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China retail March 2020: Audi (+0.5%) sole gainer in Top 25 in market down -34.9%

Audi Q2L sales are up 79.8% year-on-year in March.

Our selection of vehicles in China in March show retail sales drop -34.9% year-on-year to 1.026.653 units, a significantly slimmer fall than wholesales (-43.3%). As a result the Q1 volume is now down -42.6% to 2.947.341. For the past two years, BSCB has been the only global outlet to analyse complete retail sales data – or registrations – for China, as an additional monthly update to our years-long coverage of wholesales data / factory shipments. The latter can be inflated by manufacturers, especially at launch, and sometimes includes exports – and because it gives off a more “generous” picture of the market, it remains the government’s official indicator. In contrast, retail sales data is the true barometer of the market and gives a better idea of the reality on the ground: what cars are actually purchased by Chinese customers. In this very peculiar context, retail sales show slightly more strength for the month, the result of dealerships busting with stock after the February lockdowns and ordering less vehicles from the factories (wholesales).

Thanks to a spectacular landing by the CS55 Plus, Changan drops just -12.9%.

Volkswagen (-35.2%) almost exactly follows the market as the usual distant leader, and faring a lot better than in the wholesales charts (-52.7%). The Tayron (+91.1%), CC (+54.8%), Bora (+4.8%) and T-Roc (+1.8%) even manage to grow, with the Sagitar (-1.7%) and Tharu (-8.1%) containing their losses in contrast with the wholesales landscape where the carmaker’s SUV lineup hasn’t yet recovered. Toyota (-22.7%) minimises its drop thanks to the new Avalon (2.923), Yaris L (+10.9%), C-HR (-0.5%), Levin (-7.8%) and Camry (-9.8%), while Geely (-25%) is also relatively solid and maintains itself on the third step of the podium – a ranking it also holds YTD – thanks to comparatively strong performances by the Jiaji (+82.9%), Vision X6 (+5.3%) and Boyue (+3.4%) and the addition of the Xingyue (1.877) and Icon (1.256). Nissan (-31.2%) also betters the market at #4 with a surging Teana (+53.4%) and strong holds by the Tiida (-6.8%) Kicks (-14.7%) and Lannia (-16.9%). Honda (-60.1%) on the other hand remains handicapped by its over-reliance on Wuhan supply and rounds the Top 5 vs. #2 over the FY2019.

The Landwind Rongyao ranks at #385…

Below Wuling (-30.5%), Audi (+0.8%) leaps up 4 spots on February to reclaim a Top 10 spot at #7 and scores the only year-on-year gain in the Top 10 and Top 25. The Q2L (+79.8%), A6L (+35.2%) and Q5L (+11.5%) did help. Changan (-12.9%) also resists particularly well in the remainder of the Top 10, potentially helped by aggressive advertising touting anti-bacterial air-con vents and spurred by the landing of the CS55 Plus (5.421), the new CS75 Plus (10.035) as well as strong showings by the CS35 Plus (+11.8%) and CS85 Coupe (+3%). BMW (-16.7%) also slims its fall thanks to the 5 Series L (-0.1%), X3 (-1.1%) and new X2 (1.998). Beyond the Top 10, Xpeng (+556.6%), COS (+409.3%) and Hongqi (+114%) resume their spectacular growth while NIO (+18%) and Lynk & Co (+7.9%) are also up and Chery (-8.5%), Mazda (-16%), Volvo (-16%) and Jetour (-18.2%) are not down too much. Tesla appears at #24 with 11.377 locally-produced Model 3 and adds up to 16.130 units YTD thanks to previously unreported January and February volumes. Jetta adds another 9.831 units, yet to return to five-digits but bringing its 7-month tally to 69.518, still a new record.

…and the Aiways U5 ranks #461.

Looking at the models ranking, unlike in the wholesales charts the Nissan Sylphy (-33.6%) retains control for the 5th consecutive month, distancing the VW Lavida (-31.6%), Toyota Corolla (-27.7%) and VW Bora (+4.8%) in a Top Four 100% sedans. The Wuling Hongguang (-35.2%) remains at #5 while the VW Sagitar (-1.7%), Toyota Levin (-7.8%), Buick Excelle Yinlang (-8%) and VW Santana (-48.4%) make it 8 sedans in the Top 10. The Haval H6 (-24.7%) is the sole SUV in the Top 12 at #8. The Tesla Model 3 swoops up to #11, the Wuling Hongguang V (-34.2%) is up to #12 and the VW Tayron (+91.1%) up to #13 and #2 SUV. Below the Model 3, the Changan CS75 Plus (#16), COS X7 (#48), BYD Song Pro (#50) and Honda Breeze (#53) are the most popular recent launch. The Jetour X70M (#210), Landwind Rongyao (#385), Changan E-Pro (#407), Always U5 (#461) and Jetour X70S (#536) are the new models for the month that don’t yet appear in the wholesales charts.

Previous post: China retail 7-12 April 2020: Sales up 14% year-on-year

Previous month: China retail February 2020: Toyota (-68.6%), Mercedes (-65.6%) hold somewhat in market down -79.2%

One year ago (1): China retail March 2019: Honda (+35%), BMW (+80%), BYD (+59.7%) fly off in market down a subdued -5.3%

One year ago (2): China retail Q1 2019: VW Lavida, Nissan Sylphy in control, Haval and Honda surge ahead in market edging down just -0.6%

Full March 2020 Top 105 All Locally-produced brands, Top 610 All-models and Top 140 All New Energy models below.

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