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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Beijing Auto Show 2016: The most impressive Chinese carmakers (4/6)

Cowin X3Cowin X3

We are now getting into the five most impressive Chinese carmakers at the Beijing Auto Show 2016, in other words the creme de la creme. These ultimate spots are full of surprises with two all-new entrants and a new overall leader. But for now we’ll go from 5th to third place. You can see Part 1 (#30 to #21) herePart 2 (#20 to #11) here and Part 3 (#10 to #6) here. All the justifications behind the rankings are below.

5. Cowin (-,-)

Chery spun off the Cowin sub-brand into a standalone marque in August 2014, and premiered it at the Chengdu Auto Show in September of that year, yet didn’t dare to show it off at the 2015 Shanghai Auto Show. It therefore makes its very first appearance in our “most impressive” ranking. And what a start! Far from the Chery stand and proudly displaying its very own identity, Cowin lands directly in 5th place. The Cowin brand is positioned below Chery in price and aimed a younger buyers purchasing their first vehicle. This is where the progress of Chinese brands over the past decade is striking: such a positioning would have then resulted in drab offerings, but Cowin is anything but.

Cowin V3 Cowin X5 ConceptCowin X5 Concept

Cowin wants to be the “connected” Chinese carmaker and isn’t shy about it on the stand: impossible to miss it. It follows through with an avalanche of new models. Alongside with the current C3 sedan and C3R hatch already in market, Cowin introduced the Pininfarina-designed X3 SUV and the 7-seat V3 SUV featuring a 10.1-inch screen in the center console. Plus the X5 SUV concept looking decidedly production-ready. Three new very current-looking SUVs for a brand that’s making its first appearance in a major Auto Show? Welcome to China.

Chery Tiggo 7Chery Tiggo 7

4. Chery (20,26)

Last year in Shanghai I liked Chery’s hungry attitude and agreed with the clear direction its two sub-brands were taking (Tiggo for SUVs and Arrizo for the rest). This year Chery confirmed they back in the game and could even be headed back to their glorious time of half-a-decade ago where the brand was among the top-sellers at home. Had I not attended last November’s Guangzhou Auto Show, it would have been the first time I saw the Kia lookalike (in a good way) Arrizo 5, and great progress has been made here already. But the even better news came from the Tiggo sub-brand…

Chery Tiggo 3X Chery Tiggo 3X interior

All at once, Chery introduced two new Tiggo SUVs that, for the first time for the brand, get rid of any Toyota RAV4 inspiration. The new Tiggo 7 really impressed with its design, playing right in the current trends. No one would be complaining if the new Toyota RAV4 looked like this, which is a massive statement in itself. Chery also unveiled the Tiggo 3X (why not 2 or 4?), with a more conventional design. A slight negative for the brand are its interiors, in clear progress compared to 2015 but not quite up there with the likes of Geely or even Zotye yet.

Chery EV standChery’s EV range

The EV models were neatly assembled in one corner of the Chery stand and all sported the same colour: the Tiggo 7 already present within this range alongside the Arrizo 5 and 7 and the eQ. Finally, Chery went all out with this year’s concept car: the FV2030. It’s nice to have you back Chery.

Chery FV2030 Pic2 Chery FV2030 Pic1 Chery FV2030 Pic3Chery FV2030 Concept
Borgward billboard

3. Borgward (-,-)

Some will argue this is a German brand, but its renaissance has nothing to do with Germany and everything to do with China’s Beiqi Foton, property of BAIC Group. Last September, I cringed at how much of a faux pas it was to relaunch the brand at the Frankfurt Auto Show, especially with a misleading “accessible premium” positioning. I stand by it, it was a mistake. But if the only objective was to get press in China and make the brand look more premium here – like anything European it seems – then it may have been a good idea. In any case, I was expecting a tiny stand with the lone BX7 unveiled just 6 months ago. How far-off was I…

Borgward Stand

The Borgward stand was as big as most foreign carmakers that have been selling cars for decades, and along the BX7, the marque unveiled two new SUVs: the BX5 and the BX6 TS. The brand smartly played up the “Since 1919″ slogan – even though Borgward hasn’t produced any cars since 1961 – as well as its Europan heritage and in a Chinese context the SUVs present on the stand look right on-trend. Why waste time with sedans when SUVs are what Chinese consumers want? Borgward understood it, and it understood it well.

Borgward IsabellaBorgward Isabella Coupe

The iconic 1954 Borgward Isabella Coupe is actually the first car you see when entering the brand’s stand, and a video playing on a giant screen enumerates the brand’s achievements at the peak of its glory: “A direct competitor to Mercedes”, “One of Germany’s Top 4 Carmakers” (along with Volkswagen, Opel and Mercedes), “The most complete product lineup of the time” and “Cumulative sales of 1 million units”. Heritage is a big deal in China so Borgward is right on the mark here.

Borgward BX5Borgward BX5

Finally, whereas the BAIC Group still has a lot to learn when it comes to handling brands – exhibiting Senova, Foton Gratour, Huansu and Changhe next to each other this year – it has done a magnificent job with Borgward, located in a separate area from BAIC and standing on its own like a truly established brand. Very impressive.

Borgward BX7 Borgward BX6 TS

Beijing Auto Show 2016: The most impressive Chinese carmakers (3/6)

FAW X4 Concept detailFAW X4 Concept grille detail 

Our coverage of the 2016 Beijing Auto Show is back with Part 3 of our ranking of the most impressive Chinese carmakers at the Show: #10 to #6. You can see Part 1 (#30 to #21) here and Part 2 (#20 to #11) here. All the justifications behind the rankings are below.

FAW Xiali R7FAW Xenia R7

10. FAW (32,13)

After a very disappointing performance in Shanghai last year (#32 in our ranking), FAW is back in the groove in Beijing, showing a multi-faceted personality. The all-new Xenia R7 SUV is right-on trend and impressed with its interior quality, the X4 and X6 SUV concepts are extravagant enough to strike the imagination but close enough to production to announce future launches and show that FAW is not about to waste any time coming up with anything else but SUVs: a good decision. Finally, the armored police truck on show in the exterior stand adds a welcome touch of coolness to the picture. Well done.

FAW PoliceFAW Police Truck

FAW X6 ConceptFAW X6 ConceptFAW X4 Concept interiorFAW X4 Concept interior
FAW Xiali R7 backFAW Xiali R7 back

Venucia T90Venucia T90

9. Venucia (23,10)

Launched by Nissan as a low-cost brand to compete with the likes of Baojun, Venucia has pleased me along the years by progressively developing its own identity. Launched last year, the T70 has given the brand a new dimension in the sales charts. This year in Beijing, Venucia took a giant leap towards becoming an independent, full-blown brand perfectly completing Nissan’s offer in China. Last year in Shanghai I said the Vow concept car Venucia presented was “interesting-looking but so far away it is from the current lineup it probably won’t translate into anything tangible”. I am now swallowing my words, because Venucia just launched the production version of the Vow concept, the T90 SUV, in a stroke of genius. The car is simply awesome and boosts Venucia’s credibility by miles. The only reason the brand doesn’t rank high is the poor interior quality of the T70X.

Venucia T70XVenucia T70X Venucia T70X interiorVenucia T70X interior: still extremely bland.

Leopaard Q6 Pic2Leopaard Q6

8. Leopaard (5,29)

Only two years after the brand launch, it now has a rich stand complete with a new SUV (the CS9) and a very cool-looking pimped-up Q6. Leopaard manages to mix its mountain DNA with the indispensable city relevance with a multi-faceted presence at the Show. Outstanding progress again.

Full commentary will follow shortly.

Leopaard CS9Leopaard CS9Leopaard CT7Leopaard CT7 Pickup

Leopaard Q6 Pic3Leopaard Q6 interiorLeopaard Q6 Pic4Leopaard Q6 back  

BAIC StandBAIC standBAIC BJ20BAW BJ20

7. BAIC (33,6)

Like SAIC in Shanghai, BAIC plays at home in Beijing and is expected to pull all stops in a chest-beating exercise. Still, I feel like the group went beyond this year with a multitude of concept cars, some very impressive progress in the interior quality of its new Senova X35 SUV, a new brand dedicated to electric cars (Arcfox), an extensive display of SUVs including a few BAW-branded matte-coloured examples, and an enormous police truck on the outside stand. On the negative side, BAIC’s brands are a complete mess: Senova, Foton Gratour, Huasong and Changhe models are all grouped together with no separation or explanation.

Full commentary will follow shortly.

BAIC Senova OffSpace ConceptBAIC Senova OffSpace Concept

BAIC Senova X35BAIC Senova X35BAIC BJ80BAW BJ80BAIC Senova X55 Pic2 BAIC Senova X55 interiorBAIC Senova X55 Pic3BAIC Senova X55BAIC Arcfox ConceptBAIC ArcFox-1BAIC Arcfox Concepts
BAIC brandsThree BAIC brands in one go (from left to right: Gratour, Huansu and Senova…)

Hongqi H7 PHEVHongqi H7 PHEV 

6. Hongqi (4,2)

Another very impressive performance by Hongqi even though it is struggling to keep pace with its direct competitors in the “most impressive” ranking, resulting in another two spot-drop to 6th place. Hongqi exhibited two very sharp-looking concepts: the S Concept SUV and the B Concept sedan, both featuring futuristically appealing interiors. The H7 got a facelift that takes it away slightly from its previous generation Skoda Superb look and the retro-cool L5 was present again even though it is still not on sale and probably never will be.

Hongqi L5Hongqi L5 Concept

Last year Hongqi surprised with a seemingly-production ready LS5 SUV, a Chinese-luxury version of a Range Rover, and this year it is still here as a concept, disappointingly. I had to beg for about half-an-hour, look dejected, give up, come back one hour later and do the same thing again to finally be allowed in the LS5 cockpit. Although refined, I understand the brand’s reticence to let me in as the quality is no match for the most recent and sophisticated offerings by Geely, Haval, GAC Trumpchi, Soueast or even Zotye.

Hongqi S Concept:

Hongqi S ConceptHongqi S Concept BackHongqi S Concept interior

Hongqi B Concept:

Hongqi B ConceptHongqi B Concept interior

Hongqi LS5 interior: 

Geely, Haval, GAC Trumpchi, Soueast or even Zotye are now coming up with better-finished, more refined interiors.

Hongqi LS5 interiorHongqi LS5 interior 3 Hongqi LS5 interior 2

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

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

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

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

Chana F30 Pickup China April 2016Chana Shenqi F30 Pickup

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

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

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

Full April 2016 Top 55 models Ranking Table below.

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Europe April 2016: Volkswagen (+2%) lags in market up 9%

Audi A4 Europe April 2016. Picture courtesy autobild.deThe Audi A4 (+61%) is back inside the European Top 20 thanks to the new model. 

* See the Top 20 best-selling models and Top 10 brands by clicking on the title *

The European new car market – 29 countries excluding Russia and Turkey – is up a very dynamic 8.9% year-on-year in April to 1.319.285 registrations, lifting the year-to-date total up 8.3% to 5.254.920 units, 403.000 additional sales compared to the same period a year ago. Only one market is down, Switzerland (-2%), with Cyprus (+55%), Serbia (+36%), Croatia (+27%), Greece (+25%), Poland (+21%) and Spain (+21%) the most dynamic, showing a bias towards Southern Europe. The recovery is well and truly entrenched in Europe after years of stagnation and the March Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate (SAAR) comes in at 15.38 million units vs. 14.2 million over the Full Year 2015.

Mercedes GLC Europe April 2016The GLC helps Mercedes overtake BMW year-to-date across Europe. 

Volkswagen though, with an emission scandal still far from being resolved, lags behind the market once again with a meagre 2.4% increase this month to 158.574 sales. Only Ford (+1.5%) grows slower in the Top 10. Renault (+8.7%) leaps to 2nd place and Audi (+9.6%) is back to the #1 luxury brand spot it holds year-to-date but below, Mercedes (+23.4%) overtakes BMW (+11.3%) in the year-to-date charts to rank 7th overall thanks to a very promising start from its new SUV lineup, notably the GLC. Fiat (+14.2%) is the last Top 10 brand to post double-digit gains.

Vauxhall Astra Europe April 2016The Opel/Vauxhall Astra is up 25% to #8 overall. 

Model-wise, the VW Golf is sovereign, posting a 73rd consecutive month atop the European sales charts (the last time it did not rank #1 in Europe was over 6 years ago in March 2010), followed by five superminis: the Renault Clio is #2 despite sales down 7%, the VW Polo is up 10% to #3 and now #2 year-to-date, the Peugeot 208 gains a splendid 17% thanks to its refresh at #4, while the Ford Fiesta (-16%) and Opel Corsa (-9%) disappoint gain. The Skoda Octavia shoots back up from #13 in March to #7 with sales up 11%, the Opel Astra is up 25% to #8 thanks to the new generation and the VW Passat is back inside the Top 10 at #9, up 7 ranks on last month.

Renault Kadjar Nissan Qashqai Europe March 2016. Picture courtesy largus.frThe Renault Kadjar is hurting its cousin the Nissan Qashqai in Europe.

Outside the Top 10, despite launching three years ago the Renault Captur is up another fantastic 17% to 18.844 sales, taking the lead of the SUV category off the Nissan Qashqai, down 5% to #14 and hurt by the tremendous success of its more recent cousin the Renault Kadjar, accounting for almost 1% of the overall European market. In the same category, the Hyundai Tucson has also hit the bullseye of European consumers’ tastes, ranking at #23. In fact, the SUV segment is now the most popular in Europe with 24% share vs. 22% a year ago, above superminis (21% vs. 23%) and compact cars (20% vs. 21%). The Fiat Panda (+14%), Toyota Yaris (+14%) and Skoda Fabia (+11%) also shine while the Audi A4 (+61%) reappears inside the Top 20 thanks to the new generation.

Previous post: Europe March 2016: Discover the Top 335 models and All-brands

Previous month: Europe March 2016: Opel Astra and Fiat 500 shine in Top 10

One year ago: Europe April 2015: VW Passat leaps up to 7th place

Full April 2016 Top 20 models and Top 10 brands below.

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Turkey April 2016: Fiat Egea teases Renault Fluence for pole position

Fiat Egea Turkey April 2016The Fiat Egea ranks #2 overall in Turkey in April. 

* See the Top 45 All-brands and Top 235 All-models by clicking on the title

If the Turkish new light vehicle market drops 7% year-on-year in April, it nevertheless remains at historically high levels at 84.887 units and 253.373 (-4%) year-to-date. After tying for pole position last month, Renault takes the advantage over Volkswagen thanks to sales up a brilliant 13% on April 2015 to 12.075 and 14.2% share while the German manufacturer is down a harsh 20% to 10.486 and 12.4% for the month. Year-to-date, Renault is now only trailing VW by a mere 411 sales at 34.049 (+13%) vs. 34.460 (-17%). Fiat for its part is down 10% both in April (9.521) and year-to-date (27.266) but remains above Ford (-16%). Opel’s stable sales are rewarded with a 5th place overall vs. #6 year-to-date and #7 in 2015. Notice Dacia up 16%, Nissan up 22%, Skoda up 13% and Seat up 15% inside the Top 20 while further down Land Rover (+98%), Mazda (+80%), Suzuki (+439%) and Jaguar (+343%) impress.

Renault Fluence Turkey April 2016The Renault Fluence is the best-selling model in Turkey so far in 2016. 

Model-wise, the Renault Fluence manages to hold onto the top spot with a fantastic 4.180 sales, adding up to 11.673 year-to-date, light-years above its direct follower the Ford Courier at 9.403. Launched late last year and manufactured locally, the Fiat Egea’s mission is to replicate the outstanding success of the Fiat Linea in Turkey. So far, so good: in April the Egea climbs to 2nd place overall – its best ranking yet – beating its volume and market share records at 3.464 and 4.1%, including 21 hatchbacks. The Egea is now only two units the #2 YTD spot, a ranking it should hit next month. Boosted by the new model, the Opel Astra is up to #8 while further down the Dacia Sandero is up 10 spots on March to #17.

Previous month: Turkey March 2016: Renault Fluence and Symbol on podium

One year ago: Turkey April 2015: Local fares Fiat Linea and Renault Clio dominate

Full April 2016 Top 45 All-brands and Top 235 All-models below.

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Switzerland April 2016: Skoda Octavia dominant, BMW X1 in Top 10

BMW X1 Switzerland April 2016The BMW X1 ranks 8th overall in Switzerland in April. 

* See the Top 40 best-selling brands and Top 335 All-models by clicking on the title *

The Swiss new car market is stuck in negative territory in April at -1% year-on-year to 28.698 registrations, leading to a year-to-date total down 0.6% to 100.655 units. Volkswagen keeps the lead of the brands charts despite sales down a harsh 11% to 3.348 and 11.7% share, distancing BMW at 8.2% (+2%), Mercedes up a flamboyant 49% to 2.263 and 7.9% but losing the #2 YTD ranking to BMW, Skoda up 15% to 2.012 and Audi down 10% to 1.737. Further down, notice Renault up 10%, Mazda up 30%, Seat up 9%, Subaru up 36%, Honda up 100% and Jaguar up 85%. Model-wise, the Skoda Octavia manages to hold the VW Golf at bay both in April (1.252 vs. 1.172) and year-to-date (3.960 vs. 3.774), the BMW 2 Series is up 28% to #6, the Mercedes C-Class up 89% to #7, BMW X1 up 107% to #8 and Seat Alhambra up 133% to #11. Further down, notice the Subaru Levorg up 29 ranks on March to #34, the Mercedes SLC landing at #139, the Jaguar F-Pace at #180 and the Suzuki Baleno at #224.

Previous month: Switzerland March 2016: VW Group monopolises Top 7

One year ago: Switzerland April 2015: VW Golf reclaims top spot for… one unit

Full April 2016 Top 40 brands and Top 335 All-models below.

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Australia April 2016: Hyundai i30 #1 again, Ford > Holden for 1st time in 17 years

Hyundai i30 Australia April 2016. Picture courtesy of caradvice.com.auThe Hyundai i30 is the best-selling model in Australia for the 2nd straight month.

* NOW UPDATED with the Top 50 All-brands and Top 285 All-models – see title *

The Australian new car market continues to evolve at record levels in April with sales up 7% year-on-year to 87.571 registrations, lifting the year-to-date total up 4% to a record-breaking 372.899 deliveries in four months. The dynamism is widespread as every state and territory is up except Western Australia (-0.1%) but it is also artificial as this month’s year-on-year gains are solely do to business fleets up 20% to 34.833 whereas private sales are actually down 0.6% to 42.967. The SUV segment continues to grow but is slowing down at +7% to 36.3% market share with passenger cars also up for once at +5% to 41.9% share and light commercials (pickups and vans) are up 14% to 20% share with 4×4 utes (Australian slang for pickup trucks) up 12%. Imports are coming from Japan (23.232 units, down 5%), Thailand (20.073, up 20%), South Korea (13.079, up 29%), Germany (7.350, up 7%), the U.S. (4.355, up 3%) and England (2.416, up 23%) while Australian-made cars – a disappearing act – are down 4% to 6.150 sales or just 7% market share.

A few very momentous events occurred in Australia this month that are indicating 2016 could be another year of significant changes in both the brands and models rankings…

Hyundai Elantra Australia April 2016. Picture courtesy themotorreport.com.auWith a new Elantra and the next i30 coming soon, can Hyundai tease Toyota for #1?

1.  Hyundai is the best-selling passenger car brand for the first time in history

If Toyota leads the brands ranking as usual with sales up a market-beating 8% to 16.567 and 18.9% market share, Hyundai comes in at a stunning 2nd place with deliveries up 20% to 8.643 and 9.9% share, overtaking Mazda up 5% to 8.461 and 9.7%. But if we look at passenger cars specifically (excluding SUV and commercials), Hyundai is the most popular brand in Australia for the first time in its 30 year-history in the country, outselling perennial market leader Toyota. Hyundai sold 6.324 passing cars in April vs. 6.035 for Toyota, 4.062 for Mazda and 3.514 for Holden. Volkswagen (3.068), Ford (2.045), Kia (2.011), Mercedes-Benz (1.850), BMW (1.298) and Audi (1.131) follow. The main reason behind this exploit is the continuing strength of the Hyundai i30, boosted by $19,990 with free auto drive-away offer to clear out the current generation of the model. As a result the i30 is up 80% year-on-year in April to 4.143 sales and up 47% year-to-date to 12.654, now only 79 units off the Mazda3 and, incredibly, 229 sales off the overall pole position for 2016 so far… This is the 4th time in the past 12 months the i30 is the best-selling car in Australia whereas it had never happened before. The Accent, up 178% to #10, add up to a very impressive performance by the Korean manufacturer in April.

Ford Mustang Australia February 2016. Picture courtesy caradvice.com.auThe Mustang and Ranger help Ford outsell Holden for the first time in over 17 years. 

2. Ford outsells Holden for the first time since 1999

Just as its local manufacturing operations are about to fold, Ford manages to soar by 33% year-on-year this month to 4th position overall with 6.842 sales, outselling its archenemy Holden at 6.710 (-5%). This order had not occurred in over 17 years – since January 1999 exactly when Ford sold 8.591 units vs. 8.335 for Holden. Then, the Ford Falcon and Holden Commodore were by very far the country’s best-sellers. How times have changed… Holden still leads year-to-date with 29.299 sales (-8%) vs. 25.484 (+18%). Ford’s score has almost everything to do with the tremendous success of the Ranger which accounts for a massive 45% of its sales (more on this below). But the brand’s second best-seller is a surprise: the Mustang at 690 units, meaning it shoots up well inside the Top 50 to a record #35! The demand for the sexy american muscle car is off the charts in Australia, inducing a waiting list going all the way to the 2nd half of 2017.

Toyota Hilux Australia April 2016The Toyota Hilux is now #1 year-to-date in Australia.

4. The Toyota Hilux is the best-selling nameplate so far in 2016

Thanks to 3.384 units in April (+21%), the Toyota Hilux reaches 12.883 sales year-to-date (+14%), edging past both the Toyota Corolla (12.784) and Mazda3 (12.733) to snap the year-to-date pole position. It is not the first time this happens but if the Hilux ends 2016 in the lead it would be its very first annual victory. This performance is achieved just as the Hilux is under intense pressure from the Ford Ranger, itself accessing the podium for the very first time in the nameplate’s history at #3 with 2.973 sales (+35%), even outselling the Hilux in the more profitable 4×4 category at 2.543 vs. 2.452.

Mazda CX-3 Australia April 2015. Picture courtesy drive.com.auThe CX-3 is now one of Australia’s 10 best-sellers

5. The Mazda CX-3 breaks into the Top 10 for the first time

Illustrating the fast shift from passenger cars towards crossovers and SUVs we are witnessing in Australia (and the world), in April the sub-compact Mazda CX-3 breaks into the Top 10 for the first time, ranking 9th with 1.604 sales, up 15% year-on-year and only a little more than a year after its launch in the country. The CX-3 places 2nd best-selling SUV in Australia this month below the… Mazda CX-5 at 1.675 sales, and is to blame for the weaker Mazda3 sales this year (-5%). The Hyundai Tucson, another recently launched SUV, continues to impress at #15.

Mercedes GLC Australia April 2016The Mercedes GLC is about to enter the overall Australian Top 50.

6. Australians can’t get enough premium cars

Seven of the ten Top 30 brands delivering double-digit year-on-year gains in April are luxury brands: Mercedes is up 24% to leap to a fantastic 9th place overall and 3.8% market share, beating Subaru thanks to its very successful new SUV lineup including the GLC now #54. BMW is up 58% to jump to #12, Land Rover is up 22% to #19, Lexus up 24% to #20, Volvo up 57% to #21 and Jaguar up 186% to #27. The other two double-digit performers being Chinese LDV (+224%) at a still discreet 110 sales and Kia up a stunning 31% to #11 and 3.025 sales. On the other hand, Jeep continues its freefall at -49%. Recently arrived on Australian shores, U.S. pickup manufacturer Ram sells 29 units, adding up to 83 since launch, and the Citroen C4 Cactus makes its first appearance at #215.

Previous month: Australia March 2016: Third win in 10 months for the Hyundai i30

One year ago: Australia April 2015: Mazda CX-3 only 10 units off Top 10

Full April 2016 Top 50 All-brands and Top 285 All-models below.

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South Africa April 2016: Toyota Hilux reclaims YTD lead

Ford Ranger Toyota Hilux South Africa April 2016. Picture courtesy carmag.co.zaThe Toyota Hilux is back ahead in the race to #1 in South Africa.

* See the Top 33 manufacturers and Top 275 All-models by clicking on the title *

The South African new vehicle market is down 9% year-on-year in April to 40.390 units, pulling the year-to-date total down 10% to 184.627. Passenger cars freefall down 13% to 26.077 units whereas light commercials (mainly pickups) are stable at 12.192. In contrast exports are up a whopping 39% to 32.856. Toyota consolidates its position as the most popular manufacturer in the country thanks to sales up a brilliant 11% year-on-year to 8.791 units and 21.8% share, distancing the Volkswagen Group at 15.5% (-13%) and Ford at 13.6% (-16%). General Motors (-24%), Nissan (-30%) and BMW (-23%) suffer whereas Renault (+32%) and Mazda (+96%) post spectacular gains.

Opel Astra South Africa April 2016The new generation pushes the Opel Astra into the Top 50. 

In the models ranking, the Toyota Hilux posts a fantastic 53% year-on-year improvement to 3.221 sales and 8% share vs. 2.413 and 6% (-22%) for its archenemy the Ford Ranger. That’s enough for the Hilux to reclaims the year-to-date lead at 11.526 units (+1%) vs. 10.535 for the Ranger (-10%). The VW Polo Vivo is in great shape at +12% in third place, distancing the VW Polo (-22%) and a Toyota Quantum in euphoric spirits (+149%). Further down, the Ford Ecosport (+13%) gains two spots to #8, the Toyota Fortuner (+73%) comes back to life with the new model at #10, the Mazda CX-3 is up 27 ranks on March to a best-ever #36 and the Opel Astra up 5-fold on April 2015 with the new generation to break into the Top 50 at #47. Finally, the Renault Kadjar lands directly at #65 with 138 units sold for its first appearance in the South African ranking.

Previous month: South Africa March 2016: Toyota Hilux reclaims top spot

One year ago: South Africa April 2015: Ford Ranger takes control

Full April 2016 Top 33 manufacturers and Top 275 All-models below.

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Tahiti (France) Full Year 2015: Ranger and Duster resist Hilux push (BSCB Exclusive)

Ford Ranger Tahiti 2015The Ford Ranger is the best-seller in Tahiti for the 2nd consecutive year. 

* See the Top 30 best-selling models and Top 10 brands by clicking on the title *

Tahiti is the largest island in and often synonymous with French Polynesia, a French overseas collectivity located in the South Pacific Ocean 4.400 km / 2.734 miles south of Hawaii and 5,700 km / 3,542 miles east of Australia. French Polynesia as a whole is composed of 118 islands and atolls stretching over more than 2.000 km / 1.200 miles. See the location of Tahiti on the map below. Tahiti was part of the Kingdom of Tahiti until its annexation by France in 1880, although it was not until 1946 that indigenous Tahitians were legally authorised to be French citizens.

Bora BoraBora Bora, Tahiti

The Tahitian new car market is down 7% year-on-year in 2015 to 4.314 registrations and is relatively similar to another South Pacific overseas French collectivity: New Caledonia. However here French carmakers have reclaimed a tight grip with Renault leading the way with 10.2% share thanks to sales up 8% ahead of Peugeot at 9.3% (-4%) and Dacia at 9.2% (-3%). Leader in 2015. Ford drops 30% to 4th place, threatened by Toyota that sold just 2 units less.

tahitioceaniaTahiti location (picture courtesy worldatlas.com)

In the models ranking, despite sales down 14% on 2014, the Ford Ranger manages to hold onto the title of best-selling vehicle in Tahiti for 2015, distancing the Dacia Duster (-11%) and Toyota Hilux (+8%) with the Hyundai Tucson (-12%) rounding up the Top 4.

Previous year: Tahiti Full Year 2014: Ranger and Duster edge past Hilux

Full Year 2015 Top 30 best-selling models below.

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