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Surprise surge of new car sales in China in December: up 12% to 2.41 million units, a new monthly volume record in China. Passenger cars are up a strong 11% to 2 million deliveries, MPVs are up 26% to just under 200,000 units and SUVs are up a stunning 55% to cross the half-million mark for the first time. A record 65 nameplate sell over 10,000 units this month in China, compared to 45 in the USA. To understand how much of a booming market China still is despite a lot of analysts announcing its demise (I’m not one of them), let’s simply notice that 27 out of the Top 50 best-selling models in December break their all-time monthly volume record. That’s an unbelievable feat in a market that will reach 25 million annual sales in 2015.
For once, the sales surge has benefitted Chinese manufacturers, with 9 of the Top 11 best-selling Chinese nameplates breaking an all-time record: at the top of the ranking the Wuling Hongguang is up a breathtaking 82% on December 2013 to lodge its 2nd best-ever month at 75,900 units, the Baojun 730 breaks into the Top 5 for the first time, selling a record 31,472 units and the Haval H6 breaks its monthly record for the 14th time in the past 18 months at 31,373 deliveries, its third consecutive month above 30,000 sales.
Outside the Top 10, the Geely Emgrand EC7 is at an all-time high 25,841 units at #14, the JAC Refine S3 has imposed itself as a blockbuster SUV only a couple of months after launch, continuing to improve at 17,133 sales in 22nd place and #4 SUV in the country, the Chery Tiggo 3 is up 153% year-on-year to #25 and a record 16,632 units while its larger stablemate the Chery Tiggo 5 also breaks its monthly record, up 126% on December to 12,469 sales at #42. Two additional Chinese SUVs break records: the Beijing Auto Huansu S3 is up a further 22% on November to 14,512 units and the Haval H2 is up to 12,259 sales at #44. We also have one record-breaking Chinese MPV in the Top 50: the Dongfeng Fengguang boosted by its new “360” SUV variant and up 91% to 14,481 units at #36. Finally, once #1 in China the BYD F3 is back in favour with Chinese car buyers, reaching its highest monthly volume since May 2011 at 16,078 sales.
Further down, notice also the Zotye T600 breaking the 10,000 monthly unit-mark for the very first time exactly one year after launch at a best-ever #56 and 10,551 sales, the Chery 2 (formerly known as Fulwin 2) back up 37% to #58 and 10,414 sales, the Geely Vision up fourfold on a year ago at #72, the GAC Trumpchi GA3S smashing its all-time monthly record by 54% to 8,585 sales and breaking into the Top 100 for the first time at #73, the Beijing Senova D50 doing the same by 15% at #85 and the Beijing Huansu S2 taking off at +196% on November to 6,200 units for its 5th month in market.
Great December sales performances are not confined to Chinese nameplates, and far from it. Boosted by its facelift making it unique in the world, the Chevrolet Cruze spectacularly shoots up to 2nd place overall, up 46% year-on-year to smash its monthly volume record by almost 10,000 units at 35,603 sales (previous best: 26,273 in October 2013). The Nissan Sylphy lodges a 2nd month in a row at an all-time high third position thanks to an extremely robust 32,908 sales, outselling both the Ford Focus (31,944) and VW Lavida (28,221), this year’s two best-selling passenger cars. Honda traditionally delivers huge December figures due to heavy discounts and this year is no exception: the Accord is up 32% YOY to a record 29,184 units, the Crider is up 17% to a best-ever 26,387 and Fit sales are up a gargantuan fivefold on a year ago to an all-time high 15,886.
Among other nameplates to break their all-time volume record in the Top 50, let’s single out the Toyota Corolla tripling its sales year-on-year to a 29,019 and outselling the VW Lavida for the first time, the Hyundai Elantra Langdong up 63% to 27,054, both the Kia K2 (+41% to 16,402) and K3 (+60% to 18,010), the Chevrolet Malibu at 17,080, Skoda Octavia at 16,750, Toyota Vios at 14,624, Hyundai Mistra at 13,036 and Ford Kuga at 12,830. Illustrating the exceptional month we are dealing with here, a few tried-and-tested nameplates also reach career highs, such as the Hyundai ix35 hitting 17,431 sales, the Audi A4L at 13,307 and the Citroen C-Elysée at 12,324.
As far as recent launches are concerned, the Toyota Levin delivers its third consecutive month above 10,000 sales at 11,006, both the Honda Vezel and Buick Envision impressively cross the same benchmark for their 3rd month in market at 11,639 and 10,008 units respectively, the Hyundai ix25 is up a further 21% on November to a record #82 and 8,038 deliveries with the Kia K4 behaving similarly at +19% to #84 and 8,017 sales and the DS 6 is up 69% to #167 and 3,325 units, making up for horrendous results from the brand’s two other nameplates, the DS 5 (-31% year-on-year) and DS 5LS (-72% on November).
Out of the 12 all-new nameplates hitting the market place in November, a few are already shooting up the ladder: if the Haval H1 is up ‘just’ 15% on last month to 6,983 sales and down two spots but staying inside the Top 100 at #99, the most spectacular progression is delivered by the BYD S7 going from #220 and 1,002 units in November to #116 and 5,547 units this month, already above its bar for success I set at 4,500 units but cannibalising sales of the BYD S6 down 41% to #104. Also impressive are the Dongfeng Fengshan AX7 up 113% and 42 spots to #145 with 4,171 sales (bar for success 5,000), the Chery Arrizo 3 also up 113% to #155 and 3,777 units (bar for success 5,000), Zotye Z500 up 212% to #179 with 2,841 deliveries (bar for success 4,000). The Lifan X50 is up 264% to a still discreet #212, the Infiniti Q50L up 45% to #225, the Haval H9 up 27% to #178 and the Chery eQ up 199% to #281. With the Kia K3S now incorporated into K3 sales, this means 9 out of the 11 nameplates launched last month are up. A good crop indeed.
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Full December 2014 Top 362 All-models Ranking Table below.