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China August 2014: Focus on the all-new models

September 27th, 2014 2 comments

Baojun 730 family

* See the Top 319 All-local models ranking by clicking on the title! *

As is the tradition on BSCB we pay special attention to the all-new models making their first appearance in China each month. And August 2014 has been the busiest month since we started this new monthly update over a year ago. No less than 8 new entrants, and most of them are pretty high profile models with very strong potential.

1. Baojun 730

One of the most important launches of the year, the Baojun 730 lands directly at #26 with 12,006 sales. Assuming this is the correct figure for August (and not the addition of pre-sales occurring over a couple of months), the Baojun 730 is already the #2 MPV below the Wuling Honguang and it simply delivers the strongest first month of any passenger car in China… ever. Previous best is the Hyundai Elantra Langdong at 11,613 units back in August 2012, however that wasn’t a ‘true’ first month as the model was incorporated into overall Elantra nameplate sales for a couple of months at first. The 730 is also the second best first ranking below that same Elantra Langdong (#21). Based on the Langdong’s first month vagueness, the Baojun 730 could well be the first passenger car in China to directly sell over 10,000 units for its first month.. All these records broken already, and there is a very good reason behind it.

A few months ago following my trip to remote Western China, I noted that a large part of the rural Chinese population, now getting wealthier, was upgrading from minivans to MPV in order to accommodate both a commercial use of their vehicle but also extended family transport (see Strategy: How can Chinese brands unlock their home market?). The advertising illustration above is spot on and reflects the main reason behind the booming popularity of affordable MPVs: the practicality and roominess of a large van for the price of a sedan. The Wuling Hongguang is head and shoulders above all other models in the Chinese market (let alone MPVs) so it does make sense that a similar model created by the same company would also be a hit.

Baojun is a relatively new low-cost brand initiated 3 years ago by the SAIC-GM-Wuling joint-venture with the 630 sedan. This sedan has been successful enough to keep the Baojun brand afloat (as opposed to Linian or Ciimo) but only crossed the 10,000 monthly sales milestone once (10,220 in December 2013) and broke into the top 50 twice since its original appearance in August 2011 (#46 in October 2012 and #49 in December 2013). So the 730 has already smashed the brand’s records for its first month. The Baojun 730 debuted at the Beijing Auto Show and I reported about it at the time. According to Carnewschina, the 730 starts at 69.800 yuan and ends at 81.800 (US$11.400 – 13.300), an absolute bargain indeed and as such without real competitor as it slots below the Wuling Hongguang in terms of price.

Toyota Levin China August 2014. Picture courtesy of xcar.com.cn

2. Toyota Levin

A new nameplate but a familiar model, the Toyota Levin lands at #62 with 6,588 sales. This is one fine example of the counter-productive (?) joint-venture situation in the Chinese automotive market. Toyota has two joint ventures in China: while FAW-Toyota gets the European model, supposed to look sophisticated (read boring) and aimed at older buyers, Guangzhou-Toyota gets a sporty (only in design) version of the US model, aimed at younger buyers. The engines and prices (120.000-160.000 yuan, that’s US$19.550-26.100) are exactly the same though. The new gen Corolla is currently accounted for under the general ‘Corolla’ nameplate at #16 this month.

What’s the Levin potential? Well it is already Toyota’s 4th best-selling sedan below the Corolla, Camry and Vios, all established nameplates with years of previous sales behind them. So in a way we already have a mission accomplished here, and any future milestones (a Top 50 seems assured but a Top 25 harder) will be impressive. Tycho from Carnewschina gives a pretty accurate description of this join-venture doubling up mess: “All this waste of resources and marketing money is a rather typical result of the weird joint-venture system. Volkswagen, Honda and others are also selling various cars manufactured by their various joint ventures that are competing with each other, instead of with the competition. The Toyota marketing plan sounds like a good idea in theory.” But then a ‘sporty’ Toyota Corolla was also seen on the Toyota booth at the Beijing Auto Show. Wait wasn’t it supposed to be the sophisticated, boring one of the two?

Having said all this, the Levin delivers in terms of sales. So perhaps this double joint-venture situation is not that penalising after all.

Beijing Auto Huansu S2 S3. Picture courtesy of fblife.comBeijing Auto Huansu S2 and S3

Next we have two small SUVs by the same automaker, making their first appearance in the Chinese ranking exactly at the same time, along with a new sub-brand: Beijing Auto Huansu (translated as ‘magic speed’). These two SUVs are built in the city of Chongqing by Beiqi Yinxiang Automobile, a new joint-venture between Beijing Auto (Beiqi) and the Yinxiang Motorcycle Group, and as such they both sport the logo of the joint-venture and not the Beijing Auto one – confusing, as always. This joint venture also makes the new Beijing Auto Weiwang M20 mini-MPV that launched on the Chinese market last year (and yet another sub-brand!).

Beijing Auto Huansu S3. Picture courtesy of fblife.com

3. Beijing Auto Huansu S3

The Beijing Auto Huansu S3 lands directly at #85 with 5,280 sales. It is a seven-seater very affordably priced between 61.800 and 72.800 yuan (US$10.100-11.900), positioning it across the two fastest growing market segments in China: small SUVs and MPVs. As described above with the Baojun 730, many Chinese car buyers, especially young families, have discovered these segments as a preferable alternative over similarly prices sedans or hatchbacks that tend to be much smaller inside. On top of this, the Huansu S3 is one of only two mass seven-seats SUVs at this price level, competing with the FAW Daihatsu Xenia S80 (#204). In this context its current ranking is already redefining the budget 7-seat SUV sales potential, so anything frankly up like a Top 50 ranking would trigger other Chinese carmakers to follow suit very soon.

Beijing Auto Hansun S2. Picture courtesy of suv.cn

4. Beijing Auto Huansu S2

The 5-seater variant of the S3, the Beijing Auto Huansu S2 launches a little lower at #122 and 3,520 units. Price starts at an even more enticing 58.800 yuan (US$9.600) and ends at 69.800 yuan (US$11.400). While the S3 ventures into unknown (but promising) territory given its larger size, the S2 slots into a very successful segment in China, competing with the Great Wall M4 (best ranking: #23), Chery Tiggo3 (currently #28) and Changan CS35 (best: #43), all crossing the 10,000 monthly sales milestone at some stage. It might take a bit of time to establish the Beijing Auto brand in this segment but the demand is there and a Top 60 ranking within the next 12 months would be a fantastic achievement.

GAC Trumpchi GA3S China. Picture courtesy of autohome.com.cn

5. GAC Trumpchi GA3S

Not really a new model per se but worth mentioning because of its uniqueness, the GAC Trumpchi GA3S arrives in 157th position with 2,333 sales in August. It is the sporty version of the GAC Trumpchi GA3 launched 18 months ago and currently ranking #256 with 399 units sold, after peaking at #135 and 4,041 sales last December. There. That’s why I’ve singled out the GA3S as it sold almost 6 times more than its ‘non-sporty’ version in August, which is rather unusual and extremely interesting. Guangzhou Auto (GAC) has two sub-brands, each with their own logo: budget Gonow and masstige Trumpchi, one of the most impressive carmakers at the Beijing Auto Show in my view (I ranked it #3) while Gonow was one of the worst at #28… A history-making large scale product placement in Hollywood mega-budget Transformers 4 this year is starting to put GAC Trumpchi on the worldwide map and the GA3S could soon join the GS5 SUV (best ranking: #56) inside the monthly Top 100.

Kia K4 China August 2014. Picture courtesy of pcauto.com.cn

6. Kia K4

Another very important new nameplate to make its first appearance in the Chinese ranking in August is the Kia K4 at #163 with 2,094 sales. The K4 is a China-only compact sedan, Kia’s version of the very successful Hyundai Mistra that has sold over 10,000 monthly units in China for the past 6 consecutive months after peaking at 11,749 last January. Even though Kia pushes the premium design cues as hard as Hyundai does in China, it is positioned cheaper and as such the K4 starts lower at 128.800 yuan (US$20,990) vs. 149.800 (US$24.700) for the Mistra. Both models end at 189.900 yuan (US$31.300). Other main competitors are the VW Sagitar (#4 in August), Honda CRider (personal best of #10 last December) and Citroen C4L (#70 highest). Chinese sales of Kia sedans average around 75% of their Hyundai counterparts, which would place the K4 just under 100,000 annual units and edging into the Top 50. Still far from it but it should be the benchmark for success.

JAC Refine S3 China August 2014. Picture courtesy of xcar.com.au

7. JAC Refine S3

The fifth new Chinese model to make its debut at home in August is the JAC Refine S3, originally unveiled at the Beijing Auto Show, at #166 with 2,000 units sold. The Refine S3 is yet another mini SUV taking advantage of the sales surge in this segment over the past 24 months. It is priced between 65.800 and 84.800 yuan (US$10.700-13.800) and, like the Beijing Auto Huansu S2 described above, will compete against the 10,000 monthly sale-topping Great Wall M4, Chery Tiggo3 and Changan CS35. JAC already has a foot in the SUV segment with the Refine S5 (#151 so far in 2014) so may have an easier time than Beijing Auto to impose its own S3. However we may be nearing saturation in the Chinese mini-SUV segment: is there really more room for yet another mini clone of the Hyundai ix35? JAC thinks so as the S3 is part of a heavy SUV attack that will also include the S2 and the Heyue S1 in the coming months.

Cadillac ATS-L China August 2014. Picture courtesy of 52che.com

8. Cadillac ATS-L

Finally the 8th and last new entrant this month in China is a model well known to all of you but which has just kicked off local production, thus now allowing it a spot in this ranking (no imports model data is communicated in China): the Cadillac ATS at #197 with 1,160 sales. However as it is the case for most sedans in the luxury category, the owner is not the driver and more backseat legroom is required: the Cadillac ATS is manufactured in China exclusively in an extended wheelbase version called ATS-L, like the BMW 5 Series L and Audi A6L. The ATS-L is only the second Cadillac to rank in China this year along with the XTS at #145 in August and #149 year-to-date, so it is starting at a solid level for the brand and in time to pre-empt Lincoln’s launch in the country.

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

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

Full August 2014 Top 319 All-local models Ranking Table below.

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Categories: China

China August 2014: VW Sagitar and Haval H6 hit highest rankings, Baojun 730 directly above 12,000 sales

September 27th, 2014 No comments

Baojun 730 China August 2014. Picture courtesy of autohone.com.cnThe Baojun 730 sells 12,006 units for its first month in market.

* See the Top 320 all-local models and Top 64 brands by clicking on the title! *

It’s always fascinating to me that when Chinese new light vehicles improve by 9% year-on-year like this month in August, most analysts speak of a ‘slowdown’. This rate of sales increase is hardly a slowdown (it was 10% in July) and when talking about the largest new vehicle market in the world, it actually is an astounding performance, that keeps being repeated month after month. The total sales for August stand at 1,468,200 new light vehicles including 910,800 sedans (+1%), 311.300 SUVs (+30%), 145,900 MPVs (+38%) and 100,200 micro vans (-8%). Year-to-date, the figure now stands at 12,459,500 units, also up an extremely robust 11% on 2013.

Haval H6 Sport China August 2014. Picture courtesy of autohome.com.cnHaval H6 Sport

Brand-wise, General Motors is up 14% to 280,178 sales, Ford is up 9% to 77,506 but Japanese automakers struggled: Honda is down 6% to 52,513 units and Nissan down 11% to 85,500 but Toyota kept pace with industry sales: up 9% to 78,500 vehicles. The above data includes imports and was communicated by manufacturers directly. As you know monthly data published online by Chooseauto.com. excludes imports. In this ranking Volkswagen is still the best-selling brand by far with 216,734 sales ahead of Hyundai, Toyota, Buick and Ford. Note Haval strong at #14, Geely back up two spots to #18, Beijing Auto up 7 to #20 and Baojun up 19 to #25.

VW Golf China August 2014. Picture courtesy of bitauto.comVW Golf

In the models ranking, the Wuling Hongguang remains way above the competition at 56,502 units, with the VW Lavida (-12%) and Ford Focus (-9%) in tow. The VW Sagitar is up one spot on July to land at #4, the nameplate’s best-ever ranking (also reached in August 2013), while the Haval H6 continues to impress month after month: it now breaks into the Chinese Top 5 for the very first time thanks to 25,710 sales, up 23% year-on-year. The Santana and Jetta make it 4 Volkswagens in the Top 7, the Hyundai Elantra Langdong gets a boost, up 7 ranks on last month and 35% year-on-year to #8, the VW Golf hits the mark at +135% and a record #14 spot while the Toyota Corolla maintains itself inside the Top 20 at #17 vs. #39 year-to-date thanks to the new generation.

Nissan X-Trail China August 2014Nissan X-Trail

Excellent hold of the Kia K3 up 40% at #21 and of the ChangAn Eado up 110% at #23, the Nissan X-Trail breaks its volume record again at 12,391 units in 24th place, the Baojun 730 astounds with a #26 landing at 12,006 sales (see China August 2014: focus on the all-new models for all the info), the Chery Tiggo3 improves to 11,454 units at #28, the Emgrand EC7 is back up 36 spots to #32 but down 20% year-on-year and the Honda Fit remains inside the Top 50 at #48 with sales up 164% on August 2013 thanks to the new model.

Previous post: China July 2014: Now updated with Top 10 LCVs

Previous month: China July 2014: Market up 10% thanks to MPV and SUV sales

One year ago: China August 2013: Great Wall Haval H6 breaks sales record again

Full August 2014 Top 320 All-local models and Top 64 brands Ranking Tables below.

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Categories: China

China July 2014: Now updated with Top 10 LCVs!

September 1st, 2014 No comments

Wuling Sunshine China July 2014Wuling Sunshine

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

Thanks to LMC Automotive, as is now the tradition on BSCB I can now share with you more detail about the Chinese car market, including the Top 10 best-selling Light Commercial Vehicles. After taking a real beating since the beginning of the year, the Wuling Sunshine seems to now have stabilised and climbs to the #3 spot overall in July with 32,319 sales vs. #5 year-to-date. The Wuling Rongguang for its part is still very shy: up one spot on June to #10 vs. #4 so far in 2014. Let’s salute the great performance of the Wuling Mini Truck inside the Top 20 at #20 with 15,598 sales, making the Top 3 LCV 100% Wuling (Top 4 if we include the Hongguang). The Chana Mini Bus crumbles 20 spots from #4 in June to #24 this month, the Jiangling Light Truck makes a rare appearance in the overall Top 50 at #39 while the Great Wall Pickup (mainly the Wingle) is up to #44.

Previous post: China 7 months 2014: Haval H6 up to record 7th place

Previous July post: China July 2014: Market up 10% thanks to MPV and SUV sales

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

One year ago: China July 2013: VW Jetta, Great Wall Haval H6 and Honda Crider impress

Full July 2014 Top 50 models Ranking Table below.

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Categories: China

China 7 months 2014: Haval H6 up to record 7th place

August 19th, 2014 2 comments

Peugeot 301 China July 2014. Picture courtesy of autohome.com.cnThe Peugeot 301 is climbing up the Chinese sales charts fast. #71 after 7 months.

* See the Top 356 All-local models and Top 66 All-brands by clicking on the title! *

As is the tradition on BSCB, after exploring in detail Chinese July sales we now look at the year-to-date ranking to try an extract longer-term trends. As a whole the market is up 8% on the same period in 2013 to 13.3 million units excluding imports (up 11% to 10.992 million units if we exclude commercial vehicles). As the year goes by the year-to-date models ranking cements itself and as such this month there are only two changes in the Top 10 compared to the 1st Half ranking. The Wuling Hongguang becomes the first passenger car to sell over 400,000 units in the country in less than 7 months, adding up to 426,657 units (+53%) at end-July. It is followed like last year by the VW Lavida at a record 298,050 (+18%) and the Ford Focus at 232,688 (+6%), here too the nameplate’s strongest result after 7 months in China.

Haval H6 China July 2014Haval H6

Volkswagen manages to place no less than 4 models inside the Top 6 with the Santana at #4 (+118%) ahead of the Sagitar (+12%) and Jetta (+30%). The first change in the Top 10 is local SUV king Haval H6 up two spots compared to the H1 charts thanks to record ranking and sales in July to #7 with 169,662 sales, up 57% on 2013 and overtaking the Buick Excelle and Nissan Sylphy. The Chevrolet Cruze for its part gains 3 spots to reclaim a spot in the Top 10 at #10 with sales up 19% on 2013, while the VW Tiguan passes the Buick Excelle XT/GT to claim #12 and the VW Bora is now above the Chevrolet Sail for #14 and the VW Golf overtakes the Honda CR-V at #19.

VW Santana China July 2014. Picture courtesy of pic.autov.com.cnThe VW Santana is up 118% so far in 2014.

As far as Chinese models are concerned, the ChangAn Eado is third overall and up two ranks to #26 (+85%), taking its distance over the Chana Honor at #31 (+95%) and Dongfeng Future at #32 (+21%). The Emgrand EC7 falls deeper down the ladder at #38 (-32%), the Roewe 350 (#46), Venucia D50/R50 (#48) and ChangAn CS35 (#50) are the remaining locals in the Top 50, with the BYD S6 (#51), Dongfeng Joyear (#52) and Great Wall M4 (#53) not far behind.

Hyundai Mistra China July 2014. Picture courtesy of autoevolution.comHyundai Mistra

The Hyundai Mistra is once again the most popular model launched less than a year ago at #35 with 73,482 sales so far in 2014, still on track to finish 2014 way above the 100,000 units aimed at by Hyundai (120,000+ is more likely at this stage!). The Ford Mondeo gains 4 spots to #44 and 61,374 sales thanks to a blockbuster month of July, the Chery Tiggo 5 is down one to #67, the Toyota Yaris L up one to #68, the Peugeot 301 up 8 to #71 and now 5th most popular newbie with 43,849 units (vs. #7 last month), the Beijing Weiwang M20 down two to #77, the Chery E3 down a harsh 8 to #81 and the Honda Jade down one to #98.

DS 5 LS China July 2014DS 5 LS

Further down, other interesting developments include the DS 5 LS overtaking the DS 5 at #222 with 5,785 sales vs. #233 and 5,193 and the Qoros 3 up 5 spots from #261 after 6 months to #256 and 3,026 sales after 7… All-in-all, out of 53 all-new models younger than one-year old, two rank inside the Top 50 for now, 8 in the Top 100 and 27 in the Top 200.

Previous post (1): China July 2014: Focus on the all-new models

Previous post (2): China July 2014: Market up 10% thanks to MPV and SUV sales

One year ago: China 7 months 2013: Discover the Top 321 All-models ranking!

Full 7 months 2014 Top 356 All-local models and Top 66 All-brands Ranking Tables below.

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Categories: China

China July 2014: Focus on the all-new models

August 18th, 2014 4 comments

Venucia R30 China July 2014. Picture courtesy of car.auto.ifeng.comVenucia R30

* See the Top 318 models by clicking on the title! Thanks Carnewschina for the pricing info *

As is the tradition on BSCB, after going through detailed sales figures for July, I spend a bit more time acknowledging the all-new entrants in the models ranking, to ensure you are across the latest news in the biggest car market in the world. After a surprisingly quiet month of June (no new model!), July is back to the traditional 4 all-new models making their first appearance in the Chinese ranking, like in April and May. Keep in mind all models detailed here are locally produced as import data for China is not communicated.

First in line we have the Venucia R30 landing at #164 with 1,662 sales. Quick reminder for you readers that Venucia is the low-cost brand created by the Dongfeng-Nissan joint venture, for the moment only selling in China and distributed via the existing Nissan dealer network. The R30 is based on the current Nissan March and is the 4th model launched under the Venucia brand after the D50 and R50 both based on the previous generation Nissan Tiida and the Morning Wind, a rebadged Nissan Leaf with a very unfortunate name. This makes Venucia the most prolific low-cost Chinese brand so far, taking the lead on SAIC GM’s Baojun.

Venucia R30 China July 2014. Picture courtesy of autofan.com.cnVenucia R30

The R30 will primarily be marketed in second and third tier cities where price matters more than badge, as the R30 is very conveniently priced indeed: starting at a cut-throat 39.900 yuan (US$ 6.490) and ending at 49.900 (US$ 8.100): straight in the territory of the legendary Chery QQ which is more expensive, smaller, less powerful and losing 47% year-on-year in July at a low #117… Another model in the R30’s line of fire is the (also smaller and less powerful) BYD F0, itself down 30% to #154, with the R30 already not far below for its first month of sales in the country. As a reference point, the R50/D50 currently ranks #48 year-to-date with just over 60,000 sales, so a monthly Top 100 ranking very soon for the R30 seems unavoidable, and a Top 50 ranking this end of Christmas would mark a significant change of guard and the advent of a new Chinese brand that could do wonders overseas…

Mazda CX-7 China July 2014. Picture courtesy of xgo.comLanding as all-new this month: the Mazda CX-7!

Just below at #179 with 1,328 sales we have a well-known nameplate but its appearance as a new model is rather puzzling. Discontinued in 2012 to make room for the CX-5, the Mazda CX-7 just launched as an all-new locally-produced model in China by the FAW-Mazda joint-venture! This is actually a pretty clever move in an SUV market growing at 20%+ with room for many more models than the US for example. Priced between 199.800 and 237.800 yuan (US$ 32.500-38.700), the CX-7 could help Mazda sandwich SUVs like the VW Tiguan (#10 this month), Toyota RAV4 (#23), Nissan X-Trail (#24) and Honda CR-V (#66) along the CX-5 at the other end. Keeping in mind the CX-5 is currently #110 so far in 2014, I don’t see the CX-7 climbing too much higher than #120 but then again, it could go much higher in a market that tend to like their SUVs bigger and doesn’t mind them old-fashioned – see the Nissan Qashqai first generation still on sale…

Haval H2Haval H2 at the 2014 Beijing Auto Show

The most promising all-new model to make its first appearance in the Chinese ranking this month is the Haval H2, the little brother of the tremendously successful Haval H5 and H6, landing at #184 with 1,260 sales. If you are a regular BSCB reader, you will know that Haval has been the best-selling SUV brand/sub-brand in China for the past 12 years and that it impressed me so much at the last Beijing Auto Show that I chose it as the Show’s ballsiest Chinese carmaker. More on this here. With a sporty bi-colour outfit, the H2 is already heralded as one of the best-looking SUVs on sale in China. Priced around 100.000 yuan (US$ 16.300), it competes with the Chery Tiggo 5, Haima S7, and Geely GX7, and is extremely important for Great Wall’s SUV brand in order to cement its domination in the segment even further.

Haval H2 China July 2014. Picture courtesy of autosina.comHaval H2

Needless to say the H2 won’t stay at its current level very long, but the jury is out as to how far up it can go. Given the popularity of small SUVs in China at the moment and sporting a very attractive design, the sky is the limit for the H2 but will almost certainly involve a reasonable level of cannibalising of the H5 and H6. With the H6 ranking at an out-of-this-world (and, let’s be clear, unattainable for the H2) #6 overall in July but the H5 at a low #125, a Top 50 ranking in the next few months for the H2 would seal its success, anything further up will mean it will most probably bring the H6 down along with it, exactly how the H6 did to the H5 a couple of years ago. Are the glory days of the H6 atop Chinese SUV charts counted? The answer could very well be yes. Reveal in a few months…

Maxus V80 China July 2014. Picture courtesy of xcar.comMaxus V80

Finally the 4th all-new model in China in July is the Maxus V80, landing at #267 with 208 sales. SAIC bought Maxus from bankrupt British LDV in 2010 and set up production in China. If the Maxus G10 that launched last May at a much lower #303 was a truly all-new model, the V80 isn’t exactly. It started production as an LCV back in July 2011, and may owe its sudden appearance in the passenger car ranking to both a new front and potentially a MPV version hitting dealerships now. The V80 is priced between 145.800 and 239.800 yuan (US$ 23.700-39.000) so clearly not a cheap investment for Chinese entrepreneurs out there, although these vehicles are used by many businesses as mobile offices, and by taxi companies for VIP transport. Given the recent appearance of the brand inside the ranking it is almost impossible to predict the V80’s long-term sales level, but let’s just note that the more modern and cheaper G10 is now #234 with 491 units sold in July, so a Top 200 ranking is within the ream of possibles for the V80.

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

Previous post: China July 2014: Market up 10% thanks to MPV and SUV sales

Full July 2014 Top 318 All-models Ranking Table below.

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Categories: China

China July 2014: Market up 10% thanks to MPV and SUV sales

August 15th, 2014 11 comments

Dongfeng Joyear X5 China July 2014. Picture courtesy of chewen.comDongfeng Joyear X5. MPVs are up 66% in July.

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

New light vehicle sales in China are up a solid 10% year-on-year in July to 1.3578 million, bringing the year-to-date total to 10.992 million, up 11% on 2013. This continued growth pattern has a lot to do with the extremely good health of MPV and SUV sales: up 66% and 25% year-on-year respectively this month. Sedan sales are up only 2% while microvans are down 2%. In the commercial vehicle sector, the picture is radically different: sales are down 7% in July to 260,200 units which brings the year-to-date total to 2.310 million down 4% from the same period last year.

ChangAn CS75 China July 2014. Picture courtesy of auto.sohu.comChangAn CS75. SUV sales are up 25% year-on-year in China in July.

In the models ranking, no surprise in pole position: the Wuling Hongguang holds on thanks to sales up a magnificent 91% year-on-year to 55,008, adding up to a huge 426,657 units year-to-date, the only passenger car above 300,000 sales over the period and the first to ever break the 400,000 unit-mark so early into the year. Overtaken by the Ford Focus in June, the VW Lavida reclaims the 2nd spot it holds year-to-date thanks to sales up 7% year-on-year to 34,866 units vs. 31,224 (-5%) for the Focus. Excellent score of the VW Jetta up 10% to its 2nd best-ever monthly volume at 27,587 units, while the VW Sagitar at #5 makes it 3 Volkswagens in the Top 5.

Haval H6 China July 2014. Picture courtesy of auto.qq.comThe Haval H6 breaks its volume and ranking records this month in 6th place overall.

Another extremely impressive performance for the Haval H6: China’s best-selling SUV breaks its monthly volume record for the 8th time in the past 12 months (!) at 26,543 sales (+40%), also accessing its highest ever ranking at home in 6th place. The VW Santana is down 3 spots on June but up 52% year-on-year to #7, the Chevrolet Cruze is back in shape at #8 and +37%, the VW Tiguan is back inside the Top 10 for the first time since last February at #10, the VW Polo is up a massive 65% year-on-year to #11 and the Hyundai Verna up 48% to #12.

Toyota Corolla China July 2014. Picture courtesy of auto.ifeng.comThanks to the new generation, the Toyota Corolla is at its highest in China since May 2012.

Boosted by the new model, the Toyota Corolla is up a mammoth 44 ranks on June to land in 13th place with 17,659 sales, up 40% year-on-year. This is great news for the Corolla’s worldwide ranking as China figures traditionally play a large part in its global performance. This is the Corolla’s best position in China since May 2012 (#10). Another great performing Volkswagen this month is the Golf, up a gigantic 138% year-on-year to #19 with 14,483 units.

ChangAn EadoChangAn Eado in Kashgar, Xinjiang Uyghur – May 2014

Further down, the ChangAn Eado continues to impress: it is up 5 spots on June to reach its highest ever ranking at home at #21 thanks to 13,036 units, up 114% on July 2013. The Eado confirms it is the best-selling Chinese sedan at home, and by far: the next most popular is the BYD F3 at #61! The new generation Nissan X-Trail has clearly struck a chord with Chinese consumers: it is up a further 6 ranks on June to a record #24 and 12,300 sales, while the Chery Tiggo 3 is up a beautiful 12 spots to #29 and 10,895 units, up 76% year-on-year.

Zotye T600 Ürümqi April 2014First Top 100 ranking for the Zotye T600 at #67…

The Citroen C-Elysée reaches its highest monthly ranking since BSCB follows China monthly at #32, now that the new model has arrived the Honda Fit is up 20 ranks on last month to #36, the Ford Mondeo breaks its ranking record at #37, the Dongfeng Future is up 5 spots on June to #41 and #4 Chinese and the Dongfeng Joyear is up 23 to a best-ever #43. 3 models break into the Chinese Top 50 for the first time this month: the Buick Encore is up 17 spots to #45, the Ford Ecosport up 8 to #47 and the Peugeot 301 up a massive 44 ranks to #49, while the Toyota Yaris L falls just short off it, up 19 spots to #51.

Peugeot 3008 China July 2014. Picture courtesy of bitautoPeugeot 3008

Peugeot is in great shape with both the 3008 and 2008 hitting all-time high levels in July: the 3008 is up 34 spots on June to a record #53 and the 2008 up 23 to a record #75 and 5,032 sales. Notice also the Zotye T600 up a huge 49 ranks on last month to break into the Top 100 for the first time at… #67 with 5,940 sales and #9 Chinese above the Emgrand EC7, the ChangAn CS75 equally impressive with a 47 spot-gain to also spend its first month inside the Top 100 at #71 with 5,310 units and the Chevrolet Trax up 20 to a best-ever #81.

Beijing Auto Senova D50 China July 2014. Picture courtesy of cheshi.comBeijing Auto Senova D50

As far as other successful recent launches are concerned, let’s salute the Mazda3 Axela up 13 spots to #87, the Haima S5 breaking into the Top 100 for the first time at #89 (+18), the Luxgen 6 SUV doing the same at #91 (+39), the Beijing Senova D50 up 20 to #107 and the Maxus G10 up 45% on June to #234. There are 4 all-new models making their very first appearance in the Chinese ranking this month, but as is the tradition on BSCB this will be the subject of a separate post, so stay tuned!

Previous post (1): China June 2014: Now updated with Top 10 LCVs

Previous post (2): China 6 months 2014: Santana makes it 4 Volkswagens in Top 6

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

One year ago: China July 2013: VW Jetta, Great Wall Haval H6 and Honda Crider impress

Full July 2014 Top 318 All-models and Top 64 All-brands Ranking Tables below.

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Categories: China

China June 2014 – Now updated with Top 10 LCVs!

August 1st, 2014 3 comments

1. Chana TaurusChana Minibus (Taurustar) in Chongxing, China – April 2014

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

Thanks to LMC Automotive I can now share with you more detail about the Chinese car market, including the Top 10 best-selling Light Commercial Vehicles which is a new monthly update on BSCB. The decline of minivans is once again blatant this month: even though it ranks #4 overall (vs. #7 in May) the Chana Minibus is down 12% year-on-year to 29,840 units while the Wuling Sunshine is down 29% at #5 and the Foton Forlan down a dismal 48% to #29. The Wuling Rongguang holds itself well however: up 11% to 23,694 sales (on a very weak June 2014 figure though), the Wuling Mini Truck is up 3 spots on last month to #21, the JAC Light Truck up 16 to #32 and the Jinbei Light Bus is back inside the Top 50 at #44 thanks to 10,572 sales.

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

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

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

One year ago (LCV): China June 2013: Chana Minibus shines

Full June 2014 Top 50 models Ranking Table below.

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Categories: China

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

July 19th, 2014 6 comments

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

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

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

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

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

Kia K3 China June 2014Kia K3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Categories: China

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

July 17th, 2014 14 comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Beijing Auto Weiwang M20 China June 2014. Picture courtesy of auto.sina.comBeijing Auto Weiwang M20

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more…

Categories: China

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

June 30th, 2014 1 comment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ChangAn CS35 China May 2014ChangAn CS35

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

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

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

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

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

Landwind X8 China May 2014. Picture courtesy of bitautoLandwind X8

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

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

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

Read more…