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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 pcauto.com.cnBeijing 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 auto.sina.com.cnMazda6 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 xcar.com.cnMaxus 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!

Previous post: China May 2014: VW Santana breaks record in market up 8%

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

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

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

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