H6 becomes the first SUV to sell over 30,000 monthly units in China.

Interestingly, Chinese brands are the ones benefiting the most from the SUV and MPV explosion, with 7 representants in the Top 30 vs. just 3 one year ago including 4 MPVs. The Wuling Hongguang is master in command once again with just over 60,000 sales, a 10% YOY increase, followed by the VW Lavida (+7%) kept afloat by its hatchback variant which represents 25% of its sales while the Ford Focus tumbles down 17% in third position. The Nissan Sylphy is up 25% to deliver its best monthly volume so far in 2014 at 30,680 and the Haval H6 continues its unstoppable ascension, smashing its volume record for the 12th time in the past 16 months by 2.600 units to 30.373 sales, the first time any SUV sells over 30,000 units in the history of automobile in China!

Dongfeng Joyear China October 2014The Dongfeng Joyear beat its ranking and volume records for the 2nd straight month.

The most impressive development of the month occurs in 6th position: for its third month in market, the low-cost MPV Baojun 730 improves another 8 spots on September to make its grand entrance inside China’s Top 10 thanks to a huge 25,506 sales. The 730 went from #26 in August to #14 and now #6, by far the fastest climb to the top from any new nameplate in China since BSCB started following this country monthly a little less than a decade ago. The most fascinating part of this meteoric sales debut is that it has not affected the Wuling Hongguang for the least part, the latter being stable around 60,000 monthly sales all along. Very smart move from SAIC-GM-Wuling who manufactures both models.

In a repeat from last month, these two are not the only MPVs to beat records: both the Dongfeng Joyear (up 86% to #27 and 13,050 sales) and the Dongfeng Fengguang (up 93% to 11,052 units and #43) smash their ranking and volume records for the 2nd month in a row. Add to them the Chana Honor up 27% to #28 and 12,909 sales and the Beijing Weiwang M20 up a huge 192% YOY to #72 and a very impressive picture in painted indeed for affordable Chinese MPVs, the new format du jour in China.

Toyota Corolla China October 2014. Picture courtest of xgo.com.cnBest-ever monthly volume for the Toyota Corolla nameplate this month in China.

Knocking on the Top 10’s door is the Toyota Corolla, boosted by the new generation and accelerating its rise to +73% YOY vs. +43% in September, achieving 21,480 sales for a #11 ranking, the Corolla’s best ranking since May 2012 and, most significantly, its strongest ever monthly volume, beating the 20,044 units from August 2011 when it ranked #3 overall. At #15, the Emgrand EC7 is now firmly back in the #1 Chinese sedan spot at #15, well above the ChangAn Eado up a huge 106% to #23.

Haval H2 China October 2014The Haval H2 is one of 7 Chinese SUVs in the Top 70 to break their volume records this month.

Two recently launched Chinese SUVs brilliantly break the 10,000 monthly deliveries milestone for the first time this month at home: the Haval H2 is p 41% on September for its 4th month of sales to 11,678 units at #37 and the ChangAn CS75 is up 12% to 10,347 units, also breaking into the Top 50 for the first time at #50 and making it two ChangAn SUVs among China’s 50 best-sellers along with the CS35 at #47 (+35%). Notice also the Chery Tiggo 3 up 153% YOY to #33. Outside the Top 50, 4 additional Chinese SUVs reach all-time high volumes this month: the JAC Refine S3 is up 62% on September to #56 and 9,900 sales, the Beijing Auto Huansu S3 is up 25% to #61 and 9,337 units, the FAW Besturn X80 up 58% YOY to #66 and 8,199 and the Zotye T600 up to #68 and 8,165 sales.

ChangAn Benben China October 2014. Picture courtesy of auto.163.comThe new model lifts the ChangAn Benben to #88.

As far as recent (re)launches are concerned, let’s salute the Toyota Levin passing the 10,000 monthly unit-milestone for its 3rd month in market at #44 and 11,016 deliveries, the Honda Fit up 4-fold on the old model a year ago to #45 and 10,942 sales, the Luxgen 6 SUV defying the brand’s sales perimeter and up a further 10 spots to a record #82 and 6,502 units, the ChangAn Benben back up 64 spots on last month to #88 thanks to a very sexy new generation and dragging its competitor the BYD F0 along (+96 to #93), the Honda Odyssey up 158% YOY to #96 here too thanks to a new generation, the Mazda6 Atenza up 32 ranks to a best-ever #103 and the GAC Trumpchi GA3S up one to a record-breaking 5,001 deliveries.

Dongfeng Fengshen A30 China October 2014. Picture courtesy of auto.163.com2nd month in market and the A30 already represents 60% of Dongfeng Fengshen sales.

The two high potential China-only Korean nameplates launched last month are ramping up nicely, both already ranking inside the Top 100: the Hyundai ix25 is up 53% and 27 spots on its introductory month to #94 and 6,080 sales (above the Chevy Trax and Peugeot 2008) and the Kia K4 is up 28% and 14 ranks to #100 and 5,522 units. Another model launched last month achieves something many thought impossible: reviving a dying Chinese sedan sub-brand: the DongFeng Fengshan A30 is up 8-fold on its initial month of sales, going from #246 and 487 units to #132 and 3,937 deliveries. This is to be compared with 1,232 units for the Fengshan A60, 837 for the S30 and 447 for the H30. Fengshan being Dongfeng’s only sedan sub-brand, the manufacturer may have nailed the survival of its sedan business just then.

Geely King Kong China October 2014. Picture courtesy of autohome.com.cnThe Geely King Kong hits its highest monthly volume since November 2011.

Another interesting development by a Chinese manufacturer this month is Geely finally reaping the benefits of streamlining its stable of brands earlier in the year, when it killed Shanghai Englon and Gleagle to concentrate on Geely and Emgrand. All Geely models are now gaining ground on last month: the Geely King Kong is up 14 spots and 87% year-on-year to #65 and 8,367 sales, the Geely GX7 up 7 ranks to #81, Geely Vision up 37 spots and 30% YOY to #147, Geely SC7 up 49 to #151, Geely Panda up 34 to #160, Geely Freedom Ship up 3 to #178 and the TX4 taxi up 7 to #255, going from one lonely unit sold in October 2013 to 378 this month…

FAW Besturn B70 China October 2014. Picture courtesy of auto.sohu.comThe FAW Besturn B70 multiplies its sales by 10 compared to a year ago.

Finally, notice the Haima Family up 186% on October 2013 to #90, the FAW Besturn B70 up 10-fold YOY to #139 and 3,529 sales thanks to the new generation, the BYD G5 up 347% on its introductory score last month to #158 with 2,725 deliveries, the Lifan 630 taking off at last, up 4-fold YOY to #165, the Hawtai Lusheng E70 unlocking unsuspected potential at an incredible +1522% YOY to #183 and the Qoros 3 still very lukewarm at 836 sales and #224, its best monthly volume and ranking so far after an excruciating 9 months in market.

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Full October 2014 Top 325 All-models and Top 10 manufacturers Ranking Tables below.

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Categories: China