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China January 2015: Focus on the all-new models

February 23rd, 2015 No comments

Venucuia T70 China January 2015. Picture couresy fblife.comAmong this month’s launches, the Venucia T70 has the biggest potential.

* See the Top 353 All-models ranking by clicking on the title *

The BSCB tradition is to first explore monthly Chinese ranking, then 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 a further 11 did so in December, new entrants slow down a little in this start of 2015 with four of them making their way into the January ranking, although two of them are rebadges. Interestingly this month, they are all Chinese: two MPVs followed by two SUVs. 100% on-trend.

Changhe Freedom M50. Picture courtesy auto.sohu.com

1. Changhe Freedom M50 (#179 with 2,136 sales)

Previously owned by ChangAn since 2009, the Changhe brand was in trouble and disappeared from BSCB’s rankings last year due to the discontinuation of the Ideal microvan. Beijing Auto bought a 70% stake in Changhe in November 2013, announcing plans to lift the production capacity from the current 270,000 units to 500,000 units by 2017 and 1 million by 2020. Typically Chinese grandiose targets, that start with a simple rebadge of the Beijing Auto Weiwang M20 launched 18 months earlier, called the Changhe Freedom M50. It is priced at an attractive 49.800-51.900 yuan (US$ 7.900-8.300) compared to 46.800-53.800 ($7.500-8.600) for the Weiwang M20, benefiting from a larger range. There are no price or spec differentiation, just a different branding. Illogical, but this is the Chinese market after all, where branding logic is a faraway concept.

This rebadge therefore seems to mainly target current Changhe owners, trying to entice them into upgrading from their microvan to this mini-MPV. This is something most of China’s countryside has done with Wuling and the Hongguang over the past 3 years, so a pretty reasonable bet. The Beijing Auto Weiwang M20 has steadily been lodging very strong sales figures since its arrival in the ranking in August 2013, peaking at 11,801 sales and #40 in November 2014 and still ranking at a 2nd best #56 this month despite the arrival of the Changhe. This shows the tremendous potential of this segment, and reaching 1/3 of these figures within the first year would be a cool achievement for the Freedom M50.

Bar for success: #120 or 4,000 monthly sales

Karry K50 China January 2015. Picture courtesy xcar.com.cn

2. Karry K50 (#210 with 1,445 units)

Yes, the unprecedented success of both the Wuling Hongguang (a record 750,000 deliveries in 2014) and the Baojun 730 (30,000 sales at its third month in market) have logically spurred an assault of look-alike MPVs rushed by all Chinese manufacturers. Chery resuscitates a moribund Karry brand, specialised in commercial vehicles, with this K50, almost identical to the aforementioned Hongguang and M20/M50 badge twins. Price goes from 46.800 to 69.800 yuan (US$7.500-11.200) compared to 44.800-60.800 yuan ($7.200-9.700) for the Hongguang and 69.400-81.800 yuan ($11.100-13.100) for the Baojun 730. This positions the K50 as a direct competitor to the Hongguang albeit slightly more pricey.

Chery isn’t traditionally strong in the commercial segment even with the Karry brand, so this might be a tough one and the success or lack thereof of the K50 will give us a good indication of whether the MPV segment still has legs. Let’s not expect the heights of the Hongguang or 730 of course, but the K50 must do better than a plain Changhe rebadge to justify its existence.

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

Venucia T70 China January 2015. Picture courtesy xcar.com.cn

3. Venucia T70 (#275 with 361 deliveries)

As opposed to Honda’s Chinese low cost brands Li Nian or Ciimo, GM’s Baojun and Nissan’s Venucia have managed to make their mark. After the R/D50 based on the Nissan Tiida, the e30 – a rebadged Nissan Leaf and the R30 based on the Micra, the T70 is Venucia’s first SUV. It uses the same platform as the first generation Nissan Qashqai, still in production in China, and is priced from 89.800 to 127.800 yuan ($14.480-20.610). Both mass market passenger cars Venucia has launched have done well: the R/D50 peaked at #26 and 13,751 sales, breaking the 10,000 monthly sales barrier 9 times since its April 2012 launch. The R30, launched in July 2014, has also started relatively strongly, reaching #133 and 3,393 sales in September and outselling the Nissan March on which it is based each and every month since launch.

The T70 marks a new step in Venucia’s expansion at home: not only is it the brand’s first SUV, it’s also the first model to have its own design identity. SUV sales are on fire in China, with new launches by Chinese brands previously discreet in this segment reaching 10,000 monthly units in no time – like the JAC Refine S3. With a reasonable price, ample size (4.54m) and 5 out of the 6 available trim levels using a 2.0l 142hp engine, the T70 could well reach that target also, but won’t need that much to be called a success. A score halfway between the R/D50 and R30 bests would suffice.

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

Beijing Auto Weiwang 007 China January 2015. Picture courtesy autohome.com.cn

4. Beijing Auto Weiwang 007 (#308 with 116 sales)

The last model in the list is just the result of Beijing Auto streamlining its sub-brands. First it facelifted the E-Series and renamed it Senova D20 (see last month’s Focus on all-new models), now it’s the turn of the BAW Yusheng 007 to become the Beijing Auto Weiwang 007. Here too a simple change of brand but the “007” stays, not fitting the Weiwang naming pattern (letter-two figures). BAW is a subsidiary of Beijing Auto that mostly produces SUVs so this looks like an attempt at regrouping most BAIC models under the Beijing Auto brand and its sub-brands: Senova, Weiwang and Huansu.

Although I thought the Huansu sub-brand was created to house SUVs, so shouldn’t the Weiwang 007 be a Huansu instead? Go figure. In any case, the BAW Yusheng 007 had sold just 281 units in the whole of 2014, including 104 in December alone, and sold 130 more in January! Certainly clearing stocks at heavily discounted prices. In this context, the Weiwang 007’s start at 116 sales is actually pretty good. It is priced between 89.800 and 122.800 yuan (US$ 14.400-19.700) and powered with either a 2.0 or 2.4l engine. Surely Beijing Auto is aiming at significantly higher sales by transferring this nameplate under its own brand name.

Bar for success: #200 or 1,000 monthly sales

Previous post: China January 2015: Market up 7% to 2.3 million units, Haval H6 on podium

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

One year ago: China January 2014: Focus on the all-new models

Full January 2015 Top 353 All-models Ranking Table below.

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China January 2015: Market up 7% to 2.3m units, Haval H6 on podium

February 23rd, 2015 1 comment

Ford Escort China January 2015Instant blockbuster: the Ford Escort soars to 18,810 sales for its 2nd month in market.

* UPDATED – See the Top 353 All-local models by clicking on the title *

Auto sales in China are up 10% year-on-year in January to 2 million units, boosted by SUV sales up 51% to 487.300 and MPV deliveries up 17% to 225.500 whereas sedans are down 2% to 1.2 million and microvans down 24% to 103.300. Bus sales are up 9% to 48.700 units and truck sales down 12% to 232.900, bringing the total Chinese vehicle market including buses and trucks up 7% on a year ago to 2.3 million units. This replicates the growth rate observed over the Full Year 2014 and is in line with 2015 forecasts.

Haval H6 China January 2015The Haval H6 is now getting closer to 40,000 monthly sales…

According to Automotive News China, local authorities in China have stepped up restrictions to limit deliveries of new vehicles as a growing number of cities join the fight to control smog and traffic congestion. After Shenzhen’s decision to cap the number of new vehicle registrations a year, Nanjing, Suzhou and Wuhan are rumored to be thinking of similar restrictions. In actual fact, Shenzhen’s decision was said to have helped drive volumes this month, apparently pulling forward demand.

Geely Vision China January 2015Geely Vision – Geely is back in positive territory at +76% in January.

In selected brand results, both market leaders shock by announcing year-on-year drops: the Volkswagen is down 1% and sales at General Motors and its joint ventures in China are down 2% to 339,781 units, with most of its brands recording declines: Chevrolet (-2%), Buick (-10%) and Cadillac (-11%) but SAIC-GM-Wuling is up 3%. Ford is very impressive at +19% to 112,599 vehicles, Geely is now definitely on the mend (+76% to 58,884), with nearly 60% of sales generated by two models the company launched recently: the redesigned EC7 at 24,549 units and the new gen Vision breaking the nameplate’s record at 12,108 sales.

Haval-H1-China-November-2014.-Picture-courtesy-of-auto.qq_.com_Haval H1 – Haval sales are up 69% year-on-year in January.

Great Wall saw its sales go up 27% to 69,626 units, propelled by SUV sales from its Haval brand surging 69% to 41,386 deliveries while its sedan sales plummeted 55% to 16,677 and pickup deliveries dropped 9% to 11,563. This is consistent with Great Wall’s strategy of refocusing on SUVs and scaling back production of sedans and pickups. The astoundingly successful H6 climbs on the overall podium for the very first time, smashing its monthly volume record for the 14th time in the past 19 months at 36,117 sales. Finally, both Audi and Mercedes-Benz are up 15% to 51,247 and 28,080 deliveries respectively. BMW is up by a lesser margin at +8% to 40,081 sales.

VW Golf China January 2015. Picture courtesy of bitauto.comThe VW Golf hits a record 26,078 sales in China this month.

In the models ranking, below the Wuling Hongguang majestic at 70,580 sales, Volkswagen manages to place 6 vehicles in the Top 10 despite being down YOY: the Lavida at #2 (-9%), Jetta at #4 (+28%), the Tiguan breaking its volume record at #5 with 35,912 sales (+36%), Sagitar at #6 (+16%), Passat at #9 (+8%) and Santana at #10 (+2%). Let’s also salute the VW Golf surging to #14 with 26,078 sales, both records for the nameplate, and the VW Magotan up to #16 and a best-ever 25,2568 units. The Ford Focus is down a harsh 17% on January 2014 to #7, impacted by the rise of the Ford Escort – an instant blockbuster at no less than 18,810 units at #28 for its first full month of sales. Meanwhile the Baojun 730, the most successful new launch in Chinese history, clocks a third consecutive month above 30,000 monthly deliveries at #8.

ChangAn Eado China January 2015. Picture courtesy auto.sohu.comThe ChangAn Eado surges to an all-time high 22,964 deliveries.

As described above in the brands lowdown, Chinese nameplates are back in force this month, numbering 6 in the Top 20, a figure we haven’t seen in years. The Chana Honor at #18 and 23,238 units, ChangAn Eado at #19 and 22,964 deliveries and the Dongfeng Joyear at #20 and 22,640 sales all break volume records, as does the ChangAn CS35 back up to a spectacular 23rd place and 22,155 units, the JAC Refine S3 at #27 and 20,190 sales, the Dongfeng Fengguang 330/360 at #29 and 17,841 deliveries, Beijing Auto Huansu S3 at #32 and 16,414 units, ChangAn CS75 at #34 and 15,739 and the Haval H2 at #36 and 15,207. That’s a lot of records! But wait there’s more, among foreigners this time: the Hyundai Elantra Langdong at 27,850, BMW 5 Series L at 16,686, Hyundai Mistra at 14,097 and Peugeot 308 at 12,642. And that’s just for the Top 50…

Previous post: China Full Year 2014: Growth cools to 7% to record 23.5 million units

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

One year ago: China January 2014: Wuling Hongguang and VW Lavida break records

Full January 2015 Top 353 All-local models below.

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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 outsold 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 S China 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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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)

Unveiled at the Beijing Auto Show where it impressed me with its design but horrified me with the poor quality of its interior, the new Hawtai Shengdafei is a rather competitive addition to the fast-growing Chinese SUV world. Hawtai indeed designs its first truly attractive SUV after 6 years of manufacturing the first generation Santa Fe from 1999 and an awkwardly imposing Baolige. It is priced from 101.800 to 125.800 yuan (US$16.300-20.100). While its predecessors have been oscillating between #150 and #200 each month, the Shengdafei should be able to top this to take the Hawtai brand to new levels.

Bar for success: #125 or 4,000 monthly sales

Citroen C3-XR China December 2014

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

Eight months after the Peugeot 2008 launched here, its twin from Dongfeng-Citroen the C3-XR arrives and is based on a stretched variant of the platform that underpins that very same Peugeot 2008. Priced between 108.800 and 171.800 yuan ($17.400-27.500), the C3-XR is more expensive than the 2008 which launched at 99.700-136.700 yuan ($16.000-21.900) and lands in a very competitive segment that keeps growing very fast month after month. So far the 2008 has peaked at #75 (last July) and 7,321 sales (November), while the similarly sized Chevrolet Trax has been roaming around the 100th spot. The C3-XR can reasonably aim at similar scores, keeping in mind the price difference will keep some customers away.

Bar for success: #90 or 6,000 monthly sales

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

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

Wuling has managed the momentous transition from microvans to MPV that a huge swath of Chinese countryside customers is going through at the moment, placing the Hongguang at the very top of the sales charts for two years running, culminating at 750,000 annual sales this year – as much as the amount of Ford F-Series sold in the USA! Logically and cleverly, the brand is aiming even higher and larger with the new Journey MPV, Wuling’s biggest vehicle so far at over 5m long and coming in seven and nine seat configurations. The Journey symbolises where the Chinese market could go very soon into the future… or not.

Is it too big to reach high sales levels? Or is it actually exactly what the first 2012 Hongguang customers now want? Very difficult to predict, even looking at Chinese vehicle sales month after month, the reason being it is the first Chinese vehicle of its kind – another fascinating aspect of this market that keeps filling in with new concepts, segments and entrants. The closest successful vehicle is the Buick GL8 which hit 12,000 sales back in January 2014 but more traditionally evolves around 7,000 monthly units. However the GL8 is mainly purchased by government bodies to transport their VIP guests who may not want to travel in a *mass-market* Wuling. Not used to failure, Wuling should expect at least 5,000 monthly sales of the Journey, with 10,000 a market-altering performance that will trigger many new entrants on this nascent segment.

Bar for success: #75 or 7,500 monthly sales

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

6. Suzuki Alivio (#249 with 794 deliveries)

If this car looks familiar to you dear BSCB reader, it’s because an Indian version launched last October as the Maruti Ciaz. The Alivio is based on the same platform as the very successful S-Cross and is competitively priced between 84.900 and 121.900 yuan ($14.600-19.640). It enters the extremely crowded sub-compact sedan segment that sees the likes of the Honda City and Toyota Vios compete with much cheaper Chinese counterparts. The Alivio is priced slightly higher than its two Japanese competitors, at odds with its mostly bare-bones range in this country (thinking Lingyang and Liana). It must be able to get to a similar level as the S-Cross to start getting noticed.

Bar for success: #150 or 3,000 monthly sales

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

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

In the 3 months since it launched in China, the Honda Vezel has aligned a set of stunning sales performances, reaching no less than 11,639 sales in December for a spot inside the Top 50 and making it an instant blockbuster. There is then room for a sportier version of the same car, named differently and manufactured by a different joint-venture. Crazy? Not in such a large car market as China and where most foreign carmakers have two joint ventures with two different Chinese companies, each wanting what the other one has. We have recently seen the exact same phenomenon with the new generation Toyota Corolla and Levin. The Honda XR-V, aimed at a younger target, is therefore manufactured by Dongfeng-Honda and priced at 127.800-162.800 yuan (US$20.400-26.000) whereas the Vezel is built by Guangzhou-Honda and priced at 128.800-189.800 yuan or US$20.600-30.300). Can the XR-V beat the Vezel? If both models could add up to a cool 15,000 monthly units, that’s as many conquests into the Honda brand.

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

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

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

Twelve excruciating months after the effective launch of a new joint-venture between Chery and Israel Corporation originally founded in 2007 with the new 3 compact hatchback, we now have another hyped up nothingness: the 3 City SUV, a roughed up variant of the 3 with fake roof rakes. All this useless black plastic and height is worth an additional 20.000 yuan than the 3 hatchback, with the 3 City SUV priced at 139.900-179.900 yuan ($22.500-28.900) compared to a 3 hatchback starting at 119.000 yuan. As Qoros is a Chinese brand supposedly designed in Europe to fool Chinese buyers into purchasing European flair whereas it is actually manufactured in China, the 3 City SUV is a marketing SUV that should only stay in the city. And for taking Chinese consumers for fools, Qoros pays the price: only 6,700 hatchbacks found a buyer in 2014 compared to a production capacity (and targets) of 150,000 sales. The 3 City SUV won’t fare much better despite the desperate hype.

Bar for success: #150 or 3,000 monthly sales

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

9. Denza EV (#317 with 132 deliveries)

The BYD-Daimler joint-venture was created to offer affordable electric cars to Chinese consumers. For now its first model, the Denza EV, is far from affordable: price starts at 369.000 yuan and ends at 399.000 yuan ($60.000-65.000), and that includes all green-car subsidies but excludes the free license plate for electric cars which is worth about 90.000 yuan. Shanghai, Shenzhen and Beijing are currently the only cities in China where the Denza is available, the rest of the country will be served during 2015. BYD and Daimler are willing to grow the Denza range but not planning to export any time soon. It will be a tough act to convince Chinese buyers to fork out that type of money for a hatchback, just for the silent reward of doing a good deed for the planet. A pure result of the government’s pressure on manufacturers to produce more EVs, it’s fair to say the Denza EV’s sales prospects are limited for now.

Bar for success: #220 or 1,000 monthly sales

GAC Trumpchi GA6 China December 2014

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

Presented at the latest Beijing Auto Show, the GAC Trumpchi GA6 confirms if need be that GAC is getting extremely serious with its Trumpchi sub-brand, after a highly publicised sponsoring of the Hollywood blockbuster movie Transformers IV and just as it presents the GA6 Limited at the Detroit Auto Show in the US, the GA6 hits Chinese dealerships. After the GA3 and GA3S, the GA6 is arguably the best design effort of any Chinese manufacturer so far, having nothing to blush about compared to the latest Toyota or Hyundai models. Priced from 116.800 to 196.800 yuan (US$ 18.700-31.500), it will have the hard task to lure Chinese car buyers away from foreign brands. The Trumpchi GA5 has struggled to pop its bonnet above the #250 spot whereas the GA3S is already #73 in December. The GA6 should find its place somewhere in the middle.

Bar for success: #150 or 3,000 monthly sales

Yema T70 China December 2014. Picture courtesy cntv.cn

11. Yema T70 (#344 with 20 units)

When will Yema stop spitting out clones of various foreign SUVs? Not anytime soon it would appear. Usually Yema models are based on the platform of the previous generation Subaru Forester, but the Yema T70 is the first “all-new” Yema passenger car since 2008, standing on a new platform and powered by new engines, albeit with its design an indigent mix of Range Rover grille, Volkswagen Touareg and wannabe Audi SUV. Its argument is its price ranging from 79.800 to 118.800 yuan ($12.800-19.000). In the history of the Yema brand, two models have managed to ever crack the monthly Top 200, each doing so once: the F12 at #177 in May 2014 and the F10 at #196 in August 2012. Stepping up to that level would have the T70 noticed.

Bar for success: #200 or 2,000 monthly sales

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.

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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

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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

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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 272.800 yuan ($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. The S7 is essentially an upgraded S6 that it should kill once it gets into sales cruising mode. An interesting marketing element BYD will surely milk to death is the fact that the BYD S7 features a built-in air purifier, the first car in the world to do so. 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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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.

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

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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.

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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!

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