China November 2014: Focus on the all-new models

Haval H1 China November 2014. Picture courtesy of auto.qq.comThe Haval H1 is the most successful new entrant in China this month.

* See the Top 343 best-selling local models by clicking on the title *

As is the tradition on BSCB, after exploring the monthly Chinese ranking, we feature in detail the all-new models making their first appearance in the world’s biggest car market this month. Keep in mind these are models produced locally as imports data is a very well-kept secret in China still. If anyone needed a proof that the ‘cooling off’ of the Chinese market is merely an optical illusion, here it is: in November, no less than 12 all-new nameplates entered production in the country – including 9 Chinese and 6 SUVs. Production doesn’t mean sales I hear you say and you would be right, however that is the same amount of new nameplates that would enter the U.S. market in a year. It is also the highest amount of new entrants in a single month since BSCB inaugurated this ‘Focus on all-new models’ series 18 months ago and more than double the 5 new nameplates launched in November 2013.

Haval H1 China November 2014. Picture courtesy of Haval H1 interior. Picture courtesy of H1 detail

1. Haval H1 (#97 with 6,066 sales)

That the 3 most successful new entrants this month are Chinese SUVs and the Top 2 from the SUV-only Haval brand is no coincidence. Haval was by far the most impressive Chinese manufacturer at the 2014 Beijing Auto Show (more here: Beijing Auto Show 2014: The most impressive Chinese carmaker: Haval). The success of the brand has pushed its parent company, Great Wall, to all but ditch the rest of its brands – namely its namesake brand which wasn’t even present in Beijing. Haval has gone from a two-model lineup (H5 and H6) to a full blown 6 models in less than 12 months. The H1 is the latest and smallest arrival, but also the one that has the most potential in export markets given the current craze for small SUVs in Europe notably. The Haval H1 is based on the Great Wall Voleex C20R crossover, so development costs have been minimal and will have maximum effects. It is priced between 68.900 and 82.900 yuan ($11.100-13.400). The sky is the limit for the H1 which benefits from the solid Haval brand image but offers a crossover at a reduced price. Could this become Haval’s best-seller at home?

Bar for success: #50 or 10,000 monthly sales

Haval H9 China November 2014. Picture courtesy of cheshi

2. Haval H9 (#172 with 2,242 units)

The second Haval SUV to hit Chinese dealerships this month is the H9, the largest vehicle ever developed by Great Wall Motors. It is priced between 229.800 and 272.800 yuan ($37.200-44.100) which puts it in the same sandpit as the Honda CR-V and VW Tiguan, however it is much larger than these two and is actually aiming at eroding the success of such established vehicles as the Toyota Land Cruiser, Prado, Highlander and Mitsubishi Pajero. Bigger is better in China and the H9 will climb the sales ladder very high and very fast. Haval has gone to great lengths to make sure the H9 doesn’t disappoint. The interior is sleek with high quality materials and the infotainment system comes with a permanent internet connection.

Bar for success: #70 or 8,000 monthly sales

Dongfeng Fengshen AX7 China November 2014. Picture courtesy of

3. Dongfeng Fengshen AX7 (#187 with 1,956 deliveries)

Only two months after the Fengshen A30, Dongfeng launches the  mid-priced Fengshen sub-brand’s very first SUV: the AX7. After the S30 sedan in 2010, the H30 and H30 Cross hatchbacks in 2011 and the A60 sedan in 2012, Dongfeng is accelerating Fengshen and will also launch a full-size luxury sedan shortly. It is priced between 115.700 and 149.700 yuan ($18.700-24.200), positioning it in a very competitive segment of the SUV market. Taking exterior cues from the Honda CR-V and Hyundai Santa Fe and featuring an extra-large centre console screen, the AX7 undercuts these nameplates by 50% price-wise and will go full frontal with a slew of very successful Chinese SUVs like the Haval H6 and ChangAn CS75. Landing directly inside the Top 200, the AX7 will almost certainly become the Fengshen’s sub-brand’s best-seller in the coming months. The A30 is #145 but the H30/S30 (#193) and A60 (#231) are already below the AX7.

Bar for success: #100 or 5,000 monthly sales

Chery Arrizo 3 China November 2014

4. Chery Arrizo 3 (#194 with 1,777 sales)

The Chery Arrizo is the second car under the new classier Arrizo sub-brand after the Arrizo 7 that launched in September 2013, peaking at 4,251 units and #122 in January. The Arrizo 7 interestingly ranks just below the Arrizo 3 this month at #197. This new compact sedan is competitively priced between 53.900 and 75.900 yuan ($8.700-12.300) but enters a very crowded segment. However Chery has big plans for the Arrizo sub-brand: the Arrizo 5 is on the way, as well as an entry-level sedan called Arrizo 1 and a handful of hatchbacks called Arrizo 2, 4, and 6, then an MPV called Arrizo 8. Yes you counted well, that’s 8 new models in roughly two years. No SUV in the cards though, that’s the specialty of the Chery Tiggo family.

Bar for success: #100 or 5,000 monthly sales

Kia K3s China November 2014. Picture courtesy of

5. Kia K3S (#199 with 1,593 units)

The Kia K3S is the hatchback variant of the Kia K3, finally landing two long years after the sedan’s launch. It will be integrated into K3 sales figures from next month onwards but for now it is one of the 12 all-new nameplates to break into the Chinese ranking in November. The K3S is priced from 101.800 to 143.800 yuan ($16.500-23.300) and will compete with the likes of the Buick Excelle XT and Fiat Ottimo. As most hatchbacks in China, a country of sedans, the K3S is marketed as a sporty car to young people, whereas the K3 sedan is aimed at traditional buyers. If exterior and interior looks fit the sporty positioning, the old 1.6L engine does not cut it. Typically the Excelle GT sedans sells 4 times as much as the Excelle XT hatchback while the Fiat Viaggio sells roughly at 3 times the rate of the Ottimo hatchback. These are the sales benchmarks for the K3S vs. K3 sedan.

Bar for success: #150 or 3,500 monthly sales.

BYD S7 China November 2014

6. BYD S7 (#220 with 1,002 deliveries)

An excruciatingly long 18 months after its original presentation at the 2013 Shanghai Auto Show, the BYD S7 7-seater SUV finally hits the Chinese sales charts in November. The S7 is essentially an upgraded S6 that it should kill once it gets into sales cruising mode. An interesting marketing element BYD will surely milk to death is the fact that the BYD S7 features a built-in air purifier, the first car in the world to do so. The S7 is priced between 119k and 139.9k yuan ($19.200-22.600), much cheaper than the 150k-190k yuan price range local website had anticipated, and therefore becoming a very strong cannibalisation threat for the S6. Indeed if the S6 is up 12% year-to-date, it is already down 19% in November.

Bar for success: 4,500 monthly sales

Infiniti Q50L China November 2014. Picture courtesy of

7. Infiniti Q50L (#221 with 998 sales)

The Infiniti Q50L is a China-only stretched variant of the Infiniti Q50, manufactured by the Dongfeng-Infiniti joint venture and the first Infiniti ever to be made in China. It is stretched by just 4.5cm while most China-only stretched vehicles are extended by at least 6 to max 12cm. Priced from 280k to 320k yuan ($45.300-$51.700), the Q50L will compete with the Audi A4L (10,733 sales in November), BMW 3 Series L (7,656), Mercedes C-Class L (3,899), Volvo S60L (2,431) and Cadillac ATS-L (1,995). Sales forecast for the Q50L are unchartered territory as the first locally-produced Infiniti, but Nissan’s grip on the Chinese car market should allow it to battle with the big boys mentioned above.

Bar for success: 3,000 monthly sales

Zotye fun Beijing 2014bThe Zotye 500 at the 2014 Beijing Auto Show

8. Zotye Z500 (#225 with 912 units)

Fast-growing Chinese manufacturer Zotye tops up its range with the new Z500 sedan, the brand’s largest sedan so far. Now only missing is the Z400 which will be a crossover based on the Z300. Modern design inside and out, leather seats Bentley-style and large centre console screen: Zotye means business with the Z500 and has priced it at a very attractive 76.800 to 101.800 yuan ($12.400-16.500), undercutting the similarly-sized Kia K4 and Hyundai Mistra by half. The Z500 is powered by a new 1.5L turbo four-cylinder petrol engine giving 150hp. with a new 1.8L and 1.8L turbo launched later in 2015. Zotye is going from strength to strength with the large T600 SUV, beating monthly sales records one year after its launch at #69 and 8,221 units in November, however its sedan range is in need of a sales boost, with its best-selling Z300 down 17% so far in 2014. The Z500 could be the answer.

Bar for success: 4,000 monthly sales

Geely Emgrand GX9 Pride China November 2014. Picture courtesy of

9. Geely Emgrand GX9 Pride (#244 with 661 deliveries)

The design-challenged Geely Emgrand GX9 Pride 5-seater SUV finally launches in China, a full 5 years after its debut as the Emgrand EX8 concept at the 2009 Shanghai Auto Show. Geely has decided its slightly upper-scale Emgrand brand will become a sub-brand with its own logo, and this applies to the GX9 Pride which slots above the Geely GX7. It is priced between 122.900 and 152.900 yuan ($19.900-$24.700), positioning it at the high-end of the cheap-SUV market. Freed by the streamlining of all Geely’s confusing brands, the GX7 is up 38% in November to almost 7,000 sales and the GX9 should be able to reach at least half that level in the near future.

Bar for success: 4,500 monthly sales

Lifan X50 China November 2014. Picture courtesy of

10. Lifan X50 (#254 with 502 sales)

Lifan is getting onto the booming small-SUV bandwagon with the X50, based on the 530 sedan. Looking a little like a previous generation Opel Mokka if it existed, the Lifan X50 is priced between 59.800 and 82.800 yuan ($9.700-13.400), and will fight head-to-head with instant blockbusters like the JAC Refine S3 (#20 with 15,004 sales in November), Haval H1 described earlier (#97 with 6,066 units) and also the Beijing Huansu S2 (#177 with 2,101 sales). Lifan is trying to shake off its bargain basement image, but with such conservative styling and an awfully black and cheap-looking dashboard, the road ahead is still long and perilous. Its big brother the Lifan X60 is a long-term success both at home (+60% YOY in November) and in such export markets as Russia, Brazil or Iran, so the prospects are good for the X50.

Bar for success: #100 or 6,000 monthly sales

Chery eQ China November 2014. Picture courtesy of

11. Chery eQ (#302 with 136 units)

The Chery eQ is the electric variant of the diminutive Chery QQ and its starting price is 150.000 yuan or $24.200. Yes you have read this correctly. Thankfully the Chinese government is slashing that price by almost 100.000 yuan with its green-car subsidies to a 59.800 to 64.800 yuan range ($9.700-10.500), making it a much more attractive choice. Blue wheels come standard and the electric motor delivers 57hp for a range of 200km, a 100km/h top speed and a 8-10 hour charging time. Given the limited success of electric cars in China so far, Chery better not expect sales records to be broken but this is by far the cheapest offer in the segment so it will be interesting to follow its sales progression.

Bar for success: 1,000 monthly units

VW Lamando China November 2014. Picture courtesy of

12. VW Lamando (#323 with 28 deliveries)

Volkswagen adds to its ever-growing China-only range with the Lamando, based on the MQB platform that also underpins the Golf 7. Its a coupe-styled sedan that can best be described as a Jetta CC, a good 35cm shorter than the CC currently on sale worldwide. Volkswagen is launching the Lamando as a pre-emptive strike agains the very popular Mercedes CLA, currently imported into China but that will be made locally by the Beijing Auto-Benz joint venture in the near future. Currently in pre-production for an official launch in market in December, the Lamando’s starting price will be around 180.000 yuan or $29.000

Bar for success: #100 or 6,000 monthly sales

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

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

One year ago: China November 2013: Focus on the all-new models

Full November 2014 Top 343 models Ranking Table below.

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China October 2014: Focus on the all-new models

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

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

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

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

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

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

Volvo S60L China October 2014. Picture courtesy of

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

Even though it launched at the end of last year, monthly sales of the Volvo S60L only pop up now, along with two other Volvos detailed further. Looks like Volvo is suddenly sharing sales figures of its locally-produced models in China. The S60L gets spit out in a new Geely-funded Volvo factory in Chengdu in central China, and as is the convention here, the L means this is a stretched variant of the S60 designed uniquely to China to allow more leg space for passengers in the back seats, simply because a large part of customers in this category do not actually drive the cars themselves, leaving this strenuous task to their drivers. Priced between 269.600 and 348.900 yuan (US$44k-57k), the S60L has for main rivals the Audi A4L, BMW 3 Series L and upcoming Mercedes C-Class L.

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

DS 6 China October 2014. Picture courtesy of

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

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

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

Honda Vezel China October 2014. Picture courtesy of

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

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

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

Volvo XC60 China October 2014. Picture courtest of

5. Volvo XC60 (#234 and 706 units)

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

Yema F16 China October 2014. Picture courtesy of

6. Yema F16 (#254 with 388 deliveries)

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

Yema F16 interiorYema F16 interior

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

Volvo XC Classic China October 2014. Picture courtesy of

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

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

FAW Junpai D60 China October 2014. Picture courtesy of

8. FAW Junpai D60 (#294 and 89 units)

Originally called the FAW Xiali T012 and still referred to as such in CAAM’s official sales statistics, the FAW Junpai D60 is yet another small Chinese SUV hitting the roads this year. FAW doesn’t learn and keeps creating new sub-brands that are perfect for confusing us and, well, the Chinese consumer as well, no doubt. Last arrival: Junpai with the D60, manufactured by Tianjin-FAW and priced between 64.900 and 99.900 yuan or US$10.600-16.300.

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

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

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

9. MG GT (#314 with 13 deliveries)

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

MG GT interiorMG GT interior

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

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

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China September 2014: Focus on the all-new models

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Previous post: China September 2014: Baojun 730 instant sales blockbuster

Previous month: China August 2014: Focus on the all-new models

One year ago: China September 2013: Focus on the all-new models

Full September 2014 Top 325 models Ranking Table below.

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China August 2014: Focus on the all-new models

Baojun 730 family

* See the Top 319 All-local models ranking by clicking on the title! *

As is the tradition on BSCB we pay special attention to the all-new models making their first appearance in China each month. And August 2014 has been the busiest month since we started this new monthly update over a year ago. No less than 8 new entrants, and most of them are pretty high profile models with very strong potential.

1. Baojun 730

One of the most important launches of the year, the Baojun 730 lands directly at #26 with 12,006 sales. Assuming this is the correct figure for August (and not the addition of pre-sales occurring over a couple of months), the Baojun 730 is already the #2 MPV below the Wuling Honguang and it simply delivers the strongest first month of any passenger car in China… ever. Previous best is the Hyundai Elantra Langdong at 11,613 units back in August 2012, however that wasn’t a ‘true’ first month as the model was incorporated into overall Elantra nameplate sales for a couple of months at first. The 730 is also the second best first ranking below that same Elantra Langdong (#21). Based on the Langdong’s first month vagueness, the Baojun 730 could well be the first passenger car in China to directly sell over 10,000 units for its first month.. All these records broken already, and there is a very good reason behind it.

A few months ago following my trip to remote Western China, I noted that a large part of the rural Chinese population, now getting wealthier, was upgrading from minivans to MPV in order to accommodate both a commercial use of their vehicle but also extended family transport (see Strategy: How can Chinese brands unlock their home market?). The advertising illustration above is spot on and reflects the main reason behind the booming popularity of affordable MPVs: the practicality and roominess of a large van for the price of a sedan. The Wuling Hongguang is head and shoulders above all other models in the Chinese market (let alone MPVs) so it does make sense that a similar model created by the same company would also be a hit.

Baojun is a relatively new low-cost brand initiated 3 years ago by the SAIC-GM-Wuling joint-venture with the 630 sedan. This sedan has been successful enough to keep the Baojun brand afloat (as opposed to Linian or Ciimo) but only crossed the 10,000 monthly sales milestone once (10,220 in December 2013) and broke into the top 50 twice since its original appearance in August 2011 (#46 in October 2012 and #49 in December 2013). So the 730 has already smashed the brand’s records for its first month. The Baojun 730 debuted at the Beijing Auto Show and I reported about it at the time. According to Carnewschina, the 730 starts at 69.800 yuan and ends at 81.800 (US$11.400 – 13.300), an absolute bargain indeed and as such without real competitor as it slots below the Wuling Hongguang in terms of price.

Toyota Levin China August 2014. Picture courtesy of

2. Toyota Levin

A new nameplate but a familiar model, the Toyota Levin lands at #62 with 6,588 sales. This is one fine example of the counter-productive (?) joint-venture situation in the Chinese automotive market. Toyota has two joint ventures in China: while FAW-Toyota gets the European model, supposed to look sophisticated (read boring) and aimed at older buyers, Guangzhou-Toyota gets a sporty (only in design) version of the US model, aimed at younger buyers. The engines and prices (120.000-160.000 yuan, that’s US$19.550-26.100) are exactly the same though. The new gen Corolla is currently accounted for under the general ‘Corolla’ nameplate at #16 this month.

What’s the Levin potential? Well it is already Toyota’s 4th best-selling sedan below the Corolla, Camry and Vios, all established nameplates with years of previous sales behind them. So in a way we already have a mission accomplished here, and any future milestones (a Top 50 seems assured but a Top 25 harder) will be impressive. Tycho from Carnewschina gives a pretty accurate description of this join-venture doubling up mess: “All this waste of resources and marketing money is a rather typical result of the weird joint-venture system. Volkswagen, Honda and others are also selling various cars manufactured by their various joint ventures that are competing with each other, instead of with the competition. The Toyota marketing plan sounds like a good idea in theory.” But then a ‘sporty’ Toyota Corolla was also seen on the Toyota booth at the Beijing Auto Show. Wait wasn’t it supposed to be the sophisticated, boring one of the two?

Having said all this, the Levin delivers in terms of sales. So perhaps this double joint-venture situation is not that penalising after all.

Beijing Auto Huansu S2 S3. Picture courtesy of fblife.comBeijing Auto Huansu S2 and S3

Next we have two small SUVs by the same automaker, making their first appearance in the Chinese ranking exactly at the same time, along with a new sub-brand: Beijing Auto Huansu (translated as ‘magic speed’). These two SUVs are built in the city of Chongqing by Beiqi Yinxiang Automobile, a new joint-venture between Beijing Auto (Beiqi) and the Yinxiang Motorcycle Group, and as such they both sport the logo of the joint-venture and not the Beijing Auto one – confusing, as always. This joint venture also makes the new Beijing Auto Weiwang M20 mini-MPV that launched on the Chinese market last year (and yet another sub-brand!).

Beijing Auto Huansu S3. Picture courtesy of

3. Beijing Auto Huansu S3

The Beijing Auto Huansu S3 lands directly at #85 with 5,280 sales. It is a seven-seater very affordably priced between 61.800 and 72.800 yuan (US$10.100-11.900), positioning it across the two fastest growing market segments in China: small SUVs and MPVs. As described above with the Baojun 730, many Chinese car buyers, especially young families, have discovered these segments as a preferable alternative over similarly prices sedans or hatchbacks that tend to be much smaller inside. On top of this, the Huansu S3 is one of only two mass seven-seats SUVs at this price level, competing with the FAW Daihatsu Xenia S80 (#204). In this context its current ranking is already redefining the budget 7-seat SUV sales potential, so anything frankly up like a Top 50 ranking would trigger other Chinese carmakers to follow suit very soon.

Beijing Auto Hansun S2. Picture courtesy of

4. Beijing Auto Huansu S2

The 5-seater variant of the S3, the Beijing Auto Huansu S2 launches a little lower at #122 and 3,520 units. Price starts at an even more enticing 58.800 yuan (US$9.600) and ends at 69.800 yuan (US$11.400). While the S3 ventures into unknown (but promising) territory given its larger size, the S2 slots into a very successful segment in China, competing with the Great Wall M4 (best ranking: #23), Chery Tiggo3 (currently #28) and Changan CS35 (best: #43), all crossing the 10,000 monthly sales milestone at some stage. It might take a bit of time to establish the Beijing Auto brand in this segment but the demand is there and a Top 60 ranking within the next 12 months would be a fantastic achievement.

GAC Trumpchi GA3S China. Picture courtesy of

5. GAC Trumpchi GA3S

Not really a new model per se but worth mentioning because of its uniqueness, the GAC Trumpchi GA3S arrives in 157th position with 2,333 sales in August. It is the sporty version of the GAC Trumpchi GA3 launched 18 months ago and currently ranking #256 with 399 units sold, after peaking at #135 and 4,041 sales last December. There. That’s why I’ve singled out the GA3S as it sold almost 6 times more than its ‘non-sporty’ version in August, which is rather unusual and extremely interesting. Guangzhou Auto (GAC) has two sub-brands, each with their own logo: budget Gonow and masstige Trumpchi, one of the most impressive carmakers at the Beijing Auto Show in my view (I ranked it #3) while Gonow was one of the worst at #28… A history-making large scale product placement in Hollywood mega-budget Transformers 4 this year is starting to put GAC Trumpchi on the worldwide map and the GA3S could soon join the GS5 SUV (best ranking: #56) inside the monthly Top 100.

Kia K4 China August 2014. Picture courtesy of

6. Kia K4

Another very important new nameplate to make its first appearance in the Chinese ranking in August is the Kia K4 at #163 with 2,094 sales. The K4 is a China-only compact sedan, Kia’s version of the very successful Hyundai Mistra that has sold over 10,000 monthly units in China for the past 6 consecutive months after peaking at 11,749 last January. Even though Kia pushes the premium design cues as hard as Hyundai does in China, it is positioned cheaper and as such the K4 starts lower at 128.800 yuan (US$20,990) vs. 149.800 (US$24.700) for the Mistra. Both models end at 189.900 yuan (US$31.300). Other main competitors are the VW Sagitar (#4 in August), Honda CRider (personal best of #10 last December) and Citroen C4L (#70 highest). Chinese sales of Kia sedans average around 75% of their Hyundai counterparts, which would place the K4 just under 100,000 annual units and edging into the Top 50. Still far from it but it should be the benchmark for success.

JAC Refine S3 China August 2014. Picture courtesy of

7. JAC Refine S3

The fifth new Chinese model to make its debut at home in August is the JAC Refine S3, originally unveiled at the Beijing Auto Show, at #166 with 2,000 units sold. The Refine S3 is yet another mini SUV taking advantage of the sales surge in this segment over the past 24 months. It is priced between 65.800 and 84.800 yuan (US$10.700-13.800) and, like the Beijing Auto Huansu S2 described above, will compete against the 10,000 monthly sale-topping Great Wall M4, Chery Tiggo3 and Changan CS35. JAC already has a foot in the SUV segment with the Refine S5 (#151 so far in 2014) so may have an easier time than Beijing Auto to impose its own S3. However we may be nearing saturation in the Chinese mini-SUV segment: is there really more room for yet another mini clone of the Hyundai ix35? JAC thinks so as the S3 is part of a heavy SUV attack that will also include the S2 and the Heyue S1 in the coming months.

Cadillac ATS-L China August 2014. Picture courtesy of

8. Cadillac ATS-L

Finally the 8th and last new entrant this month in China is a model well known to all of you but which has just kicked off local production, thus now allowing it a spot in this ranking (no imports model data is communicated in China): the Cadillac ATS at #197 with 1,160 sales. However as it is the case for most sedans in the luxury category, the owner is not the driver and more backseat legroom is required: the Cadillac ATS is manufactured in China exclusively in an extended wheelbase version called ATS-L, like the BMW 5 Series L and Audi A6L. The ATS-L is only the second Cadillac to rank in China this year along with the XTS at #145 in August and #149 year-to-date, so it is starting at a solid level for the brand and in time to pre-empt Lincoln’s launch in the country.

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Full August 2014 Top 319 All-local models Ranking Table below.

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China July 2014: Focus on the all-new models

Venucia R30 China July 2014. Picture courtesy of R30

* See the Top 318 models by clicking on the title! Thanks Carnewschina for the pricing info *

As is the tradition on BSCB, after going through detailed sales figures for July, I spend a bit more time acknowledging the all-new entrants in the models ranking, to ensure you are across the latest news in the biggest car market in the world. After a surprisingly quiet month of June (no new model!), July is back to the traditional 4 all-new models making their first appearance in the Chinese ranking, like in April and May. Keep in mind all models detailed here are locally produced as import data for China is not communicated.

First in line we have the Venucia R30 landing at #164 with 1,662 sales. Quick reminder for you readers that Venucia is the low-cost brand created by the Dongfeng-Nissan joint venture, for the moment only selling in China and distributed via the existing Nissan dealer network. The R30 is based on the current Nissan March and is the 4th model launched under the Venucia brand after the D50 and R50 both based on the previous generation Nissan Tiida and the Morning Wind, a rebadged Nissan Leaf with a very unfortunate name. This makes Venucia the most prolific low-cost Chinese brand so far, taking the lead on SAIC GM’s Baojun.

Venucia R30 China July 2014. Picture courtesy of R30

The R30 will primarily be marketed in second and third tier cities where price matters more than badge, as the R30 is very conveniently priced indeed: starting at a cut-throat 39.900 yuan (US$ 6.490) and ending at 49.900 (US$ 8.100): straight in the territory of the legendary Chery QQ which is more expensive, smaller, less powerful and losing 47% year-on-year in July at a low #117… Another model in the R30’s line of fire is the (also smaller and less powerful) BYD F0, itself down 30% to #154, with the R30 already not far below for its first month of sales in the country. As a reference point, the R50/D50 currently ranks #48 year-to-date with just over 60,000 sales, so a monthly Top 100 ranking very soon for the R30 seems unavoidable, and a Top 50 ranking this end of Christmas would mark a significant change of guard and the advent of a new Chinese brand that could do wonders overseas…

Mazda CX-7 China July 2014. Picture courtesy of xgo.comLanding as all-new this month: the Mazda CX-7!

Just below at #179 with 1,328 sales we have a well-known nameplate but its appearance as a new model is rather puzzling. Discontinued in 2012 to make room for the CX-5, the Mazda CX-7 just launched as an all-new locally-produced model in China by the FAW-Mazda joint-venture! This is actually a pretty clever move in an SUV market growing at 20%+ with room for many more models than the US for example. Priced between 199.800 and 237.800 yuan (US$ 32.500-38.700), the CX-7 could help Mazda sandwich SUVs like the VW Tiguan (#10 this month), Toyota RAV4 (#23), Nissan X-Trail (#24) and Honda CR-V (#66) along the CX-5 at the other end. Keeping in mind the CX-5 is currently #110 so far in 2014, I don’t see the CX-7 climbing too much higher than #120 but then again, it could go much higher in a market that tend to like their SUVs bigger and doesn’t mind them old-fashioned – see the Nissan Qashqai first generation still on sale…

Haval H2Haval H2 at the 2014 Beijing Auto Show

The most promising all-new model to make its first appearance in the Chinese ranking this month is the Haval H2, the little brother of the tremendously successful Haval H5 and H6, landing at #184 with 1,260 sales. If you are a regular BSCB reader, you will know that Haval has been the best-selling SUV brand/sub-brand in China for the past 12 years and that it impressed me so much at the last Beijing Auto Show that I chose it as the Show’s ballsiest Chinese carmaker. More on this here. With a sporty bi-colour outfit, the H2 is already heralded as one of the best-looking SUVs on sale in China. Priced around 100.000 yuan (US$ 16.300), it competes with the Chery Tiggo 5, Haima S7, and Geely GX7, and is extremely important for Great Wall’s SUV brand in order to cement its domination in the segment even further.

Haval H2 China July 2014. Picture courtesy of autosina.comHaval H2

Needless to say the H2 won’t stay at its current level very long, but the jury is out as to how far up it can go. Given the popularity of small SUVs in China at the moment and sporting a very attractive design, the sky is the limit for the H2 but will almost certainly involve a reasonable level of cannibalising of the H5 and H6. With the H6 ranking at an out-of-this-world (and, let’s be clear, unattainable for the H2) #6 overall in July but the H5 at a low #125, a Top 50 ranking in the next few months for the H2 would seal its success, anything further up will mean it will most probably bring the H6 down along with it, exactly how the H6 did to the H5 a couple of years ago. Are the glory days of the H6 atop Chinese SUV charts counted? The answer could very well be yes. Reveal in a few months…

Maxus V80 China July 2014. Picture courtesy of xcar.comMaxus V80

Finally the 4th all-new model in China in July is the Maxus V80, landing at #267 with 208 sales. SAIC bought Maxus from bankrupt British LDV in 2010 and set up production in China. If the Maxus G10 that launched last May at a much lower #303 was a truly all-new model, the V80 isn’t exactly. It started production as an LCV back in July 2011, and may owe its sudden appearance in the passenger car ranking to both a new front and potentially a MPV version hitting dealerships now. The V80 is priced between 145.800 and 239.800 yuan (US$ 23.700-39.000) so clearly not a cheap investment for Chinese entrepreneurs out there, although these vehicles are used by many businesses as mobile offices, and by taxi companies for VIP transport. Given the recent appearance of the brand inside the ranking it is almost impossible to predict the V80’s long-term sales level, but let’s just note that the more modern and cheaper G10 is now #234 with 491 units sold in July, so a Top 200 ranking is within the ream of possibles for the V80.

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China May 2014: Focus on the all-new models

Mazda3 Axela China May 2014. Picture courtesy of auto.163.comMazda3 Axela

* See the Top 327 models by clicking on the title! Thanks Carnewschina for the pricing info *

As is the tradition on BSCB, after going through detailed sales figures for May, I spend a bit more time acknowledging the all-new entrants in the models ranking, to ensure you are across the latest news in the biggest car market in the world. This month like in April 4 new models make their appearance in the Chinese ranking. Keep in mind all models detailed here are locally produced as import data is not communicated.

The most successful new entrant in May is the new generation Mazda3 Axela, differentiated from the other 2 generations of Mazda3 by its Japanese name. Priced between 114.900 and 159.900 yuan (US$18.500-25.800), it lands at a very satisfying #129 with 3,343 sales. This is already better than the Mazda3 Xingcheng (2nd generation) over the Full Year 2013 (#153) and the Mazda3 (first generation) at #203, so a great opportunity for Mazda to step up its overall sales in China with this new model… It will compete with the Ford Focus (#3), VW Golf (#20) and Honda Civic which it already nearly toppled (#126) so the sky is the limit for the 3 Axela which could push Mazda to new heights. A monthly Top 50 ranking before 2014 comes to an end would be a great achievement.

Beijing Auto Senova D50 China May 2014. Picture courtesy of Auto Senova D50

Just below at #132 with 3,238 sales is the Beijing Auto Senova (or Shenbao) D50, which is now separated sales-wise from the Senova D-Series (renamed D70) and therefore appears in the ranking for the first time even though it launched in April. Year-to-date sales add up to 4,918 in two months for a #204 ranking. The D50 is priced between 74.800 and 119.800 yuan (US$12.000-19.300) and is positioned below the D60 which was unveiled at this year’s Beijing Auto Show and will launch in August. It is based on the new M-trix platform, itself based on the Saab 9-3 platform which BAIC bought from GM in 2009.

With its May score the Senova D50 already beats the D70’s all-time record of 3,194 and #151 reached last December, so it is assured to bring the Senova sub-brand to new levels this year. The D50 has an air of ChanAn Eado which is a good thing, the latter currently being the best-selling Chinese sedan in the country. Breaking into the Top 100 would be a great start, but expect some cannibalisation once the D60 hits dealerships over the last Quarter of the year.

Mazda6 Atenza China May 2014. Picture courtesy of Atenza

A second very important Mazda makes its entrance in China this month: the new generation Mazda6, named Mazda6 Atenza at #169 with 1,731 sales. It is priced between 179.800 and 238.900 yuan (US$29.000-38.500) and competes with the Toyota Camry (#22 so far in 2014), Ford Mondeo (#51) and Honda Accord (#91). Similarly to the new gen Mazda3, its Japanese naming differentiates it from the first (Mazda6) and second generations (Mazda6 Ruiwing) still in production here. The first gen is surprisingly the most popular by far but is logically down 28% this month to #98 with 4,946 sales, ranking #72 year-to-date after being #56 in 2013. The 2nd gen is #243 in May and #199 in 2014.

The level at which the 6 Atenza launched means it could replace the 1st gen, not the 2nd, in the sales charts. Breaking into the monthly Top 100 and passing the Honda Accord would be a very noticeable step especially given the Accord is also new now. Mazda can genuinely aim at a Top 50 annual ranking in 2015 for the 6 Atenza, which would place it at the same level as the Ford Mondeo. Teasing the Camry seems far-fetched, but possible on a one-off basis.

Maxus G10 China May 2014. Picture courtesy of G10

Finally the last new-entrant in May is the Maxus G10 which I described during my visit to the Beijing Auto Show earlier this year. Launched last March, it only appears in the ranking now at #303 with 36 units which may be due to the CAAM hesitating on its classification as a Passenger Car or Commercial Vehicle (as it did for the Wuling Hongguang). From May onwards it is considered an MPV but it may have sold more units as an LCV prior to this. Ah the tricks of Chinese data… The Maxus brand was bought in 2010 from the British LDV Group by the Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC) which launched a first model, the V80, in September 2011.

The G10 is actually a pretty impressive-looking vehicle which picked my curiosity at the Auto Show. It is priced from 129.800 to 219.800 yuan (US$20.900-35.400) and has its sights firmly aimed at the Buick GL8, #58 so far in 2014 with 37,595 sales. Although we have seen that the budget-end of the MPV segment is the one currently booming in China, this is the first true attempt from a Chinese brand to compete in the luxury MPV segment. According to Carnewschina, these vehicles are used by many businesses as mobile offices, and by taxi companies for VIP transport. I did indeed spot an astounding amount of Buick GL8 in Beijing.

This concludes our focus on all-new models in China for May – stay tuned for the June update in one month!

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Full May 2014 Top 327 All-local models Ranking Table below.

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China April 2014: Focus on the all-new models

Haima S5 China April 2014Haima S5

Today we resume a BSCB tradition: after going through detailed sales for April, I spend a bit more time acknowledging the all-new entrants in the models ranking. 4 new models make their very first appearance this month, led by the Haima S5 landing directly in 139th position with 2,986 sales. The S5 was unveiled at the Beijing Auto Show less than a month ago with a live performance from local popstar Wu Mochou, and is the second SUV for the Haima brand after the larger S7 which it already outsells (#153). It gives the carmaker an entry in the compact SUV segment, currently booming in China. The S5 price range is 89.800 to 107.800 yuan or US$14.400-17.300, and as such it should aim at the #44 ChangAn CS35 (smaller), #60 Great Wall M4 (smaller) and #66 Geely GX7 (bigger), keeping in mind Haima’s current best-seller in the country is the M3 at #77 so far in 2014.

Chevrolet Trax China April 2014. Picture courtesy of Trax

30 spots below at #169 with 1,846 sales we find the Chevrolet Trax, launched almost 2 years ago overseas but arriving fashionably late in China. This is basically a rebadged Buick Encore, but the Chevrolet is aimed at young buyers whereas Buick is more targeted at middle-aged consumers. According to Carnewschina, price for the Chevrolet Trax starts at 119.900 yuan and ends at 159.900 (US$19.200-25.600). The inevitable benchmark for the Trax is of course the performance of the Buick Encore, ranking #78 in April and #72 so far in 2014.

Peugeot 2008 China April 2014. Picture courtesy of cheshi.comPeugeot 2008

The third new entrant in China in April is yet another compact SUV: building on its incredible success in Europe, the Peugeot 2008 lands at #174 with 1,664 units sold. The 2008 is the second SUV to be manufactured by Peugeot in China after the 3008, but the French have bigger plans with the 4008 and the China-only 6008 waiting in line to conquer the Chinese market. You can never have too many SUVs if you want to succeed here! The 2008 is priced between 99.700 and 136.700 yuan (US$16.000-21.900) and competes with the Ford Kuga (#35 year-to-date) and Nissan Qashqai (#43). With the 3008 currently at #87 and the 308 being Peugeot’s best-seller at #66, a spot inside the Top 100 would be a good start for the 2008, breaking into the Top 50 would be ground-breaking and go a long way into helping Peugeot reach the next level here.

DS 5LS China April 2014. Picture courtesy of 5LS

Finally the last newcomer in the sales charts this month is another Frenchie: the DS 5LS sedan arrives at #188 with 1,436 sales. This is great news for Citroen’s new premium brand, as the China-only DS 5LS immediately takes the advantage over the DS 5 hatchback (#220) which is the way it should be given Chinese buyers’ love for sedans. Price starts at 146.900 yuan and ends at 246.900 (US$23.600-39.600), however as Carnewschina pointed out, the cheaper models come without anything resembling a proper screen on the dashboard whereas these days a US$9.000 Chinese sedan comes standard with a 7 inch touch screen Must. Try. Harder.

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One year ago: China April 2013: Honda CR-V up to #4, Nissan Teana takes off

China January 2014: Focus on the all-new models

Fiat Ottimo China January 2014Fiat Ottimo

* See the Top 320 All-local models ranking by clicking on the title! Thanks CarnewsChina *

As is the tradition on BestSellingCarsBlog, after going through January data in detail, we now zoom in on the all-new locally produced models making their first appearance in the Chinese ranking this month. This way you know all there is to know about absolutely all new cars getting into production in the most important car marketplace there is. In January we have 3 all-new entrants in the ranking, all quite low in the sales charts for now, starting with the Beijing Auto BJ40 at #237 with 600 sales.

Beijing Auto BJ40 China January 2014. Picture courtesy of Autosohu.comBeijing Auto BJ40

The BJ40 originally debuted as the Beijing Auto B40 at the 2010 Beijing Auto Show, and over the years it has been seen testing all over the country, to finally launch this month. Interestingly, its appearance is basically unchanged and the engine is the same that ‘powered’ the 2010 concept. The price range goes from 146.800 to 186.800 yuan, or US$ 24.200 to 30.800. Its design is clearly inspired from Jeep and will appeal to consumers outside of the big cities. The BJ40 is already above the level of Beijing Auto’s other jeep offering (the BAW Jeep finished 2013 at #251) so breaking into the Top 200 within the next couple of months would be a good start.

Zhongxing C3 Urban ArkZhongxing C3 Urban Ark

At #240 with 581 sales, we have a model from Chinese manufacturer Zhongxing, also known as ZX Auto and famous for its Hilux-inspired Grand Tiger pickup used during the Libyan war. After the Landwind finished 2013 at #234, the small SUV C3 Urban Ark is only the brand’s second model to appear in the Chinese sales charts, and lands at roughly the same level. However its price (57.800 yuan / US$9.500) making it one of the cheapest SUVs in China (if not the cheapest) should be a very attractive element especially in the less-motorised West of the country. Competing with the likes of the Great Wall Haval M4, Jonway A380 and Lifan X60, this could be Zhongxing’s ticket to success in the passenger car market. Breaking into the Top 150 would be satisfying, the Top 100 would make it a runaway hit.

Fiat Ottimo China January 2014bFiat Ottimo

Finally, at #277 with 150 pre-sales for now (the official launch is in March) we have the Fiat Ottimo, the hatchback version of the Fiat Viaggio launched a year ago here. If the Viaggio has its Dogde equivalent in North America (the Dart), this hatchback is unique to China. It is priced between 95.000 and 145.000 yuan, or US$15.700-23.900, and marketed as a sporty car aimed at young first-car buyers in 1st and 2nd tier cities. However with sedans still being widely more successful than hatchbacks in China, don’t expect the Ottimo to beat the Viaggio in sales. A Top 150 ranking within the next couple of months would be encouraging.

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China December 2013: Focus on the all-new models

Chery Tiggo 5 China December 2013. Picture courtesy of Tiggo 5

* See the Top 324 All-local models ranking by clicking on the title! Thanks CarnewsChina *

As is now the tradition on BestSellingCarsBlog, after going through December data by models and brands, we now zoom in on the all-new locally produced models making their first appearance in the Chinese ranking this month. This way you know all there is to know about absolutely all new cars getting into production in the most important car marketplace there is. In December there are no less than 8 all-new entrants in the ranking, the most since we started this new update last June. The best-performing of all by far is the Chery Tiggo 5, landing just outside the Top 100 at #102 with 5,514 sales. This is the second SUV from Chery, positioned above the original Tiggo 3 and priced between 93.900 and 150.900 yuan (US$ 15.500-25.000). The Tiggo 5 enters an ultra-competitive Chinese SUV market with its eyes set on the Haval H6, the best-selling SUV in the country with 218,000 sales this year, and the Haima S7 (#115 and 42,000 units). The original Tiggo finished 2013 at #66 so a Top 50 ranking for the Tiggo 5 will mean success.

Toyota Yaris L China December 2013. Picture courtesy of Yaris L

At #164 with 2,494 sales we have the Toyota Yaris L, made in China by the Guangzhou-Toyota joint venture, and priced between 69.800 and 108.800 yuan (US$ 11.500-18.000). This is the hatchback variant of the new FAW-Toyota Vios that hit the Chinese market a couple of months ago and already stands at #28 with over 13,000 sales in December. The L is added to differentiate the new car from the outgoing Yaris hatchback, which was never successful here because Chinese car buyers considered it too small for the money. However Toyota has already struck gold with the Vios so we can expect the Yaris L to be much more popular than its predecessor. It will compete with the VW Polo (154,000 sales in 2013), Ford Fiesta (49,000) and Honda Fit (40,700), so a Top 75 ranking will make it a success, 100,000+ units in 2014 will make it a hit.


Suzuki S-Cross China December 2013. Picture courtesy of gtimg.comSuzuki S-Cross

The Suzuki S-Cross lands at #202 with 1,627 sales, this is the model we know in Europe, priced in China from 100 to 140.000 yuan (US$ 16.500-23.200). Suzuki dropped the SX4 from the name to differentiate it from the SX4 hatchback still on sale here. The S-Cross is aimed squarely at the Nissan Qashqai (#33 with 125,000 sales in 2013) but with the SX4 totalling 33,000 sales last year (#145), Suzuki should be happy with a Top 100 ranking or 50,000 sales for its first full year in 2014.

DS5 China December 2013. Picture courtesy of bitauto.comDS5

We had been waiting for the next new entrant to pop up for a little while, and now it’s here: Citroen’s premium brand DS launched its first China-made model back in October, and it appears this month at #212 with 1,271 sales, although it is unclear whether this figure is for one or 3 months, as all-new brands always take a little while to register in the official sales charts (Fiat did). DS5 prices range from 219.900 to 301.900 yuan (US$36.400-49.950), is manufactured by the Changan-PSA joint venture, and will soon be followed by the DS4, DS3, and DS X7 SUV. Given this is en entirely new foray into the premium category and a new brand, it is very hard to set sales predictions. Citroen’s long-term goal with DS is to play with the ‘big boys’ Audi (31,000 sales in December), BMW (17,000) and Mercedes (13,000), so a first full year at 15-20,000 units would be a great start for the DS5.

Zotye T600 China December 2013Zotye T600

The next 4 all-new models in this month’s charts all sold less than 400 units, so unless there is a massive improvement in the coming months these will be deemed failures. We start with the Zotye T600 landing at #262 with 433 sales, the brand’s largest SUV so far, designed with a mix of Volkswagen and Audi cues and priced from 79.800 to 98.800 yuan (US$ 13.200-16.300). It competes with the Haval H6, BYD S6 and Chery Tiggo 5 mentioned above. Zotye’s other SUV, the T200, ranked #144 in 2013 with 33,000 sales so a Top 150 spot within the next few months would be a great step in the right direction for the T600.

Haima M8 China December 2013Haima M8

The Haima M8 hits the Chinese market two months ahead of scheduled when it launched on December 18 and ranks #277 with 246 sales. Price starts at 126.800 yuan (US$21.000) and ends at 166.800 yuan (US$27.600), positioning the M8 in the same category as the ChangAn Raeton (7,200 sales in 2013) and the Emgrand EC8 (10,300 sales). Breaking the 1,000 monthly sales mark and/or the Top 200 within the next 6 months will be a good, class-leading start for the M8.

Venucia Morning Wind China December 2013Venucia Morning Wind (aka Nissan Leaf) 

Whereas its local production is not scheduled to start until 2015, Nissan’s local low-cost brand Venucia lodges a second model in the ranking this month: the Morning Wind, aka E30, which is in fact a rebadged Nissan Leaf. It appears at #278 with 216 sales, and may well stay at that level for a good part of 2014 unless production is moved forward.

Chery Qin China December 2013. Picture courtesy of Qin

Finally, potentially the most spectacularly designed Chinese car to hit the country’s road in a while (ever?), the BYD Qin plug-in hybrid sports sedan lands at #283 with 142 units sold this month. Prices range from 189.800 to 209.800 yuan (US$31.400-34.700), but clean-car subsidies of central and local governments will bring price down by about 35.000 yuan (US$6.000). Almost impossible to tell whether Chery has hit gold with this model – it did release a gold-coloured showroom version, as plug-in hybrids have stuck to the bottom of the charts so far in China. Ranking inside the 200 best-sellers in the country would be an impressive achievement in itself for the Qin.

Previous month: China November 2013: Focus on the all-new models

Full December 2013 Top 324 All-models Ranking Table below.

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China November 2013: Focus on the all-new models

Hyundai Mistra China November 2013. Picture courtesy of wants to sell 100,000 Mistra in 2014, and will.

* See the Top 319 All-models by clicking on the title! Thanks CarnewsChina *

As is now the tradition on BestSellingCarsBlog, after going through November data by models and brands and the year-to-date update, we now zoom in on the all-new locally produced models making their first appearance in the Chinese ranking this month. This way you know all there is to know about absolutely all new cars getting into production in the most important car marketplace there is. This month 5 new cars make their landing. First we have the much-anticipated Hyundai Mistra at #90 with 6,260 sales even though it’s only been on sale for 10 days. The Mistra steps inbetween the Elantra and Sonata in the Hyundai range and is priced from 150.000 to 190.000 yuan (US$24.700-31.300).

Hyundai Mistra China November 2013b. Picture courtesy of Mistra

The Mistra competes with strong sellers like the VW Sagitar (#5 so far in 2013), Honda Crider (#67) and Citroen C4L (#94), and will be complemented in 2014 by the Kia K4 based on the same platform. Keeping in mind the Elantra Langdong is #14 in 2013 with 190,000 sales and the Sonata is #44 at 96,000 units, in a rare move in China, Hyundai recently announced its sales objectives for the Mistra. They are 10,000 units in 2013 which by the time you read this is already a done deal, and 100,000 over the Full Year 2013. If these numbers seem conservative, that’s because Hyundai always downplays its launches in order to surprise later. I predict at least a Top 30 ranking for the Mistra by the time 2014 comes to an end with sales somewhere between 120,000 to 160,000.

Brilliance H220 China November 2013. Picture courtesy of auto.youth.cnBrilliance H220

The 2nd most popular all-new entrant this month is the Brilliance H220 at #178 with 1,865 sales, the hatchback version of the H230 launched in August 2012 and ranking #93 so far in 2013 but down 79% year-on-year to #215 in November. The H220 is priced between 54.800 and 67.800 yuan (US$ 9,000-11,200), making it one of the cheapest sub-compact hatchbacks in China and Brilliance’s entry vehicle, with its rear looking a tiny bit like the Chevrolet Cruze hatchback. The H220 competes (and undercuts) cars like the Chevrolet Sail and Hyundai Verna hatchbacks. Given how volatile Brilliance models sales are and how unsuccessful in general hatchback variants are in the country, it is very hard to predict how well the H220 will do, but a Top 100 ranking at any point in its career would be a fine achievement.

Peugeot 301 China November 2013. Picture courtesy of 301

One year ago when Peugeot unveiled the new 301 designed for emerging markets, my reaction was: this is perfect for China. And it’s finally here, appearing at #191 with 1,629 sales for now. The 301 is priced between 84.700 and 116.700 yuan (US$ 13.900-19.200), virtually the same as its twin the new generation Citroen C-Elysee launched in September. The 301 is Peugeot’s first foray into a hugely popular segment in China: small-size sedans, and as such competes with massive best-sellers like the VW Jetta (240,000 sales so far in 2013) and Santana (160,000). If successful, the 301 could be the car to open Pandora’s box for Peugeot in China. The last time a Peugeot ranked inside the Chinese year-end Top 30 was in 2008 with the 307 at #28. So far this year the brand’s best-seller is the 308 at an encouraging #63 and 77,000 sales. In that context, breaking into the monthly Top 50 would be a good start for the 301 and 100,000 annual sales seems within reach if not in 2014 then in 2015.

BAW Beiqi Jeep China November 2013. Picture courtesy of bitauto.comBAW Beiqi Jeep (this may not be the 2020 series)

The next two all-new entrants are not really ones but more models that have dropped in and out of rankings along the years. the Haima Prince had disappeared from the face of the earth even though it launched back in 2011, it is #270 this month with 182 sales while the BAW Beiqi 2020 Series is a jeep that has been around for ages, landing at #277 and 111 units this month. There is still no trace of the DS5 in the ranking, however I am in touch with Citroen China as we speak so hopefully I will have more info for you shortly. As far as recent launches are concerned, let’s salute the Beijing Weiwang M20 up 23 spots to #129, GAC Trumpchi GA3 up 24 to #145, Gonow Xinglang MPV up 26 to #182, Skoda Yeti up a spectacular 78 ranks to #190 and the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport up 47 to #205. Reversely, the Honda Jade takes a break, down 15 spots to #82 and the Chery Arrizo 7 is down 29 to #153.

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Previous post (brands): China November 2013: Now with Top 66 All-brands ranking

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Previous month (new models): China October 2013: Focus on the all-new models

Full November 2013 Top 319 All-models Ranking Table below.

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