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China Retail February 2019: BMW (+24.2%) only Top 25 brand in positive in market back down 34.4%

The Jetour X90 has landed in the Chinese retail charts.

Last month’s retail figures (+24.5%) showed a spectacular turnaround that seemed so out of place – given wholesales have been declining for 8 straight months – they left us hanging. Unfortunately February retail sales aren’t good news, rather a hard slap in the face as they are back to freefall: -34.4% year-on-year to just 978.938 units, the first time since 2014 a Chinese monthly volume slips under the million milestone. However this unusually harsh drop can in part be attributed to the timing of the Chinese New Year holiday, starting earlier this year (5 February) than last year (16 February), and given Chinese customers typically purchase new vehicles before the holiday to then go on an extended leave period, as the pre-festival period was much shorter this year, sales dropped. As such, thanks to such a strong pre-holiday rush in January, the YTD retail volume is actually up 1% to 3.548.992 which still shows true signs of recovery. Retail sales are a new monthly Chinese update we’ve been featuring for exactly one year (since February 2018) for locally-made vehicles, imports being covered in separate monthly updates. If wholesales correspond to ex-factory shipments, retail sales are those to end customers, taking the marketing edge off the wholesales figures and giving a more realistic account of the reality of the market on the ground.

BMW is one of only two carmakers in the Top 30 to post a year-on-year retail gain…

Volkswagen (-21.6%) manages to keep its fall well below the market rate, with the Golf (+21.7%), Jetta (-7.2%), Polo (-7.3%) and new SUVs T-Roc (#66), Tharu (#72) and Tayron (#103) resisting well but the Teramont (-49.4%), Lamando (-42.8%), Magotan (-42.2%), Tiguan (-40.7%), Sagitar (-34.9%) and Santana (-30.9%) in trouble. Honda (-10.2%) fares much better thanks to the Fit (+28.5%), CR-V (+22.7%), Civic (+15.1%), Crider (+10.3%) and new Inspire. On the brands podium, it’s Chinese leader Geely (-40.7%) that struggles the most despite strong scores by the new Binyue and Binrui just as the Vision (-59.4%), Boyue (-58.6%), Emgrand GL (-55.6%), Vision SUV (-54.5%) and Emgrand GS (-52.4%) all fall hard. Toyota (-9.8%) manages the only single-digit loss in the Top 10 thanks to the Yaris L (+47.6%), Yaris L Sedan (+27.2%), Prado (+12.4%), Highlander (+8.1%) and new C-HR and IZOA. Wuling (-20%) takes advantage of strong showings by their LCV lineup: the Rongguang (+96.6%), Hongguang V (+35.4%) and Sunshine (+29.2%) lift the brand up 6 spots to #5.

…alongside Jinbei.

Below Nissan (-22.4%) and Haval (-34%), all remaining Top 10 brands fall much faster than the market: Baojun (-55.6%), Buick (-44.9%) and Changan (-40%) are all in dire straits. In fact, only two brands manage a year-on-year gain in the Top 30: BMW (+24.2%) at #16 thanks to the new X3 (#78), X1 (+75.1%) and 3 Series L (+16.1%) and Jinbei (+95.6%) at #29 thanks to the Granse (+80.3%), X30 (+123.3%) and Haixing A7 (+458.9%). Other gainers in the Top 60 are Traum (+1003.6%), Hongqi (+368.1%), Qoros (+190.6%), JMC (+62.3%), Lynk & Co (+46.6%), Infiniti (+42%), Foton (+36.8%) and Volvo (+7.2%). Jetour (#37) continues to dominate new brand launches (<12 months), selling similar amounts as Jeep and Peugeot, adding a second nameplate into its lineup (the X90) and distancing Bestune (#42), Nio (#64), Weltmeister (#69), Dorcen (#77), Dearcc (#84), Qiantu (#86) and Lark (#89). In the naughty corner, Chinese-wise we have Bisu (-93.6%), Zotye (-87.2%), Haima (-82.3%), Soueast (-76.3%), Hanteng (-75.2%), Leopaard (-74.5%), Yema (-74%), Hawtai (-73.3%), Lifan (-73.2%), Landwind (-70%) and WEY (-69.2%) and foreign-wise Luxgen (-86.3%), Renault (-72%), Peugeot (-69.9%), Citroen (-64.7%), Land Rover (-59.1%), Jeep (-54.9%), Ford (-54.1%) and Cadillac (-50.7%).

The Wuling Hongguang is the best-selling nameplate in China retail-wise in February.

Over in the models ranking, the Wuling Hongguang (-32.6%) leaps up 3 spots on January to reclaim the lead for the first time in 20 months – since May 2017 – edging past the VW Lavida (-24.6%) for just 52 units. Below, the Nissan Sylphy (-7.7%) and VW Jetta (-7.2%) contain their fall while the Haval H6 (-49.2%) remains the best-selling SUV in the country but loses almost half of its February 2018 volume. The Baojun 510 (-64.9%) is the only other SUV in the Top 10 whereas the Toyota Corolla (-26.8%), VW Santana (-30.9%), Bora (-24.1%) and Sagitar (-34.9%) make it 7 sedans in the Top 10. Roewe i5 (#27) is up 7 spots on January to remain the most popular new launch ahead of the Baojun 360 (#46), Geely Binyue (#55), Changan CS35 Plus (#61) and Haval F7 (#63)

Previous month: China Retail January 2019: Haval (+72.1%), VW (+45.7%), Toyota (+44.1%) lead spectacular market turnaround (+27.5%)

One year ago: China February 2018: Discover exclusive retail sales figures

Full February 2019 Top 99 All-brands and Top 628 All-models below.

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