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China wholesales March 2020: Mercedes (-3.8%), BMW (-12.9%), Toyota (-23%) lead market recovery (-43.3%)

Mercedes manages the only single-digit drop in the Top 20.

After strict lockdowns stifled February wholesales down -79.1% and just as the rest of the world gets hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Chinese new vehicle market is already bouncing back quite spectacularly, as we already mentioned in the past week. Wholesales in March are down -43.3% to 1.430.000 units, with Passenger Vehicles down -48.4% to 1.043.000 units and Commercial Vehicles resisting much better at -22.6% to 388.000 units. In the Passenger Vehicles detail, Cars (-48.6%) edge back above SUVs at 491.000 vs. 485.000 (-43.9%) with MPVs imploding -70% to 46.000 and minivans down -58.2% to 21.000. The Q1 2020 volume is down -42.4% to 3.672.000 units, with SUVs (-39.6%) remaining the dominant segment at 1.372.000 units above Cars (-47.6%) at 1.325.000, MPVs (-63.3%) at 136.000 and minivans (-54.1%) at 45.000. CPCA reports NEVs are down -49% in March to 56.410 units, including 47.199 BEVs (-47%) and 9.211 PHEVs (-58%).

The new RAV4 helps Toyota contain its March loss to -23%.

After relinquishing the brands top spot to Geely last month, Volkswagen (-52.7%) reclaims its decades-long leadership but continues to trail the market quite significantly. If its sedan lineup including the CC (+0.8%), Bora (-4.3%) and Sagitar (-25.1%) – or even the Lavida (-50.4%) back to #1 model in the country – are quickly recovering, VWs SUVs are still panting, with the best-seller, the Tayron (-23.1%) only ranking #19 in the segment this month and all other losing more than half their volume year-on-year: the Tiguan (-73.4%), Teramont (-68.5%) and Tharu (-67.7%) are the hardest hit followed by the T-Cross (-64.7%) and T-Roc (-50.4%). Launched last November, the Tacqua outsells its clone the T-Cross for the first time. In contrast to Volkswagen, Toyota (-23%) is back up 5 spots on February to #2 brand and manages to contain its loss well under the market rate. The Yaris L (+23.7%), Prado (+12.2%) and Highlander (+2.9%) even post a gain just as the Avalon (-2.6%), C-HR (-3.6%) and Camry (-8.2%) only edge down while the new RAV4 (-3.1%) ranks #7 SUV in the country.

The X7 enables COS to shoot up 707.4%…

Surprise leader last month, Geely (-43.5%) follows the market and remains on the podium at #3, but apart its newest nameplate the Icon – made famous by an ad showcasing contact-less delivery and breaking its volume record at 2.036, all Geely fares drop by the double-digits, including the Vision X3 (-19.3%), Vision X6 (-22.1%), Emgrand GS (-29.8%) and Boyue (-32.5%), the least affected. Changan (-31.8%) keeps its drop relatively slim and remains at #4 as a result vs. #6 YTD and #8 in 2019. Outside of the halo launch of the striking UNI-T SUV which we covered in our New models update, the CS75 (+33.5%) continues to pull the brand’s volumes up, accounting for 31% of its March total and ranking #2 SUV for the month and YTD. The Eado (+2.6%) and among smaller volumes the Yuexiang (+740%) and CS95 (+31.7%) also impress. Already outstanding in February, Mercedes (-3.8%) lodges the only single-digit drop in the Top 20 and climbs up one spot on last month to #5 overall, the first time the premium German cracks the Chinese Top 5. The A-Class L (+53.2%) and GLC (-0.9%) helped, as well as the new GLB (4.505 sales). BMW (-12.9%) and Audi (-28.8%) also shine in the remainder of the Top 10, with the 5 Series L (+5.9%), X3 (+3.6%), A6L (+59.3%) and Q5L (+8.2%) their respective heroes.

…while the X pushes Denza up 1514.8%.

Honda (-71.3%) and Nissan (-58.5%) are both handicapped by main factories located in Wuhan which as of March 31 was still in lockdown while Haval (-42.8%) manages to match the market. Beyond the Top 10, COS (+707.4%) continues to be single-mindedly propelled by the X7 SUV (11.677 sales), Denza (+1514.8%) hits its largest wholesales volume since May 2018 thanks to the new X SUV, Hongqi (+62.6%) is back in business while Qoros (+68.8%), NIO (+13.1%), Yema (+10.6%) and SWM (+1.7%) post rare gains and Lark (-8.3%), MG (-11.3%), Suzuki (-15.1%), Bestune (-16.8%) and Lynk & Co (-18.7%) limit their fall. Jetta (10.235) remains the most popular recent launch (<12 months) but Tesla (10.160) is spectacularly catching up for its 2nd month in market. Note Jetta has now accumulated 82.098 wholesales in 7 months, still the most successful brand launch in Chinese history above Jetour (69.095). Below Jetta and Tesla, LI breaks its volume record at 1.447, distancing VGV (1.318), Exeed (877) and Geometry (293).

Hongqi is back up 62.6% thanks to the HS5.

Model-wise, as we mentioned above the VW Lavida (-50.4%) reclaims the top spot for the first time this year, only 631 units above the Nissan Sylphy (-46.6%) which easily remains #1 YTD. The VW Bora (-4.3%) completes a podium 100% sedan above the Haval H6 (-34.7%), VW Sagitar (-25.1%) and Changan CS75 (+33.5%). The Toyota Corolla (+15), Levin (+112) and Camry (+18) to the Top 10. The BYD Song Pro (13.335) tops recent launches ahead of the COS X7 (11.677), Tesla Model 3 (10.160) also the best-selling EV in the country this month, Honda Breeze (7.615) outselling its muse the CR-V (2.560) for the first time, Hongqi HS5 (5.362), Jetta VS5 (4.638), Mercedes GLB (4.505), JAC Jiayue A5 (3.053) and Jetta VS7 (2.991) breaking its volume record.

Previous post: China March 2020: Wholesales down -44.3%, retail down -40%, daily rate up each week

Previous month: China wholesales February 2020: Focus on anti-bacterial tech helps Geely (#1 above Volkswagen), Chery (-37.2%), Jetour (-47.2%) in market down -79.1%

One year ago (1): China Wholesales March 2019: Market decline thaws to -5.2%, lowest rate and first single-digit since last August

One year ago (2): China wholesales First Quarter 2020: Sedans reclaim supremacy in market down -11.3% yet showing signs of recovery

Full March 2020 Top 90 All Locally-made brands and Top 480 All-models below.

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