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China wholesales May 2020: Sales spectacularly bounce back up 14.5% to largest YoY gain in over 3 years

Hongqi (+133.7%) symbolises the recovery of the Chinese market and its SUV segment, with both the brand (15.103) and the HS5 (9.117) breaking all-time records.

Doing even better than the +11.7% anticipated, Chinese wholesales soar +14.5% year-on-year to 2.194.000 units according to data released by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM). This completes a spectacular return of form of the Chinese market after the coronavirus crisis pulled wholesales down -18.4% In January, -79.1% in February and -43.3% in March. April (+4.4%) marked the end of 21 consecutive months of year-on-year declines and a V-shaped recovery for the Chinese market, and May marks the largest year-on-year gain in over 3 years: since February 2017 (+22%). Beijing is currently in partial lockdown due to the first significant COVID-19 flareup since last March, so the future remains uncertain for Chinese car sales – our 2020 forecast is now at -8% to 23.76 million units. As it was already the case in April, this month’s volume is helped by exceptional strength by Commercial Vehicles up 48% to 520.000 units but this time even Passenger Vehicles post a sturdy gain at +7% to 1.674.000, their first positive result in almost two years: since June 2018. The year-to-date tally is now down -22.6% over the same period in 2019 to 7.957.000. In the segment detail, SUVs climb up 20.1% to 777.000 units, eclipsing Cars for the third time this year at 776.000 (-0.9%) while MPVs continue to freefall at -24.6% to 81.000 and microvans surge 47% to 39.000. The microvans turnaround after months of freefall is due to the propping up by the government of the “street-vendor economy” post-pandemic, requiring this type of vehicles.

Volkswagen (-3.5%) endures a 5th straight decline despite surging Tayron sales (+89.4%).

Year-to-date, Passenger Vehicles as a whole are down -27.4% to 6.109.000 including 2.855.000 SUVs (-20.2%), 2.855.000 Cars also (-30.4%), 278.000 MPVs (-51.5%) and 120.000 microvans (-27.5%). The Commercial Vehicle segment is pushed up by the resumption and initiation of large infrastructure projects in order to get the economy back on track, with light trucks up 43.4% to 215.000 units and heavy trucks up 65.6% to 179.000 (including 91.000 semi-tractor trailers, up 69.3%), both record volumes. Medium Trucks are up 51.5% to 88.000 with Trucks totalling 482.000 units for the month (+52.5%) while Buses edge up 7.3% to 38.000. Year-to-date, trucks already tilt into positive at +0.4% to 1.706.000 while buses drop -15.2% to 142.000, leading to a Commercial Vehicle segment down just -1% to 1.848.000. New Energy Vehicle sales are still bad news however: down for the 11th consecutive month at -23.5% year-on-year to 82.000 units and 3.7% share vs. 4.7% a year ago in May 2019, 2.7% in January, 4.2% in February, 3.7% in March and 3.5% in April. BEV sales are down -25.1% to 64.000 while PHEVs are down -16.1% to 18.000 and FCEV down -86.7.% to just 42 units. This is however the largest monthly NEV volume this year, and the YTD tally now stands at 267.000, down -42.5% on 2019 and -17.6% on 2018. Chinese brand Passenger Vehicles edge up 0.4% to 571.000 but are down to their lowest share since at least 2017 at 34.1% vs. 36.2% in May 2019 and 41.6% in May 2018, after reaching a peak of 52.6% last February.

The new RAV4 (+46.2%) helps Toyota back to #2 brand.

Brand-wise, Volkswagen (-3.5%) still isn’t reaping the benefits of the market rebound, enduring a 5th straight year-on-year decline to 221.731 units. Its model lineup offers a see-sawing picture crossing segments, from stellar performances by the CC (+219.1%), Sagitar (+115%), Tayron (+89.4%), Teramont (+19.2%), Santana (+13.5%) and Tharu (+8%) to paltry results by the Passat (-54.1%), C-Trek (-41.5%), T-Cross (-38.6%), Phideon (-29%), Tiguan (-26.3%), Lamando (-23.4%), Magotan (-23.3%), Polo (-21.7%), Touran (-21.1%), Bora (-17.6%) and Golf (-12%). Toyota (+14.1%) follows the market to reclaim the #2 spot it holds YTD off Honda (+3.6%). The new Wildlander (record 7.928), a RAV4 twin, has already hit the mark, alongside the Levin (+148.9%), Avalon (+77.6%), RAV4 (+46.2%), Vios FS (+18.4%) and Camry (+11.1%), while Honda’s volumes are stirred up by the new Breeze (11.471), Vezel (+76.2%), Civic (+69.5%), Inspire (+50.2%), XR-V (+46.5%), Elysion (+36.5%) and CR-V (+10.3%). Nissan (+10.3%) trails the market growth but steps up to #4 thanks to the Teana (+163.3%), Terra (+57.2%), Sylphy (+33%) and Qashqai (+13.7%). Geely (+20%) rounds out the Top 5, propped up by the Xingyue (+173.4%), Emgrand GS (+71.8%), Emgrand (+49%), Boyue (+48.2%), Binrui (+20.5%), Vision X6 (+17.5%) and new Icon (record 3.360).

Buick (+13.8%) scores its first double-digit gain since October 2016.

After ending an excruciating 24 straight months of year-on-year declines in April, Buick (+13.8%) does one better and scores its first double-digit gain in almost 4 years: since October 2016. This is due to a completely revamped SUV lineup including the Envision (+49.1%), new Encore GX (3.546), new Encore (2.025) and new Enclave (1.225), but also splendid scorecards from the LaCrosse (+86.7%), Verano (+77%) and Velite 6 (+806.4%) up to a record 3.526 units. Changan (+49.8%) signs the largest gain in the Top 7 thanks to the Benben (+601.5%), CS75 (+166.4%), CX70 (+108.6%), Eado (+73%), Raeton CC (+58.7%) and new UNI-T (record 3.760). The 3 premium Germans all fit inside the Top 10 in May for the third time in the past 4 months, led by Audi (+66.4%) above Mercedes (+17%) and BMW (+26.5%).

Changan sales surge 49.8% with the UNI-T now just under 4.000 units.

Haval (+20.4%) is knocked out of the Top 10 but outpaces the market thanks to its low-cost M6 (+503.9%) while we have a resuscitation at the tail-end of the Top 20: Ford (+132.5%) is pushing wholesales hard this month, securing its first year-on-year gain since January. Mazda (+56.9%) hits its highest volume since May 2018 thanks partly to the arrival of the new CX-30, while Hongqi (+133.7%) breaks its monthly volume record for the 12th time in the past 15 months at 15.103 thanks to a record showing by the HS5 SUV (9.117). Jetta (16.818) achieves its 2nd largest ever volume, Tesla (11.095) and NIO (up 221.7% to 3.436) also post new all-time records just as we welcome Lincoln (2.749) and Hycan (22). COS (+4729.5%), SWM (+103.4%), Land Rover (+93.3%), Cowin (+49.9%), Lynk & Co (+40.9%) and Neta (+40.5%) also impress whereas Zotye (-100%), Renault (-100%), Landwind (-100%), Lifan (-99.4%), Leopaard (-99.1%), Luxgen (-94.3%), Borgward (-89.9%), Geometry (-84.3%) and Qoros (-83.8%) all crash.

NIO wholesales hit a new monthly record high of 3.436.

In the models ranking, the Nissan Sylphy (+33%) takes root in pole position, securing a 7th #1 finish in the past 10 months and leaving its archenemy the VW Lavida (+1.7%) almost 9.200 wholesales below. The Toyota Corolla (-2.8%) is stuck in third place above the Buick Excelle Yinlang (-8.6%), reproducing the April Top 4. The VW Sagitar (+115%), Honda Civic (+69.5%) and Geely Emgrand (+49%) ensure the Top 7 is 100% sedans which is odd given the stunning health of SUV sales. In fact the Haval H6 (-11.1%) is the only SUV in the Top 10 in what is shaping up to be a much more fragmented segment, distancing the Changan CS75 (+166.4%), Geely Boyue (+48.2%), Nissan Qashqai (+13.7%) and Toyota RAV4 (+46.2%). The BMW 3 Series L (+290.7%), Audi A6L (+157.2%) and Audi Q5L (+146.3%) post the largest gains in the Top 35, while the BYD Song Pro (#31) is once again the most popular recent launch (<12 months) above the Honda Breeze (#43), Tesla Model 3 (#47), Toyota Wildlander (#65), Jetta VS5 (#68), Ford Escape (#80 and record 5.964), Mercedes GLB (#84 and record 5.585), COS X7 (#87) and Jetta VS7 (#91 and record 5.087). Other record-breakers include the Jetta VA3 (4.276) and Venucia Star (2.946).

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Full May 2020 Top 95 All China-made brands and Top 510 All-models below.

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