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China March 2018: Hyundai and Chevrolet shine in market back up 4.7%

The renewed Hyundai ix35 is up 7-fold on the previous model a year ago.

* See the Top 78 China-made brands and Top 433 models (wholesales) by clicking on the title *

According to data released by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM), the Chinese new vehicle market is back in positive territory after dropping 11.2% in February due to the Lunar New Year holiday. Sales are up 4.7% to 2.66 million units with light vehicles up 3.5% to 2.168.600. SUVs are once again leading the charge at +10.7% and 921.200 units, while sedans are up a strong 3.7% to 1.026.500 and commercial vehicles surge 10.5% to 491.400. In contrast, MPVs are down 11% to 176.400 and microvans down 40.3% to 44.500. Over the First Quarter, the Chinese market is up 2.8% to a new record 7.186.700 units, with light vehicle sales up 2.6% to a record 6.100.300 and commercial vehicles up 4.1% to a record 1.086.400. In the detail of light vehicles, sedans return to grace at +0.8% to 2.862.200, SUVs shoot up 11.3% to 2.655.600 but MPVs drop 13.8% to 476.410 and microvans sink 37.2% to 105.900. New energy vehicles continue to soar, with sales of pure electric and plug-in hybrids up 117.4% in March to 67.778 and up 154.3% to 142.577 over Q1. Chinese brands hold 45.2% of the overall market over Q1, a slight decrease on the same period in 2017.

The new Lavida Plus means Volkswagen could continue outpacing the Chinese market this year.

Leader Volkswagen outpaces the market with a 7% year-on-year gain – its largest since last September – to 275.349 wholesales, lifting its Q1 tally to above 800.000 units (+4%). Geely manages a 6th consecutive month in the overall 2nd place and a 7th consecutive six-digit monthly volume (10th ever) with sales surging another 32% year-on-year. In spite of deliveries down 10% year-on-year, Changan is up two spots on February to land on the podium for the first time in a full year (since the #2 it reached in March 2017), while Toyota gains three ranks to #4 despite sales down 2%, distancing Honda (-13%) and Nissan up a robust 15% to #6. Baojun continues to improve at +24% to just under 98.000 sales at #7 above Buick (-2%) but the largest gainer in the Top 10 is Hyundai, posting its first YoY gain since February 2017 at +39% and finally recovering from a nightmarish stint linked to Korea-China tensions around the North Korean situation. Haval rounds up the Top 10 but sinks 18% on March 2017.

The Malibu (+96%) helps propel Chevrolet to its largest year-on-year gain in at least 5 years.

Just outside the Top 10, Chevrolet manages a very impressive 52% year-on-year gain, the brand’s largest in at least five years. Below and among foreign carmakers, apart from Citroen (+270%) on a very low base a year ago, Luxgen (+165%) and Kia (+97%) recuperating like sister brand Hyundai, it’s premium brands that fare the best, with Cadillac (+68%), Jaguar (+54%), Volvo (+40%), Audi (+28%) and Mercedes (+16%) all posting stunning gains. As it has become the norm in the past few years, the ranks of Chinese carmakers posting spectacular year-on-year improvements are more crowded: Qoros (+413%), Zotye (+97%), MG (+89%), Brilliance (+76%), JAC (+33%), GAC Trumpchi (+28%), Venucia (+27%), Chery (+19%), Roewe (+16%) and BYD (+10%) stand out. But Jinbei (-82%), Landwind (-80%), Cowin (-77%), JMC (-65%), Great Wall (-46%), Haima (-39%), Yema (-36%) and Changhe (-35%) are in great difficulty while among foreign brands Suzuki (-61%), Borgward (-34%), DS (-31%), Acura (-25%) and Jeep (-25%) struggle.

Lynk & Co posts all-time record sales this month in China.

Among recent brand launches (<12 months), WEY rallies back up 66% on February to 14.130 units, albeit still far off the three consecutive months above 20.000 units the brand managed between last November and January. Lynk & Co on the other hand soars 112% on last month to a record 8.507 units, breaking into the Top 40 brands for the first time. The remaining newcomers are way below: Traum is down 17% to 1.295 sales, Dearcc up to a best-ever 928 units, Yudo up 72% to 346 deliveries, Arcfox up 40% to 84 and Xpeng up 233% to 30.

The S3 crossover enables the Wuling Hongguang to comfortably dominate the March models ranking.

Over in the models ranking, helped by undisclosed wholesales of its new S3 crossover variant, the Wuling Hongguang signs a comfortable victory this month, almost 10.000 units above any other nameplates, and as a result snaps the YTD lead despite sales down 3% to just under 150.000. The VW Lavida is up two spots on February but down 21% year-on-year in 2nd place, and the launch of the new generation named Lavida Plus will likely remedy this slump. In fact, VW shows its power in the sedan segment this month with 5 nameplates in the Top 8: the Sagitar (+22%), Bora (+39%), Magotan (+55%) and Santana (-5%). In third place overall, the Baojun 510 (+128%), is the #1 SUV in China for the 2nd month running, repeating its victory over the Haval H6 (-4%) that ended the latter’s 55 months of reign in February.

The new generation propels the Changan Eado up 85%.

Both the Nissan Sylphy (+8%) and Toyota Corolla (+11%) beat the market while the Baojun 310 returns to the #1 Chinese passenger car spot with deliveries surging 78% year-on-year thanks to the 310W station wagon. Outside the Top 10, the Changan Eado benefits from the new generation to gallop 85% ahead of the previous model a year ago at #16 and outsell the traditional Chinese passenger car leader, the Geely Emgrand EC7 up just 4% to #18 overall. The Hyundai Elantra Lingdong recuperates 231% at #21, the Chana CX70 is up 19% to break its monthly volume record at 18.071, with the Hyundai ix35 lifted up 604% by the new generation, Nissan X-Trail (+94%), Audi A4L (+74%), Toyota Camry (+68%), Hyundai Mistra (+59%), Buick Verano (+54%), Geely Emgrand GL (+52%) and GS (+48%) also performing extremely well within the Top 50. Further down, the Hyundai Tucson (+1328%) and the MG 6, crossing the 10.000 monthly unit-milestone for the first time, stand out.

The Baojun 530 sells over 12.000 units for its 2nd month in market.

The Changan CS55 remains the most popular recent launch in China at #19 overall with 20.169 sales, ahead of the BYD Song MAX at a record #32, outselling the Baojun 730 (#35) for the first time to rank #2 MPV. Launched last month, the Baojun 530 is up 6-fold on its inaugural month and 134 spots to break into the Top 50 at #48 and 12.032 sales. It is followed by the Geely Vision X3 (#62), Lynk & Co 01 (#78), Zotye T300 (#82), GAC Trumpchi GS3 (#87), Geely Vision S1 (#88), Chery Tiggo 5x (#91) and Roewe RX3 (#92). The BAIC EC-Series continues to dominate New Energy nameplates at #85 with 7.818 sales (+117%), above the JAC iEV at 5.031 (+235%), BYD Song EV at 4.696, BYD Qin at 3.971 (+106%), BYD e5 at 3.798 (+142%) and Chery eQ at 3.279 (+356%).

Previous month: China February 2018: Baojun 510 #1 SUV, ends 55 months of Haval H6 reign

One year ago: China March 2017: Baojun wins 510 bet in market up 1.7%

Full March 2018 Top 78 All China-made brands and Top 433 models below.

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