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The Chinese new vehicle market edges up 2% year-on-year in October to 2.704.000 but passenger cars are up just 0.4% to 2.352.000, the market being pulled up by commercial vehicles up 14.8% to 351.000 (buses up 10.2% and trucks up 15.6%). This is the fifth consecutive month of growth in China but its weak progression means the market probably won’t reach the 5% annual growth target the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers set at the start of the year. As a reminder, China sales grew 14% in 2016, boosted by a tax cut on vehicles with engines of or under 1.6L. These cars account for 1.637.000 units in October or 69.6% of the passenger cars market vs. 72.1% a year ago and 13.336.000 year-to-date or 68.4% vs. 71.3% over the same period in 2016. The SUV segment continues to be the sole responsible for the overall passenger car growth with year-on-year gains back into the double-digits in October at +11.4% to 1.023.672, the segment’s first millionaire month of 2017. Never before had SUV sales been that close to cars, down 5.2% to 1.109.750. MPVs for their part tumble down 16.3% to 181.029.
Year-to-date, the overall market is up 4.1% to a record 22.927.000 units. Passenger cars are up 2.1% to 19.502.000 units with SUVs up 15.5% to 8.028.068, cars down 1.8% to 9.451.054 and MPVs down a harsh 15.6% to 1.601.474. Commercial vehicles are up a whopping 17.2% to 3.425.000 with buses down 6.7% but trucks up 21.3%. Chinese brands mark a pause at home this month: at 1.039.000 sales, they account for 44.2% of passenger cars, down from 45.2% in October 2016. The Chinese SUV share is up 0.2 point to 62.3%, Chinese car share is down 1.9 point to 18.8% and the Chinese MPV share down 7.7 points to 83.8%. Year-to-date, Chinese brands represent 43% of total passenger cars at 8.393.000 sales, up from 42.5% a year ago, with Chinese SUVs reaching 59.7% vs. 57% a year ago thanks to sales up 21.3% to 4.768.000. Finally Chinese MPV sales are down 22.8% to 1.371.000 or 83.6% of the market vs. 89.7% over the same period in 2016.
Sales of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids continue to gallop ahead at +106.7% year-on-year in October to 91.000, adding up to 490.000 so far this year, up 45.4% on the same period in 2016. CAAM expects this market to top 700.000 units by the end of 2017. EV sales are up 95.8% to 77.000 while PHEVs are up 194% to 14.000 while year-to-date, EVs are up 55.9% to 402.000 and PHEVs up 11.2% to 88.000. The best-seller in the category, the BAIC EC-Series, crosses an important milestone this month, selling more than 10.000 units in a single month for the very first time at 11.315. It is followed by the Zhi Dou D2 (+349%), BYD Qin (+15%), JAC iEV (+244%), BYD e5 (+23%), Zotye E200 (+42%) and Hawtai EV160.
Some manufacturers officially announce Chinese retail sales including imports which differ from the data tables we provide further down in the article (locally produced wholesales), and the next few paragraphs are dedicated to these announcements – model sales remain locally-produced wholesales. The Volkswagen Group reports sales up 9.4% in October to 398.100, lifting its year-to-date tally up 2.3% to 3.29m units. The VW brand wholesales ex-imports is up 6% to 309.071. Two of the group’s three best-sellers beat their monthly volume record this month: the VW Santana gains 18% to 38.503 (previous best: 34.462 in January 2016), the VW Tiguan soars 76% to 37.971 – its 2nd consecutive record month and the highest score ever reached by a foreign SUV in China – while the VW Jetta posts its 2nd best-ever month at 38.157 (+29%) below the 43.265 reached last January. The VW Teramont also breaks its record for the 2nd month running at 9.040 sales, but the Lavida (-38%), Bora (-7%), Magotan (-10%), Polo (-3%), Golf (-7%) and Passat (-40%) all skid down. Skoda is up 3.2% to 33.000 with the Kodiaq SUV already its 2nd best-seller below the Octavia.
General Motors advances faster than its archenemy but remains below at +11% to 382.723 units. One of the heroes of the month is low-cost fare Baojun up 56% to 104.755 retail or up 25% to 108.387 wholesale, in any case a new volume record for the brand and only its 2nd time above 100.000 after December 2016 (101.246) and 2nd time inside the Top 5 brands in the country after February 2016. Both the 510 (45.047 and #2 overall) and 310 (25.983) smash their volume bests in October. To put things into perspective, the Baojun 510 has now hit a higher monthly record than the 560 (42.077), and it’s only the third time a Baojun nameplate has sold more than 45.000 monthly units: the 730 MPV hit 47.690 in December 2015 and 50.128 in December 2016. 9 months after launch, the 510 totals just under 255.000 units, slightly less than the 560 at the same stage (258.056) but more than the 730 (230.618). With the 730 at just 26.000 and the 560 at 25.000 for their 10th month, the 510 is bound to deliver the largest first 10 month-volume in the history of automobile in China (and the world), and could be the first ever nameplate to reach 300.000 sales in that period. Note these three nameplates are the most successful launches ever in China.
Outside of Baojun, other GM news include Cadillac up 36% to 17.018 with the XT5 beating its monthly record at 7.416 (+54%), Chevrolet sales are up 17% to 61.065 with the Cavalier recording a 2nd consecutive all-time volume record at 24.248 (+75%) and the Malibu up 48% to post its highest result since December 2014 at 14.521. Buick is up 2.1% to 107.297 retail but down 1% to 113.473 wholesale. However Wuling is down 15% to 92.588 retail including commercial vehicles, with the Hongguang down another 30% but close to reclaiming the YTD lead due to the VW Lavida’s paltry performance this month. Year-to-date, GM is up 2.2% to 3.13m units. Nissan Motor gains 11% to 1.17m year-to-date, overstepping Honda Motor up 17% to 1.16m, while Toyota Motor edges up 8.5% to 1.07m. The Honda Civic is up a whopping 75% year-on-year to post a new all-time record of 17.613 sales while two newcomers also beat their record: the Honda Avancier (9.679) and the Nissan Kicks registering its first ever five-digit sales month at 10.392. Notice also the Honda CR-V up 85% boosted by the new generation.
Meanwhile Ford Motor continues to struggle at -5% to 105.809 units in October, despite Lincoln sales up 48% to 5.514. For Korean Hyundai and Kia, the end of the tunnel isn’t here yet. If Hyundai manages to contain its drop to 11% vs. -34% so far in 2017, Kia plunges another 40%, almost as much as its YTD rate of -49%, and this despite the success of the newly launched KX Cross, up 43% on its inaugural month in September. Similarly, PSA remains in deep trouble with Peugeot (-19%), Citroen (-25%) and DS (-38%) all recording harsh declines, and this despite the new 4008 (record at 5.453), 5008 and C5 Aircross (5.244). In the premium race, Audi has well and truly reclaimed market domination after some turbulences earlier in the year. The brand is up 15% in October to 53.828, distancing BMW Group up 14% to 50.412 and Mercedes up 11% to 46.016. Audi is helped by the A4L up 82% to 11.338 and the Q3 up 61% to 8.834. Year-to-date, Mercedes is still in the lead for now at +28% to 488.915, followed very closely by BMW up 15% to 487.069 while Audi stays in third place at -3% to 472.498. The race to the 2017 premium finish will be a very close one indeed.
Among Chinese carmakers, Geely confirms it is the success story of the year, with deliveries up another 30% year-on-year to an all-time record of 125.201 units, beating its previous best established just last month (108.980). Geely comes in at #2 brand overall in China, outsold by Volkswagen only. This is Geely’s highest ever ranking at home (previous best: #3 last February), putting the carmaker on target to hit 1.1m units by year end with cumulated sales up an incredible 70% to 945.557 after ten months. The Geely Boyue gains another 80% year-on-year to break its volume record for the 6th time in the past 8 months and become the very first Geely nameplate to sell over 30.000 units in a single month (30.138): the previous Geely record was held by the Emgrand EC7 with 28.842 in November 2016. But the Boyue isn’t alone: the Emgrand GS (16.063, up 60%), Emgrand GL (13.513, up 92%), Vision SUV (11.214, up 3%), Vision X3 (7.007) and Vision X1 (3.061) all also beat their all-time volume record this month…
Great Wall Motor sees is sales progress 3% year-on-year to 108.008 units and shows a changing profile once again. The Haval H6 is the best-selling nameplate in the country in October and for the 2nd time this year after July, this despite sales down 14% year-on-year to 49.015. The success of the M6 (7.051 – new record) fails to compensate the significant losses of the H2 (-17%), H7 (-56%) and H1 (-81%) with Haval total sales down 13% to 81.653. Great Wall pickup sales however are up 12% to 9.418 but the company’s good fortune this month has to do with the implacable success of its new semi-premium brand: WEY, by far the most successful brand launch in China over the past 12 months. The VV7 continues to progress at 8.153 deliveries and the VV5 gains 75% on its inaugural month to break into the Top 100, meaning WEY is above 16.000 sales in October, a rather impressive start. Overall and thanks solely to WEY, Great Wall Motor SUV sales manage to edge up 4.1% to 97.820. Year-to-date, Great Wall is up 2.4% to 813.514.
The Zotye T700 crosses the 10.000 monthly sales milestone in October.
Other successful Chinese brands include GAC Trumpchi up 22% with the GS8 recording its third ever month above 10.000 sales, Roewe up 16% with the RX5 posting a new all-time record at 28.203, Zotye up 9% with its new best-seller the T700 posting its first five-digit month at 10.006 units, Hawtai up a whopping 208% thanks to the Shengdafei delivering a 2nd consecutive all-time record at 11.336 units, Soueast up 43%, MG up 87%, Venucia up 38% (new record for the T90 at 6.119), Leopaard up 27%, Hanteng up 17%, Zhi Dou up 36% and Maxus up 104%. Dongfeng edges up 2% thanks to the Fengguang 580 posting a record 19.771 sales and FAW is down 1% despite the Besturn X40 signing a record 8.939 units. Reversely, a long list of Chinese carmakers record worrying double-digit losses: Changan (-15%), Weichai (-17%), Borgward (-21%), Foton (-25%), Lifan (-27%), Changhe (-29%), Beijing Auto (-30%), Chery (-30%), BYD (-30%), Landwind (-33%), Jinbei (-37%), JAC (-38%), Haima (-44%), JMC (-44%), Brilliance (-47%), Qoros (-56%) and Cowin (-60%).
Full October 2017 Top 77 All China-made brands and Top 443 models below.