* NOW UPDATED with the Top 65 All-brands & Top 313 All-models! Click on title to see *
Finally – I know a lot of you have been waiting for it – I can share with you the best-selling models in China for September. No respite for Chinese new car sales this year: they surge by 21% year-on-year to 1.59 million units, their highest monthly volume since January, bouncing back from the consumer backlash sparked by a territorial dispute last year and bringing the year-to-date total to 12.8 million units, up 14% on 2012. The growth is fueled by SUVs up 65% to 283,600 units. Total sales of vehicles including buses and trucks are up 20% year-on-year to 1.94 million units, adding up to a record 15.9 million units in 9 months. Brand-wise, Ford is up 61%, Audi up 28% and both Mercedes and BMW are up 21%.
This month I have made the (controversial?) decision to include the Wuling Hongguang in the Passenger Cars ranking. It is indeed categorised as an MPV by the CAAM since the start of 2013 (and not LCV) and my visit to Beijing, China confirmed it is not a commercial vehicle. This ruffles a few feathers in the ranking as it puts the Hongguang in pole position with 51,211 sales, up a whopping 81% year-on-year. It’s the third time in the last 8 months that the Hongguang sells more than 50,000 monthly units in China after reaching 64,096 last February and 50,032 last March. This new classification makes the Hongguang the only passenger car to have ever clocked 50,000 and 60,000 monthly sales.
The VW Lavida is #2 with 42,267 sales, up a magnificent 72% year-on-year and the nameplate’s second best-ever monthly result below the 48,267 units it hit last January. The September total includes 12,315 Gran Lavida, an enormous success which would earn the variant a ranking just outside the Top 30 on its own, in a country not used to station wagons. This will surely incite more carmakers to start locally manufacturing models in this segment in the near future.
Year-to-date, the Lavida holds onto the pole position in spite of the arrival of the Wuling Hongguang at 334,161 sals vs, 291,393. This means that after just 9 months, the Lavida has already beaten the all-time annual Passenger Car sales record, with the two previous bests being the Ford Focus at 296,360 over the Full Year 2012 and the BYD F3 at 291,010 in 2009. At 26,943 units the VW Jetta delivers its best monthly volume in almost 2 years, since January 2011 exactly when it reached 28,140 sales. The Chevrolet Cruze is at a best-ever 24,744 sales, beating the 24,477 hit last January, this could be the materialization of the hatchback variant hitting Chinese shores.
The Nissan Sylphy, up 133% on September 2012 to 22,972 sales – only its second time ever above 20,000 monthly units after last January – is the first of a series of Japanese models lodging impressive year-on-year gains because at the same time last year the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands conflict started impacting Nippon sales. Notice also the Nissan Teana up 114% (also due to the new model), Toyota RAV4 up 98%, Nissan Qashqai and Tiida up 89%, Honda Accord up 86%, Honda CR-V up 82, Toyota Corolla EX up 69% and the Toyota Corolla up 55%.
The Chevrolet Sail (-17%) is the only model in the Top 12 to not post year-on-year gains, while the Hyundai Elantra Langdong is up a shiny 50% to a record 22,789 units at #8 and the VW Santana up a huge 225% thanks to the new model to 20,480 units, the nameplate’s first ever month above the 20,000 sales benchmark in its 30 year-career! Add the Sagitar at #9, the Passat at #13, Bora at #14, Tiguan at #17 and Magotan at #18 and we have 8 Volkswagen in the Top 18! The German manufacturer is clearly doing it right in China.
The Great Wall Haval H6 loses its title of best-selling Chinese PC with the arrival of the Wuling Hongguang but still manages a third consecutive record sales result at 21,141 units, up 40% year-on-year and the combination of the 2012 model runout and the arrival of the 2013 model, now branded Haval instead of Great Wall! I will share more exclusive pictures with you on one of my Trans-Siberian Beijing updates.
There are a few other big events further down the Chinese ranking this month: still fresh from the factory, the Ford Mondeo new generation is up 68 spots on August to land just outside the Top 50 for only its 2nd month in market at #51 with just under 10,000 sales at 9,676, while the previous generation culminated at 8,095 sales and #54 in December 2011!
The most surprising development is the explosive growth of the Fiat Viaggio, going from #191 and 1,001 sales in August to a record #52 and 9,497 units this month. Launched last November, the first Fiat to be produced in China since the Palio/Siena couple started its career with 4 months at 4,000 sales before stabilising around 3,000 monthly units and suddenly dropping last month. Had the factory hit a bottleneck and October will return to normal or is this the new performing Viaggio we should get used to? Given the the Viaggio is very competitively price and its design is well appreciated by Chinese consumers but the brand is suffering from a lack of dealerships (only 5 in the whole country!), I would bet on the first option.
There are no less than 7 newcomers in the Chinese PC ranking this month, but this is the subject of a dedicated post…
Previous month: China August 2013: Great Wall Haval H6 breaks sales record again
Full September 2013 Top 313 All-models and Top 65 All-brands Ranking Tables below.