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China February 2016: VW Lavida #1 but 8 in Top 12 are Chinese in market down 1.5%

VW Lavida China February 2016. Picture courtesy auto.fengniao.comThe VW Lavida is the only foreign nameplate in the Top 5.

* See the Top 367 All-China-made model and Top 68 brands by clicking on the title *

This year the weeklong Lunar New Year holiday – grinding the entire country to a halt- fell in early February which helped boost car sales in January, but damaged February data: light vehicle sales are down 1.5% year-on-year to just 1.38 million units. In February once again the market is kept alive by the SUV segment seeing sales up 43% to 477.670 units while MPVs are up 10% to 173.927 units but sedans crumble down 18% to 670.015. For the second month running, sedan sales are now just 40% above SUV sales vs. 61% in December. Thanks to January sales up 8%, the year-to-date picture is a little rosier with light vehicle deliveries up 5.1% to 3.61 million units, lifted by SUVs up 55% to 1.27m, MPV up 14% to 436k but dragged by sedan sales freefalling down 13% to 1.78m.

Dongfeng Fengguang 370 China February 2016. Picture courtesy auto-163.comThe Dongfeng Fengguang celebrates its very first monthly Top 10 ranking at home…

Brand-wise, Volkswagen continues its descent to hell at -13% to 193.083 sales, followed this time by ChangAn (+4%), Buick (+10%) and Ford (+6%). Baojun (+123%) shoots up to 5th place overall, kicking Toyota (+11%) down to 6th. Hyundai (-28%), Wuling (-21%) and Chevrolet (-37%) slip down heavily, whereas Honda (+43%), Haval (+30%), Dongfeng (+22%), Beijing Auto (+42%), JAC (+36%), Brilliance (+90%), Zotye (+53%), Mercedes (+40%) and GAC Trumpchi (+116%) all post very strong results. Nissan freefalls to 18th place overall vs. #7 over the Full Year 2015 but traditionally is weaker in February. Peugeot (-19%), BMW (-31%), Citroen (-29%), Mazda (-15%) and FAW (-40%) worry us a little.

JAC Refine S3 China February 2016. Picture courtesy…as does the JAC Refine S3.

February sales charts show a definitive push towards domestic fares: if the VW Lavida takes advantage of a particularly weak showing of the Wuling Hongguang (-20%) to reclaim the top spot for the first time since last May with 47.233 deliveries (+4%), it is the only foreign nameplate in the Top 5: the Haval H6 (+64%) ranks third just above the Baojun 560 at a record 4th place with a stunning 30.970 sales and the Baojun 730 (+21%) at 29.711. The seven most popular SUVs in the country are all Chinese (!): the Dongfeng Fengguang (slicing its record ranking in two at #9), JAC Refine S3 (at a record #10), ChangAn CS75 (+67%), Brilliance V3 (record #16), GAC Trumpchi GS4 and ChangAn CS35 all outsell the VW Tiguan, down 35% to a paltry 28th spot overall…

In fact, with the help of the Chana Honor at #11 (16.952 sales), 8 of the 12 best-selling nameplates in the country are Chinese, a ratio we have never witnessed before in the entire history of automobile in China. Adding LCV vehicles tip the balance even further towards Chinese models, as we’ll detail shortly.

Previous month: China January 2016: Baojun 560 threatens Haval H6 for SUV title

One year ago: China February 2015: Ford Escort and VW Lamando impress

Full February 2016 Top 367 All-China-made models and Top 68 brands below.

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