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China Imports February 2019: Lexus (+21.8%), Mini (+31.5%) defy market down 23.9%

The Lexus ES is by far the most popular import in China in February.

Sales of imported cars in China follow the locally-made trend with a painful -23.9% year-on-year freefall in February to just 48.687 units, leading to a year-to-date tally now down -14.8% to 157.717. Lexus (+21.8%) goes against the grain with a splendid increase to snap the brands lead away from Mercedes (-25.6%), outsold by 13 units. #1 last month, BMW (-30.6%) drops to #3 but remains in the YTD lead while Porsche (-24.6%) and Toyota (-49.3%) round up the Top 5 but both fall even faster than the market. Mini (+31.5%) is the only other Top 10 carmaker in positive just as Lincoln (-16.3%), Audi (-17.8%) and Volkswagen (-19%) resist relatively well. Mitsubishi (+63.2%), Rolls Royce (+50%), Alfa Romeo (+26.8%), Ferrari (+16.2%) and Volvo (+5.6%) also shine while Lamborghini is up 16-fold thanks to the new Urus.

Over in the models ranking, the Lexus ES (+31.4%) and RX (+62.4%) completely ignore the heavily negative trend to surge ahead both this month and year-to-date. The ES is propelled by its new generation as well as its hybrid variant accounting for 52% of its February and 2019 volumes. The Lexus ES hybrid on its own would rank #2 overall this month. Below the Mercedes GLE (-19.5%) in difficulty, Lexus even makes it 3 nameplates in the Top 4 with the NX (+2%) while the large and expensive Mercedes GLS (+77.4%) is up 11 spots on January to an outstanding 5th place in February, and the Mini (+39.9%) is the only other Top 10 vehicle in positive just as the BMW X5 (-65.1%), Toyota Land Cruiser (-41.3%), Mercedes S Class (-27.6%), and Porsche Macan (-23.2%) are all in dire straits.

Just below, the BMW X2 edges up one more spot on last month to #11, missing out on a maiden Top 10 finish for just 77 sales. The X2 is by very far the most popular new import launch in China (<12 months), well ahead of the Audi S4 (#88), Volvo XC40 (#91, its highest ranking so far) and Mercedes V-Class (#95). The Lamborghini Urus is down 8 spots on January to #131 and we welcome the Chevrolet Traverse at #184. Notice also the Mitsubishi Pajero (+64%), Lincoln MKX (+50.4%), BMW 3 Series GT (+43.6%), Porsche Cayenne (+39%) and Mercedes GLC Coupe (+38.7%) all excelling in the remainder of the Top 25.

Previous month: China Imports January 2019: BMW leads, Porsche and Audi shine in market down 10%

One year ago: China Imports February 2018: Exclusive data now available

Full February 2019 Top 45 All-brands and Top 205 All-models below.

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