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China wholesales March 2021: Honda (+250.7%), Wuling (+508.6%), Tesla (+249.4%) shine in market up 74.9%

The Wuling Hongguang MINI EV scores its first podium in China.

According to data by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM), China new vehicle wholesales mark 12 consecutive months of year-on-year gains in March at +74.9% to 2.526.000 units, also up 0.2% on March 2019. This is split into 1.874.000 Passenger Cars (+77.4%) and 651.000 Commercial Vehicles (+68.1%). Note this is an all-time volume record for Commercial Vehicles, and we’re seeing record levels as well for heavy-duty and light-duty trucks whose totals were not specified. In the Passenger Cars detail, SUVs are up 79.6% year-on-year to 877.000 units, outselling cars up 73.7% to 871.000 while MPVs are up 105.3% to 93.000 and minibuses up 56.6% to 33.000. Sales of New Energy vehicles (BEV+PHEV) shoot up 238.9% year-on-year to 226.000 units. Over the First Quarter of 2021, wholesales are up 75.6% to 6.484.000 units including 5.076.000 Passenger Cars (+75.1%) and 1.408.000 Commercial Vehicles (+77.3%). Note Q1 2021 volumes are up 1.7% on Q1 2019 before the pandemic. In the Passenger Cars detail, SUVs soar 75% to 2.415.000, cars are up 77.4% to 2.372.000, MPVs gain 63.3% to 222.000 and minibuses are up 46.4% to 66.000. Lastly, let’s note that carmakers in China exported 132.000 vehicles in March, a figure up 45.5% year-on-year and a new record March volume.

Over in the brands ranking, after trailing the market for 11 of the past 12 months and posting year-on-year losses for 10 of the past 12 months, Volkswagen (+90.7%) finally outpaces the Chinese market and improves its market share. This is thanks to outstanding performances by the Lamando (+215.8%), Phideon (+204.9%), Magotan (+159.1%) and most of its SUV lineup: the Tiguan L (+329.3%), Tacqua (+277.5%), Tharu (+241%), Teramont (+211.4%), Tayron (+153.5%) and T-Roc (+150.4%). Toyota (+70.3%) confirms it is now the #2 manufacturer in China but finds itself just under the market growth, helped by strong results by the Avalon (+641.9% to a new record 15.402 units), IZOA (+644.1%), Corolla (+107.7%) and RAV4 (+92.1%). Honda (+250.7%) posts the largest year-on-year gain in the Top 9 and sees spectacular growth from virtually its entire lineup, the best performing nameplates being the UR-V (+2379.7%), Elysion (+2187.8%), CR-V (+1216.9%), Inspire (+958.3%), XR-V (+546.9%), Vezel (+455.4%), Avancier (+410.5%) and Civic (+307.8%).

The Model Y enables Tesla to smash its volume record in March.

Changan (+57.9%) trails the market but remains in 4th place, a spot it also holds year-to-date. Buick (+210.8%) is up 3-fold on March 2020 thanks to the GL8 (+626.8%), LaCrosse (+445.9%) and Excelle Yinlang (+340.1%). Audi (+93.3%) also outpaces the market but it isn’t the case for Geely (+26.5%), Haval (+66.6%) and Nissan (+71.4%). Closing the Top 10 is Wuling (+508.6%) up a spectacular 6-fold year-on-year thanks to the ever-improving volumes of the new Hongguang MINI EV breaking its all-time volume record at 39.745 and strong results by the new Victory MPV. Below, Chery soars 127.6% and Tesla (+249.4%) smashes its volume record from 23.804 last December to 35.503 thanks to the gearing up of the Model Y above 10.000 monthly wholesales for the first time. Cadillac (+294.6%), Volvo (+192.3%), Hongqi (+184.5%), Jetour (+161.5%) and Lynk & Co (+122.4%) also score fantastic gains below. Other record-breakers include Ora (13.049), SOL (10.306), the brand being repurposed by JAC as its main passenger car outlet, Lincoln (8.179), NIO (7.257) and Neta (3.246).

Looking at the models ranking, the VW Lavida (+66.7%) rallies back up 13 spots on February to take the overall lead for the first time since exactly a year ago in March 2020. The Nissan Sylphy (+66.2%) is knocked down to 2nd place but remains by far the best-seller year-to-date. In fact the entire Top 5 is composed of cars this month: the Wuling Hongguang MINI EV is up 4 spots on last month to score its first ever podium finish at home, followed by the Buick Excelle Yinlang (+340.1%) and Toyota Corolla (+107.7%). The Haval H6 (+71.6%) reclaims the top spot in the SUV charts ahead of the Honda CR-V (+1216.9%) and Changan CS75 (+70.8%), overall leader in February but down to #10 this month. The Tesla Model 3 (+149.5%) breaks its volume record at 25.352 and lurks just outside the Top 10 at #11, ranking #8 car in the country. Among the other all-time record-breakers this month we have the Geely Xingrui (14.356), Tesla Model Y (10.151), Jetta VA3 (5.082) and Neta V (3.206). Below the Wuling Hongguang MINI EV and Geely Xingrui (#33), the most popular recent launches are the new Hyundai Elantra (#45), COS X5 (#49), BYD Han (#53), Toyota Wildlander (#54) and Tesla Model Y (#55).

Previous month: China wholesales February 2021: Market up 364.8% on year-ago lockdown, Changan CS75 #1 for the first time

One year ago: China wholesales March 2020: Mercedes, BMW, Toyota lead market recovery (-43.3%)

Full March 2021 Top 95 All China-made brands and Top 455 All-models below.

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