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China wholesales First Half 2020: Covid crisis hits market down -16.9% to weakest in 8 years, Audi (+4.9%), BMW (+2.1%) and Toyota (-3.6%) immune

The new RAV4 (+10.5%) helps Toyota limit its fall to -3.6% over H1.

The Covid-19 crisis stifles the Chinese wholesales market down a harsh -16.9% year-on-year over the First Half 2020 to just 10.257.000 units, the lowest H1 volume in 8 years: since the 9.62 million of 2012… However unlike the U.S., the signs the pandemic-related crash is well and truly past history are there: after a weak January (-18.4%), Chinese wholesales logically cratered in both February (-79.1%) and March (-43.3%) but displayed one of the only V-shaped market recoveries in the world with April (+4.4%) not only signalling the end of the Covid-affected era but also marking the first year-on-year gain in 21 months. May (+14.5%) and June (+11.6%) were simply euphoric. Due to this surprising health, the CAAM corrected its 2020 forecast to -10% and 23.2m units, we at BSCB think the Chinese wholesales market will drop -7% in 2020 to 23.9m units.

China December 2019 – June 2020 wholesales. Source China Automotive Review. Note: final June data is slightly higher at 11.6% and 2.3m.

If the total market is down -16.9%, Commercial Vehicles buck the overall trend with a solid 8.6% increase to a record 2.384.000 units, brought about by an aggressive post-pandemic campaign by the Chinese government to resume or start infrastructure projects in order to boost the economic recovery. It worked: CV wholesales hit all-time records in April (+31.6%), May (+48%) and June (+63.1%). Meanwhile Passenger Cars are off -22.4% to 7.873.000 and for the first time in history, SUV sales (-14.9%) edge past car sales (-26%) by the tiniest of margins at 3.677.000 units vs. 3.676.000. MPV (-45.7%) implode to 364.000 while microvans (-19.8%) drop to 155.000. NEV sales skid -37.4% to 393.000 units and 3.8% share vs. 627.800 and 5.1% over H1 2019, including 304.000 BEV (-39.2%), 88.000 PHEV (-29.8%) and 403 FCEV (-63.4%).

Audi A6L wholesales surge 60.4% year-on-year over the First Half of 2020.

If Volkswagen remains the uncontested leader In the brands ranking, it also strikingly endures the steepest year-on-year fall in the Top 10 at -27.7% to 1.02m units, hampered by atrocious results by the Polo (-64.4%), C-Trek (-60.7%), Phideon (-53.8%), Lamando (-49%), Touran (-46.5%), Tiguan (-41.5%), Santana (-37%), Passat (-36.4%), Lavida (-31.2%), Magotan (-24.6%), Golf (-19.1%) and T-Cross (-19%) and despite a surge by the Tayron (+37.7%), solid holds by the Sagitar (+2.5%), Bora (-3.8%) and Tharu (-4.8%) and the new Tacqua (10.285) and Viloran (5.920). In contrast Toyota (-3.6%) manages to almost stabilise its sales over the period mainly thanks to the Avalon (+124.4%), Yaris L (+20.5%), new RAV4 (+10.5%), Levin (+2.3%) and new Wildlander (22.009). Below, Honda (-18.8%), Geely (-19.8%) and Nissan (-17.7%) all fall slightly faster than the market but Changan (-7.6%) resists thanks to the renewed CS75 (+58.8%) and Eado (+26.6%) each posting gravity-defying double-digit increases.

The new Baojun lineup, aimed at sophisticating the brand, has failed so far.

Below Buick (-25.7%) in difficulty, the 3 German premium marques all slide into the Top 10 whereas only Mercedes managed that feat a year ago and Audi over the FY2019. If Mercedes (-3.8%) posts a tiny decline, both Audi (+4.9%) and BMW (+2.1%) completely buck the depressed trend and score the only year-on-year upticks among the Top 20 brands… Audi thanks to the A6L (+60.4%), Q2L (+40.2%), Q5L (+18.4%) and Q3 (+6.4%) and BMW thanks to the 3 Series L (+9.9%), X3 (+8.6%) and new X2 (10.156). Brands ranked between #11 and #22 all fall faster than the market, with Chery (-17.8%) faring best and Chevrolet (-48.1%) and Baojun (-46.6%) hit the hardest. For Baojun, it’s a disheartening start of the “new Baojun” more premium lineup adding up to just 30% of the brand’s line up at 40.431 units. Only the RS-3 and RM-5 manage to sell over 10.000 units in 6 months, with the 530 (-38.2%) and 510 (-69.2%) still the best-selling nameplates.

Jetta confirms it is the most successful brand launch in Chinese history.

Ford (+1.6%) catches its breath after a couple of catastrophic years, while VW’s new low-cost offering Jetta lands directly at #26 with just under 80.000 wholesales over the period and 128.759 in the 10 months since launch, confirming Jetta as the most successful brand launch in Chinese history. Just below, Hongqi (+106.6%) is the success story of the year, breaking its all-time volume record 13 times in the past 16 months. COS (+543.5%) takes advantage of its first true success, the X7, to flirt with the Top 30 vs. #66 a year ago, while Tesla (#34) is another successful China-made launch. NIO (+89.4%), Neta (+13.2%), Exeed (+9.7%), SWM (+9.6%), Weltmeister (+3.1%) and Land Rover (+2.2%) are the only additional brands in positive. 12 new marques have made their first appearance in the wholesales charts over the past 12 months: below Jetta and Tesla, LI (#48), VGV (#53), Lincoln (#62), Ciimo (#72), Zedriv (#77), Levdeo (#81), Leap Motor (#83), Everus (#85), Aiways (#93) and Hycan (#95).

The BYD Song Pro is the most successful of the 85 new nameplate launches that occurred in the past 12 months.

The Nissan Sylphy (-1.2%) takes advantage of a new generation to decisively overtake the VW Lavida (-31.2%), ranking #1 during 8 of the past 11 months including 5 out of 6 months in 2020. The Toyota Corolla (-13.8%) advances two spots to climb on the podium at #3 and the VW Bora (-3.8%) is up 3 to ensure the H1 Top 4 is 100% composed of sedans. The Haval H6 (-33.3%) drops two ranks to #5 but remains the #1 SUV in the country above the Changan CS75 (+58.8%) up 30 to #7, the Geely Boyue (-7.9%) up 4 to #9 and the Honda CR-V (-12%) up 3 to #15. The VW Sagitar (+2.5%), Geely Emgrand (-4.7%) and Buick Excelle Yinlang (-33.9%) make it 8 sedans in the Top 10. Overall leader from 2013 to 2017, the Wuling Hongguang (-52.8%) endures the steepest fall in the Top 90, skidding from #4 to #13. 86 new models have entered the Chinese market over the past 12 months, accounting for 16.5% of the 522 nameplates that have sold at least one unit over the First Half of 2020. The BYD Song Pro (#26) tops them all, distancing the Honda Breeze (#33), COS X7 (#50), Tesla Model 3 (#57), Jetta VS5 (#64), Mercedes GLB (#86), Toyota Wildlander (#97), Jetta VA3 (#102), Baojun RS-3 (#106), JAC Jiayue A5 (#108), Dongfeng Aeolus Hyun (#110), Jetta VS7 (#117) and Ford Escape (#118).

Previous post: China wholesales June 2020: Trucks (+63.1%), Honda (+25%) break records in strongest ever June volume (+11.6%)

One year ago: China wholesales First Half 2019: Market down -12.4% to lowest in 4 years, Honda (+14.4%), Toyota (+12.8%), BMW (+26%) immune

Full H1 2020 Top 105 All China-made brands and Top 615 All-models vs. Full H1 2019 figures below.

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