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China August 2018 Retail sales: Crisis deepens – market down 10.1%

At GAC Trumpchi, while SUVs are struggling the GA4 breaks its volume record.

* See the Top 90 China-made brands and Top 602 models by clicking on the title *

April 2017 – August 2018 monthly All-models China Retail data also available, Contact us here

After detailing China August wholesales it is now time to explore China August Retail sales, a new monthly update exclusive to BSCB. Retail sales are dealership sales to end-customers as opposed to Wholesales which are ex-factory sales to dealerships. These new Retail updates enable a second perspective, perhaps closer to the reality on the ground. This update only includes China-made vehicles, China August imports are covered in a separate update. Chinese new light vehicles are enduring a spectacular and sudden slump linked to a government crackdown on P2P digital lending platforms the younger generation was using to finance the purchase of Chinese SUVs.  More on this crackdown and its impact on the Chinese car market here. If wholesales stabilise their fall in August at -4.7% vs. 5.3% in July, the reverse is true for retail sales plummeting down 10.1% (vs. just -4.9% in July) from 2.003.200 to 1.801.400. This means dealerships in China remain bearish about the next few months and reducing their orders drastically, which in turns means at least a couple more months of wholesales decline are in the cards.

Toyota (+14%) is helped by the (late) arrival of the C-HR/IZOA tandem.

Brand leader Volkswagen (-10%) follows the market but still sells more the twice the amount of any other carmaker in China. Toyota (+14%) is very dynamic, helped by the (very late) arrival of the C-HR/IZOA tandem, overtaking Honda (-9%) to snap the overall 2nd spot. This is a clear illustration that the market slump is only selectively affecting Chinese-branded SUVs, the ones that younger Chinese were buying through P2P lending, and less so foreign SUVs and sedans, traditionally purchased by an older age group that hadn’t been using that type of financing as much. Geely (+10%) continues to gallop ahead but retrogrades to #4 YTD, now below Honda, Hyundai (+7%) shyly recovers and Audi (+1%) edges up but Baojun (-35%), Changan (-25%), Haval (-25%) and Buick (-20%) all plunge. BMW soars 43% to #12, BYD is up 50% to #17, with MG (+48%), Cadillac (+17%), Mercedes (+10%) and Roewe (+9%) also impressive in the Top 40.

The H5 lifts Hongqi sales to a whole new level: +1310% year-on-year!

However most carmakers endure very harsh falls, such as Zotye (-61%), Soueast (-55%), BAIC (-53%), Suzuki (-47%), JAC (-45%), Ford (-41%), Peugeot (-38%), Leopaard (-31%), Chana (-29%), FAW (-29%) and Dongfeng (-28%). Among smaller brands, notice Hongqi (+1310%) thanks to the arrival of the H5 sedan, Qoros (+265%), Maxus (+167%), Foton (+125%) and Jaguar (+27%) in great shape. Among marques launches than a year ago, Lynk & Co dominates head and shoulders with a record 10.468 retail sales, its first ever five-digit retail month – logically following its first five-digit wholesales score in July – and frankly outsmarting archival WEY (7.131) for the first time retail-wise. Another important milestone is passed by NIO, the Chinese premium EV maker delivering its first four-digit monthly result at 1.135 sales.

Sales of NIO es8 are starting to gear up, passing the 1.000 mark for the first time in August.

No surprises atop the retail models ranking: for the third consecutive month the five most popular nameplates are all sedans, with the Top 4 unchanged on July led by the VW Lavida (-5%) despite a decline ahead of the Nissan Sylphy (+4%), Toyota Corolla (+5%) and VW Sagitar (-11%). The VW Jetta (-7%) climbs up 6 spots on July to break into the Top 5 while the VW Tiguan (-15%) manages a second consecutive month atop the retail SUV charts in spite of a double-digit declines however smaller than traditional SUV leader Haval H6 (-27%) stuck at #7.

The Hyundai Celesta hits an all-time record retail volume in August.

Confirming the return in form of sedans in China given the P2P lending crackdown prevents younger Chinese from snapping up crossovers en masse, 12 of the 15 double-digit gains in the Top 50 are the works of sedans, led by the BMW 5 Series L (+126%), Hyundai Elantra Lingdong (+96%), Toyota Camry (+96%), Honda Civic (+40%), Geely Emgrand GL (+35%) and BMW 3 Series L (+31%). Only the Hyundai ix35 (+727%) thanks to the new generation, Changan CS55 (+49%) and Toyota RAV4 (+36%) stand out in the SUV aisle. Notice also the Hyundai Celesta up 123% to an all-time record 7.235 sales.

The third generation Wuling Hongguang has just launched. Will it stop its freefall?

The Wuling Hongguang S3 (#52) is up 16 spots on July to become the best-selling recent launch (<12 months) just as Wuling launched a new generation of its once outright best-seller Hongguang (#18) to try and stop freefaling sales down 50% year-on-year in August. The Baojun 360 (#60) slows down its growth to just +3% on July, the GAC Trumpchi GA4 stuns with a 61% surge on last month to a new all-time record 8.601 sales, the BYD Song MAX (#68) confirms it’s an instant blockbuster, ahead of the Baojun 530 at #72 (-10) and the Lynk & Co 01 at #88 (-13).

The Haima F5 has landed in the retail charts.

The Lynk & Co 02 is up 178% on its inaugural month to a cool 4.447 sales, jumping 101 spots to #121 and strikingly outselling both the WEY VV5 (3.852) and VV7 (2.855). The Skoda Kamiq (3.426) overtakes the Geely Emgrand GE (2.751) to become the most popular July launch. The August retail charts welcome the Toyota IZOA (2.580), Toyota C-HR (1.786), Leopaard Mattu (1.109) and Haima F5 (150), a replacement for the Haima Family that hasn’t pointed its bonnet inside the wholesales ranking just yet.

Previous month: China July 2018 Retail sales: P2P lending crackdown identified as main reason behind SUV crisis

August wholesale update: China August 2018: P2P lending crackdown triggers 2nd decline in a row

Full August 2018 Top 90 All China-made brands and Top 600 models below.


Poland August 2018: Pre-WLTP rush lifts market up 58%, Seat up to #8

Clearance of non WLTP-compliant stock boosts the Seat Leon up 448% to #4 in Poland.

* See the Top 15 brands and Top 50 models by clicking on the title *

Poland is another European Union market to be completely biased by artificial sales aimed at clearing stock ahead of the adoption of a new, stricter emissions standards called WLTP. Non-compliant cars aren’t able to be sold after September 1, so carmakers with large stocks of such models had to get rid of them by any means (demo sales, self-registrations, short-term rentals, discounted retail sales, etc). As a result the Polish market soars 57.9% year-on-year in August to 61.913 units, lifting the year-to-date tally up 17.3% to a new record 419.381 sales. Volkswagen (+80%) and Toyota (+96%) vastly outpace the market in the brands lead, overtaking YTD leader Skoda (+30%) with Opel (+29%) and Renault (+51%) rounding out the Top 5. Seat soars to a record 8th place whereas it doesn’t rank in the YTD Top 15 while Citroen (+124%),  and Nissan (+110%) also post extravagant gains. The Skoda Octavia (+64%) is undisturbed, cementing the models pole position it holds YTD. Nameplates benefiting from a last minute pre-WLTP rush include the Toyota Auris up 220% to #2, the Seat Leon up 448% to #4, Nissan Qashqai up 251% to #7, Toyota Avensis up 221% to #9, as well as the Citroen C3 (+168%), Seat Ibiza (+155%), Hyundai i30 (+130%), Toyota RAV4 (+120%) and Renault Megane (+106%).

Previous month: Poland July 2018: Fiat Tipo hits record 4th place, market up 24.8%

One year ago: Poland August 2017: Fiat Tipo now established in Top 10

Full August 2018 Top 15 brands and Top 50 models below.


Norway August 2018: Nissan Leaf reigns in market up 8.3%

The Nissan Leaf cements its domination in Norway.

* See the Top 40 All-brands and Top 20 models by clicking on the title *

New car sales in Norway gain 8.3% year-on-year in August to 14.523 registrations, meaning the year-to-date tally is now down 1.9% to 100.880 units. Volkswagen (+7%) remains comfortably in the lead of the brands ranking with 17.7% share vs. 14.1% YTD, ahead of Nissan (+265%) surging up to 11.9% share vs. 9.6% so far this year thanks to the success of the new generation Leaf. Toyota (-3%) rounds up the podium above Skoda (+46%), BMW (-15%) and Audi (-2%). Carmakers that look suspiciously strong (pre-WLTP stock clearance anyone?) include Dacia (+342%), Porsche (+197%), Alfa Romeo (+173%), Smart (+164%), Renault (+150%), Jaguar (+141%), Hyundai (+54%) and Opel (+44%). The Nissan Leaf (+370%) reigns supreme over the Norwegian models ranking with 8.5% share, distancing the VW Golf (-28%) and BMW i3 (+21%) which replicates the YTD podium. The Skoda Octavia (+99%) soars up to #4, the VW T-Roc is up one spot on July to a new record #6 and the Renault Zoe is up 174% to #7, its highest ranking since last January.

Previous month: Norway July 2018: Nissan Leaf leads, VW T-Roc breaks into Top 10 at #7

One year ago: Norway August 2017: e-Golf pushes Golf sales above 10% share

Full August 2018 Top 40 All-brands and Top 20 models below.


Japan August 2018: Toyota Corolla scores first podium in 3 years

The Toyota Corolla is at its highest at home since September 2015.

* Now updated with the Top 50 All-brands, Top 50 regular cars and Top 33 kei cars *

New light vehicle sales in Japan gain 2.5% year-on-year in August to 364.216 registrations, meaning the year-to-date volume is now down just 0.8% to 3.538.227. Brand leader Toyota edges up 0.6% to 29.6% share, one percentage point above its YTD level of 28.6% and more than double any other manufacturer present in Japan. Suzuki (+12.8%) posts the largest gain atop the sales charts, returning to the #2 spot for the 4th time in the past 5 months and knocking Honda (+8%) down to #3. Daihatsu (-0.1%) is down marginally but remains at #4 ahead of Nissan (+5.3%) while Mitsubishi (+16.1%) and Mazda (+11.7%) both score sturdy results in the remainder of the Top 10 just as Hino (-32.1%), Subaru (-17.7%) and Isuzu (-15.9%) crumble down.

For the second straight month, there are no foreigners in the Top 10 brands with Mercedes (-1.6%) holding onto its crown at #11 overall, distancing Volkswagen (+19.2%) once again very strong, BMW (-12.9%) and Audi (-7.6%). Below Lexus (+21.3%) faring the best of any Japanese brand, Alfa Romeo (+153.7%), DS (+116.7%), Jaguar (+105.4%), Chevrolet (+52%), Porsche (+42.6%), Citroen (+27%), Ferrari (+25.5%), Peugeot (+19.4%) and Jeep (+14.4%) are among the most dynamic foreigners.

The success of the new Jimny helps Suzuki back up to #2 in the brands ranking.

In the regular cars ranking, the Nissan Note (+10%) reclaims the top spot for the first time since last March and the 5th time in the past 14 months, cementing its YTD lead over the Toyota Aqua (-17%) knocked down to #2 in August. Thanks to the new gen hatch, the Toyota Corolla soars 61% year-on-year to hit its highest ranking at home in almost three years – since September 2015. The Toyota Prius (-28%) continues to freefall but climbs back up one rank on last month to #4, dislodging the Toyota Vitz (+35%).

The Nissan Serena (+21%), Toyota C-HR (+20%) and Toyota Roomy (+14%) also securing solid gains in the Top 10, while outside, the Toyota Crown (+211%) is up 3-fold on August 2017 thanks to the new generation. The Lexus NX300H (+419%), Nissan Leaf (+284%), Subaru Forester (+146%) and Mazda Axela (+94%) also make waves. The Suzuki Xbee is the #1 recent launch (<12 months) at #32 ahead of the Mazda CX-8 (#34), the relaunched Honda CR-V (#35), Honda Civic (#37), Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross (#48) and Toyota JPN Taxi (#49). The Honda N-BOX (+54%) and Suzuki Spacia (+64%) cements their domination of the kei car charts with outlandish gains, joined further down by the Suzuki Jimmy (+120%).

Previous month: Japan July 2018: Lexus (+30.8%), Mitsubishi (+20.8%) lift market up

One year ago: Japan August 2017: Aqua back on top, C-HR falls in market up 5.5%

Full August 2018 Top 50 brands, Top 50 regular cars and Top 33 kei cars below.


Uruguay August 2018: Suzuki leads, Volkswagen snaps YTD top spot

Suzuki is the best-selling brand in Uruguay in August.

* See the Top 40 All-brands by clicking on the title *

The Uruguayan new car market plunges another 12.4% year-on-year in August to 3.875 registrations, leading to a year-to-date tally down 16.3% to 28.935 units. Suzuki leaps up 19% year-on-year and 11 spots on July to #1 with a fantastic 15.5% market share vs. 9.3% so far in 2018. It is followed by Fiat up 80% to 15.1% and Volkswagen down 16% to 12.3%. Renault (-23%) and Chevrolet (-22%) both implode to complete the Top 5. This results in a complete reshuffle of the YTD order, with Volkswagen (-16%) snapping the top spot despite a hefty loss, ahead of Fiat (+4%) and Renault (+33%). Further down the ranking, Kia (+210%), Jeep (+90%), Toyota (+74%), Chana (+58%) and Mazda (+11%) are the rare carmakers standing out, while at the other end of the scale Chery (-97%), Geely (-94%), BYD (-84%), FAW (-77%), Mitsubishi (-62%), Ford (-60%), Honda (-56%), Mercedes (-47%), Dongfeng (-43%) and Subaru (-42%) all implode. As a whole, Chinese carmakers are down 59% year-on-year to just 6% share vs. 7.9% YTD.

Previous month: Uruguay July 2018: Volkswagen #1 again, teases Renault for YTD lead

One year ago: Uruguay August 2017: Volkswagen overtakes Chevrolet to #1 YTD

Full August 2018 Top 40 All-brands ranking below.


Switzerland August 2018: VW Tiguan repeats at #1 in market down 7.2%

The VW Tiguan is the #1 nameplate in Switzerland for the 2nd month running.

* See the Top 50 All-brands and Top 330 All-models by clicking on the title *

A rare occurrence in Europe this month, new car sales in Switzerland are actually down year-on-year in August at -7.2% to 21.484 registrations, pulling the year-to-date tally back down into negative territory at -1% to 204.877 units. Volkswagen (+11%) goes against the grain with a double-digit year-on-year gain to a strong 12.8% share vs. 11.3% so far this year, distancing Mercedes (-17%) reclaiming the #2 YTD spot off BMW (-1%) despite a hefty loss. Audi (-1%) and Skoda (-21%) complete the Top 5 above Ford (+3%), Seat (+6%), Fiat (-14%), Peugeot (-10%) and Toyota (-5%). Jeep (+73%), Lamborghini (+50%), Bentley (+45%), Ferrari (+43%), Lexus (+38%), Mitsubishi (+38%), Volvo (+37%) and Alfa Romeo (+30%) keep their head above the water further down the charts. The VW Tiguan is the most popular nameplate in the country for the 2nd month running and only the third time in the past two years after November 2016. The Skoda Octavia (-4%) cements its YTD leadership ahead of the Mercedes GLC (+4%) up a fantastic 13 spots on July to land at #3, the Fiat 500 (+1%) and the VW Polo (-18%). The VW T-Roc is back up one spot on lats month to #6, historically outselling the VW Golf (-51%) imploding down five spots on July to score its lowest ranking in Switzerland this decade. Switzerland is the first major European market where the T-Roc outsells the Golf. Notice also the Dacia Duster (+61%) at #8, the Audi A4 (+18%) at #10 and the BMW X3 (+74%) at #22.

Previous month: Switzerland July 2018: VW Tiguan surprise leader

One year ago: Switzerland August 2017: Mercedes (+16%) threatens VW (-10%) for #1

Full August 2018 Top 50 All-brands and Top 330 All-models below.


Greece August 2018: Volkswagen up 250% on pre-WLTP sales

VW Tiguan sales are up 517% year-on-year in Greece in August.

* See the Top 35 All-brands and Top 185 All-models by clicking on the title *

New car sales in Greece soar 50.3% year-on-year in August to 7.718 registrations, lifting the year-to-date volume up 23.8% to 79.154. Like last month, Volkswagen sales (+250%!) are artificially lifted up by non WLTP-compliant stock clearances to 13.7% share vs. 9.3% so far this year. Toyota (+32%) follows with a much healthier result while Nissan (+182%), Hyundai (+98%), Audi (+94%) and Skoda (+84%) all get caught in pre-WLTP fever in the remainder of the Top 10 with Kia (+168%) and Mitsubishi (+150%) also boosted up further down the ranking. The Toyota Yaris (+28%) resists all WLTP pushes to hold onto its traditional top spot, with the Nissan Qashqai (+206%), VW Polo (+182%), Skoda Fabia (+321%) and VW Tiguan (+517%) all getting artificial boosts in the remainder of the Top 5. The VW Golf (+238%), Hyundai i20 (+85%) and Fiat Panda (+71%) also post extravagant gains in the Top 10 while the VW T-Roc (#19) tops recent launches ahead of the Citroen C3 Aircross (#28), Kia Stonic (#37) and Volvo XC40 (#39).

Previous month: Greece July 2018: Volkswagen surges 87% thanks to stock-clearing program

One year ago: Greece August 2017: Market continues to shine at +23%

Full August 2018 Top 35 All-brands and Top 185 All-models below.


Slovenia August 2018: Renault monopolises podium in market up 25.5%

The Renault Captur is the best-selling nameplate in Slovenia in August.

* See the Top 35 All-brands and Top 205 All-models by clicking on the title *

The Slovenian new car market gains 25.5% year-on-year in August to 5.636 registrations, lifting the year-to-date volume up 9.7% to 53.559 units. Renault soars 52% to 18.4% share vs. 14.4% YTD, snapping the lead of the brands ranking off Volkswagen (+27%) at 14.1% vs. 16.9% so far in 2018. Fiat (+249%), Seat (+35%) and Toyota (+30%) also beat the market in the Top 10, Peugeot (+24%) matches it, Citroen (+6%) and Hyundai (+2%) are slow and Opel (-8%) goes in reverse. Further down the ladder, Jeep (+3900%!), Alfa Romeo (+533%), Volvo (+250%), Porsche (+217%), Mini (+100%), Nissan (+92%), Audi (+49%), Kia (+41%) and Seat (+35%) for the most part give off a distinct pre-WLTP stock clearance flavour to the market. Model-wise, the Renault Captur (+198%), Clio (+81%) and Megane (-29%) monopolise the podium and justify the brand’s leadership, followed by four VWs: the Tiguan (+70%), Polo (+343%), Golf (-27%) and T-Roc scoring a 2nd month in a row at a record 7th place. The Nissan Qashqai (+857%), Jeep Renegade (+3600%) and Fiat 500 (+3567%) also score unusually high sales results.

Previous month: Slovenia July 2018: VW Golf and Polo lead, T-Roc up to record #7

One year ago: Slovenia August 2017: Renault Megane soars 229% to pole position

Full August 2018 Top 35 All-brands and Top 205 All-models below.


Denmark August 2018: Pre-WLTP sales lifts market into YTD record

The Nissan Qashqai is the best-selling vehicle in Denmark for the third month running.

See the Top 40 All-brands and Top 240 All-models by clicking on the title *

Boosted by stock clearances ahead of the new WLTP emissions standard in effect on September 1, the Danish new car market soars 35.5% year-on-year in August to 20.740 registrations, lifting the year-to-date tally back into record heights at +2.4% to 157.974 units. Volkswagen surges 60% to 12.5% share vs. 14.1% YTD, distancing Peugeot (+55%), Renault (+37%) and Citroen (+80%) all outpacing the market. Nissan (+125%), Audi (+76%) and Ford (+53%) also shine in the remainder of the Top 10 while further down, DS (+409%), Subaru (+221%), Porsche (+160%), Honda (+119%), Fiat (+83%) and Volvo (+69%) stand out. The Nissan Qashqai (+239%) loads up on non WLTP-compliant sales and enjoys its third consecutive month in the Danish pole position but remains #2 YTD below the Peugeot 208 (+14%). The Citroen C3 (+180%) is #3 again ahead of the Toyota Yaris (-2%), Renault Clio (+28%) and Peugeot 308 (+460%). Other strong gainers include the VW Polo (+233%), Tiguan (+189%), Fiat 500 (+170%) and Audi A3 (+86%). The VW T-Roc (#20) leads recent launches above the Opel Grandland X (#48).

Previous month: Denmark July 2018: Nissan Qashqai, VW Polo and Citroen C3 on top

One year ago: Denmark August 2017: Toyota up 20% in market down 12.1%

Full August 2018 Top 40 All-brands and Top 240 All-models below.


China August 2018: Focus on the All-new models


Now that we explored August China wholesales, it is time to focus on the all-new locally produced launches for the month so you are up-to-date on the fastest-evolving market in the world. Note these updates remain based on wholesales data. In August, the market posts a second consecutive year-on-year decline partly due to the continuing weakness of SUV sales. This has been triggered by a government crackdown on P2P digital lending platform that enabled up to 15% of car sales in 2017. More on the P2P lending impact on the 2018 Chinese car market here. We spoke about it last month: the new nameplates that are now hitting the market were conceived years ago at a time when SUVs were the sole engine of growth of the Chinese market, and therefore we are seeing a constant flow of new SUVs hitting local dealers even though the market conditions are now a lot tougher. If in July 5 of the 7 launches were SUVs, in August the ratio is even higher with 6 of the 7 new launches being SUVs. You can also keep track of the fast-expanding list of all active Chinese brands by consulting our Exclusive Guide to all 175 Chinese Brands, updated live.

1. WEY VV6 (#261 – 1.038 sales)

Unveiled in November 2017 at the Guangzhou Auto Show, the VV6 is the 4th nameplate under the WEY brand, a new semi-premium marque launched by Great Wall Motors in 2017. It logically slots in-between the VV5 and VV7 but does seem like a superfluous addition, given how similarly-looking it is from its siblings but also the Haval H6 (see below). WEY has seen its wholesales peak quickly at 21.349 units in December 2017, down to just 10.174 in August 2018 after a low of 7.080 in July and despite the arrival of the P8 hybrid. Direct competitor Geely’s Lynk & Co overtook WEY in July (12.300) and doubled-down in August (13.674) with the 02 taking off. The glaring difference between the two Chinese semi-premium brands is Lynk & Co models have their own design and personality whereas WEY seems to be content just popping out upscale versions of Haval models. As a result, Haval have been cannibalised and are tumbling down so far in 2018: -20% YTD and -23% in August.

Are WEY models looking too similar to Haval’s H6 (pictured)? We think so.WEY VV6 interior. Picture

In this context, the VV6 enters a challenging environment not only internally within the Great Wall stable but also nationally: consumers aren’t gobbling up Chinese SUVs blindly like they had been this decade. The VV6 is based on the VV5 platform but is 12.3 cm longer at 4.585m vs. 4.462m for the VV5 and 4.749m for the VV7, and is equipped with the same 169hp 1.5T and 197hp 2.0T engines. The VV6 is priced from 148.000 to 175.000 yuan (US$21.600-25.500 or 18.500-21.800€) compared to the VV5 at 150.000-163.000 and the VV6 at 167.800-188.800. This is still not cheap, and may handicap the model’s career given the pricing of direct competitor Lynk & Co 02 (122.800-192.800) and the Haval H6 (103.000-146.800). But what WEY is hoping to target instead – a difficult task – are foreigners such as the Mazda CX-4 (140.800-215.800) and VW T-Roc (139.800-209.800). The VV5 peaked at 10.798 sales and the VV7 at 10.551 but times will be harder for the VV6 and reaching half this volume should be a realistic target.

Bar for success: 5.000 monthly units

2. Jaguar E-Pace (#279 – 896 sales)

Unveiled at the Beijing Auto Show last April, the E-Pace is Jaguar’s first China-made SUV, manufactured by a joint-venture with local manufacturer Chery. It joins two stablemates, the XFL launched in September 2016 and the XEL launched in December 2017, and should comfortably become the brand’s best-seller in the country. In fact it already is, outselling both sedans for its first appearance in the Chinese charts. Unlike its sedan siblings, the E-Pace has the same length and wheelbase as the rest of the world, with no plans to launch a China-only long-wheelbase version for now. The E-Pace is powered by 250hp or 200hp 2.0T engines and priced from 288.800 to 395.800 yuan (US$42.100-57.700 or 36.000-49.400€), placing it in the same sandpit as the BMW X1 (283.800-439.000), Mercedes GLA (269.800-395.800) and Volvo XC40 (321.800-411.800).

Jaguar E-Pace interior. Picture

You may have noticed that the E-Pace is cheaper than the XC40 which seems like an anomaly but also means Jaguar can target solid volumes with this compact SUV. To which extent is hard to predict, as the XFL peaked at 2.558 sales, the XEL at 1.539 and the imported F-Pace at 1.526. Looking across the street the BMW X1’s personal best is 9.984 and the Mercedes GLA is at 8.002 with the XC40 yet to launch in China. We set the bar for success at 3.500 monthly sales.

Bar for success: 3.500 monthly units

3. Traum SEEK 5 (#280 – 894 sales)

Traum, German for dream, is a new brand by Zotye launched in June 2017. The Chinese name is Junma (君马) translated as Supreme Horse. The English slogan is Driven by Dreams, while the Chinese slogan is Dream for a Horse. All Traum-branded vehicles are manufactured by Jiangnan Auto, a subsidiary of Zotye. The SEEK 5 is Traum’s third launch in less than a year alongside the S70 and the MEET3 (yet to appear in the wholesales charts). It is based on the same platform as the S70 with an identical wheelbase. The SEEK 5 is 4.771m long while the D70 is at 4.746m. Engines are the same: a 116hp 1.6 and 156hp 1.5T and they are both 7-seater SUVs. The pricing is also very similar, which is a Zotye specialty – launching as many cars as possible in the midsize SUV segment – that results in cannibalisation and lower volumes.

Traum SEEK 5 interior. Picture

It looks like Zotye is repeating the same mistakes with the Traum brand although this SEEK 5 isn’t a copycat of any existing car, so that’s some progress right there. SEEK 5 pricing is a tight 77.900-128.900 yuan (US$11.350-18.800 or 9.700-16.100€) compared to 81.900-115.900 for the S70. Traum is aiming at younger buyers in third and fourth tier cities and as such is competing full frontal with similar new brands by large Chinese manufacturers: Chery’s Jetour X70 (69.900-120.900) and to a lesser extent Chana’s COS1° (93.800-145.800). The SEEK 5 slides in-between Haval’s “low cost” offering the M6 (66.000-86.000) and its best-seller the H6 103.000-146.800). Traum has had a difficult start so far with the S70 peaking at a meagre 1.601 units last month, so the SEEK 5’s bar for success will be modest.

Bar for success: 2.500 monthly units

4. JMEV E400 (#281 – 874 sales)

JMEV is a brand by JMC dedicated to electric vehicles, already including the E100, E160, E200 and E200N sedans, rebadged and electrified versions of existing models by other brands, notably Zotye. True to form, this E400, JMEV’s first SUV, is in fact an electric Landwind X2. Priced between 163.800 and 175.800 yuan before government subsidies (US$23.900-25.600 or 20.400-21.900€), the E400 competes with the likes of the Chery Tiggo 3xe (157.800-189.800), JAC iEV6e (118.500-158.800), BAIC EC-Series (121.900-164.800), BAIC EV-Series (158.900-189.900) and BAIC EX-Series (183.900-202.900).

JMEV E400 interior. Picture

JMEV’s other nameplates have had uneven but quite successful careers so far, notably the E200 launched in December 2016 and peaking at 4.914 sales last December, with the E100 also launched in December 2016 and peaking at 1.755 but the E160 launched in April 2017 a lot weaker with a peak at a meagre 299 units at its 2nd month of sales. In this context, we’ll place the bar for success for the E400 halfway between the E200 and E100’s best scores, at 3.500 sales.

Bar for success: 3.500 monthly units

5. MG HS (#354 – 284 sales)

The HS is MG’s third crossover offering after the successful GS and ZS, but also its largest so far. It is built on the same platform as the enormously successful Roewe RX5 which sold just under 475.000 units since it launched two years ago in July 2017. The MG HS comes with driver assist features such as lane-departure warning, blind-spot assistance and rear-cross traffic alert. It is powered by a 170hp 1.5T or 220hp 2.0T but doesn’t offer any 4×4 variant. It is 4.574m long vs. 4.31m for the ZS and 4.51m for the GS. It is logically priced above MG’s existing SUV offers at 119.800-189.800 yuan (US$17.500-27.700 or 14.900-23.700€) compared to 73.800-115.800 for the ZS and 98.800-175.800 for the GS. Some overseas markets such as Thailand are already considering discontinuing the GS to make room for the much more modern HS.

MG HS interior. Picture

In terms of external competition, the HS is markedly dearer than the Roewe RX5 on which it is based (99.800-188.800) in order to maintain the premium and UK-origin brand image of MG in China. The other two Chinese blockbusters in the category are also cheaper: the Haval H6 goes for 103.000-146.800 and the GAC Trumpchi GS4 is at 89.800-161.800. The MG HS will also try and snap customers away from the similarly-priced but smaller VW T-Roc (139.800-209.800). Looking at the commercial performance of the other two MG crossovers, the ZS’s highest monthly volume is 11.755 hit last April while the GS has been on a long a painful slide down given its record (6.740) dates back from December 2015 only a few months after launch. We want at least the GS score to feel content.

Bar for success: 6.000 monthly units

6. YGM E-Series (#406 – 72 sales)

Although listed under the Link Tour brand, the E-series electric hatch is actually branded YGM, a brand by mini EV manufacturer Hebei Yogomo Motors owned at 25% by Great Wall Motors. The YGM marque was created to sell road-worthy EVs and its first model is this E-Series. Link Tour is a separate brand by Yogomo that also sells EVs whose first offer is the K-One that should appear shortly in the charts. More details on both brands can be found in our Exclusive Guide to all 175 Chinese Brands.

Bar for success: 1.000 monthly units

7. Roewe MARVEL X (#428 – 14 sales)

The spectacular MARVEL X debuted at the Beijing Auto Show last April and is an electric SUV based on the upcoming Roewe RX7. It is 4.678m long and powered by two electric motors (116hp + 71hp), one on each axle, giving a range of 370 or 403km depending on the variant. The MARVEL X is one of the first premium electric SUVs manufactured by a Chinese company, and as such has few competitors for now. It is priced from 268.800 to 308.800 yuan before government aids (US$39.200-45.000 or 33.500-38.500€).

Roewe MARVEL X interior. Picture

Chinese competitors include the Weltmeister EX5 (186.600-298.800), Borgward BXi7 (358.800-378.800) and NIO ES8 (448.000-548.000), which foreigners in its line of fire are none others than the Jaguar i-Pace (648.000-736.800) and Tesla Model X (964.900-1.572.200). The MARVEL X certainly competes with the Tesla Model X when it comes to the gigantic touch screen on its dashboard. Being more of a pinnacle product strategy for the Roewe brand, don’t expect high volumes for this MARVEL X.

Bar for success: 1.000 monthly units

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