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China Wholesales June 2019: GAC (+28%), Audi (+21%), Honda (+12%) can’t help 12th straight market decline (-9.6%) but SUVs up (+0.3%)

The new Aion S EV helps GAC sales up 28% in a market down -9.6%.

The loop is looped: with a -9.6% year-on-year decline in June, the Chinese wholesales market has now been down for a full year or 12 consecutive months, something that hadn’t happened in at least 30 years. For once it’s Passenger Cars (and not Commercial Vehicles) that contain their loss at -7.8% to 1.728.000 units vs. -17.8% to 329.000 deliveries for CV, meaning the June total is down -9.6% to 2.056.000 units. There is one very significant highlight in the PC detail however: whereas they were at the origin of the market turnaround a year ago, SUV sales are up for the first time since May 2018 at +0.3% to 739.000 units whereas all other segments are down double-digits this month. Sedans/hatchbacks at -10.5% to 863.000, MPVs at -24.4% to 98.000 and minivans at -36.4% to 28.000.

New Energy Vehicles are back to the whopping growth they’ve shown in the past few years, up 80% to 152.000 including 129.000 EVs (+106.7%), 22.000 PHEVs (+2.2%) and 484 FCEVs up 14.6-fold. I expected the overall Passenger Cars drop to be a lot more significant given dealerships were busy clearing unsold State 5 stock ahead of the July 1 enacting of the State 6 emission standards by two thirds of the country’s provinces. Keep in mind we’re dealing with wholesales here which are factory deliveries to dealerships and these should have been a lot more quiet whereas retail sales (estimated at -2% in May) should climb. The SUV uptick is certainly a very encouraging sign coming into H2.

The BAIC EU-Series is the best-selling New Energy vehicle in China in June.

Case in point of the contrast between wholesales and retail sales this month, Volkswagen today announced retail sales up 15% but wholesales remain in negative for the 6th month in a row at -8%, despite an SUV onslaught. Thanks to the Tiguan (+33.6%), Tayron (record 13.023), T-Roc (+941% to a new record 10.556), Tharu (10.881), Teramont (+36.9%) and T-Cross (5.230), VW SUVs shoot up 179.1% year-on-year to 73.962, representing 32% of VW sales this month vs. just 10% in June 2018. Reversely, the remainder of its lineup sees its sales implode -29.8% to 159.489, and if the Passat (+41.5%) and Bora (+29.4%) still manage brilliant results, the Jetta (-77.1% in preparation for the launch of the Jetta brand?), Golf Sportsvan (-76.9%), Touran (-74.3%), Polo (-71.9%), Phideon (-54%), Lamando (-45.8%), Santana (-35.1%), Sagitar (-25.1%), Lavida (-23%), Magotan (-22%) and Golf (-9.8%) all endure painful losses.

Honda (+12.3%) scores the largest gain in the Top 8 thanks to very strong volumes by the Odyssey (+105.3%), CR-V (+102.7%), Civic (+55%), Accord (+35.4%), Crider (+26.8%), Fit (+9.1%), Inspire (4.880) and Envix (4.407) and despite steep falls by the Elysion (-66.3%), XR-V (-60.9%), UR-V (-44%) both above to receive a facelift, City (-41.6%), Vezel (-36%) and Avancier (-17%). In third place, Toyota (+7.6%) extends its streak to 15 consecutive year-on-year gains thanks to the Yaris L (+28.6%), Yaris L Sedan (+26%), Prado (+21.9%), Vios (+7.8%), Avalon (6.058), C-HR (5.873) and IZOA (5.112) and in spite of weak performances by the Levin (-17.1%), Corolla (-11.5%), RAV4 (-8.9%) all above three about to get a new generation boost, Highlander (-7%) and Camry (-2.3%).

The VW Tayron breaks its volume record in June.

Drops are more frequent further down the Top 10 with Changan (+1.3%) edging up but Hyundai (-36%), Geely (-32.5%), Chevrolet (-5.7%), Buick (-5.3%) and Nissan (-4%) tilting down. Relegated to third place each month in 2019 so far, Audi (+21.3%) stuns in June, becoming the best-selling premium carmaker in China for the first time since December 2018, lifted by the Q5 (+39.2%), A3 (+15.3%), A4L (+11.5%), Q3 (+5.2%) and new Q2L (3.296). Mercedes (+8.1%) thanks to the new A-Class L (6.550) and BMW (+19.7%) thanks to the X3 (+551.3%), X1 (+32.1%), 1 Series (+30.9%) and 5 Series L (+20.6%) are also in excellent shape.

Local carmaker GAC (+28%) manages the largest gain in the Top 20, a dynamism symbolised by the excellent start of the Aion S EV sedan already above 2.000 monthly units and outselling its archenemy the Geometry A. Dongfeng (+27.1%), MG (+21.1%), Haval (+7.4%) and BYD (+3.4%) also impress. We need to talk about Hongqi, FAW’s luxury brand, up 166.7% year-on-year to break its all-time volume record for the 4th straight month at 8.008 units, aided by the H5 (+70.7%), H7 (+1.2%) and a flurry of new launches: the E-HS3 (1.005), HS5 (record 2.424) and the HS7 (66) landing this month. Further down, Traum (+250.4%), Maxus (+68.7%), Cadillac (+51.5%), JAC (+42.9%), Borgward (+31%), Hanteng (+4.7%) and Volvo (+4.3%) are the only other gainers in the Top 50. Jetour (#35) continues to dominate new brand launches (<12 months) above Bestune (#44), Ora (#49), Dorcen (#56), Weltmeister (#59), Exeed (#63) and Geometry (#64). Note DS factory shipments have stopped in June.

The new HS5 helps Hongqi cross the 8.000 monthly sales mark for the first time in history.

Looking at the models ranking, the VW Lavida (-23%) and Nissan Sylphy (-22.1%) remain on top but fall painfully as does the Toyota Corolla (-11.5%) at #3. In fact it’s the Haval H6 (+2.9%), manhandled over the past couple of years, that resists best near the top. It distances an army of galloping nameplates closing down the Top 10: the VW Bora (+29.4%), Honda Civic (+55%), VW Tiguan (+33.6%), Buick Excelle GT (+107.8%), GAC Trumpchi GS4 (+36.5%) and Honda CR-V (+102.7%). Note also the BAIC EU-Series (+229.1%) easily topping the New Energy charts with a new record 17.916 wholesales. The Chevrolet Monza (#16) once again dominates new launches head and shoulders, followed by the VW Tayron (#30), Tharu (#39), Geely Binyue (#42) and Haval F7 (#50), all above 10.000 units for the month.

Previous month: China Wholesales May 2019: Steepest fall yet (-16.4%) marks 11 straight months of decline. Honda (+18.1%), BMW (+20.6%), Volvo (+28.4%) survive

One year ago: China June 2018: SUV sales drop for first time in 9 years in spectacular trend reversal

Full June 2019 Top 90 All China-made brands and Top 475 All-models below.

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