Archive for the ‘China’ Category

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

December 12th, 2014 No comments

JAC Refine S3 China November 2014. Picture courtesy of 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 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 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 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 MG GT already accounts for 68% of the brand’s sales in China.

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

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

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

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

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

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Categories: China

China LCV October 2014: Wuling Light Truck teases Rongguang

November 25th, 2014 No comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

Previous month: China 9 months 2014: Discover the Top 370 models ranking

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

Full October 2014 Top 55 models Ranking Table below.

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Categories: China

China 10 months 2014: Discover the Top 379 models ranking

November 15th, 2014 1 comment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

October post: China October 2014: Baojun 730 up to 6th place

Previous month: China 9 months 2014: Discover the Top 370 models ranking

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

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

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Categories: China

China October 2014: Focus on the all-new models

November 14th, 2014 No comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

Volvo S60L China October 2014. Picture courtesy of

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

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

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

DS 6 China October 2014. Picture courtesy of

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

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

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

Honda Vezel China October 2014. Picture courtesy of

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

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

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

Volvo XC60 China October 2014. Picture courtest of

5. Volvo XC60 (#234 and 706 units)

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

Yema F16 China October 2014. Picture courtesy of

6. Yema F16 (#254 with 388 deliveries)

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

Yema F16 interiorYema F16 interior

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

Volvo XC Classic China October 2014. Picture courtesy of

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

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

FAW Junpai D60 China October 2014. Picture courtesy of

8. FAW Junpai D60 (#294 and 89 units)

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

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

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

MG GT China October 2014. Picture courtesy of MG GT China October 2014. Picture courtesy of

9. MG GT (#314 with 13 deliveries)

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

MG GT interiorMG GT interior

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

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

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Categories: China

China October 2014: Baojun 730 up to 6th place

November 13th, 2014 1 comment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Toyota Corolla China October 2014. Picture courtest of monthly volume for the Toyota Corolla nameplate this month in China.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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China 9 months 2014: Discover the Top 370 models ranking!

October 24th, 2014 1 comment

Wuling Hongguang China September 2014. Picture courtesy of cheshi.com2The Wuling Hongguang will sell upwards of 800,000 units in China this year – an all-time record.

* See the Top 370 All-local PCs and Top 55 All-local models by clicking on the title! *

As is the tradition on BSCB, after detailing September sales, we explore the year-to-date ranking in China to try and extract longer-term trends. Due to a dent in its explosive growth at just +3% in September due to LCV dropping 16%, new light vehicle sales in China are now up 7% year-on-year after 9 months to a record 14.4 million vehicles, compared to a 5.5% growth rate in the USA. Just today, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) cut its 2014 forecast to 23 million units, a 5% increase on 2013 which would be the lowest year-on-year increase since 1990! Last July, the CAAM had already lowered  projected sales increase to 8%, down from the 10% percent increase it had predicted in January.

First let’s have a quick look at the culprits of this cooling off: Light Commercial Vehicles, with data courtesy of LMC Automotive. The Wuling Rongguang ranks 5th with 29,530 sales vs. #4 year-to-date, the Wuling Mini Truck is very impressive at a best-ever #11 overall thanks to 23,697 units vs. #22 so far in 2014 and #28 in 2013, the Wuling Sunshine continues its descent to hell at #14 vs. #5 year-to-date and #2 in 2013, the Chana Minibus is #18 vs. #9 YTD and the Foton Forland ranks #25 vs. #12. A major step back for Light Commercial Vehicles can indeed be clearly observed in China.

Toyota Vios China September 2014. Picture courtesy of new generation boosts Toyota Vios sales 48-fold compared to last year!

Back to the Passenger Cars ranking over the first 9 months of 2013. The Wuling Hongguang is up a mammoth 87% on 2013 to 543,811 units, already an all-time annual record for any Passenger Car sold in China. The previous best was its own 448,484 units in 2013, a record it smashed last month. Adding in the units counted as LCV before it began being officially reported as a PC, the Hongguang sold 530,050 units in 2013, just beaten this month also. Keeping in mind the end of the calendar year is always stronger in China, we are now looking at around 835,000 annual sales in 2014 for the Wuling Hongguang.


Chana Honor China September 2014. Picture courtesy of auto.ifeng.comThe Chana Honor is one of four Chinese MPV inside the 2014 Top 50.

This would be well ahead of the all-categories record of 754,961 sales hit by the Wuling Sunshine in 2010… If you still need any convincing that budget MPVs are the way of the future for Chinese manufactures, you only need to look a little further down: the Chana Honor at #29 (+72%), Dongfeng Future (+17%) and Joyear (+66%) make it 4 Chinese MPVs inside the Top 50 out of 9 Chinese models overall. The Baojun 730, already #14 for its 2nd month of sales in September, will join them soon enough – for now it is #123.

VW Santana China September 2014 Picture courtesy of bitautoVW Santana sales are up 88% year-on-year so far in 2014.

Volkswagen once again shows its might in China, placing four sedans in the 2014 Top 6: the Lavida is up 13% to a record 378,643 units in 2nd place overall, the Sagitar is up 13% to #4, the Santana up an explosive 88% to #5 thanks to the new generation and the Jetta is up 20% to #6. After MPVs, SUVs are the second most dynamic segment in China and here too their best-seller is a local: the Haval H6 has posted no less than 11 monthly records over the past 15 months and earns a 7th spot year-to-date thanks to sales up 49% to 223,116 units. The VW Tiguan could well become the 2nd SUV to break into the Chinese Top 10 by the time 2014 comes to an end: it is up 25% to #11 and 188,540 units.

BMW 3 Series L China September 2014. Picture courtesy of auto.ifeng.comBMW 3 Series L sales are up 53% in 2014.

Other notable progressions towards the top of the ranking include the VW Golf simply doubling its sales year-on-year to climb 30 spots to #19, the Honda Crider up 180% to #26 but launched just over a year ago, the Ford Kuga up 52% and 24 ranks to #32, the Toyota Vios increasing its sales 48-fold (!) to #38 thanks to a new generation much more adapted to the Chinese market price and size-wise, the Nissan X-Trail up almost 8-fold to #49 and the BMW 3 Series L up 53% to #55.

ChangAn Eado XT China September 2014. Picture courtesy of Eado XT

An increasing headache for Chinese manufacturers is their decreasing market share at home, now dropping frequently below 30%. The top Chinese sellers are doing magnificently but they are too few at the top: only 9 inside the Top 50 vs. 29 inside the Top 100. Below the Hongguang and Haval H6, the ChangAn Eado cements itself as this year’s local success story: helped by unusually strong sales of its sporty XT hatchback variant in a country overwhelmingly preferring sedans, it is up a gargantuan 87% and 36 spots year-on-year to #25 and 117,285 units, dislodging the Emgrand EC7 (-25% to #34) from its sedan pedestal. Two SUVs complete the Top 50 Chinese force: the ChangAn CS35 at #48 (+44%) and the BYD S6 at #50 (+19%).

Chery Tiggo 5 China September 2014. Picture courtest if sinaimg.cnThe Chery Tiggo 5 is the best-selling new Chinese nameplate so far in 2014.

Demonstrating the extraordinary – I will go as far as saying once in a century dynamism of the Chinese new car market, we have welcomed no less than 53 all-new locally produced models in the ranking over the past 12 months. A slight worrying sign though: only 4 of them feature inside the Top 110, and only 5 Chinese in the Top 150… The Hyundai Mistra comes on top at #36 with 96.221 sales, ahead of the Chery Tiggo 5 at #63, Toyota Yaris L at #72, Peugeot 301 at #73 and Zotye T600 at #112.

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China September 2014: Focus on the all-new models

October 22nd, 2014 8 comments

Hyundai ix25 China September 2014. Picture courtesy of huanqiu.comHyundai ix25

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

As usual after exploring the monthly Chinese ranking we detail the all-new models making their first appearance in the world’s biggest car market this month. After a crazy August that saw 8 new nameplate hit the sales charts, we are down to a more reasonable 3 in September, one Korean compact SUV and two Chinese sedans.

The first is the much anticipated China-only Hyundai ix25, one of the stars of the last Beijing Auto Show, landing directly at #121 with 3,972 sales. The ix25 is based on the platform of the Kia Soul and is the second model launched by the Korean manufacturer in the past 12 months that will only be sold in China (with the Mistral) – clearly showing the scale of Hyundai’s ambitions for this market. It gives the carmaker its first entry into the very competitive compact SUV market and is priced from 119.800 to 179.800 yuan (US$19.600-29.400), competing with the likes of the Ford Ecosport (#68 so far in 2014), Peugeot 2008 (#90 in September) and Chevrolet Trax (personal best at #78). Its inaugural ranking already places the ix25 as Hyundai’s #2 SUV below just the ix35 (#40) but above the Santa Fe (#122) and Tucson (#204). A Top 100 monthly ranking seems a done deal, a Top 50 would seal the ix25 nameplate as a new household name.

BYD G5 China September 2014. Picture courtesy of qc188.comBYD G5

Much lower in 237th position with a shy 610 sales for now we find the BYD G5 which also debuted in April at the 2014 Beijing Auto Show. The G5 fits between the F3 and the G6 (no logic there) in the BYD range and is priced from 75.900 to 102.900 yuan (US$12.400-16.800). A hybrid variant, starting around 130.000 yuan ($21.200) will become available in 2015. According to Carnewschina, one interesting feature of the G5 is its ‘CarPad’ infotainment system where users can surf the internet, check microblogs such as Weibo (very important in China), find their way, watch movies, and listen to music played from the on-board flash drive. CarPad runs on Google Android.

Dongfeng Fengshen A30 China September 2014. Picture courtesy of jllmjt.comDongfeng Fengshen A30

The third and last all-new model in China in September is the Dongfeng Fengshen A30 arriving at #246 with 487 units sold. Fengshen is the mid-priced sub-brand/subsidiary of Dongfeng that is carefully extending its range. After the S30 sedan in 2010, the H30 and H30 Cross hatchbacks in 2011 and the A60 sedan in 2012, Dongfeng is now clearly accelerating Fengshen with the A30 and soon the AX7 SUV and a full-size luxury sedan. The A30 adopts a decidedly more modern design and is the largest Fengshen sedan so far, priced from 67.500 to 85.700 yuan (US$11.000-14.000).

This is mid-level price is the right place to be in for the Fengshen A30, as Chinese sedans have been struggling on the budget end of the market lately: only the BYD F3 (49.900 to 63.900 yuan or $8.140-10.400) sells in significant numbers at #54 year-to-date and the Chery E3 (52.900 to 67.900 yuan or $8.600-11.100) is a flop at #120 in September. Moreover, the two best-selling Chinese sedans in the same price range as the Fengshen A30: the ChangAn Eado (#25) goes from 73.900 to 94.900 yuan ($12.100-15.500) and the Emgrand EC7 (#34) is priced between 69.800 and 100.800 yuan ($11.400-16.500). So Dongfeng is holding the right end of the market with the A30, but it will be tough to impose this model in a very competitive market where foreign brands are dominant and becoming more so every month. A Top 150 ranking would almost certainly mean the A30 is the best-selling Fengshen, so a good objective to have, keeping in mind the the S30 ranks around #155 in 2014, the A60 at #164 and the H30 around #200.

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China September 2014: Baojun 730 instant sales blockbuster

October 22nd, 2014 7 comments

Baojun 730 China September 2014. Picture courtesy of 730

* See the Top 326 All-models ranking by clicking on the title! *

Is the Chinese new light vehicle market finally experiencing the much talked about slowdown that has supposedly been looming for years? In September, sales are up only 3% year-on-year – the slowest growth rate in the past 19 months – to 1.98 million units. Passenger Cars rose 6% while commercial vehicles decreased by 16%. This brings the year-to-date total to 14.4 million, up 7% on 2013 compared to a 14% annual growth in 2013. Automotive News quotes Li Xiangfeng, an analyst at Shanghai-based consultancy ISE: “China already has a huge auto market, and with more cities restricting auto sales to fight pollution, it’s natural for growth to slow down – double-digit pace cannot go on forever.” Nissan (-20%) and Honda (-20%) both lodge their third consecutive monthly decline, while Audi (+13%), BMW (+18%) and Mercedes (+31%) continue to shine. 

Buick Excelle China September 2014. Picture courtesty of Excelle

As always the models ranking is full of surprises in China. Below the Wuling Hongguang (+18%), VW Lavida (+8%) and Ford Focus (-11%), the Buick Excelle is up 5 spots to 4th place, its highest ranking since May 2013. The Haval H6 stays at a record 5th position, bettering its monthly score to an all-time high 27,744 sales, its 11th monthly record in the past 15 months. The Chevrolet Sail is also back in shape: up 8 ranks on August to #7 while the Hyundai Elantra Langdong is strong again at #8 vs. #13 year-to-date.

Dongfeng Joyear China September 2014. Picture courtesy of dyfdgs.comThe Dongfeng Joyear smashes its monthly volume and ranking records this month…

Just outside the Top 10 at #14 with 21,016 sales, we have what has now become the most successful new nameplate launch since the VW Lavida: the Baojun 730. The low-cost MPV is up 75% for its 2nd month in market and single-handedly lifts the Baojun brand to blockbuster status. It is the third MPV to ever top 20,000 monthly sales in China (others: the Wuling Hongguang and Chana Honor at 20,259 units last March), illustrating further the strong long-term sales trend I’ve detailed on this site before: micro vans are being replaced by low-cost MPV in rural areas: they are larger, more practical and sold at a similar price.

Dongfeng Fengguang China September 2014. Picture courtesy of…as does the Dongfeng Fengguang.

Unsurprisingly, the MPV segment is currently the fastest-growing in China and this is where Chinese manufacturers can catch up part of the market share they have given away to foreign carmakers. In the same vein this month, both the Dongfeng Joyear and Fengguang double their sales vs. September 2013 to smash their volume and ranking records at #33 and 12,037 sales, #50 and 9,281 units respectively. The Toyota Corolla is above 20,000 sales for the first time since August 2011 at #17 and 20,238 units, up 43% year-on-year, the VW Golf posts the nameplate’s 2nd all-time highest monthly score at 18,697 units (best: 19,116 last April), up 3-fold on September 2013 and the Emgrand EC7 is back up 13 ranks to #19, reclaiming the title of best-selling Chinese sedan off the ChangAn Eado, up 82% to #23.

Haval H2 China September 2014. Picture courtesy of chexun.netThe Haval H2 is inside China’s Top 60 most popular vehicles for its 2nd month in market.

The SUV segment is the other main engine of growth in China right now. The Nissan X-Trail (+746% to 12,968 sales), Chery Tiggo 3 (+150% to 12,877 units) and ChangAn CS35 (10,594 sales) all breaking their monthly volume records are prime examples. But it doesn’t stop there. A few recent launches are becoming instant blockbusters too: the ChangAn CS75 is up 60% and 24 spots on its August record to finish the month just outside the Top 50 at #52 and 9,239 sales, the Haval H2 doubles its August score to 8,288 sales and #60 (now the brand’s 2nd best-seller in between the H6 and H5), the Beijing Auto Hansu S3 is up 42% for its 2nd month of sales to #67, the JAC Refine S3 triples its inaugural August figure to 6,103 sales at #89 and the Luxgen 6 SUV is up a further 4 spots to a record #92, the highest a Luxgen model has ever ranked in China.

Toyota Levin China September 2014. Picture courtesy of two months and the Toyota Levin is already one of China’s 50 favourite vehicles.

We also have a bunch of heroes in the sedan category: the Toyota Levin imposes itself as a new nameplate to be reckoned with by breaking into the monthly Top 50 as early as for its 2nd month at #46 and ending the month only 12 units shy of the symbolic 10,000 monthly sales milestone. An extremely impressive start indeed. The Audi A3 takes off thanks to the sedan variant, up 32 spots on August to #76, the Mazda3 Axela is up 10 ranks to #82, the GAC Trumpchi GA5S shoots up 47 ranks and 92% on its first month to #110 and the Kia K4 is up 49 spots and 106% to #114. There are 3 all-new nameplates making their first appearance in the Chinese ranking this month, but this will be the subject of a next post as is the tradition on BSCB.

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Full September 2014 Top 326 All-models Ranking Table below.

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China 8 months 2014: Discover the Top 366 models ranking!

October 1st, 2014 No comments

Wuling Hongguang China August 2014. Picture courtesy of bitauto.comAfter just 8 months, the Wuling Hongguang has already broken the all-time Passenger Car annual sales record it set in 2013…

* See the Top 366 All-local PCs and Top 50 All-local models by clicking on the title! *

As is the tradition on BSCB, after exploring the monthly ranking for China, we go into the year-to-date sales charts to try and extract longer-term trends. After 8 months the Chinese new car market is up a robust 11% on 2013 to 12,459,500 units, excluding LCVs. The first striking observation when looking at this year’s models ranking is the Wuling Hongguang now totalling 483,159 units after just 8 months – more than double its result from a year ago after a sales re-adjustment. This projects into around 775,000 sales by the time 2014 comes to an end as the last few month of the calendar year are traditionally the busiest in China. But more significantly it means the Hongguang has already surpassed its Full Year 2013 tally (448,484 units) which was then an all-time annual sales record for any Passenger Car since the creation of automobile! Talk about a smashed record…

VW Tiguan China August 2014. Picture courtesy of motortrend.comThe VW Tiguan is now among the 10 best-selling passenger cars in China.

The VW Lavida (332,813) and Ford Focus (260,993) remain on the podium but slow down their growth due to declines in August. The rest of the Top 6 is 100% Volkswagen like last month with the Santana up 104% to #4, the Sagitar up 12% to #5 and the Jetta up 27% to #6, now all above 200,000 sales. The Haval H6 remains the best-selling SUV in the country thanks to sales up 52% to a record 195,372 units in 7th place. The only change in the year-to-date Top 10 is the VW Tiguan up two spots on last month to #10 with 168,234 units (+26%), relegating the Chevrolet Cruze into #12 while the Buick Excelle XT/GT and VW Bora overtake the VW Passat to rank #12 and #13 respectively. The Hyundai Elantra Langdong is back to being the brand’s best-seller and now ranks above the Verna and the Chevy Sail at #15.

BYD S6 China August 2014. Picture courtesy of zr.ruThe BYD S6 is the 8th Chinese Passenger Car inside the Top 50 so far in 2014.

There are 8 Chinese models inside the Top 50 like last month: below the Hongguang and Haval H6, the ChangAn Eado is up one spot to #26 (+88%), the Chana Honor remains #31 (+78%), the Dongfeng Future is down one to #33 (+20%), the Emgrand EC7 stays at #38 (-30%) as does the Venucia D50/R50 stable at #48 (+14%) while the BYD S6 (#49) replaces the ChangAn CS35 (#52) and the Roewe 350 is down 4 spots to #50. Close behind we have the Dongfeng Joyear (#51), BYD F3 (#55) and Great Wall M4 (#56).

Honda Jade China August 2014. Picture courtesy of Honda Jade is one of 6 all-new models in the Chinese Top 100.

As far as newcomers are concerned, with the new generation Ford Mondeo now one year-old, there is only one all-new nameplate inside the Top 50: the Hyundai Mistra gaining one spot to #34 with 83,944 sales. The next best thing is the Chery Tiggo 5 at #65 with 55,871 units (+2), followed by the Toyota Yaris L at #70 (-2), the Peugeot 301 at #71 (stable), Chery E3 at #83 (-2) and the Honda Jade at #93 (+5). Other notable new models atop the Chinese ranking this year include the Zotye T600 at #118, the Suzuki S-Cross at #123, the Chevrolet Trax at #140, the Peugeot 2008 at #144, Audi A3 at #181, the Baojun 730 landing directly at #183 and the Fiat Ottimo at #192.

10. Wuling Light TruckWuling Light Truck in Kashgar – Xingjiang Uyghur

Thanks to LMC Automotive, we now also have access to the best-selling Light Commercial Vehicles in the country for August, and this time the Wuling Hongguang shoots back up 7 spots on July to #3 overall with 33,481 sales vs. #4 year-to-date while the Wuling Sunshine is down 7 to #10 at just 22,779 units. The Wuling Light Truck is the only mass-selling LCV to perform well over its year-to-date level at #12 with 21,735 sales vs. #23 so far in 2014. Note also the Chana Mini Bus down to #23 vs. #9 year-to-date, the Foton Forland down to #28 vs. #12 but the Beijing Auto Minibus up to #46 vs. #56.

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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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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