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China September 2018 Retail sales: market at standstill at -16%

No surprise: the C-HR/IZOA duo is instrumental in lifting Toyota up 12% in a depressed market.

* See the Top 95 China-made brands and Top 615 models by clicking on the title *

April 2017 – September 2018 monthly All-models China Retail data also available, Contact us

After exploring China wholesales for September 2018 meaning sales to dealerships, it is now time to study China September Retail sales, meaning sales to end-customers, a new monthly update exclusive to BSCB. We indeed now have two separate monthly updates for China in our endeavour to provide you with the most exhaustive coverage of the largest car market in the world. Note this update only covers China-made light vehicles. Retail and Wholesales are obviously inter-connected, with poor retail sales triggering poor wholesales the following month as dealer reduce their orders to allow existing stock to clear. Case in point, August retail sales down 10.1% threw September wholesales into double-digit loss at -11.5%. In an extremely worrying turn of event our exclusive Retail figures show a market close to standstill at -16% to 1.834.000 units vs. 2.180.000 in September 2017. Unless the Chinese government decides to wake up the market with lower taxes next week, this in turns means the October wholesales drop will be rather ghastly, at least -15%.

The new Tang helps lift BYD retail sales up 36% in September.

Volkswagen (-16%) follows the market, seeing its deliveries limp from 303.000 in September 2017 to 254.000 this month, but Toyota (+10%) is one of only two carmakers in positive in the Top 12 alongside Audi (+5%) and the only one managing posting a double digit gain with all its best-sellers improving this month – Camry (+100%), RAV4 (+21%), Corolla (+3%), Highlander (+4%) and Levin (+1%) and the C-HR/IZOA tandem already totalling almost 7.000 sales for the month. German premium marques ignore the market gloom: Mercedes (+18%) is lifted by the C-Class (+37%), E-Class (+20%) and GLC (+19%), BMW (+15%) is pushed by the 5 Series (+27%), 3 Series (+16%) and the new X3 while Audi (+5%) takes advantage of strong scores by the A4L (+30%), A6L (+21%) and new Q5L. There’s only two additional Top 30 brands in positive: BYD (+36%) thanks to the new Tang (+602%), Song MAX and Yuan (+99%) and MG (+30%) thanks to the new 6. Add Jinbei (+43%) and Qoros (+310%) and you have the mark of a true catastrophe: only 8 carmakers managing a year-on-year gain in the Top 40.

Haval (-8%) and its best-seller the H6 (-2%) are on the mend: no double-digit drops this month.

Back to the top of the brands ranking where even Geely (-9%) is in negative, arguably compensated by another stellar performance by Lynk & Co, stable above 10.400 sales for the 2nd straight month and unlike in the wholesales order where the 01 remains a notch above, September retail sales for the 02 are now just 100 units below the 01 at 5.158 vs. 5.262. This as archenemy WEY (-42%) tumbles down to 6.000 units. Hyundai (-3%) posts the smaller skid in the Top 10, with Haval (-8%) clearly on the mend after enduring drops going from -25% to -42% over the past 5 months. Nissan (-9%) also manages to remains within single-digits at #5 overall but it is not the case for Honda (-12%) still falling slower than the market though. Baojun (-38%) and Buick (-23%) are hit hardest in the Top 10, while further down Haima (-65%), Soueast (-63%), Peugeot (-55%), BAIC (-50%), Suzuki (-50%), Ford (-49%), Leopaard (-49%), Land Rover (-47%), Renault (-43%), Dongfeng (-39%), JAC (-39%), Chana (-37%), Citroen (-31%) and Changan (-30%) are all in great difficulty.

One Hongqi L5 found a buyer in China in September, the first of 2018.

We’ll finish with a handful of success stories: Chinese luxury marque Hongqi (+802%) surges thanks to the new H5 – also note one L5 sold this month (see pictured) – Foton (+126%), Maxus (+73%), Jaguar (+25%), Brilliance (+13%), Nio (1.759 sales) and newcomers Red Star (#88) and Weltmeister (#95). Over in the models ranking, the podium is unchanged on last month with the VW Lavida (-8%), Nissan Sylphy (-6%) and Toyota Corolla (+3%) in the lead, the Sylphy snapping the #2 YTD spot off the Corolla in the process. As illustrated by the brand’s much better score this month, the Haval H6 (-2%) posts its first single-digit drop of the year and climbs back up to #4 and #1 SUV, now just 1.800 sales below the Baojun 510 (-45%) in the YTD order. VW places the Jetta (-10%), Sagitar (-23%) and Tiguan (-24%) just below while the Honda Civic (+43%) manages the largest year-on-year gain in the Top 10. The Geely Emgrand (+5%) manages to remain inside this same Top 10, with the Hyundai ix35 (+609%) and Elantra Lingdong (+49%) also very dynamic further down.

First appearance of Weltmeister in the Chinese sales charts.

The Wuling Hongguang S3 (#33) rallies back up 19 spots on August to top all recent launches (<12 months) ahead of the GAC Trumpchi GA4 (#52), the Baojun 360 (#54), the latter two nameplates posting their first five-digit monthly volume, the Geely Vision S1 (#68), BYD Song MAX (#75), Baojun 530 (#79) already in decline and Roewe RX3 (#95). Note the Hyundai Celesta (7.460), Haval H4 (5.008), Chery Tiggo 8 (4.037) and Skoda Kamiq (3.870) all break their volume record as well. Among models launched in August, the Toyota C-HR is up 107% to #143, the Toyota IZOA is up 26% to #164 and the Leopaard Mattu up 21% to #245. Nameplates making their first appearance in the Retail ranking in September are the Kia Stonic (#210), SWM G01 (#294), Lifan 650EV (#387), Traum SEEK 5 (#411), Geely Binrui (#424), BYD Qin Pro (#487), MG HS (#505) and Hyundai Celesta RV (#539), all having been covered in our Focus on All-new models updates, as well as the Red Star Shining X2 (#535) and Weltmeister EX5 (#615), two EVs we will study in more detail in our upcoming New Energy September 2018 update.

Previous month: China August 2018 Retail sales: Crisis deepens – market down 10.1%

Full September 2018 Top 95 All-brands and Top 615 All-models below.

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