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China March 2015: Ford Escort in Top 10, outsells Focus

Ford Escort China March 2015. Picture courtesy autov.com.cnThe Ford Escort is now among China’s Top 10 most popular nameplates.

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The Chinese new light vehicle market is up 9% year-on-year in March to 1.87 million units, once again boosted by surges in the SUV (+54%) and MPV (+23%) segments, rising to 474.100 and 199.300 units respectively, while sedan sales are down 1% to 1.07 million units and microvans are down 18% to 124.100 deliveries. 1st quarter sales are up a robust 9% to 5.31 million units. According to Automotive News China, sales of commercial vehicles (including trucks, buses and vans) remained weak plunging 19% both in March (370,200) and year-to-date (847,900). Due to this sluggish demand for commercial vehicles, the total Chinese market is up just 4% so far in 2015 at 6.15 million units.

Buick Excelle GT China March 2015. Picture courtesy ifeng.com.cnThe new model pushes the Buick Excelle GT back up to #14.

Atop the models ranking, the Wuling Hongguang MPV stays afloat at 67,350 sales (+6%) ahead of the VW Lavida at 41,732 (-4%), VW Santana at 31,686 (+30%), Haval H6 at 31,446 (+25%) and the success story of the past 12 months: the Baojun 730 at 30,008 units – already the nameplate’s 4th month above 30,000 monthly sales. But the big event in the Top 10 is the landing of the Ford Escort at #10, up 39% and 7 spots on February to #10 and 23,446 deliveries, its best monthly score so far. For the first time, the Escort now outsells the Focus (-40% to 21,748) to become Ford’s best-seller in China. Although surprising, this move is somewhat logical as the Escort was launched the replace the previous generation Focus still on sale here and accounting for up to half of all Focus sales in China. Also of note is the Buick Excelle GT back up 28 spots to #14 thanks to the new model.

BYD F3 China March 2015The BYD F3 reaches its highest monthly volume in almost 4 years.

Chinese manufacturers are back! They almost place a 4th nameplate inside the March Top 10, with the Chana Honor up 7 ranks to a best-ever #11, while the Geely Emgrand EC7 is up 66% on March 2014 to #17 and 20,621 sales and the BYD F3 more than triples its sales year-on-year to rank #18 with 20,374 deliveries, a true resurrection for this nameplate which was China’s best-seller in 2009 and 2010. In fact, this is the F3’s first time above 20,000 monthly sales in 4 years, since April 2011 (20.849)… The Changan Eado at #22 (+39%) and Dongfeng Fengguang at #23 (+239%) also shine.

Haval H2 China March 2015. Picture courtesy auto.sina.com.cnThe Haval H2 is the 2nd best-selling SUV in the country in March with a record 15,975 sales.

The SUV segment however is where Chinese carmakers have truly made the most progress in the past 12 months. Proof: 8 of the 10 best-selling SUVs in China in March are Chinese. This is a tremendously different situation than even a few months ago. Below the Haval H6 we find the JAC Refine S3 (17,329), Haval H2 (record 15,975), ChangAn CS75 (record 15,884) and the first foreign SUV: the VW Tiguan (15,520). Following are the ChangAn CS35 (14,236), Beijing Auto Huansu S3 (13,876), Dongfeng Joyear SUV (12,966), Nissan X-Trail (up 195% to 12,252) and Zotye T600 (record 12,215). A staggering string of new, affordable, nice to the eye models here from the Chinese.

Venucia T70 China March 2015. Picture courtesy cheyun.comThe Venucia T70 already accounts for 75% of the brand’s sales.

But the list continues: other nameplates breaking their monthly volume record this month include the Beijing Auto Weiwang M20 at #32 (14,135), BYD S7 (11,075), Buick Envision (10,495), Beijing Auto Senova D50 (10,000), Honda XR-V (8,725), Haval H1 (7,703) and Citroen C3-XR (6,360 and breaking into the Top 100 at #90). We saved the best for last: as predicted in our January review of all-new models, the sharply-priced Venucia T70 is flying up the ladder at lightning speed: up 153% and 48 ranks on February to land at #86 and 6,813 sales for its third month in market, now accounting for 75% of the Venucia brand’s sales in March.

Beijing Auto Senova X65 China March 2015. Picture courtesy cheyun.comBeijing Auto Senova X65

Among models launched last month, the Beijing Auto Senova X65 is the best performer: up 478% and 76 spots to #183 with 2,016 sales, followed by the Beijing Auto Huansu H2 up 264% and 48 ranks to #200 and 1,658 units and the MG GS up 832% and 75 spots to #213 and 1,500 deliveries. All Chinese nameplates, two SUVs and one MPV: spot on trend here. There are 6 all-new nameplates making their first appearance in the Chinese sales charts this month: 5 Chinese and 1 Korean, but this will be the subject of a dedicated article as is the tradition on BSCB, so stay tuned!

Previous post: China February 2015: Focus on the all-new models

Previous month: China February 2015: Ford Escort and VW Lamando impress

One year ago: China March 2014: VW Jetta and ChangAn Honor hit records, Fiat Ottimo sparks

Full March 2015 Top 356 All-local models below.

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