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Sales of passenger cars in China confirm they are now firmly back in positive with a third consecutive year-on-year gain in August at +4.1% to 1.875.000 units, lifting the year-to-date tally up 2.2% to 14.807.000 sales. Once again, SUVs are the isolated engine of the Chinese market’s growth with deliveries surging up 17.1% year-on-year to 783.058, cars down 2.2% to 948.709, MPVs down 16.2% to 139.255 and minivans down 27.2%. In August, sales of passenger cars with engine capacity of 1.6L and below – the core of the market affected by the tax changes of the past couple of years – is down just 0.5% year-on-year to 1.268.000 units, accounting for 67.6% of the total passenger car market vs. 70.8% a year ago. Year-to-date, these vehicles are down a limited 2.1% to 10.084.000 units or 68.1% share. To get a global picture of the Chinese market we need to add commercial vehicles, up 12.8% to 311.000 sales in August leading to a year-to-date total up 16.9% to 2.704.000 units. Buses are down 10.9% but trucks up 21.6%. All-in-all, the Chinese total vehicle market is up 5.3% in August to 2.186.000 units and up 4.3% year-to-date to a record 17.511.000 sales.
Now onto the much talked-about market share of Chinese manufacturers at home. The total share is up just 0.5 percentage point year-on-year in August to 41% of passenger cars, but the picture is very different depending on the segments. Cars also see a 0.5 percentage point increase to 18% share thanks to 168.000 units, up 4.6% year-on-year. Chinese-branded SUVs are up 25.2% year-on-year to 462.000 units, accounting for 59.6% share up from 56% a year ago. Finally Chinese-branded MPVs are down 30.1% to 110.000 units of 79.3% share, down from 86.8% a year ago. Year-to-date, the market share of Chinese branded passenger cars is up 1.1 percentage point to 43.2% thanks to sales up 4.8% to 6.389.000. In the detail, Chinese cars increase by 0.7 percentage point to 19.3% share with sales up 1.6% to 1.380.000, Chinese SUVs increase by a whopping 3.6 percentage points to 59.4% thanks to sales up 24.6% to 3.556.000 and Chinese MPVs decrease by 5.6 percentage points to 83.9% with sales down 21.4% to 1.078.000. So once again, the heroes of the months are Chinese-branded SUVs, and given the onslaught of new models being unveiled every week in this segment, they are bound to reach even higher shares in the near future.
Some manufacturers officially announce Chinese retail sales including imports which vary from the data tables we provide below, and this paragraph is dedicated to these announcements. The Volkswagen Group reports a 9.2% increase to 353.500 sales in August, with the Volkswagen brand up 10% to 265.400 and Skoda stable at 26.000. Year-to-date, VW Group sales are now up 0.7% to 2.49 million, above rival General Motors’ unchanged 2.38 million. In August, GM is up 12% to 328.425, helped by Cadillac up 51% to 15.014, Baojun up 62% to 82.658, Chevrolet up 21% to 46.705 and Buick up 9.6% to 103.277 just as Wuling drops 19% to 80.771. Among Japanese carmakers, Honda Motor leads the way at +21% to 128.671 units, followed by Nissan Motor up 18% to 122.319 and Toyota Motor up 13% to 108.500. Year-to-date, Honda is up 18% to 886.641, Nissan up 9% to 877.638 and Toyota up 7.1% to 841.400. Ford Motor on the other hand is down 1% to 97.863 this month. Audi has now firmly reclaimed its premium crown – in the lead for the 2nd consecutive month – with sales up 10% to 54.205, distancing Mercedes up 25% to 50.505 and BMW up 12% to 47.385. It will be tough for Audi to reclaim the lead year-to-date however, with totals now standing at 360.225 (-6.6%) vs. 391.772 (+33%) for Mercedes and 383.976 (+16%) for BMW AG.
As always the China-made wholesale brands data shows a slightly different picture, although Volkswagen replicates its market-beating 10% year-on-year improvement. The Honda brand displays a stunning 43% gain at #2, above Buick (+0.1%) and Toyota (+18%). Geely continues to gallop ahead with a splendid 76% surge, bettered by Baojun though (+84%). GAC Trumpchi (+34%), Venucia (+44%), Roewe (+47%), Soueast (+50%), MG (+54%) and Leopaard (+66%) also post spectacular gains – all of them thanks to new SUVs – but strikingly, more Chinese brands are down (22) than up (19) this month. Blockbusters such as Haval (-13%), Changan (-19%), Wuling (-26%), Beijing Auto (-27%), BYD (-27%), Chery (-33%), Haima (-37%) and Brilliance (-57%) are losing foot, while among smaller brands Changhe (-37%), Borgward (-40%), Jinbei (-54%), Weichai (-54%), Landwind (-61%) and Cowin (-65%) are fast headed towards disappearance. Great Wall (-85%) is slowly dying now that GWM has contained the brand to pickup trucks. Eight new China-made brands have made their appearance over the past 12 months, led by WEY (#42), Bisu (#47), Hanteng (#48) and SWM (#49) with Jaguar (#61) and Acura (#65) following at a distance. This month we welcome Isuzu as a China-made passenger car brand, which will be covered in our traditional monthly focus on the All-new models.
Over in the models ranking, the VW Lavida/Gran Lavida rallies back up from #7 in July to pole position this month thanks to sales up 12% to 43.024, with the Buick Excelle (+24%) in 2nd place showing cars are not dead yet. The Haval H6 (-5%) is down from #1 in July to #3 this month and will have its work cut out to match last year’s performance during the last Quarter. The Nissan Sylphy (+23%) and Toyota Corolla (+24%) make it four cars in the Top 8. As the months go by, the Wuling Hongguang keeps aligning counter-performances: now down 24% to a paltry 5th place and only 4.000 sales above the Lavida year-to-date. The Hongguang has been the best-selling vehicle in China for the past four years, but 2017 could turn out to be the Lavida’s year if the Hongguang continues on its downward trend.
For its part the Baojun 510 is stable on its record-breaking July score just under 33.000 units, brilliantly remaining the #2 SUV in the country, this as the cannibalised 560 (-31%) has bottomed up: up 30 spots on July to #52. The VW Tiguan soars 49% to over 29.000 sales and is the only foreign SUV among the seven best-sellers: it is followed by the GAC Trumpchi GS4 (+5%), Geely Boyue (+110%), Roewe RX5 (+143%) and Changan CS75 (+26%). Baojun also makes itself noticed with the 310 hatch, more than doubling its sales on July to a record 18.724, for the first time the best-selling Chinese car and among the ten best-selling cars overall when only counting combustion versions (Geely Emgrand EC7 electric variants push it up to #9 and #1 Chinese)… Three additional nameplates break their volume record in the Top 50: the Geely Emgrand GS (12.953) and GL (10.923) but the most spectacular is the Changan CS55 up 5-fold on July to 11.450 for its fourth month in market. Among recent launches, the Chana Oushang A800 (#77), WEY VV7 (#85), Zotye T700 (#91), Leopaard CS9 (#114), Lifan Xuanlang (#150), Bisu T5 (#163) and Geely Vision X1 (#168) also achieve record volumes.
Previous month: China July 2017: Haval H6 leads, market lifted up 4.9% by SUVs
Full August 2017 Top 77 All China-made brands and Top 422 All-models below.