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China Imports March 2018: Lexus ES reclaims control

The Lexus ES is the best-selling import in China both in March and YTD.

* See the Top 50 All imported brands and Top 234 models by clicking on the title *

All-brands and All-models 2017 monthly data available, contact us here for more details.

China imports data is a new monthly update on BSCB. Note no media outside of China is reporting on these figures, BSCB being the first to do so. China President Xi Jinping announced this week that the 25% tax slapped in imported cars will be reduced – rumours are of a new rate as low as 5%, which will undoubtedly spur a volume increase, but this should be levelled somehow with the end of the joint-venture rule to allow local production, set to disappear for all vehicles by 2022. For now, import sales in China are up 4.7% year-on-year in March to 96.905 units, leading to a Q1 tally up 12.3% to 281.982. Mercedes brilliantly remains atop the brands imports ranking with deliveries up 17% to just under 17.500, cementing its YTD leadership (it ranked #2 in 2017). The best performer near the top of the charts is without a doubt Lexus shooting up 30% to over 14.000 registrations, by far the best-selling pure importer in China, selling almost 3 times the next best thing, Porsche (5.123). Leader in 2017, BMW drops a worrying 16% year-on-year to #3 this month but remains at #2 YTD (-3%) above Lexus (+28%). Toyota and Land Rover round up the Top 5, both gaining 21% on March 2017.

Tesla is up 13-fold to become China’s 10th best-selling imported marque in March.

If Audi beats the market at +14%, Lincoln (-5%) and Volkswagen (-24%) are in difficulty but Tesla posts the most spectacular gain in the Top 20, up 13-fold on its March 2017 score to land at #10 imported brand vs. #20 over the FY2017 thanks to extremely dynamic sales of the Model X up 1202% to #11 and the Model S up 1125% to #21. Just outside the Top 10, Mini (-17%) and Subaru (-23%) disappoint while further down, Mazda (+7325%) thanks to the newly imported CX-3, Aston Martin (+194%), Ssangyong (+83%), Buick (+65%), Ferrari (+50%), Bentley (+34%), Nissan (+34%), Mitsubishi (+32%) and Infiniti (+17%). Among newcomers (in market for <12 months), Alfa Romeo leads the pack at #22 with the Giulia and Stelvio while Ram ranks 33rd.

The CLA is Mercedes’ best-selling import in China in March.

Over in the models ranking, after being outsold by the BMW X5 for two consecutive months, the Lexus ES reclaims control in a majestic way: up 17% to just under 6.000 units, also earning the #1 YTD spot with sales up 21%. The BMW X5 is knocked down to #2 for the month and YTD, while the Mercedes CLA soars 42% to land on the third step of the podium. Stunningly, the NX (+41%) and RX (+3%) make it three Lexus in the Top 5 in March. The Mercedes S-Class (+75%), Toyota Land Cruiser (+54%) and Range Rover (+23%) also shine in the Top 10. Further down, notice the Mercedes B Class (+78%) and Nissan Patrol (+41%) while among recent launches (<12 months) the Range Rover Velar (#41) remains king above the Porsche 718 (#49), BMW 6 Series GT (#79) and Mazda CX-3 (#81).

Previous month: China February 2018: Exclusive imports data now available

Previous year: China Full Year 2017: Exclusive imports data by model and brand

Full March 2018 Top 50 All imported brands and Top 234 models ranking below.

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