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China imports September 2018: Lexus repeats at #1, market down 7%

Lexus and the NX spend a 2nd consecutive month atop the Chinese imports market.

* See the Top 50 All imported brands and Top 230 models by clicking on the title *

All-brands and All-models January 2017-September 2018 monthly data available, contact us here.

Complete Chinese imports data is now available for September, BSCB being the first media outside of China to report on these figures monthly. Since July 1 new cars imported into China follow a two-pronged tariff policy: 40% on U.S. imports and 15% on all other imports. For the first time since June, imports sales in China are down year-on-year at -7% in September to 101.146 units, signalling a possible negative impact on the raised U.S. tariffs. Year-to-date imports are now up 4% on the same period in 2017 to 842.343 units.

China is the first market to get the 2019 Cayenne, helping Porsche up 14%.

Whereas the Japanese premium marque had not topped the imported brands ranking this year, Lexus manages to repeat at #1 after its August win thanks to deliveries up a very impressive 37% to over 15.600, prompting Toyota to finally consider manufacturing cars in China now that joint-venture rules are loosening up. Lexus’ health contrasts with BMW and Mercedes both tumbling down 18% due to their reliance on U.S.-built imports: the Mercedes GLE (-40%) and BMW X5 (-29%) are hit hard this month. Porsche (+14%) overtakes Toyota (-9%) to step up to a brilliant 4th place, with Volvo (+25%) and Audi (+22%) also in great shape in the remainder of the Top 10.

Chrysler is now importing the Pacifica hybrid into China.

Model-wise, the Lexus NX (+263%) repeats in pole position thanks to stunning year-on-year gains, but is stuck at #3 YTD (+72%). The BMW X5 (-29%) and Lexus ES (-31%), best-sellers YTD, round up the podium ahead of a streak of 5 models producing double-digit gains, the most dynamic being the Porsche Cayenne (+35%), Mercedes CLA (+31%) and BMW 7 Series (+24%), with the Lexus RX (+11%) and Toyota Land Cruiser (+10%) a notch below. The Lexus IS (+414%) also post an extravagant uptick to close up the Top 10, just as the Mitsubishi Pajero (+147%), Porsche Panamera (+136%), Toyota Alphard (+88%) and Volvo XC90 (+63%) stand out. We welcome the Chrysler Pacifica hybrid at #127.

Previous month: China imports August 2018: Lexus snaps lead in market up 12%

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

Full September 2018 Top 50 All-Brands and Top 230 models below.

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