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China September 2012: Islands diplomatic row sends ranking wild! Ford Focus distant #1, no Japanese in the Top 25

Ford Focus

* NOW UPDATED with the Top 283 All-models ranking! Click on title to see *

The diplomatic tensions between China and Japan over the Diaoyu/Senkaku islands had a huge impact on the Chinese new car market this month. For the first time in 2012, passenger cars are down year-on-year at -0.3% to 1,315,600 registrations, bringing the year-to-date to 11,269,600 units, still up a solid 7% on 2011. A slowing economy and rising fuel costs weren’t helped by the islands spat. After smashed cars and torched dealerships turned a Japanese car into a sudden liability, all Japanese carmakers and their Chinese joint ventures lost a lot of ground this month with Toyota (-49%), Suzuki (-42%), Honda (-40%), Nissan and Mazda (-35%) hit the hardest. Potentially for the first time since soon after Japanese models arrived in China, there was no Nippon in the Top 25: the Toyota Camry is the best-seller this month at #26 with 11,065 sales, followed by the Honda CR-V (#28), Nissan Sylphy (#30) and Toyota Corolla (#33).

The main winners were BMW up 55%, Ford up 35%, Volkswagen up 25% and Audi up 20%. The Ford Focus is the best-selling model in the country for the 2nd month running and the third time in the last 4 months. With 33,587 sales in September it even becomes only the 4th passenger car ever to sell more than 30,000 units in a single month in China with the Chevrolet Sail last May, the VW Passat last January and the BYD F3 which last passed this benchmark in March 2010. The Sail stays #2 with 25,485 sales and gets closer to the 2012 year-to-date pole position, now at 210,800 units vs. 214,445 for the Buick Excelle, down to #4 this month.

VW Lavida

The VW Lavida confirms its return to shape thanks to the new model and is up a further 4 spots on August to #3 with 24,600 sales, its highest ranking in the country since last February and best volume since… December 2010! The VW Passat is up 6 ranks to #5, ahead of the VW Sagitar (-1) and the previous gen Hyundai Elantra Yuedong (+1). The VW Jetta (-4), Hyundai Verna (+1) and Chevrolet Cruze (-1) round up the Top 10.

Emgrand EC7

In September the Emgrand EC7 is the most popular Chinese model for the 2nd time after last June, up a massive 19 spots on August to a record #12 with 15,886 sales. This is the best ranking for a Chinese model at home since the Great Wall Haval H-Series reached #10 last March. The EC7 is followed by the Great Wall Haval H6 (#17), Chery QQ (#20), Great Wall Voleex C30 (#25) and FAW Xiali N3/N5 (#29).

Citroen C-Quatre

A few recent launches shine this month in China: the Kia K2 is up 11 ranks on last month to #13 with 15,656 units, its very first time in the Top 20 and by far its best volume ever. The Hyundai Elantra Langdong is up 5 to rank #16 for only its 2nd month of sales at 15,243 units, while the Citroen C-Quatre boosted by the new generation sedan is up 19 to #21 with 12,137 sales. Notice also the Hyundai ix35 up 29 to #23 and the Chevrolet Malibu up 18 to #38.

BYD F3 Surui

A very important newcomer makes its first appearance in the Chinese model ranking in September: the BYD F3 Surui (the 2nd generation of the model) lands directly at #42 with 7,889 sales – already the #9 best-selling local model in between the Chery Tiggo and the BYD S6. Further down the ranking, the Great Wall Haval M4 confirms it is a big hit with Chinese consumers, up 17 spots to break into the Top 50 for the first time at #47 and 7,329 units, as does the Peugeot 308 up 17 to #49.

Brilliance H230

The Dongfeng Fengshang H30/S30 is up 22 to #54, the Baojun 630 is back up 23 to #59, the ChangAn Eado is up a massive 85 ranks to get back to #63 after hitting #59 in July and the Zotye Z300 is up 46 to a best-ever #77 with 4,825 sales. The other two models launched last month already break into the Top 100 in September: the Brilliance H230 is up 194% and 77 spots to #85 at 4,495 units and the ChangAn Yuexiang V3 is up 80% and 35 ranks to #97 with 3,993 sales.

Soueast V5 Lingzhi

Apart from the new gen BYD F3 there are 3 additional newcomers this month in China. The Soueast V5 Lingzhi arrives at #132 with 2,616 units…

Shanghai Englon SC6

…the Shanghai Englon SC6 follows at #136 and 2,503 sales…

FAW Besturn B90

…while the FAW Besturn B90 appears at #158 and 1,565 units.

Previous post: China 9 months 2012: Hyundai Verna best performer in Top 10

Previous month: China August 2012: Ford Focus leads, VW Lavida back in the game

One year ago: China September 2011: General Motors places 3 models in Top 4!

Full September 2012 Top 283 All-models Ranking Table below.

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