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China LCV Full Year 2015: Sales transfer towards mini pickups boosts Wuling Mini Truck to first crown (BSCB Exclusive)

Wuling Mini Truck China 2015The Wuling Mini Truck is the best-selling LCV in China for the first time in 2015.

* See the Top 75 best-selling models by clicking on the title *

As part of a partnership with local Consulting firm Cedars, we can share with you detailed data for the light commercial vehicle market in China with complete minivan, pickup and mini truck data by model available as well as selected light truck/bus data sourced with LMC Automotive. Overall, the LCV market has suffered greatly in 2015, down 8% year-on-year to 3.644.958 units vs. 3.976.257 in 2014. Looking into the various segments brings to light a drastic sales transfer from minivans (=microvans) towards mini trucks – the Chinese label for micro pickups, a trend we at BSCB started flagging back in April 2015 and particularly visible within the almighty Wuling brand and of course only noticeable way into the most rural parts of China. Back then I noted “the tremendous and recent success of the Wuling Mini Truck is something I had noticed in Western China in 2014 and again in the North-Eastern town of Mohe in 2015, where it is among the best-sellers in both locations.
1. Chana TaurusA thing of the past? Chinese micovans – in Chongqing, April 2014.

Minivans are down a devastating 36% this year to just 810.172 units from 1.262.942 in 2014. Not so long ago, the Wuling Sunshine alone would absorb this level of sales. It would seem the age of the ultra-cheap, ultra-unsafe microvans is well and truly becoming a thing of the past in China just as inhabitants of the countryside are steadily becoming a lot wealthier. As described above, Mini Trucks are the only beam of sunshine in an otherwise truly depressed Chinese LCV market: up 1% to 442.625 units. Pickup trucks are in freefall at -16% to 328.933 sales. The remaining amount – up 10% to 2.063.228 units, is composed of light trucks and buses, a vague definition in China about which we are still trying to get 100% visibilty.

Wuling Hongguang VThe Wuling Hongguang V sells almost 200.000 units in less than 12 months.

In the models ranking, as a fitting symbol of the market turning to micro pickups, the Wuling Mini Truck edges past the Foton Light Truck, #1 for most of the year, towards the last few days of 2015 to sign its very first LCV pole position with sales up a vigorous 10% to 242.399 vs. 241.307 (-7%) for the Foton, whose “Light Truck” label actually includes a full range of medium commercial pickups under the Forland sub-brand. Once the LCV champion, the Wuling Sunshine is down 26% to #3 but it’s the Rongguang, still #1 in 2014, that implodes at -44% to a paltry 5th position.

ModelCatPrice range (yuan)Price range (US$)
Wuling JourneyMPV66.000 – 77.00010.600 – 12.400
Wuling HongguangMPV44.800 – 69.8007.200 – 11.250
Wuling Hongguang VMicro42.800 – 51.8006.900 – 8.300
Wuling RongguangMicro41.800 – 46.8006.700 – 7.500
Wuling SunshineMicro29.800 – 46.0004.800 – 7.400

Part of the reason why these two nameplates have suffered so badly this year is the introduction of the all-new Hongguang V, Wuling’s attempt at upgrading those Sunshine/Rongguang owners that just can’t get themselves to splurge on the Hongguang MPV or, even dearer, the Baojun 730. And it’s worked: almost 200.000 units of the Hongguang V found a buyer in less than 12 months, with the model getting a tax-cut sponsored 2nd wind at the end of the year (19.662 sales in December) after a very impressive peak of 30.003 as early as March.

Great Wall Wingle 2015. Picture courtesy of Great Wall Wingle 5 is still the best-selling one ton pick-up in China. 

Following the same sales transfer as market leader Wuling, #2 ChangAn sees its Star Minibus (=microvan) plunge by 34% from 231,745 deliveries to just 151.795 and go from #4 to #7 in the sales charts, whereas its micro pickup variant, the Star Mini Truck, is up 4% to 85.736 sales. The Great Wall Wingle 5 has now been China’s best-selling 1 ton pickup truck for a decade but the arrival of a new Wingle 6 (15.328 sales) hasn’t helped: the 5 is down 29% to fall well below the symbolic 100.000 mark at 84.135, losing its cherished Top 10 spot in passing (from #8 to #13). The Isuzu N-Series (#16) and Ford Transit (#18) are the only foreign models selling over 10.000 units in a segment fiercely defended by local manufacturers.

Previous post: China LCV November 2015: Wuling Mini Truck edges closer to annual win

Previous year: China Full Year 2014: Growth cools to 7% to record 23.5 million units

Two years ago: China Full Year 2013: Wuling Hongguang and VW Lavida on top

Full Year 2015 Top 75 models Ranking vs. Full Year 2014 figures below.

Data sources: Cedars, LMC Automotive

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