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China retail First Half 2020: Audi (+3.2%), Mercedes (+0.2%), Toyota (-7.6%) resist in market down -22.5%

Audi posts the best performance of any Top 25 carmaker.

29/07 update: Now with Top 285 All New Energy models.

Hit first by the coronavirus crisis in February (-78.5%) and March (-40.4%), retail sales of Chinese passenger vehicles (cars, SUVs and MPVs) end the First Half of 2020 at -22.5% year-on-year to 7.7 million units according to data released by the China Passenger Car Association. This is 2.24 million units less than the same period in 2019, but of those, roughly 2.08 million units were lost in the first quarter alone, with the Chinese Lunar Holiday also contributing in January (-21.5%). However, similarly to wholesales data, retail sales in China have showed a very fast V-shaped recovery (see graph below), with April (-5.6%) and June (-6.2%) down in the single-digits while May (+1.8%) marked the first year-on-year uptick in 12 months. All in all, H1 2020 retail sales fare worse than wholesales (-16.9%) but better than the US (-23.5%) and Europe (-39.5%).

V-shaped recovery, China retail PV sales. Source: China Automotive Review.

The set of vehicles we cover in this update extends to some LCVs such as microvans is off -29.9% to 7.496.814 units. We at BSCB are 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. Retail sales or registrations tend to give a more authentic picture of the market as wholesales or production can be inflated by manufacturers.

Toyota scores the only single-digit loss in the Top 6.

Strikingly, 18 of the 25 top selling brands over the period fall faster than the market, with a rare few bucking the trend. Volkswagen (-33.4%) sheds one-third of its H1 2019 tally or over 500.000 units to fall to just above 1 million sales in H1 2020, hampered by the discontinuation of the Jetta (-99.7%) and steep drops by the C-Trek (-84.2%), Polo (-66.5%), Touran (-66.4%), Tiguan (-51.1%), Phideon (-50.4%), Santana (-48.8%), Lamando (-46.2%), Teramont (-43.2%), Passat (-41.5%), Lavida (-33.7%) and Magotan (-31.4%) and despite strong showings by the T-Cross (+281%), Tayron (+68.7%), CC (+12.6%) and Tharu (+6.6%). Toyota (-7.9%) overtakes Honda (-30.6%) to #2, signing the only single-digit drop in the Top 6 thanks to upticks by the Avalon (+481%), Levin (+13.8%) and Yaris L (+5.8%), the new Wildlander (13.290) and contained losses by the RAV4 (-7.8%), Corolla (-11.4%), Camry (-11.4%) and C-HR (-12.8%). Outside the podium, Nissan (-20.2%) just outpaces the market thanks to the Teana (+39.4%) and Sylphy (-11.6%) but Geely (-28.2%) and Buick (-25.8%) struggle.

Mercedes manages to edge up 0.2% vs. H1 2019.

Mercedes (+0.2%) edges up into positive thanks to a fantastic June result (+33.1%), with the GLC (+13.3%), A-Class (+10.3%) and new GLB (20.405) helping. Up five spots on H1 2019 to #8, Audi (+3.2%) scores the best performance of any carmaker in the Top 25 thanks to the A6L (+77.7%), Q2L (+33.6%) and Q5L (+6%). Changan (-5.7%) also impresses at #9, boosted by the new CS75 Plus (72.316), CS55 Plus (25.653) and UNI-T (7.157) as well as the Eado (+18.8%), CS85 Coupe (+17.2%) and CS35 Plus (+10.1%). BMW (-5.6%) also resists strongly just outside the Top 10 due to solid results by the X3 (+1%), 3 Series L (-7.9%) and 5 Series L (-9.2%) as well as the new X2 (11.913). In the remainder of the Top 25, only Mazda (-13%) outpaces the market with Skoda (-51%), Chevrolet (-46.2%), BYD (-43.6%), Roewe (-43.6%) and Baojun (-43.4%) hit the hardest.

New brand Jetta has sold over 100.000 units in its first 10 months in market.

Jetta (63.438) confirms it is the most popular new brand launch in the past 12 months but also ever, crossing the symbolic 100.000 retail sales mark (108.002) after just 10 months in market. The previous record was 67.106 by Jetour between October 2018 and July 2019. Jetta distances Tesla (46.578), LI  (9.655), Lincoln (8.412), VGV (4.425) and Ciimo (2.515). An army of EV startups also make their appearances in the Chinese retail charts over the period: Zedriv (#78), Leap Motor (#86), Aiways (#90), Levdeo (#92), Seres (#97), Maple (#99), Sokon (#100), Hycan (#106), Lingbox (#108), SRM (#109), Yinlong (#115), Saleen (#118), Skywell (#119), Min’an (#122) and Enovate (#123). The only additional Top 85 brands to lodge a year-on-year gain are COS (+558.5%), Hongqi (+106.2%), NIO (+88.5%), Exeed (+70.6%), Cowin (+8.8%), Volvo (+8%) and Lynk & Co (+0.6%).

The Nissan Sylphy topples the VW Lavida to #1 model in China.

In the models ranking, the Nissan Sylphy (-11.6%) halves the market drop rate to easily snap the pole position off the VW Lavida (-33.7%), accumulating an almost unsurmountable 40.000-unit advantage. The Toyota Corolla (-11.4%) lurks only 8.000 units below at #3 while the VW Bora (-0.6%) flaunts almost immobile deliveries and soars 6 spots on last year to #4. The VW Sagitar (-14.5%) is up 4 to #5, both toppling the Haval H6 (-23.7%) down to #6. The Buick Excelle Yinlang (-0.5%) is up 8 ranks to #7, the Toyota Levin (+13.8%) is the only year-on-year gainer in the Top 12 and surges 14 spots to #8 while the Wuling Hongguang (-44.5%) freefalls 5 ranks to #9 and the Honda Civic (-27.9%) breaks into the Top 10 even though it falls faster than the market. The Mercedes GLC (+13.3%), Audi A6L (+77.7%) and VW Tayron (+68.7%) also swim upstream in the remainder of the Top 20.

The Changan CS75 Plus is the most popular recent launch.

157 new models made their entrance in the Chinese retail charts over the past 12 months, ten of them making it into the H1 2020 Top 100: the Changan CS75 Plus (#21) the most successful ahead of the Honda Breeze (#38), BYD Song Pro (#46), Tesla Model 3 (#47), COS X7 (#67), Jetta VS5 (#70), Hongqi HS5 (#72), Roewe RX5 MAX (#83), Changan CS55 Plus (#89) and Baojun RS-3 (#97).

Previous post: China retail June 2020: Recovery interrupted (-6.2%) by high year-ago comparison base

One year ago: China retail First Half 2019: Drive to reduce inventory triggers 4.6% uptick

Full H1 2020 Top 135 All China-made brands, Top 917 All-models and Top 285 All New Energy models below.

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