skip to Main Content

China retail May 2020: Changan (+36%), Toyota (+16.2%) lift market to first gain in a year (+1.9%)

The spectacular Haima 7X makes its first appearance in the Chinese charts.

According to data from the China Passenger Car Association, retail sales of cars, SUVs and MPVs edge up 1.9% year-on-year in May to 1.64 million units, the first gain since June 2019 when deliveries were boosted by generous promotions on outgoing China 5 emissions standard vehicles. When excluding this artificially boosted month, May 2020 marks the first “true” year-on-year gain in 22 months, since June 2018. We at BSCB re the only non-Chinese media to cover both wholesales (ex-factory shipments) and retail sales data for China so you can get the most complete picture of the largest new car market in the world. This month’s retail uptick follows a wholesales market in positive since April when it broke a drought of 21 consecutive months of decline dating back to June 2018 also. The post-pandemic euphoric recovery has therefore now reached both sides of the Chinese new car market: wholesales and retail.

Average daily retail sales by week, February-May 2020. Source CPCA via China Automotive Review.

Looking at the retail evolution week by week in May on the graph above supplied by China Automotive Review, it becomes apparent that the monthly gain is only due to a particularly strong 4th week at +9% and 100.140 average daly sales whereas Week 1 (-7%), 2 (-2.7%) and 3 (-5.3%) were still in negative. However it will be very difficult to maintain a growth profile in June as June 2019 is the unseasonably high comparison set due to stock clearing of China 5 emissions standard vehicles by dealerships. Year-to-date, retail sales are down -26% or 2.31 million units to 6.05 million according to CPCA which anticipates a 2020 passenger retail sales volume down -12% to 18.3 million units. The set of vehicles we cover in this update extends to some LCVs such as microvan and isn’t as dynamic as official figures show: in fact down -9.2% year-on-year in May to 1.556.395 and -29.9% so far in 2020 to 5.898.787.

The new Wildlander helps Toyota up 16.2%.

In the brands ranking, as it is also the case in the Wholesales charts, market leader Volkswagen (-16.7%) still hasn’t quite got the message the market is back on the up, with another ghastly double-digit drop triggered by paltry performances by the Touran (-68.7%), Polo (-55%), Santana (-41%), Lamando (-35.7%), Tiguan (-34%), Passat (-28.9%), Teramont (-22.2%) and Lavida (-19.8%) and despite surges by the T-Cross (+147.1%), Tayron (+84.7%), Tharu (+48.1%), Bora (+22.2%) and Golf (+13.3%). Toyota (+16.2%) holds onto the 2nd spot and posts the largest gain in the Top 6 thanks to the Avalon (+275.7%), Levin (+55.6%), Yaris L (+41.6%), RAV4 (+21.3%) and Corolla (+7.7%) as well as the new Wildlander (record 5.414). Apart from Nissan edging up 2%, the rest of the Top 6 brands underperforms, with Geely (-10.7%), Buick (-9.9%) and Honda (+8.9%) all suffering significant losses.

Changan (+36%) scores the largest gain in the Top 25.

The 3 premium Germans are completely euphoric this month: Audi (+28.7%), Mercedes (+26.8%) and BMW (+23.4%) all secure fantastic gains, with their best performers being the Audi A6L (+208%), Q2L (+40.3%), Q3 (+29.9%) and A3 (+27.3%), the Mercedes E-Class L (+28.6%) and GLC (+40.8%) and the BMW 3 Series L (+75.3%). But it is Changan (+36%) that scores the largest gain in the Top 10 (and Top 25) thanks to the new CS75 Plus (14.522) and CS55 Plus (7.421), the Eado (+116.6%) and CS35 Plus (+40.5%). Quite strikingly, there are only 2 additional gainers in the remainder of the Top 25: Haval (+2.6%) and Mazda (+13.2%) but 12 brands enduring double-digit declines, among which Chevrolet (-39.8%), Skoda (-38.7%), Roewe (-33.1%), Cadillac (-30.1%) and BYD (-28.9%) are the hardest hit. Further down, Hongqi (+139.9%) scores its third highest volume at 13.849, below December 2019 (15.229) and November 2019 (14.227). COS (+412.8%), NIO (+225.4%), Ora (+91.1%), Bestune (+41.7%), Volvo (+38.9%) and Land Rover (+28.7%) also impress in the remainder of the Top 50. Jetta (#29), Tesla (#30), Lincoln (#49), LI (#54) and VGV (#60) are the most successful among the 25 China-made brands that launched in the past 12 months as we welcome Hycan (#109) in May.

The Nissan Sylphy is #1 in China for the 8th straight month.

The Top 6 best-selling models are unchanged on April, with the Nissan Sylphy securing an 8th consecutive win above the Toyota Corolla (+7.7%), VW Lavida (-19.8%), Bora (+22.2%), Sagitar (-14.3%) and Toyota Levin (+55.6%), The Buick Excelle Yinlang (+27.4%) is up two spots to ensure the Top 7 is entirely composed of sedans this month. The Haval H6 (+7.1%) remains the best-selling SUV in the country at #8 overall above the Honda CR-V (+11.8%) at #10 and the Toyota RAV4 (+21.3%) at #12. The Honda Civic (+31.6%) makes it 8 sedans in the Top 9, the Wuling Hongguang (-20.2%) drops 3 spots to #14 while the Changan CS75 Plus (#23), Geely Boyue (#25) and Emgrand (#35) mean there are only 5 Chinese models in the Top 35. The Chevrolet Monza (+396.8%), Nissan Teana (+70.6%), Buick Regal (+40.3%), Honda Vezel (+32%) and Haval M6 (+24.3%) also shine in the Top 50.

There are no less than 11 recent launches (<12 months) among the Top 100 models in May: the Changan CS75 Plus (#23) is the most popular above the Honda Breeze (#31), Tesla Model 3 (#37), BYD Song Pro (#49), Hongqi HS5 (#55), Changan CS55 Plus (#64), Jetta VS5 (#75), COS X7 (#82), Mercedes GLB (#84), Toyota Wildlander (#85) and Roewe RX5 MAX (#87). This month we welcome the Venucia Star (#246), JAC Jiayue X7 (#333), JAC iC5 (#469), Cowin Xuanjie (#474), Haima 7X (#525) for its first appearance in any Chinese charts as it hasn’t shown up in the wholesales data just yet, and the Hycan 007 (#549).

Previous month: China retail April 2020: Changan (+60.7%), Audi (+51.1%) lead V-shaped recovery (-5.6%)

One year ago: China retail May 2019: Honda (+47.4%), BMW (+30.5%), Mercedes (+14.3%) shine in market down -4.4%

Full May 2020 Top 124 All China-made brands, Top 785 All-models and Top 200 New Energy models below.

This content is for Platinum members only.
Log In Register
Back To Top