* See the Top 375 All-local models and Top 70 brands by clicking on the title *
After three consecutive months of decline – the firsts in six years – and a timid 3% gain in September, the Chinese government finally decided on October 1 to take measures to spruce up the new light vehicle market again, halving the purchase tax to 5% for vehicles with engine displacement lower than 1.6 litres. The effect is immediate: October light vehicle sales shoot up 13.3% to 1.94 million units, 69% of which qualified for the tax cut according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM). Logically, sales of compact vehicles are up 17% to 1.34 million. The overall market including trucks and buses is up 11.8% to 2.221.600 units for the month.
As if their growth wasn’t spectacular enough all through the year, SUV sales are up another 61% to 622,000 units, a new SUV monthly volume record for China, beating the previous high of 579.979 established just last month. MPVs are up 5% to 192.800 units, sedans are back into positive at +0.2% and 1.05 million but microvans continue to freefall at -20% and 67.600 sales. Year-to-date, the Chinese new light vehicle market is now up 3.9% to 16.5 million units. Just as most automotive analysts covered the supposed slowdown of the Chinese market with ‘doomsday’-themed articles, I will just stress that this year-to-date figure is still an all-time record for China, and any market for that matter. Meanwhile U.S. new car sales, also on track for an annual record in 2015, trail at 14.5 million units, up by a marginally better 5.8%.
Top 10 best-selling SUVs in China – October 2015 and year-to-date:
|3||GAC Trumpchi GS4||21,052||new||83,581||new||19|
|7||JAC Refine S3||17,220||74%||150,422||736%||3|
|10||Beijing Auto Huansu S3||16,136||73%||125,563||468%||8|
Chinese manufacturers are the real winners in the market this year, thanks to a flood of new and affordable SUVs that have taken the market by storm: an astounding seven out of the Top 10 best-selling SUVs in China in October are Chinese, and 17 of the 50 most popular light vehicles in the country this month are Chinese. The SUV ranking is led as usual by the Haval H6 hitting a record 37.541 sales, now followed by the Baojun 560 crossing the 30,000 monthly unit-milestone for he first time (30.226) and the GAC Trumpchi GS4 posting its debut run above the 20.000 monthly sales mark (21.052). Below the VW Tiguan (#4), the ChangAn CS75 is up 73% year-on-year to an all-time high 17.948 units, the JAC Refine S3 up 74% to 17.220, the Haval H2 up 44% to a record 16.785 and the Beijing Auto Huansu S3 up 74% to 16.136.
The SUV segment quasi-monopolises the list of largest year-on-year gains in October: the Buick Envision is up 6-fold on October 2014 for its first anniversary in market, the ChangAn CS35 is up 42% to #12 SUV, the Zotye T600 is up 64% to a record 13.430 sales, the twins Honda XR-V and Vezel continue to shine, the Hyundai Tucson is up 5-fold thanks to the new generation, and the Brilliance V3 breaks a new record at 8.400 sales. Among recent introductions, the JAC Refine S2 improves further on a smashing start in September to 7.161 units, the Zotye X5 takes off 3-fold on last month to 5.033 units at #116 and the BYD Song doubles its sales to 2.301.
In other Chinese carmaker news, the Wuling Hongguang delivers its strongest volume and first year-on-year gains since March at 67.002 units (+11%), its clone the Beijing Auto Weiwang M20 breaks its monthly volume record at 16.248 (+112%), as does the Geely Vision at 14.032 (+319%). In the foreign manufacturer aisle, the Nissan Sylphy (34.456) and Buick Excelle GT (30.609) once again post stratospheric sales levels and follow the VW Lavida (40.298) as the best-selling sedans in the country. As far as recent launches are concerned, let’s point out the Buick Verano up 139% on September to a brilliant 9.298 sales at #66 and the Roewe 360 up 67% to 5.634 and #107. We welcome four new locally produced nameplates including – rare feat – two sedans, but this will be the object of a separate update as is the tradition on BSCB.
A quick overview of the brands ranking (no imports and no commercials) shows Volkswagen back in positive territory (+5%) at a time when it is bracing for substantial losses worldwide in the wake of the emission scandal, yet to be clearly resolved. Buick jumps a spectacular 37% year-on-year to retain the #2 spot with 101.599 sales above Hyundai, Toyota (both at +8%), Nissan (+13%), Honda (+22%) and Ford (+17%). Lifted by the tremendous success of its SUV lineup, ChangAn (+14%) leads local carmakers above Wuling (+13%), Haval (+40%), Beijing Auto (+73%) and Baojun (+90%). Finally, notice Kia (-1%), Chevrolet (-14%) and Chery (-1%) all losing ground on their October 2014 level.
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Full October 2015 Top 375 All-local models and Top 70 brands below.