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

The VW Tiguan hits its highest ranking in two years at #6. Picture qq.com

* See the Top 74 locally produced brands and Top 414 models by clicking on the title *

The Chinese light vehicle market is starting to really feel the effect of a 5% to 7.5% tax hike on vehicles with engine displacements up to 1.6L last January. For the second consecutive month, overall sales of locally-produced light vehicles are down, this time dropping 2.6% to 1.75 million units according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. The continued strength of SUVs and crossovers, up 12% to 719.455 units, isn’t enough to compensate for the other segments’ losses anymore. Sedans drop 9% to 840.661, MPVs are down 14% to 142.665 and microvans down 25% to 48.100. Most tellingly, sales of small engine vehicles (1.6L or less) affected by the tax hike are down 9.2% year-on-year to 1.15 million units, representing 66% of the overall light vehicle market. Thanks to a relatively strong first quarter, the Chinese market is still in positive year-to-date though, at +1.5% to 9.42 million units.

The Baojun 510 is inside the Chinese Top 10 for the 2nd month in a row. 

According to retail sales data released by manufacturers themselves and including imports (this differs from the wholesale locally produced data provided in our data tables), General Motors posts stable sales at 294.425 units this month and shows very varied fortunes for its stable of brands: Cadillac is up 65% to 14.154 – the brand’s 15th consecutive double-digit year-on-year gain – and Baojun up 47% (wholesales up 72%), but the remainder of the brands are down: Buick (-6.8% to 94.023), Chevrolet (-1.4% to 37.571) and Wuling (-19% to 84.602 including microvans). Reversely, the Volkswagen brand manages to gain 4% to 241.600 units thanks notably to surging sales of the Tiguan (+71%) and Magotan (+77%). Adding Skoda, Audi and Porsche should make the Volkswagen Group the #1 Group in China although official figures aren’t available at this stage.

The Civic helps push Honda Motor Co. up 16%. Picture auto.sina.com.cn

Honda Motor Co. remains the best-selling Japanese carmaker this month thanks to a 16% year-on-year surge to 115.584 units, edging past Toyota Motor Co. up 12% to 112.800 and Nissan Motor Co. up 5.7% to 112.085. Brand locally-produced wholesales show a different picture with Honda brand sales up 18%, Toyota down 5% and Nissan up 27%. Honda benefits from the new Civic up 191% while the XR-V is up 4% and both the Vezel (-13%) and CR-V (-25%) struggle. Nissan has the Sylphy up 3% and the Qashqai up 22%. Japanese carmakers are likely to have benefitted from a sudden anti-Korean sentiment stemming from U.S. anti-missile defences deployed in South Korea. Hyundai (-65%) and Kia (-67%) both crumble this month. Ford Motor Co. for its part is down 3% to 87.733, adding up to a 11% loss year-to-date to 436.961.

Geely Vision SUV. Geely sales are up 87% so far this year. 

The luxury ranking continues to be reshuffled with the BMW Group taking first spot this month thanks to retail deliveries up 27% to 50.996, thanks to strong sales of the 3 Series (+57%) and X1 (+29%). Daimler AG is just below at 50.015, up 32% thanks to the new E-Class (+385%). Audi slows down its fall now that the dispute with its dealers over a new sales channel – postponed – is over but trails both its German rivals at -4% to 48.012.

Geely remains the star of Chinese brands with sales up 66% to 76.616 and up 87% year-to-date to 437.359. The brand outsells Changan (-26%) for the second consecutive month. Great Wall Motors on the other hand posts a second consecutive drop at -3.8% to 68.942 including 58.390 Haval sold (-6%). GAC Trumpchi surfs on the tremendous success of its GS4 and GS8 SUVs with sales up 47% to 44.148 but Dongfeng (-10%), Beijing Auto (-29%), Chery (-4%) and BYD (-21%) all retreat. Roewe is revived (+140%) thanks to the RX5 and the i6 sedan beating its sales volume record at 7.148, Soueast is up 43% thanks to the DX3 crossover and MG is up 87% thanks to the ZS crossover.

The Compass is now Jeep’s best-seller in China.

There are a few additional notable performances in the brands ranking: Jeep (+122%) stabilising around 20.000 monthly sales now has the Compass as best-seller (8.300), Mazda is up 24% mainly thanks to additional sales from the CX-4 and Mitsubishi is up 110% on the new Outlander. Just as French long-time local producers Peugeot (-38%) and Citroen (-63%) falter, newcomer on the China production scene Renault is gaining momentum above 6.000 sales for the third consecutive month. This places Renault only 1.500 units below Citroen in May.

Renault Koleos. Renault (+221%) is now teasing Citroen (-63%). Picture auto.lctongcheng.com

The VW Lavida/Gran Lavida is the best-selling nameplate in China for the third consecutive month despite deliveries down 12%. It distances the Wuling Hongguang down 19% and the Haval H6 down 6% in a podium strikingly 100% in negative. The Nissan Sylphy (+13%), GAC Trumpchi GS4 (+22%) and VW Tiguan (+71%) follow, trying to compensate for these losses. The Baojun 510 beats its volume record once again at 24.108 units and remains inside the Top 10, confirming it has all but “killed” the 560 (-46%), and the Geely Boyue posts another stunning month at 21.142 units just outside the Top 10 at #11. Among recent launches posting strong results, the FAW Besturn X40 racks up 8.781 sales for its third month in market, the Chevrolet Equinox is up to 6.278 units and the VW Teramont up to 6.033.

Previous month: China April 2017: Market marks a pause at -3.7%

One year ago: China May 2016: Price cuts lift market up 11%, Wuling Hongguang back to #1

Full May 2017 Top 74 locally produced brands and Top 414 models below.

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China April 2017: Market marks a pause at -3.7%

The 510 is now Baojun’s best-seller and the country’s third best-selling SUV. 

* See the Top 74 brands and Top 413 models by clicking on the title *

The increase of the purchase tax on small cars initiated at the start of the year has finally caught up with the Chinese light vehicle market, down 3.7% year-on-year in April to 1.72 million units according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM). The purchase tax on vehicles of 1.6L or less was raised from 5% to 7.5% on January 1 and will be back to 10% in 2018. Sales of such vehicles are down 10% to 1.14 million this month. The year-to-date tally remains in positive territory however at +2.5% to 7.67 million light vehicles. As it has become the routine over the past couple of years, SUV sales go against the grain at +12% to 691.497 units whereas MPVs are down a harsh 19% to 139.685 and passenger cars are down 8% to 836.683. This month the market is the theatre of some unusually harsh year-on-year drops for some brands and models as we will detail below, indicating a strong readjustment of the market.

The Tiguan L helps the Volkswagen Group to #1 in China this month.

Group-wise, according to figures released by manufacturers themselves (retail figures including imports), the Volkswagen Group remains the largest carmaker in the country with sales up 1.5% to 299.700 units. The Volkswagen brand is up 4.3% but Audi is down 6.9% and Skoda down 12%. Note wholesales of locally-made vehicles show a different picture with VW down 5%. Year-to-date sales for the Group are in negative at -4.8% to 1.19 million units. Its archenemy General Motors is down 1.9% to 272.770 units, with Buick down 15%, Chevrolet down 10%, Wuling down 16% but Cadillac up 98% and Baojun up 58%. Here too wholesales of locally-made vehicles show different evolutions, with Buick in positive notably.

BMW is the best-selling luxury carmaker in China for the first time.

One of the main events of the month is the leadership of the BMW Group among luxury carmakers for the first time in Chinese history. Retail sales including imports of BMW and Mini vehicles are up 39% to 48.869 units, edging past Mercedes up 35% to 47.627 and Audi down 6.9% to 46.166. This occurrence wouldn’t have been possible without the troubles Audi is currently encountering in China. The brand is now pulling out of an agreement with its Chinese dealers that it would not open a second distribution network with its partner SAIC until it sells 900.000 annual units in China. This means Audi resumes its standoff with Chinese dealers that have refused ordering new cars as a protest against the SAIC network plans, and sales of the brand will be affected for a few more months at least. Note looking at wholesales of locally-made vehicles, Audi is still ahead this month with BMW 2nd and Mercedes 3rd as detailed in the ranking table below the jump.

Honda sales are up 29% year-on-year this month. 

Japanese carmakers show a stark contrast with surrounding market conditions this month. Honda Motor is the April hero, posting a 29% year-on-year surge to 109.518 units, just as the XR-V crossover is up 23%, the Accord up 24% and the Civic up 184%. Toyota Motor is up 7.2% to 108.300 and Nissan Motor up 9.5% to 105.324, helped by Infiniti deliveries up 105% to 3.415. All three carmakers may have taken advantage of a sales transfer from Hyundai Motor still suffering from a diplomatic row between China and South Korea over the North Korean missile crisis. Hyundai is down 64% this month and Kia down 69%. Year-to-date, Nissan Motor remains in a tight lead with 419.671 sales (+6.3%) ahead of Honda Motor at 414.814 (+20%) and Toyota Motor at 404.400 (+3.1%). Keep in mind these totals include Infiniti, Acura and Lexus. On a separate note, after a painful first quarter, Ford Motor Co. rebounds in April at +11% to 93.967 sales.

The Boyue helps Geely sales up 88% in April. 

Among Chinese carmakers, Geely is the standout performer of the month with deliveries surging 88% thanks to the exceptional performance of its four most recent launches: the Geely Boyue beating its monthly volume record again at 21.263 and now the country 5th best-selling SUV – 11th overall, the Vision SUV (9.634), Emgrand GS (9.119) and Emgrand GL (9.073). After years of record-beating months, SUV carmaker Haval is down 7% this month just as its best-seller the H6 marks a pause at -17% and despite the H2 bouncing up 57% thanks to the new H2S model. But the most surprising evolution comes from Changan losing half its sales year-on-year and dropping from #2 to #10 in the brands ranking. GAC Trumpchi (+49%), Roewe (+155%), MG (+109%) and Leopaard (+51%) go forward, but two manufacturers that have built their recent success on shameless copycats now hit a wall: Zotye is down 58% this month and Landwind down 80%.

The ZS is already MG’s best-seller in China for its second month in market. 

Over in the models ranking, the top three best-sellers fit within 400 sales and all post double-digit declines: the VW Lavida/Gran Lavida is down 12% ahead of the Haval H6 (-17%) and Wuling Hongguang (-10%). The Hongguang remains the year-to-date leader ahead of the Lavida and H6. This trio is followed this month by the Buick Excelle up an excellent 39% to 32.962 sales and distancing the Nissan Sylphy (+1%) and GAC Trumpchi GS4. But once again the performance of the month goes to the new Baojun 510, beating its volume record to 21.987 and earning a 9th place overall and 3rd place in the SUV ranking. The 510 is now Baojun’s best-seller above the 730, 560 and 310 but it confirms this comes at a cannibalising price as the brand’s other SUV, the 560, is down another 60% this month. Let’s single out three additional high performing SUVs: the VW Tiguan up 14% to #10, the GAC Trumpchi GS8 remaining above 10.000 units for the second straight month and the MG ZS surging to 9.768 units for its second month in market, by far the brand’s best-seller already.

Previous month: China March 2017: Baojun wins 510 bet in market up 1.7%

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

Full April 2017 Top 74 brands and Top 413 models below. (imports excluded)

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China March 2017: Baojun wins 510 bet in market up 1.7%

The Baojun 510 is an instant success but cannibalises the 560. Picture courtesy qq.com

* See the Top 74 brands and Top 403 models by clicking on the title *

New light vehicles sales in China are up by a slim 1.7% year-on-year in March to 2.1 million wholesale units. Once again it’s SUVs and crossovers that are keeping the Chinese market in positive territory with sales up 20.5% to 832.199 whereas sedans are down 4.5% to 990.433, MPVs down 15% to 196.598 and microvans down 17% to 74.600. Over the first quarter of 2017, the Chinese light vehicle market is up 4.6% to a record 5.95 million units. This slower rate comes with the rise of tax on small vehicles (up to 1.6L) from 5% to 7.5% at the start of the year.

According to figures released by manufacturers themselves (retail figures including imports), General Motors is the best-selling manufacturer in China with sales up 16% year-on-year to 345.448 whereas the Volkswagen Group is down 1.1% to 324.500 units, handicapped by Audi underperforming again (-19% to 41.371) due to dealers refusing to order new cars as Audi was planning to open a second sales channel with its partner SAIC. Audi should revive over the next couple of months though as Audi said it would postpone its new plans until it would sell 900.000 annual units in China (it sold under 600.000 in 2016). Volkswagen brand sales are up 3.6% but Skoda down 15%. Year-to-date, the Volkswagen Group is down 6.7% to 891.500, VW down 3.8%, Audi down 22% and Skoda down 11%. Note Volkswagen wholesale sales are down 4% year-on-year this month as detailed in the tables below the jump.

The VW Tiguan hits its best overall ranking since September 2015.

The best-selling Japanese manufacturers all frankly beat the market: Nissan Motor Co. sales are up 9% to 120.106, followed closely by Toyota Motor Co. up 12% to 112.400 and Honda Motor Co. up 15% to 111.127. Note wholesales of locally-made Honda are up a whopping 30% to 119.976 this month, placing the brand above Toyota, Buick and Nissan. Meanwhile Ford Motor Co. sinks 21% to 90.457 excluding Lincoln. In the premium race – here too retail sales including imports – Mercedes soars 32% to 49.871 while BMW AG is up 8.3% to 50.783 and, as a reminder, Audi down 19% to 41.371. If we look at wholesales of locally-made vehicles, the picture is quite different with Audi in the lead at 41.500 (-16%), ahead of Mercedes at 37.243 (+57%) and BMW at 32.282 (+27%).

A diplomatic row over missile systems in North Korea led to some clear hesitation on the purchase of Korean car brands with Hyundai wholesales tumbling down 52% and Kia down 70%. Among local brands, Changan remains dominant in 2nd place overall below just Volkswagen thanks to deliveries up 17%, Geely continues to sport amazing gains at +70% ahead of Baojun (+9%), Haval (+7%) and Dongfeng (+7%) all beating the market but slowing down their growth. GAC Trumpchi (+42%) and Roewe (+177% thanks to the RX5 crossover and all-new i6 sedan) both post stellar year-on-year gains.

Jeep sells over 20.000 locally-produced models for the first time this month.

Now onto brands that have kick-started their local production recently. Jeep more than doubles its deliveries year-on-year at +129% to break the 20.000 locally-produced sales milestone for the very first time at 20.661, with the Compass and Renegade both posting monthly records and the Cherokee falling less than a thousand units short of doing the same. We welcome Acura in the brands ranking this month with the first units of the CDX being sold in the country. This leaves Lexus and Subaru as the only major manufacturers not engaged in Chinese local production. Renault (6.066), Hanteng (4.877), Cowin (4.773), Borgward (4.556) and SWM (4.514) are the other ‘new’ brands inside the Top 55 while Bisu is down 4 spots on February to #60.

Model-wise, the VW Lavida steps up to pole position when including sales of its hatchback variant the Gran Lavida despite sales down 4%, outselling the Wuling Hongguang (-6%). The Haval H6 marks a pause at -13% in third position ahead of the Buick Excelle (+26%), Nissan Sylphy (+2%), Toyota Corolla (+3%) and GAC Trumpchi GS4 (+7%) making it two Chinese nameplates atop the SUV ranking. Boosted up 52% by the new model, the VW Tiguan climbs onto the 9th spot overall, falling 2.000 units short of beating its monthly volume record (31.092 last January) but reaching its highest ranking in China since September 2015. This month the Tiguan is VW’s second best-seller below only the Lavida, a very rare event.

Over 10.000 GAC Trumpshi GS8 found a buyer in China this month. A first.

Further down, the Haval H2 is up 112% to #13 thanks to the addition of the H2S variants, the Geely Boyue is down four ranks on February to #18 but beats its monthly volume record at 20.461, as does the Dongfeng Fengguang 580 at 18.775, the Chevrolet Cavalier at 16.079, the brand’s only nameplate to sport a five-digit sales figure this month, and the GAC Trumpchi GS8 breaking the 10.000 monthly unit mark for the first time.

But the main story of the month to our view is another blockbuster launch by Baojun. Clearly pushing the brand in terms of design, the 510 crossover was a bet. With 18.016 sales for its second month in market, it looks like the design bet is won. However there is a big drawback to this performance: the 510 appears to be cannibalising the 560 within the Baojun range: the latter is down an abysmal 64% this month to just 15.016, keeping in mind March 2016 was its all-time record at 42.077. The next few months will give us a clear indication as to how the two nameplates can coexist in the market.

Previous month: China February 2017: Market back on track at +22% to 1.9 million units

One year ago: China March 2016: Haval H6 and Baojun 560 beat records, market up 9%

Full March 2017 Top 74 brands and Top 403 models below.

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China February 2017: Market back on track at +22% to 1.9 million units

The arrival of the H2S lifts Haval H2 nameplate sales up 127% to #2 SUV below the Haval H6.

* See the Top 72 brands and Top 385 models by clicking on the title *

We’re catching up on lost time for the largest car market in the world now with February updates.

1. Overall sales figures

Traditionally carmakers combine January and February figures as a more reliable way to read the market as the end January-early February period is always biased by the Lunar New Year holidays, varying between the two months depending on the year. By this logic, the Chinese market is up a strong 8.8% year-on-year over the first two months of the year. Light vehicles are up 6.3%. After a 1.1% dip in January, this means a 22% surge in February to 1.9 million units according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. And this despite the tax on small-engine vehicles having been raised from 5% to 7.5% in January, with a plan to bring it back up to 10% in January 2018. According to Automotive News, sales of electric cars jumped 30% year-on-yearin February, following a 74% plunge in January when subsidies were reduced 20%.

The Wuling Hongguang is back atop the Chinese sales charts. But the MPV segment is struggling.

MPVs getting out of fashion?

Looking into sales by segment, once again SUVs are the engine of growth in the Chinese market: they surge 39% year-on-year to 673.448 units all the while sedans gain 15% to 769.575. After Chinese consumers transitioned from microvans onto MPVs over the past couple of years, would MPV now have gone out of fashion? They are down a dismal 13% year-on-year in February to 145.991 units, their lowest monthly score since August 2015 (133.814). The next few months will decide whether this is a longer-term trend or just a wholesale blip. An encouraging sign is the continuing good health of the Wuling Hongguang, the segment and overall market leader, stable in February at 41.261 sales or 28.2% share of the segment and returning to the YTD top spot with 101.393 units (-9%) after the VW Lavida won January. The rest of the crop is struggling though: the Baojun 730 is down 22% to #9, the Chana Honor is down 24% to #29 but the Chana Oushang is up 46% to #42.

General Motors is back above Volkswagen AG thanks to strong Buick and Baojun sales. 

2. Selected retail results

This section details retail results reported by manufacturers themselves – they include imports and therefore vary slightly from the figures we report in the tables at the end of the articles, the latter being wholesales of vehicles produced locally. Once again the two main automotive groups are in a tight fist-fight this month: General Motors takes the lead year-to-date despite a 15% plunge to 567.994 deliveries in two months. In February, GM is up 0.4% to 246.730 units vs. -24% in January. Volkswagen AG for its part is down 9.6% year-to-date to 567.000 units, slipping back below GM. Volkswagen, Skoda and Audi all post year-on-year drops so far in 2017: VW is down 7.6% to 441.300, Audi is down 24% to 67.336 and Skoda is down 9% to 45.000. Porsche data is not available. Further down the ranking, Nissan Motor is up 3.1% to 194.241, Honda Motor is up 18% to 194.169 units year-to-date but Toyota Motor is down 3.6% to 183.600.

Mercedes is the new premium king of China, dislodging Audi for the third month running.

In the luxury aisle, Daimler-Mercedes cements its newfound premium king status with sales surging 40% to 95.076 vehicles in two months vs. 67.336 to Audi (-24%) while BMW official retail data isn’t available. February Mercedes sales are up 42% to 36.277. Audi’s troubles stem from angry dealers that have stopped ordering new vehicles in January in response to the brand’s plans to set up a second joint-venture and distribution network with Volkswagen’s other partner, SAIC (more detail in our January update here). Finally, local carmaker Geely announced retail sales up 105% year-to-date to 191.629 units with a 167% improvement in February following a 71% surge in January.

Geely is up 166% year-on-year to break into the Chinese passenger car brands podium for the first time.

3. Brands wholesale results

Looking into wholesale February data for passenger car brands produced locally (Top 70), we find Volkswagen in the lead despite a 2% dip to just under 190.000 sales, that’s exactly double the #2, Changan up 10% to 95.675 deliveries. Geely is up 166% year-on-year to 88.931 sales, up one spot on January and seven on its FY16 ranking to break into its home podium for the very first time at #3.  Toyota (+44%) and Honda (+51%) round up the Top 5, followed by Baojun up 13% on February 2016 and four spots on last month to 70.201 sales. Haval (+34%), Nissan (+84%), Mercedes (+91%) and GAC Trumpchi (+102%) post the other largest year-on-year increases in the Top 20, with BMW up 108% at #21.

The new Outlander lifts Chinese Mitsubishi sales up 470% in February.

A quick snapshot at the luxury race under the local production angle shows Mercedes (33.862) well above Audi (28.694) and BMW (27.210). Among other great performers for the month, let’s single out FAW (+43%), Lifan (+48%), Venucia (+71%), Soueast (+104%), Leopaard (+113%), Jeep (+126%), Cadillac (+166%), Roewe (+174%), Mitsubishi (+470%) and JMC (+1055%). Renault (#43) is the most popular recent local producer launch (<12 months) with 5.781 sales in February and 14.189 in two months. The French carmaker is followed by Cowin (#47), Land Rover (#48), SWM (#50), Hanteng (#51), Borgward (#55), Bisu (#56), Zhi Dou (#57) and Jaguar (#64).

VW Bora sales are up 117% year-on-year thanks to the new model. 

4. Models wholesale results

February volumes being much lower than January, we have “just” 46 nameplates with five-digit sales figures this month vs. 72 in January. As we described above, the Wuling Hongguang is back in charge of the Chinese sales charts with stable sales in February (41.261). It is followed by the Haval H6 up one spot on January to #2 and 33.684 units and the VW Lavida, down 33% to 31.620, completes the podium but ranks #2 year-to-date above the Haval H6 thanks to an outstanding January score. In fact, removing Gran Lavida sales from the Lavida score brings the Buick Excelle (+51%) up to best-selling sedan in the country ahead of the Lavida (30.009), Toyota Corolla (+57%), VW Sagitar (+9%) and VW Bora (+117%).

The Dongfeng Fengguang 580 breaks its volume record this month at 18.634 units. 

The main event inside the February Top 10 is the return of the Haval H2 to a 6th place it had already held back in December, this thanks to the success of the sporty variants H2S picture atop this article. With the GAC Trumpchi GS4 up 61% to #8 and the Baojun 560 down 26% – due to the arrival of the 510, detailed in our upcoming “Focus on All-new models” post – we have four Chiunese SUVs in the February Top 10. In fact, with the Changan CS75 at #12, the Geely Emgrand EC7 at #13 and Geely Boyue at a record 14th place with 20.137 sales, there are 9 Chinese nameplates in the Top 14 vs. 8 in the Top 12 a year ago in February 2016. Notice also the Dongfeng Fengguang 580 up 13 spots to a record #17 and an all-time high 18.634 sales and the  Baojun 310 up 6 spots to a best-ever #21.

The Baojun 310 is knocking at the Chinese Top 20’s door this month.

5. Recent launches

Looking into nameplates launched within the past 12 months, below the Geely Boyue (#14), Dongfeng Fengguang 580 (#17) and Baojun 310 (#21) mentioned above, the Chevrolet Cavalier follows at #25 (+18 spots on January), ahead of the Roewe RX5 (-14), Chery Arrizo 5 (-4), Geely Vision SUV (+24) posting a 6th consecutive month above 10,000 sales and breaking into the Top 50 for the first time at #45, the Baojun 510 (more on this in our upcoming Focus on the All-0new models post), Geely Emgrand GS (#58) and Geely Emgrand GL (#61). Notice also the FAW Jilin Xenia R7 at a record #64, the GAC Trumpchi GS8 up a further 8 spots on January to a best-ever #70, the Soueast DX3 back up 38 ranks to a record #76 for its this r pmonth in market and the VW C-Trek breaking into the Top 100 for the very first time thanks to 5.563 sales, up 43 spots on January. All in all, there are 18 new nameplates inside the Chinese Top 100 in February and 84 in the overall ranking, or an astounding 21.8% of all nameplates selling at least one unit this month.

The Brilliance H3 is the best-performing January launch in February.

6. Results of January launches

Finally we take a look at how January launches have fared. Ranking-wise, the Brilliance H3 is the best-performing with a 123 rank gain to land at #165 with 2.541 sales, up 409% on its inaugural month. The Kia KX7 also shows significant progress at +50 spots and 206% to land at #255. The Changhe Freedom M70 on the other hand is showing the wrong sings: already down 26% on last month to #239 and 1.046 deliveries. The remaining three nameplate had made their appearance ahead of their March official public launch and therefore remain at very discreet levels: the Changan CS95 at #323 (+20), the BAIC Huansu S5 at #326 (+10) and the VW Teramont at #366 (-7).

7. February launches will be covered in a specific update

Previous month: China January 2017: Audi tumbles down 35% in market down 1.1%

One year ago: China February 2016: VW Lavida #1 but 8 in Top 12 are Chinese

Full February 2017 Top 72 brands and Top XXX models below.

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

The Jeep Compass sees a 613% increase on its inaugural month last December to #200.

* See the Top 70 All-brands and Top 365 All-models produced locally by clicking on the title *

With a month delay we are able to cover the Chinese car market for January on BSCB. February will follow very shortly. Note only passenger cars and light commercial vehicles produced in China are accounted in this data set, no imports and no medium-heavy commercials. Light vehicle sales in China are down 1.1% year-on-year to 2.219.564 vehicles according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. The China Passenger Car Association on the other hand reports a 9.8% decline to 2.12 million units. In any case, this is the first year-on-year drop in China in a year, and the direct effect of the tax hike on vehicles with 1.6L engines and below from 5% over the course of 2016 to 7.5% from January onwards. It is still a very modest decline taking into account forward sales in December to still benefit from the lower tax. Also coming into the picture is the Lunar New Year celebrated in January vs. February last year and resulting is fewer selling days. All-in-all, adjusted annually, January Chinese car sales should actually be up.

The All-new Tiguan L should boost VW sales in China this year. 

In January, the SUV segment is the only one in positive albeit at a slower rate: +9.7% year-on-year from 805.673 in January 2016 to 883.804 now. This is well below the million units hit both last November and December but the SUV market share of passenger cars continues to climb: from 35.9% a year ago to 39.8% this month. Reversely, “traditional” passenger cars are down 3% to 1.079.146 and see their market share drop from 49.6% in January 2016 to 48.6% now. MPVs seem to have hit a wall: down an abysmal 19.2% year-on-year to just 205.634 units just as the Wuling Hongguang takes 2nd spot in the models ranking just below the VW Lavida (see further down). Finally microvans continue their race to oblivion with a further 28% decline to 51.000 vehicles sold.

Something we predicted in our 2015 analysis of the Chinese market: the rise and rise of used-car sales. According to the China Automobile Dealers Association, these are predicted to surge 20% to 12.5 million units in 2017, after gaining 10% to 10.4 million in 2016, as provinces ease restrictions on sales of used vehicles from other regions. The ratio is still in favour of new car sales by a large margin though. Another interesting evolution is the 74% plunge of electric and plug-in hybrid sales to just 5.682 units as the government penalises companies that cheated to inflate their EV subsidies. In the detail, battery-electric sales are down 68% to 4.978 units and plug-in hybrids are down 90% to 704…

As this is a delayed analysis of the Chinese market we will concentrate on highlights today so the February update can come as soon as possible with more detail.

Audi sales in China skid down 35% in January.

1. Audi frankly outsold by both Mercedes and BMW

In 1995, the Volkswagen Group started producing Audi models in China through a joint-venture with FAW Group, and thus virtually created the luxury segment in China. It has led the luxury charts ever since its introduction in market – a fantastic 22 years in a row. Yet in January Audi misses out on the luxury top spot for the second month running and could be facing a very difficult year indeed. Down a devastating 35% year-on-year to 35.181 units, not only did the marque not rank #1, it was also frankly outsold by both Mercedes-Benz up 39% to 58.799 and BMW up 18% to 51.345. Meanwhile Cadillac is up 116% to 18.011 and Volvo up 16% to 8.362. According to Automotive News China, Audi’s paltry performance is the result of two main events. First: in 2016 the brand dumped excessive vehicle inventories on its dealerships, and most of them lost money. Second: Audi signed a tentative agreement with SAIC in November to establish a second dealership network. Audi dealers – who operate under the original FAW joint-venture, have been aggressively fighting these two events, and the situation is now at a standstill, with dealers demanding 28 billion yuan (US$4 billion) to cover losses that they blame on the company adding too many distributors, and Audi refusing to shelve its plans of a second joint-venture and distribution network. At the start of the year, Audi dealers threatened to stop ordering cars and it turns out a significant part of them were not bluffing, hence the gigantic drop we are witnessing.

Renault is the most popular newcomer among local producers.

2. Global carmakers suffer, selected Chinese manufacturers post healthy gains

Audi stirs the entire Volkswagen Group down 14% this month to 344.000 sales with Skoda down 4.3% to 30.000 and Volkswagen official retail data n/a. Yet General Motors fares worse at -24% to 321.264 units, Ford is down 32% to 88.432 and both Toyota and Nissan also plunge. Hyundai is the exception: up 6.4% to 80.017 deliveries. Among the numerous Chinese carmakers selling at home, a few post spectacular results in an adverse environment: Geely and SAIC and both up 71%. GAC is up 29%, Changan up 7.7% and Great Wall Motors up 0.7%. Looking into the detail of wholesales figures (data table below the jump), Volkswagen (+7%) distances Changan (+7%), Buick (-5%), Geely (+70%) and Honda (+18%). Ford (-28%) and Dongfeng (-16%) struggle but in this ranking Audi (-8%) is still ahead of Mercedes (+44%) and BMW (+14%). The most popular new brand – launched in the past 12 months – among local producers is Renault (#39) ahead of SWM (#45), Cowin (#47), Hanteng (#49), Borgward (#53), Land Rover (#55), Bisu (#59) and Jaguar (#63)

Geely sales are up 71% year-on-year in January. 

4. Best-selling models

In January the VW Lavida edges past the Wuling Hongguang to claim the title of best-selling vehicle in China with 60.233 sales (+8%) vs. 60.132 (-14%) for China’s favourite MPV. The Haval H6 is knocked down one spot to #3 but still gains 9% year-on-year to 45.993 units. The VW Jetta is back up 38 spots on December to #4, the GAC Trumpchi GS4 is up 21 to a record 5th place (also hit last July), the Buick Excelle GT is down 1% but up 4 spots on last month to #6 and the Nissan Sylphy is up 99% on a particularly weak January 2016 score to #7.

Thanks to the arrival off the new generation and a 7-seat variant dubbed Tiguan L, the VW Tiguan cracks the Chinese Top 10 for the first time since September 2015 and hits its highest monthly volume since January 2015 at 31.092 units. In the SUV charts, the Tiguan ranks 3rd below the Haval H6 and GAC Trumpchi GS4 but distances the Buick Envision (+18%), Baojun 560 (-32%), Haval H2 (+44%), Geely Boyue and Roewe RX5, all aforementioned nameplates selling upwards of 20.000 units this month.

GAC Trumpchi GS8 sales hit a record 9.418 units in January.

Further down the ranking, a handful of high profile nameplates manage to break their volume record despite a slower market compared to December. Among them, notice the Baojun 310 at 18.006 (#27), the Geely Emgrand GS at 10.333 (#68), Geely Emgrand GL at 10.208 (#70), GAC Trumpchi GS8 at 9.418 (#78) and the Renault Koleos at 4.814 (#135). Finally, let’s note that there are 12 Chinese nameplates among the 15 most popular new comers (<12 months). Led by the Geely Boyue (#20), Roewe RX5 (#21), Baojun 310 (#27), Dongfeng Fengguang 580 (#30), Chery Arrizo 5 (#35) and Changan CX70 (#38). The Chevrolet Cavalier (#43), Hyundai New Verna (#58) and Mazda CX-4 (#98) are the only new foreigners to crack the January Top 100.

Bisu T3 China December 2016Bisu T3 sales are up 349% on last month to #215 

5. Results of December launches

Among the 13 locally-produced new nameplates that hit the Chinese market in December, the Jeep Compass fares the best with a 613% increase on a modest 300 sales for its inaugural month up to #200 with 2.138 sales. Also displaying explosive growth is the Bisu T3 up 349% on its December score to #215 and 1.436 deliveries. The Venucia T90 follows with a very impressive 71% gain to 4.252 sales at #147 and the Dongfeng Fengshen AX5 edges up 7% to #188. Leader of all newcomers last month, the Soueast DX3 seems to have already eaten up its potential with deliveries down 26% to a still very respectable #114.

Venucia T90 sales are up 71% on December. 

6. All-new launches for January are covered in a separate post as always

Note: Main article brands data is retail sales unless indicated otherwise, data tables below are wholesales. Overall market = Light vehicles + Commercial trucks and buses. Light vehicles = passenger cars + microvans. Passenger cars = sedans+SUV+MPV.

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

Previous post (LCV): China LCV Full Year 2016: Wuling Mini Truck leads, pickups up 11%

Previous month: China December 2016: Haval up 73%, Geely up 101% in final tax rush

One year ago: China January 2016: Baojun 560 threatens Haval H6 for SUV title

Full January 2017 Top 365 All-models produced locally below.

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

Haval H6 Coupe China 2016. Picture courtesy autohome.com.cnThe Haval H6 soars 56% to 2nd place overall, symbolising the ongoing Chinese SUV boom.

* See the Top 83 All China-made brands and Top 520 models by clicking on the title *

See 35 years worth of Chinese Historical Data here

The Chinese new vehicle market, by far the largest in the world, got a higher-than-expected boost this year from a 50% purchase tax cut on small engine vehicles (1.6L or less) from 10% to 5% taking effect from October 1, 2015 until December 31, 2016. Sales shot up 14% on an already very impressive 2015 score (24.61m) to reach a record 28.03 million units, whereas the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers had tabled on a much more discreet 6% gain at the start of the year (we said 7%). Incredibly, 2016 marks the 26th consecutive annual sales record in China: the last time Chinese sales declined year-on-year was in 1990… Light vehicles surge 15% to just under 24.4 million, with vehicles of 1.6L and less soaring 21% to 17.6 million.

Wuling Hongguang S1 China 2016The Wuling Hongguang is the best-selling vehicle in China for the 4th straight year.

Once again SUV sales do the heavy lifting with a mammoth 45% gain to 9 million sales, crusading the symbolic one million monthly unit-mark for the first time in November, and again in December. In fact, SUV monthly sales records were broken four consecutive times at the end of the year: in September (891.612), October (919.279), November (1.023.633) and December (1.081.014). MPV sales are up 18% to 2.5 million and sedan sales up 3.4% to 12.1 million. Microvans on the other hand continue to tumble at -38% to 683.500. Finally, after a couple of tough years declining, commercial trucks and buses are back in positive in 2016 at +4% to 3.6 million sales. As it was the case in 2015, Chinese brands are gaining market share and taking advantage of the tax cut as well as the SUV boom more effectively than their foreign counterparts. More detail on this further down in this Report.

VW Lavida China  2016. Picture courtesy auto.fengniao.comVolkswagen continues to dominate the Chinese market. The Lavida is #3 overall.

Despite a crackdown on manufacturers inflating volumes, sales of eco-friendly vehicles surge 53% in China this year to break the symbolic half-million mark at 507.000 units thanks to generous government subsidies. Battery-electric vehicles are up 65% to 409.000 units divided into 257.000 passenger cars (+75%) and 152.000 commercial vehicles (+51%) while plug-in hybrids are up 17% to 98.000 with 79.000 passenger cars (+17%) and 19.000 commercial vehicles (+19%). In 2017, the Chinese government has new set standards for EV energy consumption and range, while cutting subsidies by 20% in a bid to “clean-up” a segment rocked by scandals and corruption.

Buick Excelle GT China 2016. Picture courtesy autoifeng.comThe Buick Excelle GT is up 28% to #4 overall in 2016.

From January 1, 2017 the purchase tax on small engine vehicles has been raised to 7.5% which leads the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers to predict a slower 5% growth for 2017 to 25.7 million light vehicles, which, added to 3.7 million commercial trucks (+2%), leads to an overall market up 5% to 29.4 million units. This would mean the symbolic 30 million overall sales will be passed in 2018. We at BSCB table on a 7.5% market increase to 30 million right here in 2017. The CAAM predicts – and we at BSCB agree – that the Chinese vehicle market will continue to expand over the next five years thanks to strong demand in Tier-3 and smaller cities. Our numerous Photo Series through various countryside regions of China have confirmed the untapped sales potential of these regions which are taking the relay of the eastern seaboard as the country’s engine of growth.

Baojun 730 China 2016. Picture courtesy autohome.com.cnThe Baojun 730 gains another 15% to remain #5.

Group-wise, in 2016 the Volkswagen Group reclaims the top spot off General Motors thanks to sales up 12% to 3.98 million units. The Volkswagen brands resumes its galloping ride with deliveries up 14% to approach 3 million units thanks to the majority of its sedan range benefitting from the tax cut and despite a glaring lack of a decent SUV lineup. Audi is up 3.6% to 591.600 sales, Skoda up 13% to 317.100 and Porsche up 13% to 65.200. In contrast General Motors sales are up just 7.1% to 3.87 million units, handicapped by a 14% drop at Chevrolet to 525.300 units and a 7% decline at Wuling to 1.4m as microvans implode. On the other hand Baojun retail sales surge 49% to 688.300 (760.200 wholesales), Buick is up 19% to 1.18m (1.23m wholesales) and Cadillac is up 46% to 116.406. China remains GM’s largest market in the world for the fifth straight year, accounting for more than one-third of its global sales.

Nissan Sylphy China 2016. Picture courtesy xgo.com.cnThe Nissan Sylphy is up 10% but down two spots to #6. 

Hyundai-Kia improves just 6.7% – half the speed of the market – to 1.79m units but remains the third best-selling group in China, ahead of all the Japanese. The Hyundai brand falls from #2 in the 2015 passenger cars ranking to #5 this year (see further down). Nissan Motor remains the most popular among them despite trailing the market also at +8.4% to 1.35m units but the big news is Honda Motor leaping up 24% to 1.25m sales, overtaking Toyota Motor up just 8.2% to 1.2m units. Ford Motor for its part gains 14% to 1.27m units, with cars produced by the Changan-Ford joint-venture up 14% to 957.495, models under the JMC partnership up 7% to 265.056, Ford-branded imports down 31% to 17.599 and Lincoln-branded imports triple the 2015 result to 32.558.

VW Jetta China 2016. Picture courtesy nanrenwo.netThe VW Jetta is up 27% to 7th place and receives a facelift for 2017. 

If you paid close attention to the last two paragraphs, you would have noticed that among the Top 7 best-selling foreign groups, only Honda outpaces the overall Chinese market in 2016. Where does all the growth come from? The answer is simple: Chinese carmakers. If Changan, China’s largest domestic manufacturer, also trails the market at +9% to 1.420.399 light vehicles, it overtakes Wuling to become the #1 light vehicle Chinese brand in 2016. Great Wall Motor on the other hand surges 26% to cross the one million annual sales milestone for the first time at 1.074m units. Of these, 938.018 (+34%) are Haval-branded crossovers and SUVs, 105.621 (+6%) are Great Wall-branded pickups and 30.831 (-43%) are Great Wall-branded sedans, an endangered species. Great Wall will attempt to build on this tremendous success with a new premium brand Wey, whose first production model is scheduled to launch at the Shanghai Auto Show in April.

VW Sagitar China 2016. Picture courtesy che.comAlthough up 22%, the VW Sagitar is down one spot to #8 in 2016.

The other stellar Chinese performer of 2016 is Geely, with sales up 50% to 765.851 or 767.331 wholesales (+45%), making it into the Top 10 passenger car brands at #10 (#14) thanks to four very successful launches this year (the Boyue, Emgrand GS, Emgrand GL and Vision SUV). Geely even crossed the 100.000 monthly sales benchmark in December and could be aiming at one million deliveries in 2017. In the passenger car brands ranking, a plethora of Chinese manufacturers also display explosive gains, such as – in sales order – Beijing Auto (+36%), Dongfeng (+26%), GAC Trumpchi (+95%), Zotye (+45%), Roewe (+142%), Soueast (+59%), Leopaard (+110%), Landwind (+86%), Jinvei (+121%) and Changhe (+152%) all within the Top 50. We also welcome Cowin (38.345 sales), Borgward (30.015), SWM (25.688), Hanteng (16.117), FQT Motor (2.918) and Bisu (2.917) in the brands ranking for 2016.

GAC Trumpchi GS4 China 2016Astounding first full year of sales for the GAC Trumpchi GS4 at #9… 

In the luxury aisle, Audi maintains its lead but gains just 3.6% to 591.554 sales while BMW AG is up 11% to 516.355. Mercedes-Benz on the other hand oars 27% to 472.844 and was even the #1 China-made luxury brand in December, historically outselling Audi. In fourth place, Jaguar Land Rover is up 31% to 119.000 sales thanks to the local production kick start of the Land Rover Discovery Sport (26.557), Range Rover Evoque (12.759) and Jaguar XFL (5.644). Cadillac is up 46% to 116.000, overtaking Lexus (+26%), Volvo is ip 11% to 90.930 and Lincoln, two years after its launch in the country, triples its sales vs. 2015 to 32.558. According to the company, five of Lincoln’s top 10 and 11 of its top 20 dealerships worldwide, ranked by sales in 2016, are based in China.

Baojun 560 China 2016b. Picture courtesy autohome.com.cn…as well as for the Baojun 560 at #10.

A veteran to the Chinese market, PSA Peugeot Citroen had missed the SUV boat until the launch of the 4008 late last year and as a result sees its sales freefall 16% to 618.123 units, its joint-venture with Dongfeng seeing a 15% drop to 602.000 and its partnership with Changan for the DS brand imploding 34% to just 16.123 vehicles. A recent entrant to the local production arena, Jeep shows a 16-fold increase in its China-made sales to a splendid 129.516 units, while Renault, local producer since June in partnership with Dongfeng, is up 82% to 36.525 deliveries including 30.026 China-made. With Acura poised to kick start local production in 2017, Subaru and Lexus are the only main manufacturer not having a foot in the Chinese market so far. Fiat, back to local production in 2012, hasn’t launched any new nameplate since the original introduction of the Viaggio and Ottimo, consequently seeing its deliveries come to an almost full stop at -60%.

2016 Best-selling China-made brands by segment (wholesale data – source CAAM):

Pos Brand Sedan sales
1 Volkswagen 2,717,352
2 Toyota 811,743
3 Buick 802,876
4 Hyundai 753,583
5 Nissan 665,011
6 Ford 660,108
7 Honda 601,064
8 Geely 502,368
9 Chevrolet 479,069
10 Kia 430,204
Pos Brand SUV sales
1 Haval 938,019
2 Changan 540,644
3 Honda 515,562
4 Hyundai 384,542
5 Buick 347,328
6 GAC Trumpchi 343,438
7 Nissan 342,050
8 Baojun 321,555
9 Ford 288,573
10 JAC 272,780
Pos Brand MPV sales
1 Wuling 667,629
2 Baojun 370,169
3 Changan 277,973
4 Dongfeng Fengxing 156,922
5 Weiwang 134,306
6 Huansu 120,689
7 Dongfeng Fengguang 112,359
8 Buick 79,600
9 Jinbei 71,399
10 Honda 71,041

In the China-made passenger car brands ranking (wholesale data), Volkswagen (+13%) crosses the symbolic 3 million unit-mark ahead of Buick (+19%), Honda (+22%) and Changan (+24%) while Hyundai (+7%) tumbles down from #2 last year to #5 and Toyota (+5%) drops two ranks to #6. Looking at sedans only, Volkswagen’s domination is glaring with 2.7m units vs. just 811.700 for the 2nd best-seller – Toyota – with Buick, Hyundai and Nissan in tow. Among Chinese manufacturers, only Geely manages a Top 10 sedan ranking thanks to the Emgrand EC7. Yet Volkswagen doesn’t make it to the Top 10 SUV nor MPV brands, both rankings dominated by Chinese fares. In the SUV aisle, Haval and Changan dominate ahead of Honda, Hyundai and Buick while in the MPV segment Wuling, Baojun, Changan, Dongfeng Fengxing and Weiwang are tops. Buick and Honda are the only foreign brands to appear in all three rankings.

Chery Arrizo 5 China 2016. Picture courtesy auto.sina.com.cnThe Chery Arrizo 5 is the most popular all-new nameplate for 2016…

Model-wise, the Wuling Hongguang is the best-selling vehicle in the country for the fourth straight year and has stabilised around 650.000 annual units. It ranked #1 seven times and peaked at an all-time record 82.543 units in December. But the most impressive performer is the Haval H6 surging 56% to an astounding 580.683 units – including the H6, H6 Sport and H6 Coupe. To give perspective to this figure, here are three other: firstly that’s almost 100.000 units more than the VW Golf in the whole of Europe, secondly the Nissan Qashqai, #1 SUV in Europe 31 countries (incl. Turkey and Russia), sold less than half that amount over the entire continent last year (271.428) and thirdly the Honda CR-V, #1 SUV in the USA, sold a mere 357.335 units there last year… The H6 broke its monthly sales record no less than five time in 2016, lifting it to 46.075 (March), 53.268 (September), 56.667 (October), 70.292 (November) and finally 80.495 in December, the third largest-ever monthly volume for any nameplate in China.

Geely Boyue China 2016. Picture courtesy che.com…followed by the Geely Boyue...

In third place overall, the VW Lavida follows the market at +16% and remains the best-selling foreigner in China. At a fair distance, the Buick Excelle GT gains 28% to land in 4th place just above the Baojun 730 up another 15% and crossing the symbolic 50.000 monthly sales milestone in December. The GAC Trumpchi GS4 ends its first full year of sales at a flamboyant 9th place, lightyears ahead of any previous nameplate the brand had launched in the past. The Baojun 560 also breaks into the annual Chinese Top 10 for its first full year, becoming in January the fastest nameplate to reach 40.000 monthly sales (7 months). Its second half of 2016 was a lot more subdued though. Other great performers this year include the Ford Escort (+38%) and the Buick Envision, now China’s best-selling foreign SUV ahead of the VW Tiguan. Confirming their newfound stranglehold on the booming segment, 6 of the Top 10 best-selling SUVs in 2016 are Chinese (see table below).

2016 Best-selling SUVs in China:

Pos Model /15
1 Haval H6 56%
2 GAC Trumpchi GS4 150%
3 Baojun 560 122%
4 Buick Envision 69%
5 VW Tiguan -5%
6 ChangAn CS75 12%
7 JAC Refine S3 1%
8 Haval H2 17%
9 Honda CR-V 15%
10 Nissan X-Trail 8%

As a result of out monthly series “Focus on the all-new models” it’s only natural to dedicate a section to the most popular all-new models of 2016. The #1 isn’t in fact a true new nameplate (the Hyundai Elantra Lingdong), which makes the “true” king of all-new models the Chery Arrizo 5 at #54 with almost 130.000 units. A surprise success given the paltry performances of the previous Arrizo launches, the 5 puts Chery back on the Chinese sedan map, even ranking #2 in its segment over the last quarter of 2016. Next is the Geely Boyue (109.000), symbolising the – late – arrival of Geely in the booming SUV segment, 2017 will see the Boyue tease the best-sellers in the segment. Something the Roewe RX5 (90.000), #6 SUV in China in December, is already doing, in the meantime resuscitating the Roewe brand. No surprise: the next five most popular newcomers are all SUVs: the Dongfeng Fengguang 580, Changan CX70, BAIC Senova X35, Kia KX5 and Geely Emgrand GS…

roewe-rx5-china-2016…and the Roewe RX5.

Note: Main article data is retail sales unless indicated otherwise, data tables below are wholesales. Overall market = Light vehicles + Commercial trucks and buses. Light vehicles = passenger cars + microvans. Passenger cars = sedans+SUV+MPV.

Previous post: China December 2016: Haval up 73%, Geely up 101% in final tax rush

Previous year posts:

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

China Full Year 2015: Discover the Top 137 All-brands (BSCB Exclusive)

China LCV Full Year 2015: Sales transfer to mini pickups boosts Wuling Mini Truck to #1

Two years ago: China Full Year 2014: Growth cools to 7% to record 23.5 million units

Full Year 2016 Top 83 All China-made brands and Top 520 All models vs. Full Year 2015 figures below.

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

Haval H2s China December 2016Haval sells a record 136.522 units in December. Only Volkswagen and Hyundai do better.

* See the Top 75 China-made brands and Top 422 models by clicking on the title *

If you thought all records that could possibly be broken already have in China this year, think again. Consumers take advantage of the last month of purchase tax for vehicles with small engines reduced to 5% to once again flock to dealerships en masse. Light vehicle sales are up 9.1% to 2.67 million units, the largest ever monthly figure in China – and any country in the world. If sedans are down 3% year-on-year this month to 1.251.299 units and MPVs down 0.3% to 269.496, SUVs continue to be the sole responsible for the Chinese market growth in December, catapulting up 33% on December 2015 to establish a 4th all-time monthly record in as many months. After September (891.612), October (919.279) and November (1.023.633), December SUV sales lift the all-time high bar to 1.081.014 units. It is indeed only the second month in history that SUV monthly sales surpass 1 million in China. Freefalling microvans make up the rest of light vehicle sales.

Geely Boyue China December 2016. Picture courtesy bitauto.comGeely more than doubles its sales year-on-year at +101% to a record 109.328.

In the brands ranking – with all figures in this article excluding imports and LCVs – Volkswagen doubles the market growth at +13% followed by Hyundai up 14%. The performer of the month is without a doubt Chinese SUV specialist Haval, up a gigantic 73% to a record 136.522 deliveries, shooting up to third best-selling brand overall in China. This month, Haval outsells household names such as Honda (133.225), Buick (123.278), Nissan (109.982), Ford (99.788) and Toyota (92.019), and sells almost three times as many SUVs than its followers in the segment: Changan (52.099) and Honda (50.623). The Haval H6 lodges a third straight monthly record: after 56.666 sales in October, 70.292 in November, no less than 80.485 H6 found a new home in December, up 89% year-on-year. Haval even has the two best-selling SUVs in the country this month with the H2 up 76% to 35.284, boosted by the arrival of the H2s. Finally the H7 continues to gear up with a new record at 10.852 sales.

Baojun 560 730 China December 2016Baojun sells over 100.000 monthly units for the very first time in December.

Geely is the other stunning performer in December with once again sales doubling year-on-year at +101% to 109.328, a new record for the brand which has now posted six-digit sales figures for the second consecutive month – and ever. The Emgrand EC7 remains the brand’s best-seller at 28.539 units (+21%) but the Boyue SUV is catching up fast, crossing a new milestone at 20.377 sales. The Emgrand GS (10.222) and GL (10.103) also break their monthly record while the Vision (12.028) and Vision SUV (10.526) maintain themselves at very robust levels. Baojun is the third Chinese brand above 100.000 sales in December, and it passes its signpost for the first time in its history thanks to all-time high performances by the 730 MPV (50.128) and 310 hatch (17.896).

Mercedes E Class L China December 2016Mercedes is the #1 luxury brand in China for the first time this month, outselling Audi. 

Further down, notice Changan (+43%), Dongfeng (+12%), Chery (+25%), Peugeot (+12%), GAC Trumpchi (+30%) and Roewe (+189%) resuscitated by the RX5 SUV breaking its monthly record again to 24.778 and 7th best-selling SUV. Historical event in the luxury brands ranking: for the first time in the history of automobile in China, Mercedes takes the lead thanks to a 14% lift to 34.582 sales, dethroning Audi down 42% to 27.063 while BMW lurks in third place at 26.427 (+9%). Mercedes is taking advantage of exceptional performances by the new E-Class (+72%) and GLC (+92%). Among smaller brands, Lifan up 108% thanks to the Myway at a record 10.138, Cadillac up 168% thanks to the CT6 and XT5, Jeep up 144% with the Cherokee and Renegade now joined by the Compass, JMC up 380% and Changhe up 99% are among the biggest gainers. We also welcome two new brands: Bisu and Horki. More detail in our “Focus on all-new models” December update coming shortly.

Bisu logoWe welcome the new brand Bisu this month in China. 

In the models ranking, other notable record-breakers this month include the Chery Arrizo 5 (21.148) now comfortably installed in 2nd place in the Chinese passenger car ranking below the Geely Emgrand EC7, the Hyundai New Verna (19.080), BYD Song (18.178), Dongfeng Fengguang 580 (17.078), BAIC Senova X35 (16.348), Peugeot 408 (14.855), Chevrolet Cavalier (14.834), Ford Edge (13.837), Chery Tiggo 7 (11.039), Citroen C3-XR (10.239), Jeep Cherokee (10.109), JMC Yusheng (9.623), SWM X7 (7.168), BAW BJ20 (6.637) and Hanteng X7 (6.031).

GAC Trumpchi GS8 China December 2016Launched in November, the GAC Trumpchi GS8 has already surpassed its BSCB bar for success. 

Among nameplates launched last month, three comfortably cross the 5.000 monthly sales milestone: the Karry K60 is first to the finish line in December with 6.829 sales, up 160% on its inaugural month, but it is followed closely by the Zotye SR9 up 105% to 6.747. The most impressive performance however is tdelivered by the GAC Trumpchi GS8 up 160% to 6.501 sales and mimicking the success of its little brother the GS4, a lot more affordable. Priced between 163.800 and 259.800 yuan (US$23.500 – 37.300), the GS8 has already smashed the bar for success we established at 6.000 sales. The Renault Koleos is up 9% to remain above the Kadjar but the VW C-Trek surprisingly dives 51% to just 2.772 sales. This month’s all-new nameplates will be covered in a separate post shortly.

Previous month: China November 2016: One million SUVs lift market up 17%

One year ago: China December 2015: Tax cut lifts market up 17% to all-time record

Full December 2016 Top 75 China-made brands and Top 422 models below.

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