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China Wholesales February 2019: Toyota, Haval, Mercedes, BMW strong in 8th straight market decline (-13.8%)

The Mercedes GLC is among the Top 10 best-selling SUVs in China in February.

Just as January retail sales seemed to want to perk up, Chinese wholesales remain stuck in hell for now. Traditionally the weakest month of the year due to Lunar New Year celebrations and extended holidays, February is down another painful -13.8% to just 1.481.600 units. Once again the decline is softened by solid commercial vehicle sales up 8% to 262.100 whereas passenger cars tumble down -17.3% to 1.219.500. Year-to-date wholesales are now down 14.9% to 3.851.500 including 3.243.200 passenger cars (-17.5%) and 608.400 commercial vehicles (+2%). The passenger cars detail is as follows: sedans and hatchbacks are down 14.4% to 579.500 in February and down 14.7% to 1.566.300 YTD, SUVs drop 18.6% this month and YTD to 530.200 and 1.411.100 respectively YTD, MPVs fall -27.2% to 88.400 in February and -27.4% to 218.000 YTD and minivans lose 16.7% to 21.400 in February and -22.1% to 47.800 YTD. New Energy vehicles remain the last bastion of growth with wholesales up 53.6% to 53.000 including 40.000 EVs (+69.4%) and 13.000 PHEVs (+18.6%).

The new F7 helps Haval up 16.9% in February.

Looking at the nationality of passenger cars wholesales, Chinese brands fall much faster than the market at -25% to 522.600 and 42.9% share vs. 47.2% in February 2018, leading to a YTD total down 23% to 1.356.400 and 41.8% share vs. 44.8% over the same period in 2018. German brands in contrast contain their February fall to -0.6% to 292.700 units, improving their share to 24% vs. 19.9% a year ago, with its YTD tally now down -10.9% to 753.200 and 23.2% share vs. 21.5%. Japanese brands drop a moderate -4.1% to 218.100 and 17.9% share vs. 15.4% in February 2018, meaning its YTD result is now stable at 647.900 and 20% share vs. 16.5%. South Korean brands are the only nationality to improve year-on-year this month at +6.3% to 60.700 wholesales and 5% share vs. 3.9% a year ago but they remain down -16.2% YTD to 123.500 and 3.8% share. American brands (-34.9% to 109.000 and -27.5% to 313.700 YTD) and French brands (-57.7% to 8.200 and -61.6% to 23.800 YTD) are once again totally annihilated this month in China.

BMW sales are up 30.5% in China this month.

Over in the brands ranking, perennial leader Volkswagen (-2.2%) manages to significantly rein it its fall thanks to excellent performances by the Lavida (+29.1%), Jetta (+24.5%) while its recent SUV launches are starting to waver: the T-Roc is up 22 spots on January to #66 and the Tayron up 19 to #73 but the Tharu is down 94 to #140. If the Polo (-0.3%), Sagitar (-5.2%) and Santana (-8.9%) resist well, the brand is sent into negative due to deep dives by the Teramong (-36.8%), Lamando (-31.7%), Magotan (-28%), Golf (-24.4%), Tiguan (-23.2%), Passat (-18.5%) and Bora (-14.2%). In 2nd place, Geely (-28.2%) posts the largest year-on-year drop in the Top 8 as the new Binyue crossover (8.102), Binrui sedan (6.022) and relatively strong Emgrand (-9.1%), fail to compensate for paltry results by the Vision S1 (-81%), Vision (-72.9%), Vision X3 (-56.9%), Vision SUV (-48.8%), Emgrand GL (-38.6%), Emgrand GS (-29.9%) and Boyue (-25.8%). Honda (-5.7%) scores a moderate drop thanks to ever-strong sales by the Crider (+111.3%), Fit (+40%) and Civic (+35.2%).

Return to reality for Qoros: -95% in February.

Toyota (+7.1%) is the only Top 6 brand in positive, another outstanding result in a very challenging context. Just as the Camry (-32.1%), Corolla (–12.6%) and C-HR (-106 spots on January to 197) have stopped fuelling the Japanese brand’s growth, the Highlander (+77.5%), Prado (+41.6%), iOS FS (+37.8%), Levin (+29.9%), Yaris L (+27.4%), Yaris L Sedan (+24.2%), RAV4 (+7.3%) and IZOA (+3 spots on last month to #88) continue to gallop ahead. Below Buick (-14.1%) and Changan (-18.5%) in difficulty, Nissan (+0.2%) is almost immobile, which is a strong hold at the moment. It can thank the Lannia (+92.2%), the evergreen Sylphy (+38.1%), Tiida (+36.5%) and Kicks (+24.4%) but its star SUVs are overwhelmed: the Qashqai (-21.4%) and X-Trail (-34%) lose share in the segment. But the heroes of the Top 10 are just below: after 18 consecutive months of decline, Haval (+16.9%) secures a 5th straight uptick thanks to the success of the new F7 (10.665), one of only two recent launches (<12 months) with a 5-digit February wholesales figure, as well as the M6 (+115.6%) just as the blockbuster H6 (-15%) roughly follows the SUV segment drop. Below Baojun (-45.4%), Mercedes (+18%) manages the largest year-on-year gain in the Top 10, also topping the premium order above BMW (+30.5%) and Audi (-16.7%). Mercedes is boosted by the GLC (+30.3%) incredibly ranking among the 10 best-selling SUVs in China in February, while the C-Class L (+2.6%) and E-Class L (+1.9%) only edge up.

The Territory is already Ford’s best-seller in China, but the brand is down another 73.7%

Lynk & Co (+81.4%), Hyundai (+9.7%), MG (+6.3%), Chery (+3.6%), BYD (+1%) and Kia (+0.9%) are the only other Top 30 brands managing a year-on-year uptick. Further down, Borgward (+230.6%), Hawtai (+177.2%), Changhe (+122.4%), Traum (+114.1%), Jinbei (+98.5%), Mitsubishi (+37.5%), SWM (+32.2%), Maxus (+26.8%) also shine, while among brands launched in the past 12 months Jetour (#31) continues to astonish, now outselling Mitsubishi, Volvo and Jeep, as do Bestune (#41) outselling Citroen again and Ora (#45) now ahead of Peugeot. COS (#51), Dorcen (#61), Nio (#70), Neta (#74), Lark (#77) and Sitech (#80) also make it into the February charts. In the naughty corner, among the Chinese we have Qoros (-95%), Bisu (-80.7%), Lifan (-78.7%), Soueast (-74.5%), Haima (-73.9%), Zotye (-58.2%), Venucia (-54.2%), FAW (-53.4%), Brilliance (-47.3%), Beijing Auto (-47.2%), Leopaard (-46%), Dongfeng (-43%), Wuling (-42.8%), GAC Trumpchi (-39.7%). Among foreigners Ford (-73.7%) is once again smashed, with the new Territory only needing 2.708 sales to become the brand’s best-seller just as the Escort crumbles down 94.9%. Luxgen (-96.4%), Suzuki (-76%), Renault (-74.7%), Peugeot (-61.9%), Land Rover (-55%), Jaguar (-43.2%), Jeep (-39.2%), Cadillac (-38.9%), Infiniti (-35.7%) and Citroen (-34.4%) also would rather forget February 2019.

The Hyundai ix35 breaks its ranking record in China in February.

Looking at the models ranking in isolation, the VW Lavida (+29.1%) excels and posts a 9th win over the past 11 months, distancing the Haval H6 (-15%) and Wuling Hongguang (-42.8%), with 3 great performing sedans in tow: the Nissan Sylphy (+38.1%), Buick Excelle GT (+21.7%) and VW Jetta (+24.5%). Below the Toyota Corolla (-12.6%), the Geely Emgrand (-9.1%) breaks its ranking record at #8 (previous best: #9 hit in July and August 2018) while the Roewe i5 continues to astonish, up a further 3 spots on January to also sign a new record-high #12, by far the most popular recent launch (<12 months). The Hyundai ix35 (+40.1%) is up a smashing 31 ranks on last month to slide into the overall Top 20 for the first time since July 2013, also beating its ranking high at #17 (previous best #18 in February 2013), becoming the 3rd best-selling SUV in China for the month. The Kia Sportage (+597%) also impresses, as do the BYD Tang (+3282.4%), Chery Arrizo 5 (+2064.8%), BYD Yuan (+3700%), Kia Pegas (+192.5%), Hyundai Celesta (+565.4%) and Kia KX5 (+203.7%) thanks to a facelift exclusive to China for now.

Previous month: China Wholesales January 2019: VW sinks, Toyota, BMW smash records, 7th consecutive market drop (-15.8%)

One year ago: China Wholesales February 2018: Baojun 510 #1 SUV, ends 55 consecutive months of Haval H6 reign

Full February 2019 Top 87 All China-made brands and Top 462 All China-made models below.

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