We are coming to the end of the first batch in this new Series, detailing Test Drives of Chinese or China-only cars in China. I have had the opportunity, both in the context of the Beijing Auto Show and through my temporary Chinese driver license to test drive five cars. We started with the most successful new nameplate launch in the world the Baojun 510, then went on to China’s best-selling SUV for the past five years the Haval H6, China’s most successful new launch in the past 12 months, the Baojun 530, and finally Geely’s new premium Chinese brand’s latest arrival, the Lynk & Co 02. We end this series with the best-seller in China of the most popular Chinese brand at home: the Geely Boyue. Geely is currently on a streak of 25 consecutive months of double-digit gains at home and became the #1 Chinese brand in China for the first time in 2017.
“Performance Drive” of the Geely Boyue
We are still in Yinchuan, where I have just tested the Haval H6 in a very abrasive (and welcome) way in the company of a Formula 1-style pilot (Yes I have reshuffled these test drives in a different order). Turns out, there is a Geely dealership just next door to the unopened WEY one, just as I was aiming at test driving the Boyue SUV. This is now Geely’s best-seller, having reaching almost half a million deliveries since its launch in March 2016 (to be exact, 490.935 wholesales as of end-April 2017). The Boyue has been slightly facelifted earlier this year with new headlights and bumpers. Contrary to Haval and WEY which have, respectively more grassroots and sportier images, Geely is more mass market and family-friendly and has consistently and spectacularly improved over the past three years, especially when it comes to the quality of materials used in its cockpits. As a reminder, Geely purchased Volvo in 2010 and is now actively involving the Swedish brand’s designer, Peter Horbury, in its new vehicles.
More stress-testing of the Geely Boyue
Accordingly, the welcome I received in the Geely Yinchuan dealership – filled with Borue sedans, Boyue SUVs and Vision X5 SUVs – is by far the warmest so far, with only a few bemused eclipsed looks but a very professional attitude all through. All the salespeople kept their cool at the arrival of the only foreigner they would see today (this month?), I was allocated one who quickly proceeded to sit me down, get me a piping hot “Cha” (Chinese for milk tea) and photocopy my license so quickly I only had time for one sip. A few pictures of me getting into the car and off I am accompanied with three Geely kids in the car. I say kids because none of them could have been more than 25, and they were all soberly excited to be the ones showing the Boyue off to me.
Geely Yinchuan dealership
What I am driving is close to being the top-of-the-range Boyue: at 151.800 yuan (US$23.700 or 20.150€), it is just 6.000 yuan below the maximum 157.800 charged to the top-notch Boyue whereas the base version goes for just 96.800 yuan (US$15.100 or 12.850€). This price puts it in the same sandpit as the 133.000 yuan Haval H6 I just drove, the 142.000 base Lynk & Co 02 and the 150.000 base WEY VV5. But then again, this is a car that is more focused on interior comfort than sportiness. Right? I have the opportunity to verify the quality of all materials on the dashboard, with a neat rear view camera, smooth controls on the central console and a smart stop start button. Bonus: in a similar way as the all-new NIO ES8 (although not with a human-like interface), you can ask the car to do a whole lot of things, such as GPS directions or opening the windows, by initiating the conversation with a “Ni Hao Boyue” (Mandarin for “Hello Boyue!”)
Geely Boyue interior details
I knew it before but it is confirmed to me in real life: Geely currently produces some of the best interiors for any Chinese cars available. How does it feel on the road? Smooth but sharp, I try a few harsh turns and braking and the car responds in a docile but poised way, and its behaviour seems to me to be a lot more agile than its size and weight would have suggested. Ticks all marks, and could even add a bit of zing to a dad that doesn’t want to give up its love of driving just because he now has a family. A bit of zing? Nothing could have prepared me for what was coming next…
Once I have completed a couple of two-ways on a quite but large street of Yinchuan, one of the sales kid presents his phone with the following translated into English: “The driver will now demonstrate the performance drive. This is ute intense, so please hold your phone and hold onto the overhead handle. If you want to stop or feel sick please signal the driver.” Ummm ok, there’s no easy way for me to say this, but I’ve just come from a pretty muscular drive with an actual Haval pilot so to be fair I don’t think you measure up. These were my thoughts before the “performance drive” started, which I quickly swallowed back. Oh how wrong I was! The driver (still a kid in my eyes) suddenly goes full throttle in reverse and turns the car around! Then speeds up to 100 km/h to proceed brutally turn left and right and demonstrate a few of the safety features on the Boyue! The Boyue’s tyres screech to their heart’s content but the car remains in control despite the extreme stress test. All this is illustrated by the five videos at the start of this article.
Geely Boyue: driven!
To say that I wasn’t expecting that is a gross understatement. Geely numbed me by dispatching all-too-bland-looking sales kids, one of those turning out to show better driving skills than my Haval “Formula 1” driver, all the while wearing casual white shirts and black pants. This was by far the most exhilarating China test drive I got the luck to take part in during this trip. Geely managed to completely surprise me with an SUV that, under a polished interior and discreet demeanour, is a tiger in disguise. If I was a Yinchuan punter looking for my next car, what the Geely sales kids did, by totally bluffing me, would go a long way in helping my decision. I loved how flattered but professional the dealership welcome was, how respectful and eager to communicate the sales kids were in the car, and how matter-of-factly the driver took the car to its extremes in a matter of seconds. Geely is definitely on the right track.
The Nissan Leaf is the best-selling model in Norway for the third straight month.
* See the Top 40 All-brands and Top 230 All-models by clicking on the title *
New car sales in Norway soar 24% year-on-year in April to 14.055 registrations, yet the YTD tally remains in negative at -3.5% to 47.854 units. After a March ladder heavily impacted by the Japanese end-of-financial year and US end of quarter (for Tesla), the brands ranking returns to normal with Volkswagen (-0.2%) on top at 14% share above Toyota (+9%) at 10.2% and Volvo (+32%) at 9.3%. Nissan surges 130% to 8.2% thanks to the Leaf accounting for 87% of the brand’s April saleswith BMW (+3%) rounding up the Top 5 ahead of Skoda (+6%) and Mercedes (-2%). Tesla stuns once again with a 855% year-on-year gain to #8 with Dacia (+520%), Jaguar (+383%), Mini (+181%), Renault (+135%), Kia (+98%), Peugeot (+59%), Opel (+47%), Subaru (+41%), Lexus (+26%) and Ford (+20%) all posting spectacular improvements.
Model-wise, the Nissan Leaf is the best-seller in Norway for the third consecutive month, posting its second-highest monthly volume ever at 997 units and 7.1% share, up 247% on the previous generation a year ago. The VW Golf drops 8% to #2 with 59% of its sales coming from the electric e-Golf. It is followed by the BMW i3 (+23%), Volvo XC60 (+166%) the best-selling PHEV nameplate in the country accounting for 97% of its April sales, the Tesla Model X (up 13-fold), Mercedes GLC (+91%) at 75% PHEV, Toyota Yaris (+91%) at 99% hybrid, Toyota RAV4 (+8%) at 100% hybrid and Toyota C-HR (-20%) at 99% hybrid. The Tesla Model S (+614%), Renault Zoe (+238%) and Kia Niro (+125%) also shine in the Top 20, the VW T-Roc (#17) tops all recent launches ahead of the Volvo XC40 (#19) making Norway the 2nd country in the world after Sweden to welcome the XC40 in its Top 20.
The Ford Ranger holds over 7% of the New Zealand market in April.
* See the Top 70 All-brands and Top 30 models by clicking on the title *
New car sales in New Zealand lodge their second year-on-year decline in the past three months at -2% in April to 10.423 units, yet the year-to-date volume remains in positive territory, up 1.4% to hit an all-time record at 50.744 registrations after four months. Toyota freefalls 26% year-on-year due to a new fixed-price sales model but remains in the brand lead at 12.6% share vs. 17.7% YTD. Ford (-12%) is also hit hard but manages to stay in 2nd place at 10.7%, distancing Mazda (+7%), Holden (-2%) and Mitsubishi (+2%). Suzuki (+6%) and Kia (+3%) shine in the remainder of the Top 10 whereas Hyundai (-32%), Nissan (-17%) and Volkswagen (-8%) struggle. Further down, notice Tesla (+500%), Jaguar (+200%), Renault (+157%), Peugeot (+153%), Honda (+114%), Subaru (+97%), LDV (+69%), Lexus (+61%) all Mercedes (+26%) posting spectacular gains while newcomer Haval breaks into the Top 30 brands in NZ for the first time at #28. Note Mazda (+7%) is the best-selling brand in the passenger car segment, overtaking Toyota (-26%) to hit 11.1% share vs. 10.4%.
Toyota’s weakness this month enables the Ford Ranger (+7%) to comfortably reclaim the #1 models spot it holds year-to-date with 7.1% share vs. 6.1% so far in 2018. The Toyota Hilux drops 20% to #2 ahead of the Mazda CX-5 up 20% to #3, the Holden Colorado (-2%), Nissan Navara (+2%) and Mitsubishi Triton (-13%), making it five pickup trucks in the Top 6 while the Isuzu D-Max post its first Top 10 finish since last June at #9. The Suzuki Swift soars 81% to #7, the Holden Captiva is up 45% to #11, the Nissan Qashqai up 32% to #11 and both the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross (#16) and Hyundai Kona (#19) end the month inside the Top 20. Other great performers include the Honda Jazz (#13), Subaru Outback (#15) and Subaru XV (#17).
The Suzuki SX4 S-Cross hits its highest ever ranking in Hungary at #2.
* See the Top 12 best-selling brands and Top 30 models by clicking on the title *
New car sales in Hungary shoot up 38.9% year-on-year in April to 12.056 units, lifting the year-to-date volume up 32.2% to 43.664. Including LCV, the YTD tally is up 30.4% to 50.395 registrations. Brand leader and main local producer Suzuki vastly outperforms its “home” market, soaring 78% to 14% share, distancing Ford (+33%) at 12.2%, Skoda (+30%) at 8%, Opel (+22%) at 7.% and Toyota (+30%) at 7.4%. Inside the Top 10, Kia (+46%), Nissan (+40%) and Volkswagen (+37%) also beat the market while below, Ssangyong (+122%), Hyundai (+84%) and Jaguar (+44%) are among the best performers. Model-wise, the Suzuki Vitara more than doubles its sales year-on-year (+102%), followed by the Suzuki SX4 S-Cross doing even better at +131%. Let’s pause for a minute to notice that it’s the first time since 2009 that Suzuki places two nameplates atop the Hungarian monthly charts. The last year Suzuki monopolised the Top 2 was in 2008 with the Swift and SX4. The Skoda Octavia, Opel Astra and Ford Focus round up the Top 5 with the Dacia Duster back up to #6 and the Kia Sportage up to #9.
The Renault Sandero remains the best-selling vehicle in Colombia in 2018.
* See the Top 30 best-selling brands and Top 50 models by clicking on the title *
After dropping 4.6% in January, gaining 2.2% in February and dropping 7% in March, the Colombian new vehicle market rebounds back up 18.2% in April to 20.209 registrations, leading to a YTD tally back in positive territory at +1.7% and 74.578 units. Chevrolet (+19%) reclaims the brands top spot it holds YTD off Renault (+24%), leader in March. Nissan (+21%) and Kia (+30%) mean the Top 4 brands all outperform the market this month. Below Mazda (+8%), Toyota surges 77% in 6th place, replicating the YTD Top 6. Fiat (+6650%), Honda (+223%), Mini (+127%), Peugeot (+92%), Jeep (+71%), Mitsubishi (+69%) and Volvo (+67%) also impress. Model-wise, the Renault Sandero remains on top just under 10% share, ahead of the Chevrolet Spark at 6.5% and the Chevrolet Sail at 5%. The Renault Logan and Kia Picanto round up the Top 5 while the Mazda2 gains two spots on March to #8 and the Chevrolet Beat is down four to #10.
New vehicle sales in Chile surge 43.7% year-on-year in April to break a new record for the month at 35.470 units, eclipsing the 32.206 sales from April 2013. The stunning result lifts the year-to-date tally up 26.7% to 133.573, also a new record after four months, beating the previous best of 122.491 established in 2013. Brand leader Chevrolet (+46%) roughly follows the market but Suzuki almost doubles the market growth at +78% to land in 2nd place. The remainder of the Top 6 all underperform: Hyundai (+34%), Kia (+40%), Toyota (+30%) and Nissan (+25%) all advance slower than the market. Mazda (+70%), Peugeot (+65%) and Volkswagen (+50%) also shine inside the Top 10 while below, Porsche (+267%), Opel (+150%), the Chrysler Group (+143%), BMW (+89%) and Honda (+63%) impress but the majority of large year-on-year gains once again go to Chinese manufacturers, all-in-all up 73% to 11.8% share this month vs. +63% to 12.1% YTD. Their best performers include Maxus (+480%), Dongfeng (+164%), Changan (+105%), MG (+96%), Foton (+78%), the Great Wall Group (+66%) and BAIC (+54%).
* See the Top 10 best-selling models for each nation by clicking on the title *
Thanks to our partnership with SMMT we can share with you the Top 10 best-sellers for all UK nations in April. Keep in mind this is a zoom in by nation, all sales figures are included in the April 2018 UK update. Three out of four UK nations manage double-digit gains: Wales (+32.4%) is by far the most impressive, followed by Northern Ireland (+18.3%) and England (+10.2%) standing just below the national +10.4% rate. Scotland under-performs at +3.4%. Year-to-date, Northern Ireland drops 5.2% to 21.107, Wales is down 8% to 29.926, England down 8.4% to 764.849 and Scotland down 14.5% to 68.464.
Once again the Ford Fiesta tops 3 out of 4 nations, losing out to the VW Golf in Northern Ireland for just 7 units. Year-to-date however, the Ford Fiesta is #1 everywhere. Models ranking #2 are a varied lot: the VW Golf in England, Fiesta in Northern Ireland, Vauxhall Mokka X in Scotland and Ford Kuga is Wales while the #3 spot is held by the Nissan Qashqai in England, the Hyundai Tucson in Northern Ireland, VW Polo in Scotland and Ford Focus in Wales.
Other notable performances includes the Citroen C3 up to #5 in Northern Ireland, the Ford Ecosport up to #6 in Wales -only its third Top 10 appearance in the past two years and its highest ranking there since February 2016 (#6 also), the Mercedes C-Class leaping from #10 nationally to #6 in England while the Mercedes A-Class goes from #9 to #7, the Dacia Sandero up to #7 in Wales and #9 in Scotland, the Toyota Yaris up to #7 in Northern Ireland, the Vauxhall Crossland X up to #8 in Scotland, the Vauxhall Viva up to #8 in Wales, its third ever Welsh Top 10 after #10 last month and #7 in October 2015 and the Peugeot 3008 lodging its very first Top 10 in any UK nation at #9 in Wales.
* See the Top 18 manufacturers and Top 50 models by clicking on the title *
New vehicle sales in Vietnam limit their fall to -3.7% in April to 21.123 units, leading to a YTD total down 6.9^% to 80.681. Thaco-Kia (-6%) remains in the manufacturer lead at 29.9% share but only owes it to its strong truck sales (4.045) and would only rank 4th without them. Toyota goes against the grain with a 3% gain but it’s Honda that without a doubt impresses the most in the Top 10, up 4-fold on its April 2017 score to #3 and 13.3% share. In contrast, Ford (-47%), Chevrolet (-47%), Hyundai (-32%) and Isuzu (-16%) all freefall. At #11, Peugeot is up 10-fold (+969%). Model-wise, the Toyota Vios (+89%) cements it domination with just under 10% share in April while the Honda CR-V shoots up 728% year-on-year and 12 spots on March to land in second place. The Toyota Innova (+44%) rounds up the podium and now ranks #2 YTD. The Mazda3 (+9%), Kia Cerato (+105%) and Honda City (+119%) follow.
The Kia Rio is now the best-seller in Cyprus in 2018 YTD.
* See the Top 30 best-selling models by clicking on the title *
Thanks to our partnership with SEMO Cyprus and INNOSOFT, we can share with you today Cyprus new car sales data for April, when the market drops 1.2% to 1.058 units, leading to a year-to-date volume up 11.3% to 5.246. The Ford Focus (+74%) is up 22 spots on March to snap the April lead ahead of the Toyota Yaris (+347%) and Hyundai Tucson (+51%) but it’s the Kia Rio (-45%) that snaps the YTD pole position off its smaller sibling the Kia Picanto despite a steep decline this month. The Toyota C-HR edges up 7% to #5, with the Land Rover Discovery Sport (+82%), Nissan Qashqai (+48%), Range Rover Evoque (+35%) and Ford Kuga (+21%) also shining in a Top 12 including no less than 9 SUVs. Notice also the Kia Stonic leading recent launches (<12 months) at #12 vs. #7 YTD.