* See the Top 80 All China-made brands and Top 455 models by clicking on the title *
It’s another setback for passenger car sales in China, posting their fourth year-on-year decline of the year after last January, April and May at -0.7% to 2.653.300 deliveries. The comparison set is harsh as December 2016 was the largest ever month of passenger car sales in China and the world (2.67m units). Commercial vehicles are up 5.7% to 407.700 units which leads to an overall market up 0.1% to 3.060.300 sales. Sedans and hatchbacks are down 4.3% to 1.2m units, MPVs are down 16% to 208.30 and microvans down 18.7% to 51.800 with once again SUVs the sole segment in positive at +8.4% year-on-year to break its monthly record at 1.173.000 deliveries, eclipsing the 1.108.182 units of last month. China-branded passenger cars go against the grain with a 3.4% year-on-year gain to 1.293.600 sales and 48.7% share vs. 45.8% a year ago.
In the brands ranking (wholesale figures), below Volkswagen following the market at -2% to 258.000 units, our two heroes of the year strike again. Firstly, Geely posts an astonishing fourth consecutive all-time monthly volume record: from 108.980 in September to 125.201 in October, 141.312 in November and 147.647 in December, up 36% on a December 2016 score that was a record at the time. This absolutely stunning streak obviously positions Geely as the #2 brand overall, only outsold by Volkswagen and eclipsing all other foreign carmakers. Geely has also become the uncontested #1 Chinese brand both in the passenger car segment and overall, overtaking Wuling. For perspective, its 147.647 sales score is the second largest monthly volume ever recorded by a brand other than Volkswagen in China, below the 151.587 from Honda in December 2015 and above the 146.008 from Hyundai in December 2016. No less than six Geely nameplates break their all-time monthly volume best this month: the Boyue is up 53% to 31.205 and third best-selling SUV, the Emgrand GS is up 84% to 18.850, the Vision SUV up 39% to 14.610, the Vision X3 up to 10.729, the Vision S1 up 427% on its inaugural month to 9.049 and the Vision X1 up to 3.371.
The other superstar of 2017, Baojun, also smashes its all-time volume record in December and for the third consecutive month thanks to deliveries up 39% to 140.268, after previous bests of 128.486 in November and 108.387 in October. This way, both Geely and Baojun are on the China brands podium for the first time in history. The Baojun 510 once again serves up a new monthly record, crossing the 50.000 unit-milestone for the first time at 54.050 (previous best 49.866 last month). Since its launch in February, the 510 as improved month-on-month during every single month of the year bar August. It is now the most successful Baojun nameplate ever as the previous monthly volume record holder for the brand was the 730 at 50.128 in December 2016. The 510 also becomes the fastest nameplate to 350.000 sales (11 months), beating the previous record held by the Baojun 560 by three months. The 310 also stuns and breaks its monthly volume record for the 5th consecutive month at 35.048 in 7th place overall and #4 sedan thanks to the new wagon variant. That’s less 1.000 units below the all-time record for a Chinese sedan held by the BYD F3 since March 2010. With the 730 at #9, Baojun places three nameplates inside the Top 10 for the 2nd month running vs. just one for VW.
Buick (+5%) follows in the brands ranking, posting an all-time record month just under 130.000 units, ahead of Honda (-3%), Nissan (+11%) and Hyundai back up three spots on November to #7 even though it is down 17% year-on-year. Above Ford (-9%), Changan (+1%) is timid in 8th place with the CS55 posting a new all-time high result (17.612). The biggest loss in the Top 25 is delivered by Haval which had broken its all time record in December 2016 but plunges 35% to just under 89.000 this time, rounding up a Top 10 including four Chinese carmakers. Outstanding performance of Zotye this month, crossing a few milestones with sales up 83% year-on-year to 61.290, its first time above 50.000 monthly units, its highest ever ranking at #15 (previous best: #19) and only its second time ever inside the Top 20 brands in China. Two Zotye nameplates shoot up and break their all-time record this month: the T700 is up 37% on November to 14.411 – only posting month-on-month gains since its launch in May – and the T300 up a whopping 132% on last month to 12.093, only only on the up since its September debut.
GAC Trumpchi also impresses at +37% and has the GS8 post a new monthly record at 10.498 units, Venucia is up 43% with the D60 cracking the 10.000 monthly sales milestone for its 2nd month in market while WEY lifts up to 21.349 units thanks to its two nameplates each breaking their record: the VV5 at 10.798 and the VV7 at 10.551. Hawtai is up 162% with the Shengdafei establishing a new all-time best at 14.573 sales, Maxus is up 155%, Bisu up 113%, MG up 105% just as the new generation MG6 hits dealerships, Leopaard is up 52%, Karry up 49%, FAW up 43%, Changhe up 34%, Hanteng up 33% and Brilliance up 28%. Struggling Chinese brands include Cowin (-58%), JMC (-56%), Haima (-47%), Qoros (-46%), Jinbei (-37%), Soueast (-31%), Zhi Dou (-31%), Foton (-29%), Yema (-26%), Great Wall (-24%), Dongfeng (-23%) and Wuling (-23%).
Wholesales results place Mercedes (41.518) well above BMW (35.549) and Audi (30.889) in the luxury race, but retail sales data including imports reported by manufactures paint a very different picture: Audi is up 34% to 69.160 ahead of BMW/Mini up 19% to 52.026 and Mercedes/Smart up 12% to 48.140, with the Mercedes GLC posting a new high at 11.640 units. As a result Audi retains the luxury crown in 2017 by the skin of its teeth as we’ll detail in our Full Year 2017 Report. Other great performers among foreign carmakers in China in December include Jaguar (+140%) as the XEL launches this month, Jeep (+45%) with the Compass at an all-time high 10.302 units, Mazda (+33%), Skoda (+25%) and Mitsubishi (+13%). At the other end of the scale the PSA Group grabs all the honours with the three worst results of the month: DS (-80%), Peugeot (-38%) and Citroen (-37%), followed by Kia (-29%) and Toyota (-20%). Finally, no less than three new brands launch in the Chinese market this month and they are all Chinese: Lynk & Co (6.000 sales), Arcfox (500) and Dearcc (100). We’ll explore these newcomers in a lot more detail shortly in our monthly Focus on the All-new models.
Despite steep respective 23% and 32% year-on-year drops, the Wuling Hongguang and Haval H6 manage to remain on top of the Chinese models charts in December, while the Baojun 510 brilliantly rounds up the podium a mere 1.166 units below the H6. The VW Lavida (+9%) is knocked down one spot while the Nissan Sylphy (+1%) remains at #5, so does the Buick Excelle at #6 but with deliveries up 29% on December it hits a new all-time high for the nameplate at 40.939 units. The record-breaking Baojun 310 advances three spots to #7, ahead of the Ford Escort (+9%), Baojun 730 (-35%) and Geely Boyue. Among notable performances in December, let’s single out the BYD Song MAX up 52% on last month to a fantastic 15.606 units for its third full month in market, the Chery Tiggo 5x landing directly above the symbolic 10.000 unit-milestone at 10.693 which we will cover in our Focus on the All-new models, and the Karry K60 posting its very first five-digit sales figure at 10.070.
Full December 2017 Top 80 All China-made brands and Top 455 models below.