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China imports May 2020: Mercedes (+20.8%), Lexus (+19.4%) defy weak market (-9.9%)

Mercedes GLE imports are up 184% year-on-year thanks to a new model.

After dropping by just -3.3% in April, sales of imported new cars in China go against the general rebound trend in China with a steep -9.9% decline in May to 89.577 units, which brings the year-to-date tally down -23.6% to 343.557. The Top 6 brands are unchanged on April and YTD and similarly to last month 3 of them defy the market to post double-digit gains: leader Lexus (+19.4%), #3 Mercedes (+20.8%) and #5 Toyota (+12.1%). At #2, BMW (+0.8%) is also up but Porsche (-9.9%) is down to match the market and Audi (-13.4%) underperforms. Land Rover (+8.1%) secures another solid uptick to overtake Mini (-11.5%) whereas Volkswagen (-35.9%) free falls and Lincoln (-41.6%) is starting to feel the adverse effects on its imports of setting up local production as both the Corsair and Aviator are now China-made. Strikingly, Bentley (+36.8%) is the only gainer in the remainder of the Top 20 entirely composed of double-digit falls bar Subaru (-9.7%) with Ford (-74.7%), Nissan (-63.3%) and Jaguar (-55.9%) the most affected. Beyond the Top 20, Suzuki (+200%) takes off thanks to the new Jimny, while McLaren (+59.1%), GMC (+53.3%), Rolls Royce (+21.4%) and Dodge (+16.4%) also shine.

The Audi Q8 has become the most popular recent import in China in May.

Model-wise, here too the Top 6 is unchanged on April and sports unseasonably spectacular gains: the Mercedes GLE (+184%) is the most dynamic, almost tripling its sales year-on-year, with the Lexus RX (+41.5%), BMW X5 (+35%) and Lexus NX (+27.3%) confirming the insatiable appetite of Chinese customers for luxury SUVs while the Lexus ES (+18.9%) comfortably remains the most popular import in the country with just under 10.000 units finding a new Chinese home in May. The Toyota Alphard (+273%) delivers the largest gain in the Top 10 with the BMW 7 Series (+51.7%) also showing stunning health. The Audi Q8 (#28) is up 32 spots on last month to snap the title of best-selling recent import launch, distancing the Lincoln Nautilus (#33), BMW X7 (#36) and Lincoln Aviator (#57), the latter on the verge of losing its puff as a locally-produced version is now hitting dealerships. Although it breaks into the Top 100 for the first time at #88, the new Lexus LM can only muster 125 sales this month.

Previous month: China imports April 2020: Lexus and UX reach new heights  in market down just -3.3%

One year ago: China imports May 2019: Lexus (+54.5%) and BMW (+23.7%) top market up 8.8%

Full May 2020 Top 46 All imported brands and Top 205 All-models below.

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