* See the Top 310 All-imported models Ranking Table by clicking on the title *
This is it. If a couple of days ago we reported on the U.S. last frontier, Alaska, Chinese imports are the automotive sales last frontier, a very secretive part of the worldwide market representing over one million annual units. Now BSCB has reached this frontier for you as we managed to obtain rare monthly import figures. Chinese customs and importers associations only started releasing complete import figures in June 2015 for 180 models, expanding it to all imports from July. No media outside of China has ever reported on these complete figures, and BSCB is the first to do so, in line with our pledge to improve coverage of the Chinese market. You can also see model rankings by province here. The annual imports data is an estimate based on June-December official sales and seasonally adjusted sales for the first 5 months of the year. From now on BSCB will report on Chinese imports monthly, with a 1.5 month delay necessary to allow accounting from customs data. January 2016 data will therefore be available around mid-April.
An estimated 1.007.088 imports found a buyer in China in 2015, including 247.338 during Q4 and 83.173 in December alone. The first striking observation when looking at the best-selling imports in China in 2015 is the implacable domination of SUVs: no less than 17 of the 20 best-sellers belong to this segment with the Lexus ES, Mercedes S-Class and Mini 3 Door the only non-SUVs in the Top 20… The top of the imports ranking is very volatile with a handful of nameplates claiming the year-to-date pole position all through the year. The Toyota Prado, also assembled locally, started the yea with a bang at over 10.000 sales during the first two months, but ends the year at #2. Leader throughout most of 2015, the Jeep Compass loses its title as its sales crumbled down in the wake of the local production kick-start of the Jeep Cherokee which immediately and logically became the brand’s best-seller in China. The Compass ranked at a low #23 in December and ends 2015 in third place.
It’s a luxury SUV, the BMW X5, that holds the title of best-selling imported vehicle in China in 2015 with an estimated 39.309 units sold across the country. The BMW X3 follows closely in 5th place while the Mercedes M-Class, Porsche Macan, Lexus NX and Porsche Cayenne also break into the Top 10, making it six luxury SUV among China’s ten favourite imports… Note the Lexus NX was released in December 2015 and became an instant blockbuster for the Japanese marque at #8 overall and #3 in Q4. Further down, the Cadillac SRX, Range Rover Sport, Audi Q7 and VW Touareg bring the luxury SUV tally to 11 inside the Top 20. The best-selling imported passenger car, the Lexus ES, is 4th with 33.164 sales but has geared up towards the end of the year: it ranked #1 both over the 4th Quarter and in December and could pretend to the overall title in 2016.
The Renault Koleos is the brand’s best-seller in China at #18 overall, and it will be interesting to follow the Koleos’s sales curve as the locally-produced Kadjar kick start sales in the country and the smaller Captur, unveiled in July, continues to climb up the ladder (it was #53 in December). Recently-launched Lincoln places the MKC at #45 with 7.724 sales, the Ford Mustang hits a beautiful 56th spot with 5.622 sales and the Tesla Model S is at #72 with 3.557 units. A few nameplates launched in 2015 but their number is nowhere near the slew of locally-produced models hitting Chinese dealerships each month. The Land Rover Discovery Sport is by far the most popular at #35 with over 10.000 units sold this year, but let’s also single out the Jaguar at #133, the Mercedes GLE at #134 (#75 in December), the Kia Carnival at #159 and the Mercedes GLE Coupe at #165.
Previous year: China Full Year 2014: Toyota Prado best-selling import
Full Year 2015 Top 310 All-imported models Ranking Table below.