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China January 2018: VW, Geely, Toyota, Audi, Mercedes & BMW all break records, market showing surprising strength at +12%

The Bora hits a new record, helping VW to its largest ever wholesale volume.

* See the Top 77 All China-made brands and Top 425 models by clicking on the title *

New light vehicle sales in China start the year a lot better than expected given the purchase tax on vehicles with 1.6L engines and below was raised back from 7.5% to 10% on January 1: the market is up 11% to 2.456.200 units. Once again the main engine of growth in China is the SUV segment up 22.9% to 1.081.300, still close to the 1.173.000 record set last month while sedans/hatches are up 7.3% to 1.158.800. In contrast, MPVs are down 13.4% to 178.600 and microvans freefall 30% to 35.700. Truck sales shoot up 18% to 353.100, meaning the total vehicle market in China adds up to 2.809.300 units for January, up 12% year-on-year. Eco-Friendly car sales are up a fantastic 4.3-fold on January 2017 to 38.470, including 26.753 EVs and 11.717 plug-in hybrids. Chinese brands continue to fare very well but trail the overall passenger car market this month at +9.4% to 1.068.700 units or 43.5% share vs. 44.1% a year ago.

Local carmaker Geely posts a 5th consecutive all-time volume record.

Some manufacturers officially announce Chinese retail sales including imports which differ from the data tables we provide further down in the article (locally-produced wholesales). This paragraph is dedicated to these announcements. The Volkswagen Group is up 16% to 398.600 retail, with the Volkswagen brand up 9.7% to 296.900 retail (almost 56% of VW’s global sales) and Audi up 73% to 60.688. That’s less than Mercedes up 16% to an all-time retail record of 68.425. BMW+Mini is up 6.5% to 54.675. General Motors gains 15% year-on-year to 367.712 units, with Chevrolet up 40% to 54.350, Baojun up 36% to 92.356, Cadillac up 12% to 20.222 (its 23rd consecutive month of double-digit year-on-year gains), Buick up 5.7% to 113.007 as Wuling totals 87.777 including microvans. Ford Motor plunges 18% to 75.990 sales whereas at 60.688 units, Audi surges 73% on a January 2017 figure hampered by a stop order by dealers due to plans to open a second distribution network. Great Wall Motor reports 110.040 sales up 20.6% year-on-year including 98.748 SUVs (+22.1%).

Toyota has its best month ever in China in January, with the Corolla at its highest too. 

Back to wholesales data of locally produced models, and at this game Volkswagen dominates as usual with factory deliveries up 6% year-on-year to 346.739, and according to BSCB records this is VW’s largest ever monthly wholesale volume in China, boosted by new volume records for the Bora (32.585) and Magotan (29.297) while the Tiguan drops 15%. Tellingly, 6 of the 8 best-selling sedans in China in January are VW nameplates. Geely manages the incredible feat of a 5th consecutive all-time record volume, lifting it to 148.916, up a smashing 46% year-on-year. Just as the Boyue remains above 30.000 monthly sales for the 4th time in a row, the Emgrand GS (20.987) posts its 7th consecutive monthly record and the Vision (20.055), Emgrand GL (15.163) and Vision S1 (10.303) also hit all-time bests. Honda soars 38% to its third highest monthly volume ever at 138.306 (below the 151.587 of December 2015 and the 140.963 of December 2014) with the Accord up 54%, the CR-V up 20%, the Vezel up 34%, the Crider up 38% and the Avancier up 142%.

The Baojun is now the most successful car launch in history, both in China and in the world.

Toyota surges 31% to break a new volume record at 129.336, almost 20.000 units above the previous best of 110.802 set in December 2014. Up 78% to 46.735 deliveries, the Corolla sets a new monthly volume record for a Japanese nameplate in China (beating the Nissan Sylphy’s 45.232 from November 2016) while the RAV4 is at its highest since December 2013. Changan is down 8% to 114.373 but sees the CS55 beat its volume record at 23.209, while Buick is down 4% to 112.344. Baojun is up 23% year-on-year but down 32% on December to 94.966 as the 510 crossover posts a 5th all-time record in a row, adding 4.000 units to its December score to 58.006 but bizarrely 560 model sales are not reported by the brand. Note only four nameplates have managed to cross the 60.000 monthly unit-mark in all of China’s history: the Wuling Hongguang (record of 82.543 in December 2016), the Haval H6 (80.495 in December 2016), Wuling Sunshine (73.302 in January 2011) and VW Lavida (61.568 in January 2014). With 416.883 sales in 12 months, the Baojun 510 has now become the best-selling new car ever introduced in the world, beating the previous record held for the past 40 years by the Ford Fairmont with 405.780 units sold in its first 12 months in the US in 1978.

The Haval H6 is the #1 vehicle in China outright for the 5th time, all in the past 22 months.

In 8th place in the brands ranking, Nissan gains 16% to 94.595 units with the Qashqai hitting a new high at 16.519. Haval drops 4% to 78.459 but places the H6 in the overall models pole position thanks to sales up 29% to 59.133. It is the 5th time the H6 is the best-selling nameplate in China outright after April 2016, November 2016, July 2017 and October 2017. Rounding up the Top 10 whereas it ranked at a paltry #25 in December, Audi shoots up 35% to 69.194 wholesales – a new record, with the Q5 beating its volume record at 16.688. Both Mercedes (+34%) and BMW (+37%) also post their all-time wholesale monthly volume records with no less than three Mercedes nameplates reaching an all-time high wholesale volume: the C Class L (18.408), E Class L (15.041) and GLC (13.152) while two BMWs break records: the 3 Series L (14.370) and X1 (9.984).

Audi, Mercedes and BMW are all at record levels this month, with sedans doing the heavy lifting.

Other foreign carmakers posting sizeable wholesale gains in January include Jaguar (+190%), Mitsubishi (+96%) with the Outlander hitting a new high at 11.565 units, Land Rover (+94%), Citroen (+68%) even though the new C5 Aircross is down a steep 59% on December, Cadillac (+60%) with the XT5 the first Cadillac nameplate to crack 10.000 monthly sales in China (10.385, up 90%), Volvo (+53%), Chevrolet (+39%), Mazda (+27%) with the 3 Axela breaking a record at 15.952 sales (+63%) and Renault (+7%) setting a new benchmark at 9.000 units. Foreign manufacturers in difficulty this month include DS (-71%), Suzuki (-44%), Ford (-30%) hampered by the Kuga (-72%) and Edge (-62%), and Hyundai (-24%) even though the ix35 is boosted by the new generation to its 2nd largest monthly volume at 16.540 (record: 17.431 in Dec-14) and just as sister brand Kia rallies back up 1%.

Renault breaks its monthly volume record in China to 9.000.

Among Chinese manufacturers, some of the best performers in January are Yema (+350%), Qoros (+248%), MG (+166%) with the ZS posting its first ever five-digit result (10.913) and the 6 up 11-fold on the previous generation, Bisu (+98%), Brilliance (+81%) bolstered by the new V6 crossover, Maxus (+78%), Venucia (+69%), Soueast (+58%) helped by the DX3 hitting an all-time high (13.589), Roewe (+57%) with the RX3 at a new high (9.963), Weichai (+49%), BYD (+47%), GAC Trumpchi (+32%) as the GS3 breaks a new record (7.482), Zotye (+32%), Hanteng (+28%) and Leopaard (+22%) with a new all-time high for the CS9 (7.241). Those in difficulty this month include Hawtai (-82%), Jinbei (-75%), Cowin (-66%), Landwind (-65%), SWM (-59%), JMC (-58%), Changhe (-57%), Great Wall (-54%), Karry (-36%) and JAC (-32%).

The new 6 (+985%) helps lift MG sales up 166% in January.

Great Wall’s semi premium SUV brand WEY remains by far the most popular new brand launch of the past 12 months in China, eclipsing 20.000 monthly sales for the third time in a row. It is followed at a distance by Geely’s own premium marque, Lynk & Co, up a slim 2.7% on its inaugural score last month. We welcome new local brands Traum (1.518), Yudo (356) and Xpeng (39) in the local charts in January – all the new launches are covered in a separate update as always. As for December launches, the Chery Tiggo 5X is still in the lead but drops a heavy 30% to 7.527, the Changan Raeton CC is up 18% to 6.421, the Lynk & Co 01 up 2.7% to 6.173, the Jaguar XEL down 20% to 1.062, the GAC Trumpchi GM8 up 82% to 1.001 and the Arcfox Lite down 87% to just 60 sales, but far from showing a poor reception, this drop has more to do with the fact that BAIC had filled December wholesales up to benefit from the maximum amount of subsidies for 2017.

Previous post: China Full Year 2017: Geely becomes #1 Chinese brand, market up 3.2%

Previous month: China December 2017: Geely, Baojun and Zotye end year at record levels

One year ago: China January 2017: Audi tumbles down 35% in market down 1.1%

Full January 2018 Top 77 All China-made brands and Top 425 models below.

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China Full Year 2017: Geely becomes #1 Chinese brand, market up 3.2%

Geely makes a splash in 2017 and overtakes Wuling and Changan to become #1 Chinese. 

* See the Top 95 All China-made brands and Top 595 models by clicking on the title *

Consult 35 years worth of Chinese Historical Data here

NOW UPDATED with additional data featuring Foday, GAC Gonow, Hongqi, Sinogold, Traum, Yudo and Zinoro and the addition of 19 nameplates.

New vehicle sales in China put on the brakes this year: after a 14% surge in 2016, the year-on-year growth slows down to 3.2% in 2017 to an all-time record 28.878.900 registrations. This upholds China as the largest car market in the world by far: the second largest is the U.S., almost 11.5 million units below. The reason behind this slowdown is the end of a 50% purchase tax cut that applied to small engine vehicles (1.6L or less), reduced from 10% to 5% from October 1, 2015 until December 31, 2016. It was raised to 7.5% on January 1, 2017 and back to 10% on January 1, 2018, meaning prospects for growth in 2018 are limited. Even though the growth rate is markedly below that of previous years, China races to its 27th consecutive annual sales record, with the last time deliveries declined year-on-year being in 1990.

The Baojun 510 has become the most successful launch in history in China.

Light vehicle sales edge up 1.4% to 24.718.300, this time solely pulled up into positive territory by the SUV segment. Sedans and hatches are down 2.5% to 11.848.000 units, MPVs are down 17% to 2.070.700 units and microvans down 20% to 547.000 but SUVs surge up another 13.3% to a record 10.252.700 deliveries. After breaking their monthly sales record four consecutive times at the end of 2016, SUV sales did so twice in 2017: in November (1.108.182) and December (1.173.000). Commercial vehicles (trucks and buses) also confirm their return to form, posting a second consecutive year in positive at a stunning +13.9% to 4.160.600 units. The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers predicts 2018 light vehicle sales up 3% to 25.6m with SUV sales up 11% to 11.5m, sedans down 1% to 11.8m, MPVs down 11% to 1.8m and microvans down 7% to 510k. This should bring the Chinese new vehicle market just across the 30 million mark for 2018, including 4.45m commercial vehicles.

The Wuling Hongguang remains the best-selling vehicle in China but drops 18%. 

Meanwhile, the most dynamic platforms remain the eco-friendly ones, with electric and plug in hybrid passenger cars even accelerating their growth compared to 2016: electric vehicles are up 59% to 652.000 units divided into 468.000 passenger cars (+82% vs. +75% in 2016) and 184.000 commercial vehicles (+21%). Plug-in hybrids are up 28% to 125.000 units including 111.000 passenger cars (+41% vs. +17% in 2016) and 14.000 commercial vehicles (-26%). All-in-all, a total of 770.000 “green” cars were registered in 2017 (+53%) placing China frankly on top of the world,  with the million unit mark likely to be surpassed in 2018. Beijing Auto has taken a stance in the segment this year, with BYD taking a step backwards as we will see further down this Report. Keep in mind that in China, only domestically built all-electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids and fuel cell vehicles qualify for government subsidies, whereas conventional hybrids do not, neither do imports.

The VW Lavida is down 6% but up to 2nd place in 2017. 

For the first time on BSCB we can share with you details of the Chinese market by geographic region, according to data submitted by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. It shows that the Eastern seaboard, by far the largest region in the country in terms of sales and accounting for 35% of the total market at 10.2m units, is in steep decline at -10.2%, Southwest China is also down at -4.9% to 3.02m units and North China is down 3.5% to 4.1m. Areas showing growth are the Northeast at +3.4% to 2.54m units, Northwest at +6.9% to 1.9m and, most strikingly, Central South China up a whopping 12.9% to 7.1m. Explore 30 cities and regions all around China with our detailed Photo Reports here.

Haval H6 sales are down 13% despite the arrival of a new generation.

(The following data is retail sales data including imports as reported by manufacturers) The Volkswagen Group remains the most popular manufacturer in the country for 2017, outpacing the market with a 5.1% uplift to 4.18 million units, including 3.18 million (+5.9%) for the VW brand, 598.000 (+1.1%) for Audi, 325.000 (+2.5%) for Skoda, 71.500 (+10%) for Porsche and 265 for Lamborghini. General Motors for its part is up 4.4% to 4.040.789 units with SUV sales soaring 37%, Buick is stable at 1.18m units, Wuling tumbles down 16% to 1.14m units including microvans, Baojun is up 45% to 996.629, Chevrolet up 4.2% to 547.651 and Cadillac surges 51% to 175.489. Japanese carmakers had a fantastic year in China: Honda Motor is up 16% to 1.46m units, Toyota Motor is up 6.2% to 1.29m and Nissan Motor up 12% to 1.27m. Reversely, Ford Motor sees its sales drop 6.3% to 1.192.625.

The Buick Excelle is up 14% year-on-year but stays in 4th place. 

Audi managed to save its #1 spot in the luxury race by the skin of its teeth, handicapped for a large part of the year by a boycott from dealers who protested its plans to open a second distribution channel. The BMW Group was #1 up until end-November but Audi clawed back on top during the last days of the year with annual sales are up 1.1% to 597.866 vs. 594.388 for BMW and Mini (+15%). Daimler AG posted the biggest year-on-year gain by far at +26% to 587.868. Other notable improvements in the luxury aisle include Volvo up 26% to 114.410 sales and Lincoln up 66% to 54.124. A handful of other Japanese carmakers have also communicated retail sales: Mazda is up 8.3% to 309.407 while Mitsubishi is up 56% to 129.160, with both manufacturers’ China sales finally overtaking U.S. ones. Finally, Subaru, the only large carmaker with Lexus to not have a local production facility, is starting to seriously suffer from it at -35% to just 30.029 sales vs. 647.956 in the U.S.

The Nissan Sylphy steps up one spot on 2016 to 5th place this year. 

We are now back to wholesales data – keep in mind these exclude imports and light commercials which will both be covered in separate Reports. The 2017 brand ranking shows lots of movement at the top: below VW up 4% to 3.14m, Honda shoots up an impressive 18% to snap the #2 spot at 1.42m units but the stunner of the year is undoubtedly Geely. The private company surges 61% year-on-year and leaps from #10 brand in 2016 to #3 overall this year with 1.23m units. This makes Geely the most popular Chinese brand at home for the very first time, ending at least 8 years of domination by Wuling (1.14m), also overtaking Changan (1.06m) and Haval in one go! Geely even edges past Buick (1.22m, -1%) at the last minute to snap the third overall spot. The company is targeting 1.58 million sales in 2018 (+27%). Below Buick, Toyota (1.14m) and Nissan (1.12m) follow with 7% and 12% gains respectively, ahead of Changan (-8%).

The VW Tiguan shoots up 40% to 7th place overall thanks to the new model. 

The other winner of 2017 is Baojun, lifted to unheard-of levels thanks to the smashing success of its 510 crossover and 310 wagon. Launched in February, the Baojun 510 became the fastest nameplate in history to reach 300.000 sales: only 10 months vs. 11 for the Baojun 560 and 12 for the Baojun 730, the previous record holders. The 510 is also the fastest to 350.000 in 11 months vs. 14 for the Baojun 560. The 510 ends 2017 in 6th place overall and #2 SUV but should threaten the supremacy of the Haval H6 in 2018. For its part the 310 saw its sales take a completely new dimension with the arrival of the 310w wagon variant, hitting a record of 35.048 in December which is only a thousand units below the 36.046 reached by the BYD F3 in March 2010, still to this date the all-time record for a Chinese sedan/hatch. The 310 was China’s 4th best-selling sedan/hatch overall in December. As a result, Baojun wholesales majestically cross the million mark this year at 1.02m compared to just 761.000 in 2016, a 34% improvement.

GAC Trumpchi adds the GS8 to the smashing success of the GS4.

Haval disappoints in 9th place with deliveries down 9% to 850.000. Its parent company Great Wall Motors saw its deliveries slip 0.4% to 1.070.161 sales in 2017 despite the addition of the premium WEY brand (see further down) and strong Great Wall-branded pickup sales up 13% 119.846. There were many other double-digit gains however among Chinese carmakers further down the ranking: GAC Trumpchi doubles up on the tremendous success of the GS4 with a blockbuster GS8 and gains 37% to #17, Roewe surfs on the popularity of its RX5 crossover (#20 overall) and gains 59%, Soueast is up 50% thanks to the DX3 crossover crossing the 100.000 annual sales mark for its first full year in market, Venucia is up 25%, MG up 68%, Hawtai up 77% and Leopaard up 36%. Outside the Top 40, notice Hanteng (+285%) above 60.000 for its first full year, SWM (+150%) just under 65.000 over the same period, Denza (+117%), Zhi Dou (+109%), Foton (+73%), Maxus (+71%), Kandi (+68%), Borgward (+48%), JMC (+44%) and Karry (+25%).

WEY is by far the most successful brand launch of 2017. 

Among the new brands coming into the Chinese market in 2017, the most noteworthy is of course WEY. Launched in June, Great Wall Motors’ premium SUV marque sold a stunning 86.427 units in just seven months with both the VV5 and VV7 each posting two consecutive 10.000-sales months at the end of the year. Lynk & Co also made its appearance in December with a first month above 6.000 units, with Yudo, Yu Lu, Arcfox and Dearcc the only other new domestic brands above 100 units. Bisu, launched in late 2016, closely misses the 50.000 unit-mark. Struggling Chinese carmakers include Jiangnan (-71%), Landwind (-47%), JAC (-40%), Brilliance (-38%), Haima (-38%), Qoros (-36%), Weichai (-35%), Jinbei (-31%), Beijing Auto (-20%), BYD (-18%) and Chery (-12%).

The C5 Aircross arrived too late to reverse the PSA Group’s dismal performance in 2017. 

Continuing on the bad news but in the foreign aisle, Hyundai (-30%) goes from #5 to #11, suffering from a North Korea-related political row between South Korea and China, as does sister brand Kia down 44% to #23. The PSA Group had a nightmare year: Peugeot is down 29%, Citroen down 47% and DS down an abysmal 64% as the company rebuilds its dealer network. Fiat, now discontinued, is down 82%, Luxgen down 56% and Suzuki down 24%. Reversely, Jeep soars 57% and now has a three locally-produced model lineup (Compass, Cherokee, Renegade), Renault is up 141% to over 72.000 units with just the Koleos and Kadjar, Jaguar is up 296% to 22.340 and Acura lands at 13.191 deliveries for its first annual appearance as a local producer.

The Baojun 310 became the best-selling Chinese sedan over the last two months of the year. 

Over in the models ranking, the Wuling Hongguang celebrates five consecutive years as the national best-seller (no interruption since 2013), and this despite a steep 18% drop to 532.000 units. Astonishingly, this marks the 12th consecutive year a Wuling nameplate is the all-vehicle best-seller in China (2006-2012 were dominated by Wuling microvans). The Hongguang was shortly overtaken in the YTD charts during the course of the year by the VW Lavida, down 6% but up one spot to #2 and 517.000 sales including the Gran Lavida. One of the heroes of 2016, the Haval H6 goes backwards in 2017 despite the launch of a new generation with deliveries down 13% after a 56% gain in 2016 to a still extremely impressive 506.000 units. The Haval H6 remains the best-selling SUV in China, a title it has now held continuously since 2013 but that could be in jeopardy in 2018 if the Baojun 510 (#6 this year) avoids cannibalisation by the larger 530, which is uncertain given how the 510 absolutely butchered the 560 (-53%) in 2017. The Buick Excelle (+14%) and Nissan Sylphy (+10%) follow as reliable sedan blockbusters with the Toyota Corolla (+10%) a notch below, in a category that saw the VW Sagitar (-4%), Jetta (-9%), Santana (-10%) and Ford Escort (-4%) all lose ground year-on-year. The Chevrolet Cavalier posts a very strong first full year in the Chinese market (189.000).

Below the Baojun 510, the Changan CS55 is the 2nd most popular 2017 launch…

The VW Tiguan lifts up 40% thanks to the new generation to place #7 with a record-breaking 340.000 units, #3 SUV and one of only three foreign fares in the segment’s Top 10 along with the Buick Envision at #7 and the Nissan X-Trail at #10. The GAC Trumpchi GS4 (+3%), manages to beat an already stellar 2016 score while the Geely Boyue storms into the 5th SUV spot thanks to 286.000 sales for its first full year in market. The Changan CS75 (+15%) accelerates its growth slightly while the Roewe RX5 (+160%) lands at over 230.000 units for its first full year, never-heard-before heights for the brand. The Haval H2 (+9%) stays in positive thanks to the arrival of the H2s variant, the Dongfeng Fengguang 580 (+103%) becomes the brand’s best-seller while the Geely Emgrand GS (+149%) and Vision SUV (+157%) both post stunning first full years.

…followed by the VW Teramont. 

In the Chinese sedan category, the Baojun 310 outpaced the long-term best-seller the Geely Emgrand EC7 towards the end of the year but remains below annually at #21 overall vs. #16, while the Geely Vision (+5%) remains above the Chery Arrizo 5 (+6%) but the Geely Emgrand GL storms in just below with sales up 313% for the nameplate’s first full year in market. In the MPV aisle, the facelifted Baojun 730 remains a distant second below the Hongguang as its 26% sales drop pull it from #5 overall in 2016 to #15 this year, with the Buick GL8 an even more distant third but up 83% thanks to the new generation. The BYD Song MAX is an instant blockbuster and ranked third in the segment in December. The Audi A6L (+6%) retains the luxury model crown above the Mercedes C-Class L (+23%), BMW 3 Series L (+27%), Audi Q5 (-6%) and BMW 5 Series L (-16%). The Audi A4L (+19%), Mercedes E-Class L (+97%) and GLC (+28%) also cross the 100.000 annual sales mark. The green car ranking is completely reshuffled this year: the BAIC-EC-Series takes the lead with 78.000 sales ahead of the Zhi Dou D2 at 42.000, the JAC iEV at 28.000, the Chery eQ at 26.000 and the BYD Qin, #1 in 2016, at 25.000 (-21%). The BYD e5 (+50%) makes up for it at #6.

The BAIC EC-Series has become the best-selling green car in China in 2017. 

Finally, to cap our monthly “Focus on the All-new models” series and in anticipation of the December update, let’s have a look at the most popular 2017 launches. There’s no contest on top: the Baojun 510 is the most successful nameplate launch in the history of automobile in China and spat out almost 360.000 units in just 11 months. Below, far below is the Changan CS55 with just under 80.000 units, followed by the VW Teramont at 75.000 sales, the FAW Besturn X40 and MG ZS both at 70.000 deliveries, the Roewe i6 at 64.000, the Zotye T700 at 59.000, the Chevrolet Equinox and WEY VV7 both at 53.000, the Skoda Kodiaq, Nissan Kicks and Honda UR-V all around 44.000, the Chana Oushang A800 at 41.000, the Toyota Yaris L Sedan at 40.000 and the Haval M6, Leopaard CS9 and Toyota Vios FS around 35.000. In summary: 13 SUVs, one MPV and three sedans with 10 Chinese nameplates and 7 foreigners, very aptly illustrating the engines of growth and dynamism that were at play in China in 2017.

Previous post: China December 2017: Geely, Baojun and Zotye end year at record levels

Previous year: China Full Year 2016: Tax cut boosts market up 14% to record 28 million sales

Two years ago: China Full Year 2015: Market up 4.7% to record 24.61 million despite sluggish summer

Full Year 2017 Top 95 All China-made brands and Top 595 models vs. Full Year 2016 figures below.

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China December 2017: Geely, Baojun and Zotye end year at record levels

Zotye surges 83% to a record 61.290 sales thanks to the T700 and T300. 

* See the Top 80 All China-made brands and Top 455 models by clicking on the title *

It’s another setback for passenger car sales in China, posting their fourth year-on-year decline of the year after last JanuaryApril and May at -0.7% to 2.653.300 deliveries. The comparison set is harsh as December 2016 was the largest ever month of passenger car sales in China and the world (2.67m units). Commercial vehicles are up 5.7% to 407.700 units which leads to an overall market up 0.1% to 3.060.300 sales. Sedans and hatchbacks are down 4.3% to 1.2m units, MPVs are down 16% to 208.30 and microvans down 18.7% to 51.800 with once again SUVs the sole segment in positive at +8.4% year-on-year to break its monthly record at 1.173.000 deliveries, eclipsing the 1.108.182 units of last month. China-branded passenger cars go against the grain with a 3.4% year-on-year gain to 1.293.600 sales and 48.7% share vs. 45.8% a year ago.

The Boyue helps Geely break its all-time monthly volume record for the 4th month in a row.

In the brands ranking (wholesale figures), below Volkswagen following the market at -2% to 258.000 units, our two heroes of the year strike again. Firstly, Geely posts an astonishing fourth consecutive all-time monthly volume record: from 108.980 in September to 125.201 in October, 141.312 in November and 147.647 in December, up 36% on a December 2016 score that was a record at the time. This absolutely stunning streak obviously positions Geely as the #2 brand overall, only outsold by Volkswagen and eclipsing all other foreign carmakers. Geely has also become the uncontested #1 Chinese brand both in the passenger car segment and overall, overtaking Wuling. For perspective, its 147.647 sales score is the second largest monthly volume ever recorded by a brand other than Volkswagen in China, below the 151.587 from Honda in December 2015 and above the 146.008 from Hyundai in December 2016. No less than six Geely nameplates break their all-time monthly volume best this month: the Boyue is up 53% to 31.205 and third best-selling SUV, the Emgrand GS is up 84% to 18.850, the Vision SUV up 39% to 14.610, the Vision X3 up to 10.729, the Vision S1 up 427% on its inaugural month to 9.049 and the Vision X1 up to 3.371.

The 310 wagon boosts Baojun to a third consecutive all-time monthly record.

The other superstar of 2017, Baojun, also smashes its all-time volume record in December and for the third consecutive month thanks to deliveries up 39% to 140.268, after previous bests of 128.486 in November and 108.387 in October. This way, both Geely and Baojun are on the China brands podium for the first time in history. The Baojun 510 once again serves up a new monthly record, crossing the 50.000 unit-milestone for the first time at 54.050 (previous best 49.866 last month). Since its launch in February, the 510 as improved month-on-month during every single month of the year bar August. It is now the most successful Baojun nameplate ever as the previous monthly volume record holder for the brand was the 730 at 50.128 in December 2016. The 510 also becomes the fastest nameplate to 350.000 sales (11 months), beating the previous record held by the Baojun 560 by three months. The 310 also stuns and breaks its monthly volume record for the 5th consecutive month at 35.048 in 7th place overall and #4 sedan thanks to the new wagon variant. That’s less 1.000 units below the all-time record for a Chinese sedan held by the BYD F3 since March 2010. With the 730 at #9, Baojun places three nameplates inside the Top 10 for the 2nd month running vs. just one for VW.

The D60 posts its first five-digit sales month and lifts Venucia up 43%. 

Buick (+5%) follows in the brands ranking, posting an all-time record month just under 130.000 units, ahead of Honda (-3%), Nissan (+11%) and Hyundai back up three spots on November to #7 even though it  is down 17% year-on-year. Above Ford (-9%), Changan (+1%) is timid in 8th place with the CS55 posting a new all-time high result (17.612). The biggest loss in the Top 25 is delivered by Haval which had broken its all time record in December 2016 but plunges 35% to just under 89.000 this time, rounding up a Top 10 including four Chinese carmakers. Outstanding performance of Zotye this month, crossing a few milestones with sales up 83% year-on-year to 61.290, its first time above 50.000 monthly units, its highest ever ranking at #15 (previous best: #19) and only its second time ever inside the Top 20 brands in China. Two Zotye nameplates shoot up and break their all-time record this month: the T700 is up 37% on November to 14.411 – only posting month-on-month gains since its launch in May – and the T300 up a whopping 132% on last month to 12.093, only only on the up since its September debut.

The BYD Song MAX is the third best-selling MPV in China for its third full month in market. 

GAC Trumpchi also impresses at +37% and has the GS8 post a new monthly record at 10.498 units, Venucia is up 43% with the D60 cracking the 10.000 monthly sales milestone for its 2nd month in market while WEY lifts up to 21.349 units thanks to its two nameplates each breaking their record: the VV5 at 10.798 and the VV7 at 10.551. Hawtai is up 162% with the Shengdafei establishing a new all-time best at 14.573 sales, Maxus is up 155%, Bisu up 113%, MG up 105% just as the new generation MG6 hits dealerships, Leopaard is up 52%, Karry up 49%, FAW up 43%, Changhe up 34%, Hanteng up 33% and Brilliance up 28%. Struggling Chinese brands include Cowin (-58%), JMC (-56%), Haima (-47%), Qoros (-46%), Jinbei (-37%), Soueast (-31%), Zhi Dou (-31%), Foton (-29%), Yema (-26%), Great Wall (-24%), Dongfeng (-23%) and Wuling (-23%).

First five-digit sales month for the Karry K60. 

Wholesales results place Mercedes (41.518) well above BMW (35.549) and Audi (30.889) in the luxury race, but retail sales data including imports reported by manufactures paint a very different picture: Audi is up 34% to 69.160 ahead of BMW/Mini up 19% to 52.026 and Mercedes/Smart up 12% to 48.140, with the Mercedes GLC posting a new high at 11.640 units. As a result Audi retains the luxury crown in 2017 by the skin of its teeth as we’ll detail in our Full Year 2017 Report. Other great performers among foreign carmakers in China in December include Jaguar (+140%) as the XEL launches this month, Jeep (+45%) with the Compass at an all-time high 10.302 units, Mazda (+33%), Skoda (+25%) and Mitsubishi (+13%). At the other end of the scale the PSA Group grabs all the honours with the three worst results of the month: DS (-80%), Peugeot (-38%) and Citroen (-37%), followed by Kia (-29%) and Toyota (-20%). Finally, no less than three new brands launch in the Chinese market this month and they are all Chinese: Lynk & Co (6.000 sales), Arcfox (500) and Dearcc (100). We’ll explore these newcomers in a lot more detail shortly in our monthly Focus on the All-new models.

The Lynk & Co brand launches with the 01 crossover in China in December. 

Despite steep respective 23% and 32% year-on-year drops, the Wuling Hongguang and Haval H6 manage to remain on top of the Chinese models charts in December, while the Baojun 510 brilliantly rounds up the podium a mere 1.166 units below the H6. The VW Lavida (+9%) is knocked down one spot while the Nissan Sylphy (+1%) remains at #5, so does the Buick Excelle at #6 but with deliveries up 29% on December it hits a new all-time high for the nameplate at 40.939 units. The record-breaking Baojun 310 advances three spots to #7, ahead of the Ford Escort (+9%), Baojun 730 (-35%) and Geely Boyue. Among notable performances in December, let’s single out the BYD Song MAX up 52% on last month to a fantastic 15.606 units for its third full month in market, the Chery Tiggo 5x landing directly above the symbolic 10.000 unit-milestone at 10.693 which we will cover in our Focus on the All-new models, and the Karry K60 posting its very first five-digit sales figure at 10.070.

Previous month: China November 2017: Geely and Baojun push forward with new records

One year ago: China December 2016: Haval up 73%, Geely up 101% in final tax rush

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China November 2017: Geely and Baojun push forward with new records

The Baojun 510 is the fastest nameplate to reach 300.000 sales in China.

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With a very high base in November 2016 as customers rushed to benefit from the last couple of months of advantageous tax regime (5% on vehicles powered by engines 1.6L and under), light vehicle sales drop 0.03% year-on-year in China this month to 2.589.500 units according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. It is the second time this year that light vehicle sales are down after last January (-1.1%). Note the tax, lifted to 7.5% in January 2017, will go up to 10% in January 2018. In the detail, passenger cars are down 4.9% to 1.229.961 sales, SUVs up 8.3% to 1.108.182 units, a new all-time volume record for the segment eclipsing the 1.089.565 of December 2016, MPVs are down 5.5% to 214.574 and microvans down 21% to 41.300. However truck sales are up 5.6% year-on-year in November to 313.600 units and bus sales up 18.3% to 54.600, lifting the total market up 0.6% to 2.957.600.

Geely posts a third consecutive all-time volume record with 6 nameplates – including the Boyue – at record levels 

Year-to-date, sales of light vehicles in China remain at record heights with a 1.9% improvement to 22.041.400 units. This includes 10.648.000 passenger cars (-2.3%), 9.090.000 SUVs (+14.5%), 1.857.400 MPVs (-16.5%) and 495.200 microvans (-20%). Add to this 3.753.500 commercial vehicles (+14.8%) and the total market is up 3.6% year-to-date to a record 25.844.900 units. Chinese-branded light vehicle sales are up 5% to 1.186.200, representing a 45.8% market share up from 44.1% a year ago. Sales of electric and plug-in hybrid cars continue to greatly outperform the rest of the market with a 83% surge in November to 119.000 units, including 102.000 EVs (+75%) and 17.000 plug-in hybrids (+154%). Year-to-date, combined sales are up 51% to 609.000 units. The Chinese government is set to introduce a California-style carbon credit trading program in 2019 to force automakers to expand EV production, and expects EV sales to top 2.5 million by 2020. The market leader, the BAIC EC-Series, breaks a new volume record (15.719) as does the #2, the JAC iEV (5.660).

First five-digit sales month for the VW Teramont.

Some manufacturers officially announce Chinese retail sales including imports which differ from the data tables we provide further down in the article (locally produced wholesales), and the next few paragraphs are dedicated to these announcements – model sales remain locally-produced wholesales. Retail sales of the Volkswagen Group shoot up 15% year-on-ear to an estimated 429.000 with the Volkswagen brand up 16% to 331.100 (stable wholesales at 293.000), Skoda up 23% to 37.000 and Audi up 6.5% to 56.208 vs. 55.293 for BMW (+12%) and 50.813 for Mercedes (+22%). Year-to-date, Volkswagen Group retail sales are up 3.6% to 3.72 million while Audi remains in negative at -2.1% to 528.706. It looks like Audi will lose the #1 premium spot in China to BMW up 15% 542.362 with Mercedes in 2nd place at 539.728 (+27%). Model-wise, if the Lavida is back up from #11 overall in October to #3 this month, it loses the YTD top spot. The Tiguan is the only foreign SUV among the segment’s Top 8 best-sellers while the Teramont breaks its monthly volume record for the third month running, delivering its first 5-digit month at 11.238, as does the Skoda Kodiaq at 6.747.

Both the WEY VV5 and VV7 cross the 10.000 sales mark for the first time this month.

General Motors also frankly outpaces the market with a 13% lift to 418.225 units, adding up to 3.55 million year-to-date (+3.3%), with Baojun retail sales distancing Buick for the first time at 113.711 (+52%) vs. 112.738 (+3%). Wholesales put Baojun at an all-time high 128.486 (+41%), the third consecutive all-time record, while Buick is up 2% to 125.037, its second best-ever result below the 128.049 of December 2015. It is the second time Baojun is above Buick wholesale-wise after last February. Buick is helped by new monthly records by its two MPVs the GL8 (14.332) and GL6 (6.892). Chevrolet retail sales are up 17% to 61.228 with a new record by the Equinox (7.592) and Cadillac is up 23% to 16.629 (new record for the XT5 at 6.100) whereas Wuling is down 6.3% to 113.919 but the Hongguang reclaims the top spot both in November and YTD despite 17% drops each way.

The Baojun 310 is only the second Chinese passenger car to ever cross the 30.000 monthly sales mark.

The big story here is, like last month, Baojun’s unprecedented success. Two nameplates break new volume records this month: the 510 SUV soars to 49.866 units and, as predicted last month, becomes the fastest nameplate to reach 300.000 sales in China (10 months), beating the Baojun 560 (11) and the Baojun 730 before it (12). For now, the title of best-selling new car ever introduced still goes to the Ford Fairmont with 405.780 units sold in its first 12 months in the US in 1978. But it doesn’t end here for Baojun: boosted by the new station wagon variant, the 310 surges 107% year-on-year to land at #10 with a record 31.022 sales, becoming the first Chinese passenger car to rank in the overall Top 10 since November 2013 (Geely Emgrand EC7) and only the second Chinese passenger car to top 30.000 monthly sales, the only other one being the BYD F3, last in March 2010 with 36.046 sales which remains to this day the Chinese passenger car monthly volume record. With the 730 back up to #7 in spite of a 28% year-on-year drop, Baojun displays three nameplates in this month’s Top 10, a first, vs. just two for Volkswagen.

Geely Vision X3 sales are up 44% on October to pass 10.000 for the first time.

The other Chinese brand to break records this year is Geely, and November extends the trend: the private company sees its deliveries soar 38% year-on-year to a best-ever 141.312 units, the brand’s third consecutive all-time monthly volume record and lifting its YTD cume to 1.086.869 compared to its 2017 annual sales objective of 1.1 million. Geely remains in 2nd place in the overall brands ranking below just Volkswagen, and this for the second month running (and ever). No less than six Geely nameplates post a new all-time volume record in November: the Boyue (30.884), Emgrand GS (17.487), Emgrand GL (14.211), Vision SUV (13.647), Vision X3 (10.102, first five-digit month) and Vision X1 (3.320).

The C5 Aircross has managed to stabilise Citroen sales in China.

Nissan Motor is up 22% to 165.656 with a new record for the Kicks (10.959), Honda Motor is up 11% to 140.972 with new records for the Avancier (10.007, first five-digit result) and UR-V (6.586) while Toyota Motor is dow 1.3% to 109.600 mainly due to the Camry generation changeover (-98% to #396). Ford Motor continues to struggle at -8% to 117.593 units despite a 70% surge at Lincoln (6.006), leading to a 6% decline YTD at 1.06m, Hyundai seems to slow down its fall at -25% to 95.012 but Kia suffers again at -38% to 49.132 in spite of a new record by the KX Cross (7.947). Among other foreign manufacturers, Mazda is up 7% to 32.655, Peugeot is down 20% to 29.836 despite a new record by the 4008 (7.273), but Citroen has stabilised (-1%) thanks to the new C5 Aircross at an all-time best (6.759) while Mitsubishi drops 44% despite a new record by the Outlander (9.284). Jaguar (+38%), Volvo (+21%), Land Rover (+15%) and Renault (+9%) also progress but DS (-67%) continues to implode.

The BYD Song MAX leaps up 154% on last month to become the #4 MPV in China. 

There are a lot of very good results among Chinese carmakers also. Not part of them is Changan (-3%) which continues to slip away in spite of a record performance by the CS55 (15.457). The brand now consistently ranks third local below Geely and Baojun. Standing out once again is Great Wall’s new semi-premium fare WEY, with both the VV5 (10.277) and VV7 (10.183) simultaneously crossing the 10.000 monthly unit-milestone for the first time and lifting the brand to a record 20.460 units for the month and a stunning 65.078 since launch. Overall Great Wall Motors sales are up just 1.5% to 131.062 however due to a 17% drop at Haval (97.209) despite the first five-digit score of the M6 (10.059) and despite a 26% surge to 11.777 Great Wall pickup sales. YTD Great Wall Motors sales are up 2.2% to 944.576.

FAW has both the Besturn X40 and Jilin Xenia R7 crossing the 10.000 sales mark in November.

Beijing Auto hangs on and returns to positive thanks to its EV range as well as the Huansu S5 at a best-ever 5.057, as do GAC Trumpchi (+13%) with new records for the GS8 (10.082) and GS3 (5.138), Roewe (+14%) with a new record for the RX3 (4.740), Zotye (+16%) with new records for the T700 (10.510) and T300 (5.203), FAW (+7%) with new records for the Besturn X40 (10.671) and Jilin Xenia R7 (10.207) both posting their very first five-digit month and Leopaard (+16%) thanks to a new record by the CS9 (5.461). Qoros (+27%) thanks to a new record by the 5 SUV at 3.231), Karry (+42%), Hanteng (+46%), Zhi Dou (+62%), MG (+90%), Maxus (+104%), Hawtai (+236% thanks to a new record by the Shengdafei at 12.877) and Kandi (+294%) also post spectacular gains, but not as much as Soueast, up 179-fold (!) thanks to the success of the DX3, breaking a new volume record at 12.830 units. Finally, note that a fantastic score by the Song MAX (10.265, first five-digit score) doesn’t prevent BYD from falling 16%. Other struggling Chinese carmakers include Chery (-27%), JAC (-32%), Jinbei (-37%), Changhe (-40%), Haima (-41%), Cowin (-47%), JMC (-51%) and Landwind (-79%).

Previous month: China October 2017: Geely and Baojun post all-time record volumes

One year ago: China November 2016: One million SUVs lift market up 17%

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China October 2017: Geely and Baojun post all-time record volumes

The Boyue is the first Geely nameplate to sell over 30.000 units in a single month.

* See the Top 77 All China-made brands and Top 443 models by clicking on the title *

The Chinese new vehicle market edges up 2% year-on-year in October to 2.704.000 but passenger cars are up just 0.4% to 2.352.000, the market being pulled up by commercial vehicles up 14.8% to 351.000 (buses up 10.2% and trucks up 15.6%). This is the fifth consecutive month of growth in China but its weak progression means the market probably won’t reach the 5% annual growth target the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers set at the start of the year. As a reminder, China sales grew 14% in 2016, boosted by a tax cut on vehicles with engines of or under 1.6L. These cars account for 1.637.000 units in October or 69.6% of the passenger cars market vs. 72.1% a year ago and 13.336.000 year-to-date or 68.4% vs. 71.3% over the same period in 2016. The SUV segment continues to be the sole responsible for the overall passenger car growth with year-on-year gains back into the double-digits in October at +11.4% to 1.023.672, the segment’s first millionaire month of 2017. Never before had SUV sales been that close to cars, down 5.2% to 1.109.750. MPVs for their part tumble down 16.3% to 181.029.

The Haval H6 is the most popular vehicle in China in October despite sales down 14%. 

Year-to-date, the overall market is up 4.1% to a record 22.927.000 units. Passenger cars are up 2.1% to 19.502.000 units with SUVs up 15.5% to 8.028.068, cars down 1.8% to 9.451.054 and MPVs down a harsh 15.6% to 1.601.474. Commercial vehicles are up a whopping 17.2% to 3.425.000 with buses down 6.7% but trucks up 21.3%. Chinese brands mark a pause at home this month: at 1.039.000 sales, they account for 44.2% of passenger cars, down from 45.2% in October 2016. The Chinese SUV share is up 0.2 point to 62.3%, Chinese car share is down 1.9 point to 18.8% and the Chinese MPV share down 7.7 points to 83.8%. Year-to-date, Chinese brands represent 43% of total passenger cars at 8.393.000 sales, up from 42.5% a year ago, with Chinese SUVs reaching 59.7% vs. 57% a year ago thanks to sales up 21.3% to 4.768.000. Finally Chinese MPV sales are down 22.8% to 1.371.000 or 83.6% of the market vs. 89.7% over the same period in 2016.

First five-digit sales month for the BAIC EC-Series, the best-selling EV in China.

Sales of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids continue to gallop ahead at +106.7% year-on-year in October to 91.000, adding up to 490.000 so far this year, up 45.4% on the same period in 2016. CAAM expects this market to top 700.000 units by the end of 2017. EV sales are up 95.8% to 77.000 while PHEVs are up 194% to 14.000 while year-to-date, EVs are up 55.9% to 402.000 and PHEVs up 11.2% to 88.000. The best-seller in the category, the BAIC EC-Series, crosses an important milestone this month, selling more than 10.000 units in a single month for the very first time at 11.315. It is followed by the Zhi Dou D2 (+349%), BYD Qin (+15%), JAC iEV (+244%), BYD e5 (+23%), Zotye E200 (+42%) and Hawtai EV160.

The VW Santana decades-old nameplate breaks its monthly volume record this month.

Some manufacturers officially announce Chinese retail sales including imports which differ from the data tables we provide further down in the article (locally produced wholesales), and the next few paragraphs are dedicated to these announcements – model sales remain locally-produced wholesales. The Volkswagen Group reports sales up 9.4% in October to 398.100, lifting its year-to-date tally up 2.3% to 3.29m units. The VW brand wholesales ex-imports is up 6% to 309.071. Two of the group’s three best-sellers beat their monthly volume record this month: the VW Santana gains 18% to 38.503 (previous best: 34.462 in January 2016), the VW Tiguan soars 76% to 37.971 – its 2nd consecutive record month and the highest score ever reached by a foreign SUV in China – while the VW Jetta posts its 2nd best-ever month at 38.157 (+29%) below the 43.265 reached last January. The VW Teramont also breaks its record for the 2nd month running at 9.040 sales, but the Lavida (-38%), Bora (-7%), Magotan (-10%), Polo (-3%), Golf (-7%) and Passat (-40%) all skid down. Skoda is up 3.2% to 33.000 with the Kodiaq SUV already its 2nd best-seller below the Octavia.

The Baojun 510 is bound to become the fastest nameplate to 300.000 sales in China.

General Motors advances faster than its archenemy but remains below at +11% to 382.723 units. One of the heroes of the month is low-cost fare Baojun up 56% to 104.755 retail or up 25% to 108.387 wholesale, in any case a new volume record for the brand and only its 2nd time above 100.000 after December 2016 (101.246) and 2nd time inside the Top 5 brands in the country after February 2016. Both the 510 (45.047 and #2 overall) and 310 (25.983) smash their volume bests in October. To put things into perspective, the Baojun 510 has now hit a higher monthly record than the 560 (42.077), and it’s only the third time a Baojun nameplate has sold more than 45.000 monthly units: the 730 MPV hit 47.690 in December 2015 and 50.128 in December 2016. 9 months after launch, the 510 totals just under 255.000 units, slightly less than the 560 at the same stage (258.056) but more than the 730 (230.618). With the 730 at just 26.000 and the 560 at 25.000 for their 10th month, the 510 is bound to deliver the largest first 10 month-volume in the history of automobile in China (and the world), and could be the first ever nameplate to reach 300.000 sales in that period. Note these three nameplates are the most successful launches ever in China.

Second consecutive all-time volume record for the Cavalier, helping Chevrolet up 17%.

Outside of Baojun, other GM news include Cadillac up 36% to 17.018 with the XT5 beating its monthly record at 7.416 (+54%), Chevrolet sales are up 17% to 61.065 with the Cavalier recording a 2nd consecutive all-time volume record at 24.248 (+75%) and the Malibu up 48% to post its highest result since December 2014 at 14.521. Buick is up 2.1% to 107.297 retail but down 1% to 113.473 wholesale. However Wuling is down 15% to 92.588 retail including commercial vehicles, with the Hongguang down another 30% but close to reclaiming the YTD lead due to the VW Lavida’s paltry performance this month. Year-to-date, GM is up 2.2% to 3.13m units. Nissan Motor gains 11% to 1.17m year-to-date, overstepping Honda Motor up 17% to 1.16m, while Toyota Motor edges up 8.5% to 1.07m. The Honda Civic is up a whopping 75% year-on-year to post a new all-time record of 17.613 sales while two newcomers also beat their record: the Honda Avancier (9.679) and the Nissan Kicks registering its first ever five-digit sales month at 10.392. Notice also the Honda CR-V up 85% boosted by the new generation.

The Nissan Kicks is above 10.000 sales for its fourth month in market. 

Meanwhile Ford Motor continues to struggle at -5% to 105.809 units in October, despite Lincoln sales up 48% to 5.514. For Korean Hyundai and Kia, the end of the tunnel isn’t here yet. If Hyundai manages to contain its drop to 11% vs. -34% so far in 2017, Kia plunges another 40%, almost as much as its YTD rate of -49%, and this despite the success of the newly launched KX Cross, up 43% on its inaugural month in September. Similarly, PSA remains in deep trouble with Peugeot (-19%), Citroen (-25%) and DS (-38%) all recording harsh declines, and this despite the new 4008 (record at 5.453), 5008 and C5 Aircross (5.244). In the premium race, Audi has well and truly reclaimed market domination after some turbulences earlier in the year. The brand is up 15% in October to 53.828, distancing BMW Group up 14% to 50.412 and Mercedes up 11% to 46.016. Audi is helped by the A4L up 82% to 11.338 and the Q3 up 61% to 8.834. Year-to-date, Mercedes is still in the lead for now at +28% to 488.915, followed very closely by BMW up 15% to 487.069 while Audi stays in third place at -3% to 472.498. The race to the 2017 premium finish will be a very close one indeed.

The Emgrand GS is one of six Geely nameplates to break their all-time volume record in October.

Among Chinese carmakers, Geely confirms it is the success story of the year, with deliveries up another 30% year-on-year to an all-time record of 125.201 units, beating its previous best established just last month (108.980). Geely comes in at #2 brand overall in China, outsold by Volkswagen only. This is Geely’s highest ever ranking at home (previous best: #3 last February), putting the carmaker on target to hit 1.1m units by year end with cumulated sales up an incredible 70% to 945.557 after ten months. The Geely Boyue gains another 80% year-on-year to break its volume record for the 6th time in the past 8 months and become the very first Geely nameplate to sell over 30.000 units in a single month (30.138): the previous Geely record was held by the Emgrand EC7 with 28.842 in November 2016. But the Boyue isn’t alone: the Emgrand GS (16.063, up 60%), Emgrand GL (13.513, up 92%), Vision SUV (11.214, up 3%), Vision X3 (7.007) and Vision X1 (3.061) all also beat their all-time volume record this month…

The VV5 is up 75% on September, lifting the WEY above 16.000 sales this month.

Great Wall Motor sees is sales progress 3% year-on-year to 108.008 units and shows a changing profile once again. The Haval H6 is the best-selling nameplate in the country in October and for the 2nd time this year after July, this despite sales down 14% year-on-year to 49.015. The success of the M6 (7.051 – new record) fails to compensate the significant losses of the H2 (-17%), H7 (-56%) and H1 (-81%) with Haval total sales down 13% to 81.653. Great Wall pickup sales however are up 12% to 9.418 but the company’s good fortune this month has to do with the implacable success of its new semi-premium brand: WEY, by far the most successful brand launch in China over the past 12 months. The VV7 continues to progress at 8.153 deliveries and the VV5 gains 75% on its inaugural month to break into the Top 100, meaning WEY is above 16.000 sales in October, a rather impressive start. Overall and thanks solely to WEY, Great Wall Motor SUV sales manage to edge up 4.1% to 97.820. Year-to-date, Great Wall is up 2.4% to 813.514.

The Zotye T700 crosses the 10.000 monthly sales milestone in October.

Other successful Chinese brands include GAC Trumpchi up 22% with the GS8 recording its third ever month above 10.000 sales, Roewe up 16% with the RX5 posting a new all-time record at 28.203, Zotye up 9% with its new best-seller the T700 posting its first five-digit month at 10.006 units, Hawtai up a whopping 208% thanks to the Shengdafei delivering a 2nd consecutive all-time record at 11.336 units, Soueast up 43%, MG up 87%, Venucia up 38% (new record for the T90 at 6.119), Leopaard up 27%, Hanteng up 17%, Zhi Dou up 36% and Maxus up 104%. Dongfeng edges up 2% thanks to the Fengguang 580 posting a record 19.771 sales and FAW is down 1% despite the Besturn X40 signing a record 8.939 units. Reversely, a long list of Chinese carmakers record worrying double-digit losses: Changan (-15%), Weichai (-17%), Borgward (-21%), Foton (-25%), Lifan (-27%), Changhe (-29%), Beijing Auto (-30%), Chery (-30%), BYD (-30%), Landwind (-33%), Jinbei (-37%), JAC (-38%), Haima (-44%), JMC (-44%), Brilliance (-47%), Qoros (-56%) and Cowin (-60%).

Previous month: China September 2017: SUVs post smaller gain, VW Lavida now #1 YTD

One year ago: China October 2016: Geely and Haval impress in market up 20%

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China September 2017: SUVs post smaller gain, VW Lavida now #1 YTD

VW Lavida China 2016. Picture courtesy auto.fengniao.comThe VW Lavida snaps the lead of the YTD models ranking off the Wuling Hongguang.

* See the Top 75 China-made brands and Top 444 models by clicking on the title *

New light vehicle sales in China are up 3.3% year-on-year in September to 2.342.600 units according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, an exceptional market performance keeping in mind September 2016 volumes were up 29% on the year prior on forwarded sales ahead of expiring incentives. Once again, sales are fuelled by an SUV rush, albeit much more contained than the previous months, with year-on-year gains for the segment falling into the single-digits at +9% to 972.396. Passenger cars are up 3.7% to 1.116.346 units but MPVs plunge 25% to 161.184 and microvans are down 8.1% to 44.600. Year-to-date, Chinese light vehicle sales are up 2.4% to a record 17.155.000 units. Adding trucks and buses at 319.300 in September (+19.1%) and 3.023.300 year-to-date (+17.1%) brings the total Chinese vehicle market to 2.613.800 for September (+5%), and a whopping 20.224.500 year-to-date (+4%), the fastest China sales have hit the 20 million mark. Chinese-branded light vehicle sales are down 0.9% to 966.000 units, accounting for 42.1% of the total market. Chinese manufacturers’ grip on regular car sales is loosening up further with only two nameplates in the Top 29 best-sellers vs. 11 in the 16 best-selling SUVs.

A record 9.143 BAIC EC-Series EVs found a new home this month.

The only segment really booming in China this month is electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids, up 79% to 78.000 units, with EV sales up 83% to 64.000 and plug-in hybrids up 62% to 14.000. Year-to-date, the segment is up 40% to 442.000, headed towards an annual figure of upwards of 600.000 units. Only China-made EVs and plug-in hybrids qualify for government subsidies that are scheduled to end by 2020. Illustrating the trend, the new BAIC EC-Series is up to #75 in the models ranking with a record 9.143 sales, up 36% on its previous volume record established just last month. In second place of the segment is the Zhi Dou D2 at 5.084 sales (up 6-fold on a year ago), ahead of the BYD Qin at 3.669 (-21%), JAC iEV at 3.021 (+81%), Chery eQ at 2.652 (+430%) and Changan Benben EV at 2.586. Launched last month, the Baojun E100 is up 132% to 1.562 sales and comes in at #12 in the segment. Changan announced this week it would stop selling combustion-engine cars in 2025, while BAIC Group Chairman Xu Heyi said China’s electric vehicle output could reach 1 million units as early as next year and 3 million by 2020. The Chinese government’s goal is to produce 2 million EVs a year by 2020 and 7 million by 2025, accounting for 20% of total light-vehicle production by then.

The VW SUV lineup sees its sales shoot up 88% year-on-year in China this month.

Some manufacturers officially announce Chinese retail sales including imports which vary from the data tables we provide further down in the article, and the next few paragraphs are dedicated to these announcements – model sales are local wholesales. The Volkswagen Group outpaces the market with a 6.3% year-on-year gain to 406.500 units. The Volkswagen brand is up 7.5% to 310.500 units. VW places five nameplates in the Top 9 most popular cars, with the Lavida shooting up 27% to 59.697 units, its third highest monthly volume below 61.568 in January 2014 and 60.233 in January 2017. This earns the Lavida the YTD top spot, overtaking the Wuling Hongguang which had been the best-selling vehicle in China for the past four years. The Sagitar (+15%) breaks its volume record at 39.358, the Santana is up an equally impressive 18%, the Tiguan is up 49% to also hit a new record at 33.462 sales and the Teramont posts a new personal best as well at 8.771. Audi is up 7.2% to 58.445 with the Q5 hitting a new record at 13.539 (+17%), Skoda is down 4.5% to 30.600 but the Kodiaq breaks its record at 6.160. Porsche sales are up 10% over the first nine months to 54.090. Year-to-date, the VW Group is up 1.4% to 2.89m keeping the lead over GM, while the VW brand is up 3.2% to 2.2m units.

The Chevrolet Cavalier is above 20.000 monthly sales for the first time.

General Motors sees its sales up 6.6% to 366.305 units in September. Buick is up 5.7% to 114.500 as the GL8 MPV hits a new record at 13.899 sales (+115%), while Baojun continues to be one of a handful of tremendous success stories in China, seeing its retail sales surge 51% to 94.718 (wholesales are up 36% to 95.128). Two star nameplates break volume records: the 510 passes the 40.000 monthly unit-barrier for the first time at 41.031, stepping up to third place overall and #2 SUV, while the 310 overcomes the 20.000 monthly unit hurdle at 21.705, remaining the 2nd most popular Chinese car in the country thanks to the addition of a wagon variant. Wuling plunges 24% to 82.082 with the Hongguang down an abysmal 29%, Chevrolet is up 11% to 57.757 with the Cavalier above 20.000 sales for the first time at 20.925 and Cadillac is up 38% to 17.248, with the XT5 breaking its volume record at 6.042 (+15%). Year-to-date, GM sales is China are up 1% to 2.75m units.

The Honda Avancier posts an all-time high volume, helping Honda up 16%. 

Japanese carmakers continue to go from strength to strength: Honda Motor is up 16% to 143.000, Nissan Motor up 15% to 142.300 and Toyota Motor up 14% to 118.900. Year-to-date, Honda is up 18% to 1.03m, Nissan up 9.8% to 1.02m and Toyota up 7.9% to 960.400. Japanese record breakers include the Toyota Levin (17.133 sales), Honda Avancier (9.669), Nissan Kicks (8.805) and Toyota Prado (6.078) while the Toyota Corolla posts its 2nd best-ever volume at 32.014 below the 32.381 of last June. Ford Motor sales are down slightly at 112.902 despite Lincoln up 79% to 5.700 units. Year-to-date, Ford is down 5% to 832.761.

Chinese Mitsubishi sales are up 167% thanks to the Outlander. 

In the luxury race, Audi has reclaimed the lead (see above) with BMW Group in 2nd place at 52.681 (+7.1%) and Mercedes in third at 51.127 (+11%). Year-to-date, Mercedes continues to lead at 442.899 (+30%) but Audi is now 2nd at 440.233 (-4.9%) and BMW third at 436.657 (+15%). Among foreign manufacturers, notice also (wholesales figures) Jeep up 40% with the Compass lodging its first five-figure sales month, Mitsubishi up 167% with record Outlander sales at 9.002, Volvo up 47% and Renault up 114%. Reversely, Hyundai (-18%) and Kia (-29%) continue to struggle despite a record month by the Elantra Lingdong and the arrival of the Kia KX Cross and Pegas (see our upcoming All-new models special). Similarly, French Peugeot (-9%) and Citroen (-30%) are still in negative.

New monthly volume record for the Geely Boyue at 26.317 sales.

Now onto Chinese manufacturers. Geely looks set to achieve its annual target of 1.1 million sales this year with another very strong performance in September: up 42% to 108.980. Year-to-date deliveries are now up a whopping 78% to 820.356 units. 3 of Geely’s 4 best-selling nameplates break all-time volume records this month: the Boyue at 26.317 (+87%), the Emgrand GS at 14.007 (+64%) and the Emgrand GL at 12.091 (+321%). Along with the Vision SUV, also launched in 2016, these four nameplate represent 57% of Geely’s total sales in September. In addition, both the Vision X3 (3.032) and Vision X1 (3.004) also post records, albeit at much lower levels. With the Emgrand EC7 (#18) and Emgrand GL (#30), Geely has two of only three Chinese cars in the Top 30, the other one being the Baojun 310 (#19).

The WEY brand lifts Great Wall Motors sales up 4.5% in September. 

Great Wall Motors shows a changing profile this month, with sales up 4.5% to 102.037, its third consecutive month of year-on-year gains. Pickup sales are up 39% to 11.317 but Haval sales are down a worrying 11.3% to 77.755 with the H6 down 15%, the H2 down 18%, the H7 down 27% and the H1 down 74% but the M6 up 112% on its inaugural month. However the group’s new brand, WEY, is showing great strength: up 67% on August to 12.013 with the VV7 beating its volume record and the VV5 landing, as we’ll detail further in our special All-new models coverage. Year-to-date, Great Wall Motors is up 2.2% to 705.506 deliveries.

The Shengdafei posts a new volume record and helps lift Hawtai sales by 87%.

Changan struggles at -16% this month to #7 brand overall with one bright spot being the CS55 breaking a volume record again at 14.938. GAC Trumpchi (+25%) sees a solid 2nd month of sales by the GS3, Roewe (+40%) has the RX5 break its volume record at 25.066 (+82%), Zotye (+8%) is pulled up by the T700 (new record) and the arrival of the T300, Soueast (+51%) by the DX3’s new volume high, MG (+47%) by the ZS, Hawtai (+87%) by the Shengdafei, Leopaard (+19%) by the CS9 hitting a new record, Lifan (+24%) by the Xuanlang at its best while further down, Karry (+47%), Zhi Dou (+64%), Kandi (+2511%), Maxus (+94%), Foton (+159%), Huasong (+496%) and FQT Motor (+185%) all impress. In contrast, Dongfeng (-12%), Venucia (-17%), Yema (-17%), FAW (-19%), Beijing Auto (-28%), Changhe (-28%), BYD (-29%), Chery (-30%), Borgward (-43%), Haima (-50%), JAC (-50%), Qoros (-57%), Cowin (-60%) and Landwind (-68%) all dangerously lose grip.

Previous month: China August 2017: Chinese SUVs near 60% segment share, market up 4.1%

One year ago: China September 2016: Market up 29% anticipating expiring incentives

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China August 2017: Chinese SUVs near 60% segment share, market up 4.1%

The Baojun 510 symbolises the dynamism of Chinese brands in the SUV segment.

* See the Top 77 All China-made brands and Top 422 All-models by clicking on the title *

Sales of passenger cars in China confirm they are now firmly back in positive with a third consecutive year-on-year gain in August at +4.1% to 1.875.000 units, lifting the year-to-date tally up 2.2% to 14.807.000 sales. Once again, SUVs are the isolated engine of the Chinese market’s growth with deliveries surging up 17.1% year-on-year to 783.058, cars down 2.2% to 948.709, MPVs down 16.2% to 139.255 and minivans down 27.2%. In August, sales of passenger cars with engine capacity of 1.6L and below – the core of the market affected by the tax changes of the past couple of years – is down just 0.5% year-on-year to 1.268.000 units, accounting for 67.6% of the total passenger car market vs. 70.8% a year ago. Year-to-date, these vehicles are down a limited 2.1% to 10.084.000 units or 68.1% share. To get a global picture of the Chinese market we need to add commercial vehicles, up 12.8% to 311.000 sales in August leading to a year-to-date total up 16.9% to 2.704.000 units. Buses are down 10.9% but trucks up 21.6%. All-in-all, the Chinese total vehicle market is up 5.3% in August to 2.186.000 units and up 4.3% year-to-date to a record 17.511.000 sales.

The Changan CS55 is up 5-fold on its July score. 

Now onto the much talked-about market share of Chinese manufacturers at home. The total share is up just 0.5 percentage point year-on-year in August to 41% of passenger cars, but the picture is very different depending on the segments. Cars also see a 0.5 percentage point increase to 18% share thanks to 168.000 units, up 4.6% year-on-year. Chinese-branded SUVs are up 25.2% year-on-year to 462.000 units, accounting for 59.6% share up from 56% a year ago. Finally Chinese-branded MPVs are down 30.1% to 110.000 units of 79.3% share, down from 86.8% a year ago. Year-to-date, the market share of Chinese branded passenger cars is up 1.1 percentage point to 43.2% thanks to sales up 4.8% to 6.389.000. In the detail, Chinese cars increase by 0.7 percentage point to 19.3% share with sales up 1.6% to 1.380.000, Chinese SUVs increase by a whopping 3.6 percentage points to 59.4% thanks to sales up 24.6% to 3.556.000 and Chinese MPVs decrease by 5.6 percentage points to 83.9% with sales down 21.4% to 1.078.000. So once again, the heroes of the months are Chinese-branded SUVs, and given the onslaught of new models being unveiled every week in this segment, they are bound to reach even higher shares in the near future.

The VW Lavida/Gran Lavida is now only 4.000 sales off the YTD pole position.

Some manufacturers officially announce Chinese retail sales including imports which vary from the data tables we provide below, and this paragraph is dedicated to these announcements. The Volkswagen Group reports a 9.2% increase to 353.500 sales in August, with the Volkswagen brand up 10% to 265.400 and Skoda stable at 26.000. Year-to-date, VW Group sales are now up 0.7% to 2.49 million, above rival General Motors’ unchanged 2.38 million. In August, GM is up 12% to 328.425, helped by Cadillac up 51% to 15.014, Baojun up 62% to 82.658, Chevrolet up 21% to 46.705 and Buick up 9.6% to 103.277 just as Wuling drops 19% to 80.771. Among Japanese carmakers, Honda Motor leads the way at +21% to 128.671 units, followed by Nissan Motor up 18% to 122.319 and Toyota Motor up 13% to 108.500. Year-to-date, Honda is up 18% to 886.641, Nissan up 9% to 877.638 and Toyota up 7.1% to 841.400. Ford Motor on the other hand is down 1% to 97.863 this month. Audi has now firmly reclaimed its premium crown – in the lead for the 2nd consecutive month – with sales up 10% to 54.205, distancing Mercedes up 25% to 50.505 and BMW up 12% to 47.385. It will be tough for Audi to reclaim the lead year-to-date however, with totals now standing at 360.225 (-6.6%) vs. 391.772 (+33%) for Mercedes and 383.976 (+16%) for BMW AG.

The Baojun 310 is the best-selling Chinese car at home – if electric variants are counted separately. 

As always the China-made wholesale brands data shows a slightly different picture, although Volkswagen replicates its market-beating 10% year-on-year improvement. The Honda brand displays a stunning 43% gain at #2, above Buick (+0.1%) and Toyota (+18%). Geely continues to gallop ahead with a splendid 76% surge, bettered by Baojun though (+84%). GAC Trumpchi (+34%), Venucia (+44%), Roewe (+47%), Soueast (+50%), MG (+54%) and Leopaard (+66%) also post spectacular gains – all of them thanks to new SUVs – but strikingly, more Chinese brands are down (22) than up (19) this month. Blockbusters such as Haval (-13%), Changan (-19%), Wuling (-26%), Beijing Auto (-27%), BYD (-27%), Chery (-33%), Haima (-37%) and Brilliance (-57%) are losing foot, while among smaller brands Changhe (-37%), Borgward (-40%), Jinbei (-54%), Weichai (-54%), Landwind (-61%) and Cowin (-65%) are fast headed towards disappearance. Great Wall (-85%) is slowly dying now that GWM has contained the brand to pickup trucks. Eight new China-made brands have made their appearance over the past 12 months, led by WEY (#42), Bisu (#47), Hanteng (#48) and SWM (#49) with Jaguar (#61) and Acura (#65) following at a distance. This month we welcome Isuzu as a China-made passenger car brand, which will be covered in our traditional monthly focus on the All-new models.

The WEY VV7 single-handedly stabilises Great Wall Motors sales just as Haval drops 13%. 

Over in the models ranking, the VW Lavida/Gran Lavida rallies back up from #7 in July to pole position this month thanks to sales up 12% to 43.024, with the Buick Excelle (+24%) in 2nd place showing cars are not dead yet. The Haval H6 (-5%) is down from #1 in July to #3 this month and will have its work cut out to match last year’s performance during the last Quarter. The Nissan Sylphy (+23%) and Toyota Corolla (+24%) make it four cars in the Top 8. As the months go by, the Wuling Hongguang keeps aligning counter-performances: now down 24% to a paltry 5th place and only 4.000 sales above the Lavida year-to-date. The Hongguang has been the best-selling vehicle in China for the past four years, but 2017 could turn out to be the Lavida’s year if the Hongguang continues on its downward trend.

The all-new T700 is the only Zotye nameplate in the Top 100 this month.

For its part the Baojun 510 is stable on its record-breaking July score just under 33.000 units, brilliantly remaining the #2 SUV in the country, this as the cannibalised 560 (-31%) has bottomed up: up 30 spots on July to #52. The VW Tiguan soars 49% to over 29.000 sales and is the only foreign SUV among the seven best-sellers: it is followed by the GAC Trumpchi GS4 (+5%), Geely Boyue (+110%), Roewe RX5 (+143%) and Changan CS75 (+26%). Baojun also makes itself noticed with the 310 hatch, more than doubling its sales on July to a record 18.724, for the first time the best-selling Chinese car and among the ten best-selling cars overall when only counting combustion versions (Geely Emgrand EC7 electric variants push it up to #9 and #1 Chinese)… Three additional nameplates break their volume record in the Top 50: the Geely Emgrand GS (12.953) and GL (10.923) but the most spectacular is the Changan CS55 up 5-fold on July to 11.450 for its fourth month in market. Among recent launches, the Chana Oushang A800 (#77), WEY VV7 (#85), Zotye T700 (#91), Leopaard CS9 (#114), Lifan Xuanlang (#150), Bisu T5 (#163) and Geely Vision X1 (#168) also achieve record volumes.

Previous month: China July 2017: Haval H6 leads, market lifted up 4.9% by SUVs

One year ago: China August 2016: Second consecutive month up 26% – SUVs up 44%

Full August 2017 Top 77 All China-made brands and Top 422 All-models below.

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China July 2017: Haval H6 leads, market lifted up 4.3% by SUVs

Facelifted Haval H6 Coupe (red label). Picture auto.sohu.com

* See the Top 76 All-brands and Top 426 All-models by clicking on the title *

Light vehicle sales in China are up for the second month in a row at +4.3% year-on-year in July to 1.678.900 units, an impressive feat on its own as July 2016 sales were boosted up 26% by the prospect of a tax increase on small engine vehicles, which took effect on January 1. Sales of these vehicles, with engine capacity of 1.6L and lower, are down just 1% year-on-year in July – an exploit – at 1.113.000 units, accounting for 66.3% of the passenger car market vs. 69.8% a year ago. These vehicles add up to 8.809.000 units year-to-date or 68.1% of the market, down 2.5% on the previous year. Looking at sales by segment, SUVs are once again the sole engine of growth as they are the only segment posting a year-on-year gain at +16.3% to 694.118 units while sedans are down 0.3% to 824.900, MPVs down 9.9% to 132.361 and minibuses down 39% to 27.500.

All-new Haval H6 (blue label). Picture auto.sohu.com 

Overall so far in 2017, the Chinese light vehicle market is up 2% to a record 12.931.000 units. Adding to this, commercial vehicle sales are up 18.4% in July to 293.000 units, leading to a year-to-date tally up 17.5% to 2.394.000 deliveries. In total, July sales of all vehicles – passenger cars and commercial vehicles – are up 6.2% year-on-year to 1.971.000 units and lead to a 2017 total of 15.325.000 units, up 4.1% on the same period in 2016.

The Baojun 510 now ranks 4th overall in China, once again beating its volume record. 

As far as the – much discussed – share of Chinese manufacturers in different segments, in July Chinese-branded passenger cars are up 7.2% to 679.000 units or 40.5% of the total PC market, up from 39.4% a year ago. Chinese car sales are up 4.1% to 148.000 or 18% of this segment, up from 17.2% a year ago. The biggest improvement is to be seen in the booming SUV segment where Chinese brands are up 25.2% to 394.000 sales or 57.1% share, up from 53.8% a year ago. The Chinese share of MPVs is down from 85.6% to 80.2% as sales slump 16.5% to 110.000. Over the first seven months of 2017, Chinese branded passenger cars add up to 5.619.000 sales, up 4.7% year-on-year for a 43.5% market share, up from 42.4% a year ago. SUV share is up from 55.7% to 59.3% thanks to sales up 24.5% to 3.093.000 units, car share is up from 18.7% to 19.5% as sales grow 1.2% to 1.212.000 units but MPV share is down from 89.9% to 84.5% as sales plunge 20.3% to 969.000 units.

The Geely Boyue sells a record 21.872 units in July, outselling the VW Tiguan.

Some manufacturers officially announce Chinese retail sales including imports which vary from the data tables we provide below, and this paragraph is dedicated to these announcements. The Volkswagen Group sees its deliveries gain 8.1% year-on-year in July to 309.100 units, with the VW brand up 8.7% to 228.900 and Audi up 10% to 51.235, reclaiming the premium crown off Mercedes (up 32% to 48.588 including Smart) and BMW (up 8% to 43.311 including Mini). Year-to-date, the VW Group is down slightly at -0.6% to 2.148.000 sales, and Mercedes still holds the premium top spot at 341.267 sales (+34%) ahead of BMW at 336.591 (+17%) and Audi at 306.020 (-9.1%). Honda Motor maintain its advantage over Toyota Motor with 7 month-sales reaching 757.970 (+18%) vs. 732.900 (+6.2%) for Toyota. Ford Motor for its part drops 7% to 84.474 units. Dongfeng Peugeot Citroen continues to implode into oblivion with sales down another 38% in July to 21.104 and year-to-date deliveries down 47% to 168.933. To add insult to injury, the premium DS brand is down 97% to just 22 sales due to a -162 unit-“correction” applied to the DS 6 SUV…

The WEY VV7 improves its debut score by 91%, allowing Great Wall Motors to stay in positive.

As always the China-made wholesale brands data shows a slightly different picture, with Volkswagen up 7% followed by Honda (+11%) and Toyota (+24%). Geely surges 88% to 91.208 sales and becomes the best-selling Chinese brand year-to-date at 616.925 (+87%) vs. 593.240 (-5%) for Changan, down to #8 this month. Buick edges up 1%, Nissan is up a solid 15% and Baojun shoots up 77% to 62.418. Haval drops 10% in 9th place – Great Wall Motors edges up 0.1% to 69.063 (thanks to WEY – see further down) and just 2% year-to-date at 529.806. Hyundai (-29%) is finally on the mend: up 6 spots on June to #10, but Kia is still struggling at -52% to #26. Chevrolet (+22%), GAC Trumpchi (+30%), Mercedes (+49%), Roewe (+98%), Mazda (+17%) and Cadillac (+50%) all post strong results inside the Top 30. Among smaller brands, notice FAW up 37%, Soueast up 49%, Leopaard up 52%, MG up 53%, Volvo up 44%, Mitsubishi up 434%, Karry up 80%, Renault up 194% and JMC up 107%.

The VW Teramont is approaching the 10.000 monthly units in China. 

Although a majority of Chinese brands are on the up this month and so far this year, it’s not the case for all, with some large manufacturers starting to lose foot: Dongfeng is down 12%, BYD down 20%, Borgward down 21%, Wuling down 21%, JAC down 27%, Beijing Auto down 29%, Haima down 34%, Brilliance down 37% and Jinbei down 45%. Worse: newly launched Cowin is down 80% and clone-addict Landwind down 70%. Among foreign carmakers in difficulty, let’s note Jeep (-5%), Peugeot (-26%), Suzuki (-34%), Citroen (-56%) and Fiat (-88%) now discontinued. No less than seven new brands have launched on the China-made market in the past 12 months (five Chinese) and in July the most successful are WEY (6.075) only in its 2nd month of sales, SWM (5.919), Bisu (4.766) and Hanteng (3.512).

Over 8.000 Honda Avancier found a buyer in China in July alone: a record. 

Over in the models ranking, the Haval H6 takes the lead for the third time ever after April and November 2016, and this despite a 5% drop and facelifts all across the six model-lineup that compose the H6 nameplate (add H6 Coupe and Classic as well as blue and red labels for each model). Leader last month, the Buick Excelle is knocked down to #2 but gains 10% year-on-year, distancing the Wuling Hongguang posting an alarming 19% slump. The star of the past few months improves again: the Baojun 510 beats its volume record for the 5th straight month, lifting it to 33.036 and now only 4.300 sales from the Chinese market pole position.

The Geely Emgrand GS is among the 10 best-selling SUVs in China for the first time.

The 510 symbolises the non-stop energy and money Chinese carmakers are investing in the booming SUV market: in July, 7 out of the Top 10 best-selling SUVs in the country are Chinese, with the VW Tiguan (#5), Nissan X-Trail (#7) and Honda XR-V (#9) the only foreigners. The Geely Boyue (+116%) beats its volume record at 21.872, the Roewe RX5 is up 11-fold on its debut a year ago, the Changan CS75 is up 120% and the Geely Emgrand GS also breaks its monthly sales record at 12.863 (+91%), appearing in the Top 10 SUVs for the first time. Sedans are not dead though: below the Buick Excelle, the Toyota Corolla (+16%), VW Sagitar (+38%), VW Magotan (+48%), Geely Emgrand EC7 (+16%), VW Polo (+35%) and Honda Civic (+73%) shine.

Bisu T5. The new Bisu brand has already sold 24.000 units in China. 

The list of nameplates hitting an all-time high volume this month is long as is usually the case in fast-moving China, and in July it includes the VW Teramont (8.148) up 19 spots on June to #68, the Honda Avancier (8.044), WEY VV7 (6.075) up 92% on its June debut, Skoda Kodiaq (5.905), Honda UR-V (5.775), Chana Oushang A800 (5.330) up 10-fold on its June debut, the Zotye T700 (4.355), Leopaard CS9 (4.223) up 27% on its June debut and now the brand’s best-seller, the Peugeot 5008 (3.437) a welcome breath of fresh air for the embattled French manufacturer and the Lifan Xuanlang (3.345) a Ford Galaxy clone that is now the brand’s best-seller at home.

Previous month: China June 2017: Buick Excelle in the lead, market back up

One year ago: China July 2016: Tax cut triggers 26% gain, fastest pace in 3.5 years

Full July 2017 Top 76 All-brands and Top 426 All-models below.

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China First Half 2017: Market slows down growth from 9.2% to 1.6%

Baojun has a new blockbuster in its hands: the 510, but it killed the 560. 

* See the Top 82 All-brands and Top 531 All-models by clicking on the title *

One year ago, the Chinese passenger car market was up a robust 9.2% and improved further over the second half of the year. This time, the rise of the purchase tax for vehicles of 1.6L and under has stopped the market in its tracks. With a significant amount of sales pulled forward to the end of 2016, the perspectives for this start of 2017 weren’t bright. Still, the market is up – granted, by a meagre 1.6% – when we could have expected a drop. It did decline in February, April and May. According to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, Chinese passenger car sales total 11.253.000 units vs. 11.042.000 a year ago, and still beats a record. Sales of passenger cars of 1.6L and below are down 2.6% to 7.697.000, representing 68.4% of the passenger car market which is a 3 percentage point-drop. Commercial vehicles fare a lot better with a 17.4% year-on-year gain to 2.101.000 units. As a result, the total Chinese market is up 3.8% to a record 13.354.000 units.

The new Tiguan helped Volkswagen stay in positive in China so far in 2017.

Looking at segments in detail, SUVs continue to be the engine of the Chinese market growth but significantly reduce their gain from 42% a year ago to 17.7% this time at 4.530.200 units. All other segments are in decline, with sedans down 3% to 5.401.000 and MPVs down 16% to 1.010.600. New energy vehicles are up 14.4% to 195.000 sales with pure electric vehicles up 26.2% to 160.000 and plug-in hybrids up 19.7% to 35.000. A very interesting fact is that the market share of Chinese brands increases in the two largest passenger car segments. Overall, sales of Chinese-branded passenger cars are up 4.3% year-on-year to 4.940.000, accounting for 43.9% of the market, up 1.1 percentage point (pp). Chinese-branded sedans are up 0.8% to 1.064.000 or 19.7% of the market, up 0.8pp. The most impressive result is in the booming SUV segment where Chinese brands are up 24.4% to reach a best-ever 59.6% market share, up 3.6pp thanks to 2.700.000 units. Finally Chinese-branded MPVs are down 20.8% to 859.000 units or 85% share, down 5.4pp.

It’s a nightmarish First Half of 2017 for Korean carmakers Hyundai and Kia.

We have access to limited manufacturers retail data over the period (this data differs from our data tables that are wholesales excluding imports). The Volkswagen Group confirms it is the #1 in China despite seeing its deliveries slip 1.9% to 1.826.000 units. General Motors also declines at -2.5% to 1.765.828 vehicles. Ford Motor is faring a lot worse at -7% to 537.522 units. Among Japanese carmakers, Nissan Motor keeps the crown with a 6.7% increase to 650.525 but is now threatened by Honda Motor surging 19% to 644.167 while Toyota Motor is up 5.4% to 624.000. The victims of this First Half of 2017 are without a doubt the two Korean carmakers impacted by China’s diplomatic feud with South Korea triggered by U.S. anti-missile defense deployed in the country. Both Hyundai Motor and Kia Motor tumble 47% year-on-year over the period.

BMW bypasses Audi to become the #1 premium carmaker in China, but Mercedes lurks just behind. 

The main event in the premium race is the paltry performance of Audi, #1 for decades up until this year, handicapped by a boycott of its dealers unhappy about plans for a second distribution channel for the brand. These plans have since been postponed and Audi reclaimed the #1 premium spot in June but over the First Half of the year the picture is very different: BMW manages to take a slim advantage thanks to deliveries up 18% to 293.280 units, but Mercedes is aggressively catching up at a flamboyant +35% to 292.679 units. Audi lags far behind at 254.785 sales, down 12%. It will be very difficult for the brand to reclaim the #1 spot by year end. Note that locally-made wholesales still show Audi (-9%) above Mercedes (+50%) and BMW (+30%) as the latter two significantly rely on imports. Meanwhile Volvo, owned by local manufacturer Geely, is up a fantastic 28% to 51.914 units.

The Boyue helps Geely up 87% and Chinese SUVs reach 59.6% market share. 

Now a look at the China-made wholesales brands ranking (our data table). Volkswagen continues to be ultra-dominant, following the market at +2% to 1.47m units. That’s still well over double the sales of any other brand in the country. Honda surges 26% to 650.730 units to rank #2 overall, bypassing Hyundai (-43%), Toyota (+9%), Buick (-3%) and ChangAn (-6%). In 6th place we have the performance of the year so far: Geely up 87% and 9 spots to tease Changan for the title of most popular Chinese passenger car brand, a title it should hold by year end. Geely is reaping the fruits of a completely renewed range and three new best-selling SUVs: the Boyue, Emgrand GS and Vision SUV as well as strong selling sedans such as the Emgrand EC7, Emgrand GL and Vision.

The GS4 and new GS8 (pictured) lift GAC Trumpchi sales up 51% so far in 2017.

The Nissan brand follows at #7, up 15% ahead of Baojun up two spots and 22%, compensating for the falls of the 730 MPV and 560 SUV with the arrivals of the 310 hatch and 510 SUV. Haval drastically slows its galloping progress with a timid 4% gain as its range is starting to age. Its parent company, Great Wall Motors, is up 2.3% to 460.743. Rounding out the Top 10, Ford is down 10% and 3 spots to #10. Beyond, Wuling suffers at -12% (excluding LCVs), GAC Trumpchi shoots up 51% and 6 spots to #15 thanks to the continued success of the GS4 and the thunderous arrival of the GS8. In order of ranking, Roewe (+141%), Jeep (+106%), Cadillac (+98%), Soueast (+44%), MG (+61%), Leopaard (+36%), Mitsubishi (+166%), Renault (+357%), JMC (+486%) and Zhi Dou (+445%) post some of the largest year-on-year gains in market.

Renault has already reached 63% of its annual sales target for 2017. 

But not all Chinese brands register strong improvements over the period, and some should start to seriously worry, such as Beijing Auto (BAIC, BAW) down 26%, BYD down 15%, JAC down a harsh 40%, Zotye down 25%, Haima down 29% and Brilliance down 53%. For a handful of foreigners, 2017 is shaping up as the year to forget: wholesales put Hyundai at -43% and Kia at -56%, Peugeot is down 37%, Suzuki down 34% and Citroen down an abysmal 68%, ending H1 only 2.678 sales above newcomer and fellow countryman Renault, itself already hitting 63% of its annual sales target for 2017 (59.000).

SWM is the most popular of the nine new brands that entered the Chinese market since last year. 

A testimony of the dynamism of the Chinese market, we welcome no less than nine all-new brands in the H1 2017 ranking. They are led by SWM punching above 30.000 sales just as a second model hit dealerships, followed by Cowin just under 29.000 sales with three nameplates, Hanteng at roughly 27.500 with just one model, Borgward just under 22.000 with two, Bisu above 16.000 with three, Jaguar with 8.500 XFL, Acura with 4.500 CDX, Horki at 3.700 and Great Wall’s new “premium” brand WEY just under 3.200 units – all sold in June.

The Roewe RX5 is the 2nd best-selling new nameplate over the period with over 100.000 sales.

Now onto the models ranking, where the three best-sellers all lose volume, accelerating the fragmentation of the market. Both the Wuling Hongguang and the VW Lavida drop a heavy 11% and are only separated by 5.000 sales – the Hongguang ranked #1 only in February while the Lavida ranked 1st four times – with the Haval H6 falling a more restrained – but still surprising – 6%. The heroes of the period are below: the Buick Excelle rallies up 19% to #4 and ranked #1 in June, while the GAC Trumpchi GS4, now in its third year, shows no sign of running out of puff with a 20% surge and could soon go tease the Haval H6 for the title of #1 SUV in China.

The Haval H2S helps the brand stay in positive territory so far in 2017. 

The Nissan Sylphy also shows great strength in 6th place at +23%, overtaking the Toyota Corolla (+8%). The VW Tiguan, finally helped by the new generation, has been instrumental in keeping Volkswagen in positive over the period with a 43% surge lifting it to #8 overall and #2 VW model above the perennial strong sellers Jetta (-14%), Sagitar (-17%) and Santana (-15%). At #11, the Baojun 730 is now the brand’s best-seller despite a 9% drip, as we see a complete reshuffle of its sales order: hero of H1 2016, the Baojun 560 has been completely cannibalised (-48% and down from #5 to #23) by the brand’s new, edgier SUV, the 510. The 510 is the most popular newcomer over the period, landing directly at #21 with just under 103.000 sales.

The Fengguang 580 is now Dongfeng’s best-seller at home. 

The booming SUV segment has seen a lot of changes atop its sales charts: below the H6, GS4 and Tiguan, we now find the Geely Boyue up 548% on its launch period last year to rank #13 overall. The Boyue is now the brand’s best-seller at home, surpassing the Emgrand EC7 (+9%). The Buick Envision has reached its peak at #5 SUV and #15 overall (+4%), distancing the Haval H2 (+61% thanks to the H2S variant), Changan CS75 (+10%), Baojun 510 and Roewe RX5 (100.091 sales), the 2nd best-selling newcomer over the period. Notice also the Dongfeng Fengguang 580 becoming the brand’s best-seller, the Honda Civc rallying up 269% thanks to the new model, the Baojun 310 landing at #31, the Chevrolet Cavalier at #33 and the Chery Arrizo 5 up 91% to #43 and #3 Chinese sedan below the Geely Emgrand EC7 (#16) and Geely Vision (#38).

Previous post: China June 2017: Buick Excelle in the lead, market back up

One year ago: China First Half 2016: Tax cut, SUV wave spur 8% gain to record 12.8m

Full H1 2017 Top 82 All-brands and Top 531 All-models vs. Full H1 2016 figures below.

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China June 2017: Buick Excelle in the lead, market back up

The Buick Excelle is the best-selling nameplate in China in June. 

* See the Top 76 All-brands and Top 437 All-models by clicking on the title *

China-made light vehicle sales have ended two consecutive months of year-on-year decline in June at +2.3% to 1.83 million deliveries according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. This improvement is the sole work of SUVs up 14% to 741.400 units. All other segments are stable or decline: sedans are down 4% to 883.000, MPVs up 0.4% to 163.700 and microvans down 22% to 43.700. Yet despite some success stories as we’ll see further down, stock of Chinese-branded vehicles on dealerships is up to a 71-day supply vs 57 in May. Halfway through the year, the Chinese market (imports excluded) remains in positive, but just: up a meagre 1.6% to a record 11.3 million units. The positive trend is maintained thanks to price cuts, with average transaction prices dropping 4% over the first half of 2017. Apart from SUVs, one segment is in great shape: electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids, up 33% in June to 59.000 deliveries and 14% year-to-date to 195.000.

Honda XR-V sales are up 44% year-on-year. 

According to data released by manufacturers themselves – retail sales including imports, so the data differs from our data tables, General Motors is up 4.3% year-on-year to 285.191 units, with Buick up 13% to 96.913, Chevrolet up 7.2%, Baojun up 47% and Cadillac up for the 16th consecutive month at +35% to 12.886 whereas Wuling skids down 26% to 73.460. The Volkswagen Group does better with a 5.2% rise to 315.300 units, with the Volkswagen brand up 5.4% to 232.400 (up 13% to 247.882 wholesales) and Audi back into positive territory as we’ll see further down. Ford Motor soar 15% to around 100.000 units. Japanese carmakers continue to beat the market, partly benefitting from their Korean counterparts’ crisis: Nissan Motor is up 8.9% to 118.769, Honda Motor up 18% to 113.769 and Toyota Motor up 10% to 106.900. Following China’s diplomatic feud with South Korea about U.S. anti-missile defense, Hyundai (-64%) and Kia (-60%) continue to freefall.

Audi reclaims the premium leadership in China in June.

After a start of the year handicapped by a conflict with their dealers about a new distribution channel – now postponed – Audi reclaims the premium leadership, but just, as its recovery is sluggish: up 1.7% to 51.900 deliveries this month. In comparison, BMW/Mini is up 12% to 50.597 thanks to the X1 and newly-launched 1-Series sedan and Mercedes-Benz is up 28% to 50.090, citing record sales of the C-Class and strong Smart deliveries. Volvo for its part beats all the aforementioned manufacturers with a 31% surge to 10.113 units.

Geely sales are up 89% year-on-year in June. 

As always, it’s within Chinese brands that we find the most spectacular year-on-year gains, but some are starting to run out of puff. For the third month in a row, Geely is the most popular Chinese brand at home thanks to a spectacular 89% gain to just under 90.000 units. The brand benefits from very strong sales of recently-launched SUVs – the Boyue, once again beating its volume record this month, as well as the Emgrand GS and Vision SUV, with the Emgrand GL sedan also hitting the mark. ChangAn drops 1% to just under 82.000 units and Great Wall Motors worryingly drops 1.7% to 64.471 units, with its SUV brand Haval down 9% and this despite Great Wall-branded pickup deliveries up 17% to 8.055 and the arrival of its new premium brand WEY with 3.166 sales.

Although very successful, the Baojun 510 has annihilated sales of the 560.

Wholesales of Baojun are up 61% to above 60.000 units, GAC Trumpchi shoots up 52% to 43.360 with the large GS8 SUV continuing to post strong figures, Chery is up 14%, Roewe up 109% thanks to the RX5 SUV and the i6 sedan, Zotye up 31% with the new T700 its best-seller and a rare nameplate in its range that is not a clone, Soueast up 76% thanks to the DX3 SUV, Leopaard up 29% thanks to the arrival of the CS9 SUV, MG up 38% thanks to the ZS SUV, Karry up 67%, SWM up to #44 and Bisu up to #49. In contrast, Dongfeng is down 10%, Beijing Auto (BAIC, BAW) down 37%, BYD down 19%, JAC down 38%, Lifan down 12%, Venucia down 11%, Haima down 47% and Brilliance down 45%. It’s not all rosy among Chinese carmakers indeed. Among other manufacturers, notice Jeep up 66% and Renault up 160% but Peugeot down 32% and Citroen down 69%.

Still going strong: the GAC Trumpchi GS4 (+20%). 

In the models ranking, the Buick Excelle takes the lead for the first time for this generation thanks to sales up 15%. It is the first time since April 2012 that the Excelle nameplate dominates the Chinese sales charts. But this win wasn’t a blatant one as the photo-finish for the #1 position has never been so close in China: only 2.656 sales separate the #1 from the #5 ranked. At #2 despite sales down 19%, the VW Lavida makes it two sedans on top, ahead of the Haval H6 (-6%) and the Wuling Hongguang (-18%) confirming its current weakness. The Nissan Sylphy (-1%) and Toyota Corolla (+19%) follow. Below, three blockbuster SUVs shine again: the GAC Trumpchi GS4 hasn’t yet reached its full potential with deliveries up 20%, the Baojun 510 breaks another symbolic barrier – 30.000 monthly sales, annihilating the brand’s other SUV, the 560 down 69% to #101, and the VW Tiguan shoots up 79% on the previous model in June 2016.

Inside the Top 100: the VW Teramont. 

Volkswagen sees a shaking of its best-sellers: the Tiguan comes at #2 below the Lavida, with the long-running Jetta (-28%), Sagitar (-15%) and Santana (-38%) in great difficulty. In contrast, the Lamando breaks a new volume record above 19.000 units (+109%), the Magotan is up 67%, the Polo up 30%, the Bora up 45% and the Passat up 38%. Also in great shape near the top of the ranking: the Honda XR-V up 44% and the Changan CS75 up 79%. Among recent launches, the Honda Avancier (#80), VW Teramont (#87), Skoda Kodiaq (+68 to #106), Honda UR-V (+34 to #120), Zotye T700 (+242 to #136), Changan CS55 (+247 to #148), Peugeot 5008 (#155) and Bisu T5 (#164) all beat their monthly volume record.

Previous month: China May 2017: Second consecutive month of decline at -2.6%

One year ago: China June 2016: Market up 18%, next wave of Chinese SUVs arrives

Full June 2017 Top 76 All-brands and Top 437 All-models below.

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