China 1st Half 2016: Tax cut, SUV wave spur 8% gain to record 12.8m

Baojun 560 China September 2015. Picture courtesy shwuling.comBaojun sold 320.000 units of the 560 in the past 12 months. 

* See the Top 75 All China-made brands and Top 465 models by clicking on the title *

Faced with a declining car market, last October Chinese government cut in half the tax on cars with small engines (1.6L or less). The Chinese market never looked back since, culminating in a 18% surge in June. Over the first half of 2016, sales of light vehicles are up 9.2% to 11.042.300 units. Total vehicle sales including trucks and buses gain 8.1% to a record-breaking 12.8 million units, according to the Chinese Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM). By comparison, the U.S. light vehicle market, the 2nd largest in the world, is up 1.5% to 8.644.920 deliveries.

Buick Envision China June 2016The Envision is a huge success for Buick in China. 

A very robust 2nd half could mean the government will let the tax cut expire on December 31 as planned. If that’s the case, we will witness a last-minute rush to buy small cars towards the end of the year and a disproportionately low start of 2017 – in that scenario IHS predicts Chinese growth will slow to 1.4% in 2017. For this reason, the CAAM said it is in favour of a permanent tax cit that could be viewed as a promotion of fuel-efficient cars. I am banking on the government extending the tax cut to avoid sending another wave of disruption into the market. For now, halfway through 2016 SUV sales remain the clear engine of Chinese growth with deliveries up a whopping 42% year-on-year to 3.850.000 units, while MPV get a second wind at +19% to 1.200.100 sales and sedans continue to skid at -4% to 5.565.700.

H1 2016 Ch. MS /15 H1 2015 Ch. MS /14 H1 2014 Ch. MS
Total Market 11,042,300 / 9% 10,121,300 / 5% 9,638,400 /
Ch. brands 4,735,000 42.9% 13% 4,184,600 41.3% 15% 3,651,500 37.9%
Ch. SUV 2,171,000 56.4% 53% 1,417,700 53.3% 93% 735,300 40.4%
Ch. Sedans 1,109,400 19.9% -11% 1,243,400 21.5% -11% 1,390,800 22.6%
Ch. MPV 1,087,600 90.6% 21% 895,200 88.1% 19% 750,400 85.1%

Ch. = Chinese, Ch. MS = Chinese market share

Chinese manufacturers continue to regain the terrain they had lost in the home market in the past decade thanks to extremely strong SUV sales. Over the first 6 months of 2016, they hold a 42.9% market share of Chinese light vehicle sales, compared to 41.3% a year ago and 37.9% in 2014. Chinese SUVs gain a stunning 53% to 2.171.000 units and 56.4% share vs. 53.3% in 2015 and 40.4% in 2014. Chinese MPV also have a smile on their bonnet with deliveries up 21% leading to a 90.6% share vs. 88.1% in 2015 and 85.1% in 2014. Only Chinese sedans lag behind with volumes down 11% to 19.9% share vs. 21.5% in 2015 and 22.6% in 2014.

Buick Excelle GT VW Lavida China June 2016. Picture courtesy autohome.com.cnThe Buick Excelle GT and VW Lavida have helped GM and VAG tremendously in China this year. 

Overtaken by General Motors over the Full Year 2015, the Volkswagen Group reclaims the lead of the Chinese sales races halfway through 2016 thanks to deliveries up 6% to 1.91 million. The Volkswagen brand is up 5% to 1.44m, Audi up 6% to 290.126, Skoda up 11% to 152.000 and Porsche up 4% to 30.440. GM for its part is up 5% to 1.81m units. Buick is up 27% to become the #2 brand in the country below VW at 569.000 sales, Baojun surges 81%, Wuling is stable but Chevrolet is down 31%. Hyundai-Kia is in difficulty at -0.6% to fall just under 810.000 sales, Nissan Motor is up 4% to 609.900, Toyota Motor up 16% to 592.100, Ford Motor up 6% to 577.100 with Lincoln sales tripling to 12.450 (more than the 11.630 it sold over the Full Year 2015) and Honda up 18% to 542.500 thanks to the roaring success of the XR-V and Vezel twin crossovers. In the luxury aisle, below Audi, Mercedes soars 33% to 220.000 units, citing up on BMW up 7% to 247.600. Note the above figures include imports – which is not the case in the sales tables below the jump.

Haval H6 Coupe China June 2016The Haval H6 remains the best-selling SUV in China – Coupe variant pictured. 

Looking at homegrown brands – figures don’t include commercial vehicles, Changan is up 8% but drops one spot to #3 at 563.900 units, Haval gains a solid 22% to break into the Top 10 at #9 and 378.700 units, Beijing Auto is up 51% to #11, Dongfeng up 15% to #12, Geely up 10% to #15 and JAC up 17% #18. Below, the brands that gain spectacular ground all do so thanks to new SUV offerings: GAC Trumpchi is up 170%, Zotye up 49%, Brilliance up 46%, Roewe up 74%, Soueast up 81%, Leopaard up 433% and Landwind up 236%.

Wuling Hongguang S1 China June 2016Still the one: the Wuling Hongguang is the #1 vehicle in China but drops 6%

Model-wise, the Wuling Hongguang remains the best-selling vehicle in the country despite sales down 6% to 294.300, but is now under intense pressure from the VW Lavida, up a fantastic 23% to 287.400. The Haval H6 does even better, lifted by the success of the Coupe variant up 40% to 240.300. Just below, a string of high-performing sedans contradict the overall trend: the VW Jetta (+16%), Sagitar (+27%), Buick Excelle GT (+54%) and Toyota Corolla (+35%) all frankly outpace the market. Just over one year old, the GAC Trumpchi GS4 lands inside the Top 10 thanks to 150.800 deliveries. The Buick Envision (#14), Dongfeng Fengguang 330/370 (+30%), Honda CR-V (+38%), XR-V (+61%) and Vezel (+44%) and Toyota Levin (+32%) also shine inside the Top 50.

GAC Trumpchi GS4 China June 2016. Picture courtesy rednet.cnThe GAC Trumpchi GS4 is now among the 10 most popular vehicles in China. 

But the most impressive performance is without a doubt delivered by the Baojun 560, landing directly in 4th position overall with nearly 175.000 sales so far in 2016. Launched in July 2015, Baojun has sold an earth-shattering 320.000 copies of the 560 in just 12 months, beating the brand’s previous launch (the 730) to snap the title of most successful new nameplate launch in the history of automobile in China. The Baojun 560 is the fastest nameplate to reach its first 300.000 units: it did so in just 11 months (301.534) vs. 13 for the Baojun 730. It leads a strong contingent of 72 new China-made nameplates having made their first appearance in the Chinese charts over the past 12 months. So far in 2016, the Changan Oushang, Hyundai Elantra Lingdong, Jeep Cherokee, BAIC Huansu H3, Zotye Damai X5, BAIC Senova X25, Nissan Lannia, Soueast DX7 and Roewe 360 have been the most successful. It’s also worth mentioning the Buick Verano, new Hyundai Tucson and Brilliance V3, each just over one year old but already inside the Top 50.

Previous post: China June 2016: Market up 18%, next wave of Chinese SUVs arrives

One year ago: China 1st Half 2015: Domestic carmakers regain ground in shy market

Full H1 2016 Top 75 All China-made brands and Top 465 models vs. Full H1 2015 figures below.

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China June 2016: Focus on the All-new models

Mazda CX-4 China June 2016. Picture courtesy autohome.com.cn

* See the June 2016 Top 393 All China-made models and Top 70 brands here *

Although Chinese June sales fuelled up 18%, this month of the year is traditionally slower in terms of novelties coming onto the market. After 9 all-new China-made nameplates made their first appearance in the May ranking, this figure slows down to two in June – the same as June 2015. As is the tradition each month, BSCB puts a laser focus on these new entries to keep you up-to-the-minute about the largest car market in the world. It’s no surprise the two newcomers are SUVs, but the fact they are both foreign brands is a surprise.

Mazda CX-4 China June 2016. Picture courtesy of autohome.com.cn

1. Mazda CX-4 (#92 – 6.347 sales)

Incomprehensibly, Mazda hasn’t launched the CX-3 in China yet. Instead, the Japanese carmaker unveiled in Beijing last April its very first China-only nameplate: the CX-4 SUV. Although Mazda hasn’t ruled out export to other countries – Australia where Mazda holds a 10% market share is drooling over it – the company hasn’t announced any plans either. A very aggressive design immediately positions the CX-4 among the best looking SUVs on sale at the moment, and Chinese customers agree: it already sold 6.347 units in May, already the brand’s 2nd best-seller below just the 3 Axela (10.603) and above the CX-5 (4.248). Priced between 140.800 and 215.800 yuan (US$ 21.100-32.300), the CX-4 is manufactured by the FAW-Mazda joint-venture in Changchun and powered by a choice of 2.0L or 2.5L SkyActive petrol engines mated with a six-speed automatic, meaning it can’t benefit for tax-cuts allowed to 1.6L or less.

Mazda CX-4 China June 2016. Picture courtesy autohome

Mazda is marketing the CX-4 as a sportier version of the CX-5 in China, and although the CX-4 is longer (4.63m vs. 4.56m), it is indeed shorter (1.54m vs. 1.71m) and definitely looks a lot sportier. Somewhat disappointingly, the CX-4 shares most of its interior with the 3. This format places it right into the most competitive foreign SUV segment, along with the blockbusters VW Tiguan (16.145 sales in June), Nissan X-Trail (15.920), Honda CR-V (14.883), Hyundai Tucson (13.203) and Ford Kuga (7.297) as well as newcomers Kia KX5 (8.493) and Jeep Cherokee (8.702). Hitting a 5-digit monthly sales figure should be the objective for the CX-4.

Bar for success: 10.000 monthly sales

Jeep Renegade China June 2016

2. Jeep Renegade (#204 – 1.678 sales)

Jeep became a local manufacturer last November when it launched the China-made version of the Cherokee, of which over 58.000 units have since been sold, peaking at 9.201 last April. The Renegade inaugurates a new plant in Guangzhou, operated by the joint-venture between GAC and FCA with an annual capacity of 160.000 vehicles. This means the Renegade is now produced in three countries: Italy, Brazil and China, the most locations of any Jeep nameplate and the only one not produced in North America at all. It is priced between 141.800 and 178.880 yuan (US$21.200 – 26,700), very close to its U.S. price ($18.990-27.990) whereas the Chinese Cherokee incurred a 50% price premium on its U.S. equivalent (see China November 2015: Focus on the All-new models). The Renegade is 4.25m long and is powered by either a 1.4T matched to a 7DCT or a 2.0L mated with a 9AT, with both front-wheel drive and 4WD versions available – some very modern mechanics here.

Even though it is a lot more affordable than the Cherokee, the Renegade may have a hard time finding its clientele in China, as their inaugural sales months already show (1.678 vs. 2.171). At this price point and size, the Renegade indeed finds itself in a bit of a black hole, where only the Honda XR-V and Vezel twins have truly succeeded among foreign carmakers so far (4.28m, 127.800-189.800 yuan and 27.461 combined sales in June). The Chevrolet Trax, Buick Encore, Peugeot 2008 and Citroen C3-XR all quickly faltered after promising launches. But this is where it gets tricky: for this price point you can now afford high quality, much larger Chinese SUVs such as the Geely Emgrand GS (4.40m, 77.800-108.800 yuan) or Geely Boyue (4.52m, 98.800-157.800 yuan). A lower sales target than what the Cherokee is currently selling seems therefore adequate.

Bar for success: 6.500 monthly sales

Previous month: China May 2016: Focus on the All-new models

One year ago: (see end of article) China June 2015: First monthly year-on-year decline in over 6 years

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

Changan CX70 China June 2016Launched in April, the Changan CX70 sells 10.058 units in June. 

* See the Top 70 All China-made brands and Top 393 All models by clicking on the title *

A year ago, the Chinese light vehicle market was going through its first monthly year-on-year decline in over 6 years. June 2016 data is a lot more reassuring with deliveries up a whopping 18% year-on-year to 1.784.100 units. Crossovers and SUvs once again are the engine of growth in China at +41% to 632.300 units, with MPVs up 35% to 170.400 and sedans up 9% to 925.100, whereas microvans continue to sink into oblivion at -38% to 56.300 sales according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. These strong results are showing that the tax cut on cars with engines of or lower than 1.6L implemented last October has been effective in rebooting market growth.

Geely Boyue China June 2016. Picture courtesy autov.com.cnA March launch, the Geely Boyue found 8.142 new homes in June.

The Volkswagen brand manages to outpace the overall Chinese market with sales up a stunning 20% to 219.431. It is followed by Buick up 14% to 97.266, Hyundai up a whopping 62% to 97.208, Honda up 14% to 95.788 and Nissan up 20% to 88.580 whereas Toyota pays the absence of small crossover in its lineup with a 8% drop to 88.432. Rare brands in decline also included Citroen (-4%), Chevrolet (-16%), Peugeot (-19%) and Ford (-20%). Note the above figures do not include imports. Changan (+22%), Beijing Auto (+127%) and Haval (+39%) are the only Chinese brands inside the overall Top 10, followed by Geely at #11 (+37%), Dongfeng at #13 (+53%) and Wuling at #15 (+17%). Notice Baojun up 44%, GAC Trumpchi up 121%, Haima up 67% and Roewe up 89%. In the luxury race, Audi is up 7% to remain the favourite at 51.008 sales, BMW Group (including Mini) is up 13% to 45.300 and Mercedes shoots up 21% to 39.462 sales. Group-wise, General Motors is up 11% to 273.563 sales but far below the Volkswagen Group.

BYD Yuan China June 2016Launched in March, the Yuan is BYD’s 2nd most popular vehicle in China this month. 

Thanks to sales up a stunning 62% year-on-year to 43.585, the VW Lavida reclaims the top spot in the models ranking for the third time in the past 5 months, knocking the Wuling Hongguang down to #2 and 41.956 units (+16%). The Haval H6 soars 60% to 37.547 deliveries and stays put in third place ahead of the Nissan Sylphy (+33%), VW Jetta (+72%) and Buick Excelle GT (+59%). The VW Sagitar (+70%) and Santana (+39%) are the other two Volkswagen sedans posting exuberant gains in the Top 10, just as the Tiguan drops 28% awaiting the new generation.

BAIC Senova X35 China June 2016. Picture courtesy bitauto.comThe BAIC Senova X35 ranks inside the overall Top 100 for its 2nd month in market. 

The GAC Trumpchi GS4 (#10) remains the #2 best-selling SUV in the country above the Buick Envision (+48%) and Baojun 560. Yet one of the main trends in the SUV segment this month is foreign entries catching up: the Nissan X-Trail ranks 6th with 15.920 sales, the Honda CR-V is up 12% at #7, the Honda Vezel and XR-V continue to sparkle, adding up to 27.461 sales (+31%) and the new model propels the Hyundai Tucson 8-fold to 13.203 sales. Meanwhile the Chinese SUVs that had gobbled up such an impressive amount of sales in the past 18 months seem to be taking a small break: along with the Baojun 560 levelling down, the Changan CS35 (-9%), JAC Refine S3 (-14%), Changan CS75 (-45%) all lose significant ground.

Dongfeng Fengguang 580 China June 2016The Dongfeng Fengguang 580 is up 97% on its starting month to #101 in June.

But the succession is ready: 11 of the 13 nameplates launched in the past 3 months that are already present in the Top 145 are Chinese SUVs – the theme of all illustrations in this article and the one thing to remember about China this month. The only two foreigners are the Hyundai Elantra Lingdong (#32) and Kia KX5 (#68). The Changan CX70, first appearing in February but truly launching in April, breaks into the Top 50 with 10.058 sales, the Geely Boyue is up to #75 with 8.142, the BYD Yuan at #95 with 6.161, BAIC Senova X35 at #100 with 5.977 (+99% on its inaugural May score), the Dongfeng Fengguang 580 at #101 with 5.952 (+97%), FAW Xenia R7 at #116 with 4.987 (+27%), Lifan Myway at #118 with 4.864 (+133%), Geely Emgrand GS at #124 with 4.600 (+64%), Changhe Q25 at #131 with 4.222 and BAIC Weiwang S50 at #132 with 4.132. Finally, the Haval H7 continues to climb up at 3.594, now the brand’s third best-seller below the H6 and H2 (10.089) but above the H1 (3.504) and H5 (1.501).

Lifan Myway China June 2016. Picture courtesy auto.sina.cnAn April launch, the Lifan Myway is already the brand’s best-seller in China at #118.

The Geely Emgrand EC7 (+44%) is once again the most popular Chinese sedan but the Chery Arrizo 5 continues to flex its muscles, lodging a 2nd consecutive 5-digit sales month at 10.722 and hurting the Changan Eado at #3 (-30%). A rare event, the BMW 5 Series is the #1 luxury vehicle in the country with 14.344 sales, outselling such mass market nameplates as the VW Golf (13.733) and Polo (13.126) and distancing the Mercedes C-Class L (10.417), Audi A4L (10.256), Audi Q5 (9.924) and Audi A6L (9.273). In the MPV aisle, the Dongfeng Fengguang 330/370 is up 90%, the BAIC Weiwang M30 is up 77% and the Changan Oushang posts yet another 5-digit month at 10.819 sales.

Previous month: China May 2016: Price cuts lift market up 11%, Wuling Hongguang back to #1

One year ago: China June 2015: First monthly year-on-year decline in over 6 years

Full June 2016 Top 70 All China-made brands and Top 393 All models below.

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

Great Wall Wingle 6 China May 2016. Picture courtesy autohome.com.cnPickup trucks are seeing their first double-digit gains in 3 years in China. 

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

As part of a partnership with Chinese consultancy outlet Cedars, we can share with you today Light Commercial Vehicle detailed sales data for China with complete Minivan, Pickup and Mini Truck data by model as well as selected light truck/bus data provided by LMC Automotive. The overall Chinese LCV market continues to suffer from the muted overall economic context of the country, with sales down 16% year-on-year in May to 266.906, a worrying and larger drop than the year-to-date tally down 12% to 1.442.748 deliveries according to LMC.

Wuling Mini Truck China May 2016Mini Trucks outsell Minivans for the first time in China. 

In the detail, a momentous event is happening before our eyes: while minivans are falling faster into oblivion each month -49% to 39.010 in May and -34% year-to-date to 270.186, they are for the first time outsold by the segment that has absorbed much of their fall: mini trucks (aka mini pickups), up another 20% to 42.184 units in May and up 23% to 211.208 so far in 2016. As for pickups, May data confirms the boosting effect of a change in legislation allowing them in the large cities of four provinces for the first time in 12 years (click here for more detail on this). After returning into positive last month for the first time in over two years, pickup sales in China are up a whopping 11% in May to 28.043 units, lifting the year-to-date tally closer to breakeven point at 141.184 (-2.5%).

Wuling Hongguang V China May 2016. Picture courtesy auto.sohu.comThe Wuling Hongguang V is now the best-selling minivan in China. 

The Foton Light Truck keeps the lead despite sales down 7% to 21.369 but is followed closely by the Wuling Mini Truck at 20.716 (+15%), adding up to just under 100.000 sales so far in 2016 (+21%). Note Wuling single cab sales are up 51% in May to 10.457 whereas double cab sales are down 8% to 10.259. YTD, singles are at +31% and doubles at +15%. The Wuling Hongguang V now seems to have found its place in the market with deliveries up 11% to 20.050 this month, well above once-blockbusters Sunshine (-39%) and Rongguang (-44%). The Dongfeng K Series Mini Truck is also hoping the segment greatly at +81% whereas Changan isn’t seeing much transfer to Mini Trucks: the Star Minivan implodes at -87% and the Mini Truck is also down at -15%.

Foton Tunland China May 2016. Picture courtesy autohome.com.cnFoton Tunland sales are up 44% in May. 

The Great Wall Wingle 5 is back inside the overall Top 10 and leads the reinvigorated pickup charge in spite of sales down 2% to 6.056. This is still double the deliveries or any other pickup truck in the Chinese market. The Wingle 5 is followed by the JMC Baodian, Dongfeng Rich, ZX Auto Grand Tiger, the Great Wall Wingle 6 up 39% to 2.067 units and the Foton Tunland up 44% to 1.563. Further down, the Huanghai N2-Series (1.236) and Chana Shenqi F-Series (1.081) are new for 2016.

Previous month: China LCV April 2016: Mini trucks surge 39%, pickups back in positive

One year ago: China LCV May 2015: Foton Light Truck outsells all Wuling models

Full May 2016 Top 50 models Ranking Table below.

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China May 2016: Focus on the All-new models

Geely Emgrand GS China May 2016. Picture courtesy weiboribau.netGeely Emgrand GS

* See the May 2016 Top 396 All China-made models and Top 70 brands here *

With the light vehicle market up a very dynamic 11% in May, the constant flow of new models hitting Chinese dealership isn’t about to slow down. Another illustration this month: no less than nine all-new China-made nameplates make their first appearance in the ranking, five of them having just been unveiled at last April’s Beijing Auto Show. As is the tradition each month, BSCB puts a laser focus on these new entries to keep you informed about the largest car market in the world as if you lived there. Characteristically, the six most popular all-new models this month are SUVs, followed by two MPVs and one sedan, and 6 are Chinese vs. 2 foreigners. The message: the Chinese SUV sales surge isn’t about to cool down either.

FAW Jilin Xenia R7 China May 2016. Picture courtesy autohome.com.cn

1. FAW Xenia R7 (#133 – 3.931 sales)

China’s very first automaker – First Automotive Works or FAW – is struggling at home with light vehicle sales down 32% so far in 2016. Only the Besturn B30 sedan has managed to pull decent sales figures, so a small crossover is just what the doctor ordered for the brand, and also an instant hit: the Xenia R7, which impressed me at the Beijing Auto with its interior quality, almost hits the 4.000 sales mark for is first appearance in the charts. This is already almost as much as where another FAW small crossover, the Junpai D60, peaked at: 4.154 units in January 2015. In fact, a stretch sales target should be the larger FAW Besturn X80 with a personal best of 8.199 sales in October 2014 but down to a paltry 1.367 this month. At 4.30m long and priced between 69.800 and 86.900 yuan (US$10.700 – 13.300), the Xenia R7 competes in price with the larger Baojun 560 and the smaller Changan CS35 and may have a hard time finding its place among the plethora of Chinese crossovers already on the market. FAW got us used to sell their cars at some of the lowest prices in the market so this Xenia R7 is a step-up which – albeit justified by an aggressive design, current technology and interior quality – may need a little convincing.

Bar for success: 6.000 monthly sales

Land Rover Discovery Sport China May 2016. Picture courtesy iautodaily.com

2. Land Rover Discovery Sport (#136 – 3.842 sales)

After finally reporting their overall Chinese sales last month, Jaguar Land Rover now gives us locally-produced models monthly sales data. Although launched in late October 2015, we only now get access to Land Rover Discovery Sport figures, and they are excellent. The Discovery Sport manages to attract almost 4.000 monthly buyers a mere 6 months after launch. This compares with 10.708 for the Audi Q5, the segment leader and reference in China and present here for much longer. This is also more than any other imported luxury SUV, corresponding to roughly 50.000 annual units, it compares with 39.300 BMW X5 in 2015, 39.000 Toyota Prado and 27.800 Porsche Macan. The decision by Jaguar Land Rover to start producing locally was a good one then. Despite producing locally at lower cost, Land Rover is selling the Discovery Sport in China at prices almost 50% higher than in the U.S., ranging from 368.000 to 518.000 yuan (US$56.300-79.200) vs. $38,450-46,950 in the U.S., meaning the cheapest Chinese variant is $10.000 dearer than the most expensive U.S. variant!

Bar for success: 4.000 monthly sales

Dongfeng Fengguang 580 China May 2016

3. Dongfeng Fengguang 580 (#156 – 3.022 sales)

Playing a big part in propelling Dongfeng to #2 in my list of the Most impressive Chinese carmakers at the Beijing Auto Show 2016, the Fengguang 580 ticks absolutely all boxes in the current Chinese market conditions. Its exterior and interior designs are leaps and bounds above what the brand has given us so far in the segment (think Fengguang 330-360), the dashboard console features a large touch screen and the connectivity is optimal: full smartphone integration, satellite navigation, a wifi hot spot and permanent 4G internet. Plus, it’s a seven seater. All this for an almost impossibly low price ranging between 72.900 and 99.999 yuan (US$ 11.100 – 15.300). At 4.68m long and powered by a 1.5L turbocharged 4-cyl petrol engine, the Fengguang 580 smartly leaves the similarly-sized Dongfeng Fengshen AX7 in a different price range altogether (115.700 – 149.700 yuan) and competes full-frontal with the very successful but a lot more basic Changan CX70 and BAIC Huansu S3. This could be a true blockbuster for Dongfeng.

Bar for success: 7.000 monthly sales

BAIC Senova X55 China May 2016. Picture courtesy 58che.com

4. BAIC Senova X35 (#158 – 3.003 sales)

Beijing Auto is expanding the Senova SUV lineup at lightning speed: after the X65 in February 2015 (personal best: 3.971 sales), the X25 last October (10.593) and the X55 last December (6.492), here comes the X35. At 4.30m long and powered by a 1.5L petrol engine, the Senova X35 is priced between 70.000 and 90.000 yuan (US$10.700 – 13.800) and thus competes with the FAW Xenia R7 described above. The Senova sub-brand is however a lot more familiar to Chinese consumers and its relative refinement is understood, enabling the model to justify these prices, a tad on the high end for a Chinese carmaker. Its commercial start, above 3.000 units, is already good but it should go much higher to really please BAIC.

Bar for success: 8.000 monthly sales

Geely Emgrand GS China May 2016

5. Geely Emgrand GS (#167 – 2.800 sales)

It took a little while, but Geely is now truly entering the SUV segment with very attractive offerings and the manufacturer isn’t doing things in half: only two months after launching the Boyue which has already accumulated 11.069 deliveries, Geely gets the Emgrand GS into market with a solid 2.800 sales for its first month. Built on Geely’s FE platform, which is developed with Volvo technical support and at 4.40m long, the GS is priced between 77.800 and 108.800 yuan (US$11.900 – 16.600), slotting nicely below the 4.52m Boyue (98.800-157.800 yuan).

Geely Emgrand GS China May 2016. Picture courtesy auto.sina.cn Geely Emgrand GS interior China May 2016. Picture courtesy auto.sina.cn

The GS interior quality was one of the elements that made me choose Geely as the Most impressive Chinese carmaker at the Beijing Auto Show 2016. Volvo’s influence is palpable in many aspects of the car which offers real value for money to the Chinese car buyer. A 10.000 monthly sales score seems a reasonable bar for success as far as the GS is concerned, but the attention to detail the brand has displayed with it should be able to lift it further up. The only element that could hamper its sales is its hatchback format, traditionally harder to sell to a Chinese audience. But the Emgrand GS has “European market” written all over it. Will Geely finally make the plunge?

Bar for success: 10.000 monthly sales

Range Rover Evoque China May 2016. Picture courtesy auto.sina.cn

6. Range Rover Evoque (#211 – 1.636 sales)

Just as the Land Rover Discovery Sport detailed above, the Range Rover Evoque makes its first appearance in the China-made sales ranking this month even though it launched back in February 2015. And just like for its stablemate, JLR is applying larger-than-life markups to the Evoque’s Chinese pricing – a whopping 61% compared to the starting U.S. price: from 448.000 to 582.800 yuan (US$68.500 – 89.100) vs. $42.470 – 61.770 in the U.S. The smaller sales figure is still respectable but has probably been impacted by the arrival a year ago of a clone by Landwind, the X7, priced at almost a quarter of the price from 129.800 – 147.800 yuan (US$19.900 – 22.600). Although Landwind doesn’t communicate sales by model, the X7 has lifted the brand from a mere 1.833 units in May 2015 to a peak of 10.001 deliveries last March, and accounts for the overwhelming majority of the 61.740 sales Landwind has accumulated over the past 12 months. It is undeniable that the Landwind X7 has hurt the commercial success of the Range Rover Evoque, and for this reason JLR has filed this month a legal action against Chinese automaker Jiangling Motors, the owner of the Landwind brand, for allegedly copying the Evoque.

Bar for success: 4.000 monthly sales

Haima V70 China May 2016. Picture courtesy auto.sina.cn

7. Haima V70 (#230 – 1.152 sales)

Haima is coming late to the MPV race and with a design that seems dated already, although the mark of Luciano D’Ambrosio. Offering 6 or 7 seating positions, the V70 is 4.75m long, has two engine options (2.0L and 1.5T) and is priced between 79.800 and 129.800 yuan (US$ 12.200 – 19.200), neither cheap nor expensive and therefore in some kind of no man’s land for a Chinese manufacturer as buyers may prefer a foreign brand. Haima has been struggling to sell anything other than the S5 crossover lately, but thanks to it the brand is up 18% so far in 2016. Entering the MPV arena a few years too late and facing some very accomplished performers such as Changan make this a difficult task for Haima.

Bar for success: 2.500 monthly sales

Mercedes V Class China May 2016. Picture courtesy xcar.com.cn

8. Mercedes V-Class (#271 – 628 sales)

This is the V-Class we know in Europe, aka the Metris in the U.S., manufactured in China by Fujian Benz, a subsidiary of Beijing Benz. Mercedes is selling the standard 5.14m variant as well as a 5.37m LWB. The pricing, between 489.000 and 618.000 yuan (US$ 74.800 – 94.500) reserve the V-Class to a very exclusive elite and 5-star hotels, and is here too grossly exaggerated compared to a humble U.S. pricing going from $29.945 to $33.495. Yes you have read right, we’re looking at a 182% markup at equal production cost, and with the China production cost standing well below the U.S. one, closer to 200-250% markup. Neither the Viano nor the Vito venture very often above 500 monthly sales in China so doubling that amount would be a significant achievement already for the V-Class.

Bar for success: 1.000 monthly sales

GAC Trumpchi China May 2016. Picture courtesy autohome.com.cn

9. GAC Trumpchi GA8 (#331 – 215 sales)

The last new entrant this month is by a brand that has distinguished itself with the tremendous success of its Trumpchi GS4 SUV, appearing in the overall Top 10 for the past two months. Making no secret of wanting to enter the U.S. market in the next few years, GAC has requested the help of its Chinese joint-venture partner FCA Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in doing so. The GA8 is the brand’s new flagship, and although it’s not headed for registering much of a mark on the Chinese market, this is precisely the type of format that could give GAC the best chances at succeeding on American shores. The GA8 has two engine options: either a 2.0T 4-cyl. with 188hp or  a 1.8T with 177hp, both mated to a seven-speed DCT. It is over 5m long and priced between 169.800 and 299.800 yuan (US$ 26.000 – 45.800). In China, it competes with the Dongfeng Aeolus A9, Geely GC9, Zotye Z700 and Roewe 950. Were it to come to the U.S., it would need to shave off a few thousand bucks to be a reasonable alternative to the best-sellers Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, ranging between $23,000 and $35.000. See what GAC did there?

Bar for success: 1.500 monthly sales

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

Wuling Hongguang S1 China May 2016A new crossover-looking variant helps lift the Wuling Hongguang back to #1 in May.

* See the Top 70 All-China made brands and Top 396 All-models by clicking on the title *

The Chinese light vehicle market manages a double-digit year-on-year gain for the second time in three months in May, up 11% to 1.793 million units, pushing the year-to-date total up 7.8% to 9.258 million deliveries, according the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. Note these figures exclude medium and heavy commercial vehicles. Once again the SUV segment is the engine of growth in China with volumes up 38% in May to 637.256 and up 45% year-to-date to 3.218 million. That’s over one million additional SUVs Chinese consumers bought this year compared to the same period last year… MPV sales are up 19% to 170.332 and up 11% year-to-date to 1.017 million. Even sedans are back in positive at +0.8% to 922.125 sales but remain down 6.5% so far this year at 4.652 million units. Microvans on the contrary continue their freefall at -37% to 64.300 units now that they are being ditched by rural buyers for MPVs and crossovers.

VW Bora China May 2016. Picture courtesy gouchezj.comThe facelifted Bora (+46%) helps Volkswagen China sales up 6% in May. 

General Motors posts a 17% increase to 295.282 sales, with Buick the most dynamic Top 10 brand at +36% but Chevrolet disappointing again at -26%. Volkswagen remains by far the most popular marque in China despite growing slower than the market at +6% to 232.400 deliveries. The majority of VW sedans display outstanding gains this month: the Lavida is up 19% in 2nd place overall, the Jetta up 31%, the Sagitar up 25%, Polo up 17% and refreshed Bora up 46%. The Tiguan (-11%) is waiting for the new generation to kick start production in China. Toyota Motor Corp. follows the overall trend with sales up 12% to 102.900, but Hyundai at 100.328 (+25%) and Honda Motor Co. at 99.456 (+24%) are gaining twice as much ground as the market and catching up fast. Honda places 3 nameplates among the Top 10 SUVs in the country this month: the XR-V (14.959), Vezel (14.398) and CR-V (14.194).

Honda XR-V China May 2016. Picture courtesy autohome.com.cnHonda is up 24% mainly thanks to the XR-V and Vezel twins adding up to 29.357 sales.

The Nissan Group is struggling to keep pace: up just 3% to 106.100 deliveries including Infiniti and low-cost brand Venucia. Year-to-date, Nissan is up 1.3% to 500.900 sales whereas Toyota is up 20% to 495.000 and Honda up 15% to 445.800. At this rate, Toyota could overtake Nissan as the most popular Japanese carmaker in China by the end of 2016. Meanwhile Ford drops 2.5% to 88.248, handicapped by declining light commercial vehicle sales through its joint-venture with Jiangling Motors Corp. (JMC), down 4% and imports down 45% to just 1.501 units. Ford’s year-to-date volumes are up 5% to 479.542.

Chery Arrizo 5 China May 2016. Picture courtesy cheshi.comThe Chery Arrizo 5 hits five-digit sales figures for its third month in market. 

In the luxury aisle, Audi keeps its crown with deliveries up 5.5% to 50.002 units in May, adding up to 239.600 (+6%) so far this year. BMW is up 7% to 40.123 sales and up 6% over five months to 202.300 while Mercedes continues on its stellar run: up 39% in May to 38.271 units and up 36% so far in 2016 to 180.537. The Audi A6L at 11.227 units is the best-selling luxury nameplate in China in May, distancing the Audi Q5 (10.708), Audi A4L (9.774), Mercedes C-Class L (up 179% to 9.582), BMW 3 Series L (8.285) and Audi Q3 up 78% to 8.269.

Changan CX70 China May 2016. Picture courtesy xcar.com.cnInstant blockbuster status for the Changan CX70.

Among Chinese carmakers, Great Wall Motors is up 9.5% to 71.636 units including 61.793 (+20%) for its SUV brand Haval. The H6, the first SUV to ever top the overall Chinese sales charts last month, is back down to #3 overall but still up 25% year-on-year to 37.435 units and has had to see its starting price cut by 16% in one year to 88.800 yuan (US$13.500) to achieve these figures. Geely is up 18% to 46.134 units, lifted b  impressive scores by its two best-selling sedans, the Emgrand EC7 up 17% and the Vision up 24%, as well as a great start by the Boyue SUV, already inside the Top 100 thanks to 6.049 units sold in May. Wuling (+24%) gets a boost from a rejuvenated Hongguang, up 31% to reclaim the pole position it holds year-to-date thanks to the arrival of a crossover-looking S1 variant.

Geely Boyue China May 2016. Picture courtesy che.comThe Geely Boyue is already inside the Top 100. 

On the other hand, Baojun significantly slows down its growth at +14% to 34.459 units: the 560 crossover is down a further 3 spots on April to #12 vs. #4 year-to-date while the 730 MPV is down 46% year-on-year to #28 vs. #8 so far in 2016. In other model news, the Buick Excelle GT continues to post stunning scores (+59%), the GAC Trumpchi GS4 remains in the overall Top 10 and ranks #2 SUV, the Ford Escort breaks into it for the second time ever, the Buick Envision is up 40% to a best-ever #11, the Hyundai Tucson is up 25 ranks on last month to #23 and the Changan Oushang is up 9 spots to break is volume record at 12.928.

Changhe Q25 China May 2016. Picture autohome.com.cnThe Q25 single-handedly puts back the Changhe brand on the map. 

Among recent launches, the Chery Arrizo 5 is the biggest surprise of the month, gaining a further 35% on April to reach 10.986 sales for its third month in market and becoming the 2nd best-selling Chinese sedan at home below just the Geely Emgrand EC7 and above the Changan Eado. The Changan CX70 is up 127% on last month to land at #62 with 9.723 units, the Geely Boyue is up 51% to #94 and 6.049 deliveries, the BYD Yuan is up 69% to #114 and 5.248, the BAIC Weiwang S50 up 94% to #133 and the Cadillac XT5 up 53% to #165.

Haval H7 China May 2016. Picture courtesy autohome.com.cnEarly signs are good for the Haval H7. 

But the most significant new launches variations in May are posted by the Changhe Q25, literally taking off from just 829 sales in April to 5.259 in May and giving the brand a presence again in the market. Secondly, the Haval H7 is up 146% on its inaugural month to 3.175 sales. A momentous launch for the successful SUV brand, the H7 is already above the monthly bests for both the H8 (1.373) and H9 (3.066). If the H7’s upwards trend continues, it could demonstrate that Chinese buyers are now prepared to spend more on a Chinese SUV than the best-seller H6.

Previous month: China April 2016: Haval H6 first SUV to lead the overall ranking

One year ago: China May 2015: Wuling Hongguang, VW Group tumble in slow market

Full May 2016 Top 70 All-China made brands and Top 396 All-models below.

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China April 2016: Focus on the All-new models

Haval H7 China April 2016. Picture courtesy sxac.comThe Haval H7 finally launches in China, one year after its unveiling in Shanghai. 

* See the April 2016 Top 380 All China-made models and Top 70 brands here *

After a record 12 new locally-produced nameplates hit Chinese dealerships in March, the pace of new launches slows down in April, yet there are a further seven new models landing this month. The SUV tap certainly has not dried up, with four of these new launches belonging to this segment and spanning the entire spectrum of price: from low-cost (Lifan) to luxury (Cadillac). Volkswagen is trying out a new format for China and Dongfeng launches its flagship sedan into its home market…

VW Golf Sportsvan China April 2016

1. VW Golf Sportsvan (#133 – 3.659 sales)

Volkswagen just launched local production of the two year-old Golf Sportsvan in China through its joint-venture with FAW at its plant in Foshan, Guangdong. The German brand, by far the #1 in the country and the foreign manufacturer with the longest presence in China, has the midas touch here: of all its China-made nameplates, only two have never crossed the symbolic 10.000 monthly sales barrier: the luxurious CC (all-time high of 5.783) and the Touran MPV (5.206). Even a risky bet such as the VW Lamando managed 16.452 units in March this year… In this context, a five-digit monthly figure seems a logical target for the Sportsvan even though this is unchartered territory for the brand: Chinese consumers are not used to this type of format. So much so that similarly to the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer launched last month, the Sportsvan is categorised as a sedan instead of an MPV in China. The Golf Sportsvan is priced between 131.900 and 197.900 yuan (US$20.000-30.100).

Bar for success: 10.000 monthly sales

Lifan MyWay China April 2016. Picture courtesy chyangwa.net

2. Lifan Myway (#168 – 2.342 sales)

Lifan has been posting catastrophic results at home with sales down by an abysmal 74% so far in 2016 to just 15,375 units. To its credit, the manufacturer has rebooted at the Beijing Auto Show last month with *exactly* the format it needs to launch in current market conditions: a 7-seater cutthroat-priced SUV: the MyWay, also starting a new nameplate nomenclature. This the “make or break” model for the struggling manufacturer, and with a solid start at 2.342 sales, the MyWay already accounts for a whopping 44% of the brand’s sales in April. At 4.44m long and powered by a 1.5L petrol engine, it is priced between an almost impossibly low 57.300 and 73.800 yuan (US$8.700-11.200), making it no less than the cheapest 7-seater SUV in China, just below the BAIC Huansu S3 (61.800-72.800 yuan) which peaked at a stunning 20.868 sales last December.

Lifan MyWay China April 2016. Picture courtesy bitauto.com

The MyWay also competes in price with smaller crossovers such as the BAIC Senova X25 (10.593 sales in April), Brilliance V3 (peak at 9.325), JAC Refine S2 (8.073) and Changan CS15 (5.680) but also, thanks to its boxy shape and 7 seats – and this is where Lifan’s strategy is really smart – with a slew of extraordinarily successful local 7-seater MPVs that have been trying to look more like crossovers in recent times. I’m pointing at none other than the Wuling Hongguang (44.800-69.800 yuan), BAIC Huansu H3 (55.800-62.800) and Karry K50 (46.800-69.800). In other words, Lifan has delivered the perfect offer to get itself out of the sales ditch it currently is in. Now consumers need to respond favourably. The brand’s other two SUV offerings’ monthly volume records are 4.011 for the X50 and 9.273 for the X60. In less desperate times, levelling with the X50 would have been good enough, but Lifan needs much more out of the MyWay.

Bar for success: 8.000 monthly sales

Cadillac XT5 China April 2016

3. Cadillac XT5 (#187 – 1.863 sales)

The Cadillac XT5 appears for the first time simultaneously in the U.S. (#231 with 304 sales) and in China in April, with its Chinese score already vastly outpacing its performance at home. A sign of things to come for the Cadillac brand, as the XT5 fully taps into the most dynamic segment in China. Produced at SAIC-GM’s Jinqiao plant in Pudong, Shanghai, at 4.81m long and powered by a 2.0T engine, the XT5 replaces the SRX and is priced at 359.900-539.900 yuan (US$54.800-82.200). It competes with the Audi Q5, Mercedes GLC and the imported Lexus RX and Porsche Macan. Let’s pause here for a second and stress that the XT5 starts at US$39.990 in the U.S.A – a staggering US$15.000 than in China – and ends at $63.495. Another example of foreign manufacturers marking up their Chinese offering even though they are manufactured locally at reduced cost. The best monthly score for a Cadillac in China so far is 4.054 from the XTS, matching this is a pre-requisite for success for the XT5 which is evolving in a much more potent segment.

Bar for success: 4.000 monthly sales

Haval H7 China April 2016. Picture courtesy autohome.com.cn

4. Haval H7 (#219 – 1.290 sales)

The H7 was unveiled a year ago at the 2015 Shanghai Auto Show and finally makes its appearance in market with a shy score for now. The Haval brand is now at a crossroads and the H7 is an extremely significant test. Until now, Haval has built its success on high quality, low-priced SUVs: the H6’s historical overall pole position in April had a lot to do with a third price cut bringing its starting tariff down to 88.000 yuan (US$13.400). The H1’s price range (68.900-82.900 yuan) and the H2 (88.800-128.800) are also on the affordable end. Both have been exceptional sales successes but are now losing steam: the H1 is down 9% in April and the H2 down 25%.

It is therefore now time for Haval to look elsewhere for engines of growth, and the H7 represents the up-market direction the brand would like to take moving forward. At 4.70m long and powered by a 2.0T engine mated with a DCT gearbox, it is priced between 149.800 and 169.800 yuan (US$22.800-25.900), logically slotting above the H6 (88.800-162.800) and H6 Coupe (122.800-171.800). It also competes in price with smaller foreign SUVs such as the Honda XR-V or Hyundai ix25, a ‘real world’ test of sorts for Haval. Problem is, the brand has failed so far with its high-end lineup: the H8 (158.800-256.800) peaked at a paltry 1.373 sales while the H9 (209.800-272.800) has an all-time best of 3.066 but is now struggling to reach four-digit monthly volumes. For Haval, a lot rests on the success of the H7: the pressure is real and it will need to reach five-digit figures to be deemed a success.

Bar for success: 10.000 monthly sales

Nissan Maxima China April 2016. Picture courtesy auto.eastday.com

5. Nissan Maxima (#225 – 1.158 sales)

Nissan wants to bank on the success of the Lannia with this Maxima, the same model as the one sold in the U.S and spreading the brand’s new design language across its Chinese lineup. In China, the Maxima slots above the Teana (177.800-244.800 yuan) and is priced from 234.800 to 267.800 yuan (US$35.800-40.800). Unlike Cadillac with the XT5 above, the prices are in line with what the Maxima sells for in the U.S.A. ($33.345-40.795). The Maxima goes full frontal with the very successful Buick LaCrosse (all-time high of 11.672 monthly units), about to be refreshed, and if Nissan managed to find room in its lineup for a Lannia that matches the Sylphy in size and price, it can definitely do so for the Maxima.

Bar for success: 7.000 monthly sales

Dongfeng Aeolus A9 China April 2016. Picture courtesy emao.com

6. Dongfeng Aeolus A9 (#337 – 148 sales)

Two years after unveiling it as “Concept 1″ at the 2014 Beijing Auto Show, Dongfeng makes the plunge with the Aeolus A9, the brand’s new flagship sedan. The A9 mission isn’t volume but brand image, and so far it has succeeded in lifting up the Dongfeng marque at home (see our list of the most impressive Chinese carmakers at the 2016 Beijing Auto Show) and is generating dithyrambic reviews from the local press. Priced between 179.700 and 279.700 yuan (US$27.400-42.600), the A9 competes with other Chinese flagships such as the more powerful Roewe 950 (189.800-309.900) or the GAC Trumpchi GA8 (169.800-299.800). It is however helpless against the Zotye Z700 (99.800-158.800) or the very impressive Geely GC9 (119.800-229.800). If the latter hit a stunning 6.001 sales last December, the Zotye Z700 (748 sales in April) is a more realistic target as Chinese nameplates in this segment traditionally struggle to post four-digit monthly sales figures. It should be an objective for the A9 but in the end this model is not designed to break sales records, rather showcase the marque’s potential. So far so good.

Bar for success: 1.000 monthly sales

BAW BJ80 China April 2016. Picture courtesy 58che.com.cn

7. BAW BJ80 (#374 – 10 sales)

BAW just introduced this clone of Mercedes G-Class and wants to emulate the success of the B40 which peaked at 1.628 sales in June 2014. With the BJ80, BAIC is nicely expanding its “rough-as-guts” BAW lineup and can expect a solid success with the Chinese army and police forces. The general public may be more cautious however, and a stint above 1.000 monthly units at some stage during the next year would label the BJ80 as a success.

Bar for success: 1.000 monthly sales

China April 2016 article: Haval H6 first SUV to lead the overall ranking

Previous month: China March 2016: Focus on the All-new models

One year ago: China April 2015: Focus on the all-new models

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

Haval H6 Coupe China April 2016. Picture courtesy autohome.com.cnFirst ever pole position for the Haval H6 thanks to sales up 43%. H6 Coupe pictured.

* See the Top 380 All China-made models and Top 70 brands by clicking on the title *

The Chinese light vehicle market is up a very satisfying 6.5% year-on-year in April to 1.78 million units, lifting the year-to-date total up 6.7% to 7.45 million registrations. When including commercial vehicles, these figures climb to 2.122 million (+6.3%) for April and 8.65 million (+6.1%) year-to-date. While the China growth softening has been a headline subject in the past year, these results are to be compared with a 3% increase to 5.6 million units in the U.S., a market supposedly in record shape. It’s all a question of perspective… No surprises as to where the engine of Chinese growth lies this month: once again the SUV segment is the sole responsible for the market dynamism with sales up a staggering 32% to 616.524 units. MPV have significantly slowed their growth to just 5% at 177.238 deliveries while sedans are down 3% to 909.173 and microvans continue to freefall at -22% to 85.000 sales. A very symbolic illustration of the drastic consumer  towards SUVs is this month’s overall lead of the Haval H6 thanks to sales up a whopping 43% to 43.946. It is the first time in the history of automobile in China that an SUV is the overall best-selling vehicle in the country.

VW Lavida China April 2016. Picture courtesy cheshen.cnThe Lavida (+53%) helps the VW Group reclaim the overall lead off General Motors.

After being outsold by General Motors for the first time in a decade in 2015, the Volkswagen Group has now reclaimed the title of China’s largest manufacturer despite weaker year-on-year gains at 295.300 deliveries in April (+0.1%) vs. just 277.979 (+7.5%) for GM. In April, the Volkswagen brand is down 2% to 216.700, Audi is up 9% to 49.576 and Skoda up 4% to 23.800. Note CAAM-sourced data has VW up 10% to 227.710 units – potentially due to a different methodology (retail sales vs. wholesale). In the GM aisle, SUVs helped boost the carmaker’s sales with combined sales of crossovers and SUVs under the Buick, Chevrolet, Cadillac and Baojun brands up 107%. Buick is up another 56% to 98.992, Baojun up 56% to 37.915, Cadillac up 13% to 7.007 but Wuling is down 14% to 98.580 and Chevrolet down 29% to 35.431. Its solid April score enables the Volkswagen Group to get past GM year-to-date with 1.25 million deliveries (+4.8%) vs. 1.24 million for the U.S. carmaker (+1.7%).

Wuling Hongguang S1 China April 2016. Picture courtsy autohome.com.cnWuling is counting on a revised Hongguang S1 to revive lagging sales. 

The resurgence of Volkswagen is built on outstanding sedan sales, going against the overall market trend: the VW Lavida is up 53% to 41.408 units, the Jetta up 16% to 29.494, the Sagitar up 26% to 29.279 and the Magotan up 53% to 12.454. Reversely at GM, the Buick Envision is on fire again (+68%) but if the Baojun 560 was teasing the Haval H6 for the SUV title last month with a record 42.077 units, in April it is down to 24.963 while the Baojun 730 MPV drops a harsh 42% year-on-year to 15.072. Meanwhile the perennial market leader, the Wuling Hongguang, is now under attack with sales down 25% to 40.002 in third place for April and down 15% to 207.158 year-to-date vs. 200.973 (+18%) for the VW Lavida. Wuling and Baojun were offering very aggressive price cuts across their entire micro and minivan lineup in April while I was in the country, and Wuling just unveiled a facelifted version of the one year-old Hongguang S1, taking design cues from the SUV segment (pictured above).

Honda XR-V China April 2016. Picture courtesy autosohu.com.cnThe Honda XR-V sells a record 16.072 units in April. 

Among other brands, Honda is by far the most impressive with sales up 23% to 96.393 (CAAM figures) leading to a 35% year-to-date increase at 326.583. Toyota is up 9% to 101.100, with its year-to-date total up 22% to 392.100, Hyundai is up 7% to 96.222 but Nissan is up just 0.7% to 96.200 (including Infiniti and Venucia), in line with a meagre 0.8% year-to-date increase at 394.800 units. Among Chinese brands, Changan is up 19% to 88.526, while Great Wall is up just 2% to 79.607 as the company is now struggling to sell anything other than the top-selling Haval H6 SUV and the H7 just hit the market (more on this shortly). Great Wall-branded cars are down 76% while Haval is up 19%. BAIC is up 53% to 50.358, riding on the success of Huansu and Senova-branded crossovers and MPV, and Geely is up 11% to 44.668 thanks to the success of its low-priced sedans and the gearing-up of the Boyue SUV.

Land Rover Discovery China April 2016The Land Rover Discovery Sport is manufactured in China. 

In the luxury aisle, below Audi up 9% to 49.576, Mercedes overtakes archenemy BMW thanks to sales up 32% to 35.625 while BMW posts an uncharacteristic 7.4% drop to 35.100 units due to the X1 generation changeover. Year-to-date, Audi is up 5.9% to 189.611, BMW up 6% to 162.221 and Mercedes up 35% to 142.266. Jaguar Land Rover is finally reporting China-made sales albeit not the model split between the Range Rover Evoque and Land Rover Discovery Sport. The group’s sales are up 10% year-on-year in April to 9.135, 54% of which are produced locally vs. a 41% ratio in February. So far this year, JLR sales are up 17% to 37.099. Later this year, the very first Jaguar to be made in China, the XFL, will be launched.

GAC Trumpchi GS4 China April 2016The GAC Trumpchi GS4 has sold 230.000 units in one year. 

In other model news, the GAC Trumpchi GS4 breaks back into the Top 10 to hit an all-time best 8th place overall thanks to 25.073 sales, adding up to just under 230.000 in 12 months: an incredible success putting the GAC Trumpchi brand on the map. The Honda XR-V is up 84% to hit a record 16.072 units, becoming the single best-selling Honda nameplate in China for the first time. Adding sales of its twin Vezel (+57%) brings the April total for Honda’s small crossovers to 30.265, equivalent to an extremely impressive 4th place overall this month. The Honda CR-V (+47%) even benefits from this smashing success. Notice also the Zotye T600 is up 27% and another list of models breaking their volume record this month: the Chana Oushang (11.784), Beijing Auto Senova X25 (10.593), Jeep Cherokee (9.201), Changan CS15 (5.680), Zotye SR7 (5.068) and Chana CX70 (4.285).

Chery Arrizo 5 China April 2016. Picture courtesy auto.sina.com.cnChery Arrizo 5 sales are up 49% on last month to 8.109. 

Among the numerous China-made nameplates launched last month, the Hyundai Elantra Lingdong improves 32% and 33 spots on an already stunning start to 14.665 units (#25), the Chery Arrizo 5 logically surges 49% to 8.109 (#71), the Kia KX5 is up 30% to 7.813, the Geely Boyue soars 293% to 4.002 deliveries, still a far cry from my 20.000 monthly sales bar for success for this nameplate but already the brand’s best-selling SUV. The BYD Yuan is turning out to be yet another SUV success for the brand, up 254% to 3.109, the Beijing Auto Weiwang S50 is up 996% to 2.061 units and the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer is up 54% to 1.709. Reversely the Renault Kadjar is down 40% to 1.641, the Qoros 5 SUV is down 4% to 1.178, the Changhe Q25 up just 5% to 829.

Previous month: China March 2016: Haval H6 and Baojun 560 beat records, market up 9%

One year ago: China April 2015: Growth cool down and SUV surge accentuate

Full April 2016 Top 380 All China-made models and Top 70 brands below.

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China LCV April 2016: Mini Trucks surge 39%, Pickups back in positive

Dongfeng K-Series Mini Truck China April 2016. Picture courtesy 360che.comThe Dongfeng K-Series Mini Truck breaks into the Top 10 in April

* See the Top 55 best-selling models by clicking on the title *

As part of a partnership with Chinese consultancy outlet Cedars, today we share with you detailed data for the light commercials market in China with complete Minivan, Pickup and Mini Truck data by model as well as selected light truck/bus data provided by LMC Automotive. Light commercials as a whole are down just 6% in April at 325.126 units compared to -10% year-to-date to 1.175.842 according to LMC. In the detail, minivans are once again in freefall at -19% to 62.146 and -30% to 233.377 so far this year and mini trucks are absorbing these lapsed buyers as it has been the case for over a year now with sales up 39% to 49.152, an even higher increase rate than year-to-date at +23% to 169.024. Finally, pickup trucks confirm their resurgence by posting their first year-on-year gains in over two years at +0.7% to 30.989 vs. -6% and 113.141 year-to-date, the result of a much anticipated change in legislation allowing pickup trucks in the large cities of four provinces for the first time in 12 years (see our February China LCV report for more detail).

Chana F30 Pickup China April 2016Chana Shenqi F30 Pickup

The Foton Light Truck remains in the lead with 25.028 sales while the cheapest Wuling minivans are brought back to life by reduced prices: the Sunshine is up 11% to #2 and the Rongguang is up 10% to #5. On the other hand the more recent Hongguang V is down 17% to #4. With the Mini Truck up 25% to #3, Wuling places its four nameplates inside the Top 5. The Chana Star Mini Truck is up a flamboyant 52% to #8 and the Dongfeng K-Series Mini Truck breaks into the Top 10 at #9, confirming mini trucks are the new default LCV in China, contrasting with the Chana Star Minibus imploding 78% to #18. Notice also the Great Wall Wingle 6 up 51% to #21 and the Chana Shenqi F-Series Pickup appearing at #30.

Previous month: China LCV March 2016: Mini Trucks shoot up 31% led by Wuling

One year ago: China LCV April 2015: Wuling Hongguang V takes control

Full April 2016 Top 55 models Ranking Table below.

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

Wuling Mini Truck China March 2016The Wuling Minitruck (+39%) illustrates a strong sales transfer from microvans to micro pickups.

* See the Top 55 best-selling models by clicking on the title *

As part of a partnership with Chinese consultancy Cedars, we can share with you detailed data for the March light commercial vehicle market in China with complete Minivan, Pickup and Mini Truck data by model as well as selected light truck/bus data provided by LMC Automotive. Minivans somehow slow down their freefall in March at ‘just’ -25% to 70.876 units, pulling the year-to-date total down 34% to 173.907. In contrast, illustrating the micro-van to micro-pickup trend currently at play in China, the Mini Truck segment (=micro pickups) performs brilliantly this month at +31% to 48.103 units and +18% year-to-date at 120.033. One-tonne pickups slow their fall down further at just -2% in February (33.775) vs. -9% so far in 2016 (81.467), potentially the result of a much anticipated change in legislation allowing pickup trucks in the large cities of four provinces for the first time in 12 years (see our February China LCV report for more detail).

Wuling Sunshine S China March 2016Wuling Sunshine lineup China March 2016Wuling Sunshine S (up) and Sunshine lineup (down)

The Foton Light Truck (grouping all pickups sold under the Forland brand) takes the year-to-date lead thanks to 31.647 sales in March and despite a 10% year-on-year drop, but it’s below that the movements are more interesting the Wuling Mini Truck is up a flamboyant 39% year-on-year to 31.700 units, contrasting with the Hongguang V already sinking 43% and the Rongguang down 21% (the latter two being microvans). The only microvan to somewhat resist the hecatomb is the Sunshine (-9%), due to the launch in H2 2015 of a facelifted variant baptised “S” as is now the norm at Wuling. Further down, the JMC Light Truck (+11%), Chana Star Mini Truck (+26%) and Dongfeng K-Series Mini Truck (+56%) also post strong results, as does the Great Wall Wingle 6 (+74%).

Previous post: China LCV January-February 2016: Pickups about to bounce back?

One year ago: China LCV March 2015: Wuling Hongguang V cracks 30.000 sales

Full March 2016 Top 55 models Ranking Table below.

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