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China April 2018: Geely, Hyundai, Chevrolet lift market up 11.5%

Volkswagen has now sold over 1 million vehicles in China in 2018. The Lavida is #1 in April.

* See the Top 80 China-made brands and Top 435 models (wholesales) by clicking on the title *

Based on wholesales data released by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM), new light vehicle sales in China soar 11.2% year-on-year in April to 1.913.400 units. Adding 404.200 commercial vehicles (+13%) brings the total sales figure for April to 2.318.600 (+11.5%), a new record for the month. For once the regular cars segment almost matches the market growth at +10.8% to 928.300, while SUVs continue to be the engine of growth at +18.3% to 810.000, with MPV down 4.6% to 137.100 and microvans down 30.7% to 39.000. Year-to-date, light vehicles are up 4.4% to a record 8.011.400 units, with regular cars up 3.1% to 3.790.500, SUVs up 12.9% to 3.654.400, MPVs down 12% to 613.600 and microvans down 36.9% to 141.800. Commercial vehicles are up 6.6% to 1.481.900, lifting the YTD total vehicle sales up 4.8% to a record 9.501.200. Chinese-branded passenger cars see their sales trail the market ever so slightly at +10.5% to 810.400 to account for a 42.3% share vs. 20.4% for German cars (390.800), 17.7% for Japanese (339.200), 11.5% for American (221.000), 5.4% for Korean (103.100) and 1.8% for the French (34.300).

Geely posts an incredible 25th consecutive double-digit gain in April.

In the brands ranking, keeping in mind these figures are wholesales excluding imports, Volkswagen posts its largest year-on-year gain since last September at +9% to a little over 235.000 units, sending its YTD volume across the 1 million mark after just four months (+5%). Scoring a 7th consecutive month in second place, #1 Chinese brand Geely impresses once again with a 42% year-on-year surge. Now pause for a second: this is Geely’s 25th double-digit year-on-year gain in a row, with no interruption since March 2016! At just under 120.000 units, it’s also the brand’s 8th consecutive six-digit monthly sales figure and its 11th ever. Honda reclaims the #3 spot it holds YTD despite a 11% decline while Nissan soars 17% to #4 and now ranks #7 YTD. It distances Buick (+1%), Toyota (+3%) and Baojun (+21%) signing a 13th double-digit gain in a row.

Hyundai is back in the game with sales doubling year-on-year.

Hyundai (+100%) spectacularly recuperates from a nightmarish 2017 linked to Korea-China tensions around the North Korean situation, lodging only its second monthly gain in the past 14 months and edging up to #8 brand overall. In the tail end of the Top 10, Changan (+56%) posts its largest gain since September 2016, helped by its three star SUVs (CS35, CS55 and CS75) as well as the new generation Eado (+97%) while Chevrolet (+55%) has its largest improvement in at least five years, with the Cavalier (+83%) accounting for one-third of its April sales. Further down the ranking, Qoros (+401%) thanks to the 5 SUV, Kia (+115%) in the same situation as Hyundai, Jaguar (+94%) thanks to the new XEL sedan and Zotye (+81%) thanks to a slew of new models including the T500 and T300, now the brand’s two best-sellers, deliver the best performances.

The Haval H6 reclaims the title of #1 SUV in China.

Also standing out are Denza (+73%), MG (+65%), Citroen (+62%), DS (+61%), Volvo (+43%), Roewe (+42%), Maxus (+37%), Cadillac (+29%), Skoda (+28%), Mercedes (+27%), Bisu (+25%) and BYD (+20%). The list of struggling carmakers is however almost as long and aside from Fiat (-72%), Acura (-53%), Jeep (-44%) and Ford (-22%) is composed exclusively of Chinese carmakers, namely Kandi (-94%), Cowin (-81%), Jinbei (-79%), Borgward (-59%), Weichai (-52%), FQT Motor (-49%), Great Wall (-48%), Soueast (-44%), Haima (-43%), SWM (-35%), Yema (-33%), JMC (-28%), Landwind (-27%), Hawtai (-25%), Brilliance (-24%) and Foton (-20%). WEY once again recently launched brands but retracts 7% on March to 13.139 and is now almost 40% below its December 2017 record of 21.349. In contrast competitor Lynk & Co improves 6.7% to a record 9.079 with just one model: the 01. Traum (-1%), Yudo (+64%) and Dearcc (-50%) follow but all stand below 1.300 sales.

The Nissan Sylphy misses out on its first overall monthly win by just 89 sales.

The models ranking displays further signs of fragmentation with the VW Lavida returning to the overall lead for the first time since last September despite dropping 5% year-on-year. It distances the Nissan Sylphy (+16%) by just 89 units and the Haval H6 (-6%) by just 542. The H6 therefore reclaims the title of best-selling SUV in China for the 56th time in the past 58 months after being outsold for two months of Baojun 510, itself up 50% year-on-year to #4 in April. Leader in March and YTD, the Wuling Hongguang skids 12% to #5 this month despite the help of the new S3 SUV variant. VW has the Tiguan (+24%) at #3 SUV and continues to show its power in the sedan category by placing 4 nameplates in the segment’s Top 6: the Lavida, Sagitar (+26%), Magotan (+26%) and Jetta (-14%). Geely’s best-seller is the Boyue (+8%) ending April as the 4th best-selling SUV in the country while the Emgrand EC7 leaps up 41% year-on-year to rank #10 overall, its highest ranking since November 2013.

The Baojun 530 breaks the 15.000 monthly unit benchmark for the first time.

The Baojun 530 is now the most popular recent launch in China (<12 months), improving 25% on March to cross the 15.000 monthly units milestone for its third month in market and ranking 10th best-selling SUV in the country. It distances the Geely Vision X3 breaking its volume record at 10.965, ahead of the Lynk & Co 01 also at a record high 9.079 and now frankly outselling both the WEY VV5 (6.630) and VV7 (6.509). In between, the Geely Vision S1 (7.841) and Kia KX Cross (6.902) slot in. Among last month’s launches, the Zotye T500 gains 23% and 32 spots to #101, the Haval H4 is up 256% and 135 ranks to #120 and the Roewe Ei5 is up 96% and 67 to #245. The BAIC EC-Series continues to dominate new energy models with sales soaring 72% year-on-year to 7.471, ahead of the BYD Qin at 5.497 (+480%), BYD e5 at 4.294 (+71%), Zhi Dou D2 at 4.152 (+12%), JAC iEV at 3.803 (+89%), Chery eQ at 3.799 (+262%) and Baojun E100 at 3.760.

The Lynk & Co 01 is above 9.000 monthly units for the first time.

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

One year ago: China April 2017: Market marks a pause at -3.7%

Full April 2018 Top 80 China-made brands and Top 435 models below.

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