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China retail May 2022: BYD (+164.7%) scores largest YoY gain in Top 30, sales off -22%

The BYD Qin PLUS is up 5-fold year-on-year in May.

The retail market in China is down -21.9% year-on-year in May to 1,268,074 units for the selection of vehicles included in this report, a much better hold than in April (-38.5%) but trailing wholesales (-12.6%). This is because factories became active again faster than customers came back to dealerships. The year-to-date tally is now down -16.9% to 6,974,128 units. BSCB is the only non-Chinese medium 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 tend to give a more authentic idea of the market as they roughly correspond to registrations by end-customers and are more difficult to artificially boost with exports, often the case for wholesales data. Note imports, pickups and medium to heavy commercial vehicles are not included in this dataset, but it includes a more detailed split by model variant (Jetour X70, X70 Coupe, X70 Plus, X70M and X70S for example).

Like in April, Toyota (-6.5%) resists much better than Volkswagen (-34.2%) and teases the German manufacturer for the #1 spot. Volkswagen is penalised by weak results by the Phideon (-76.9%), Tacqua (-73.4%), Polo (-71.8%), Santana (-57.6%), Tiguan (-57.3%), Tharu (-51.2%), Bora (-48.6%), Magotan (-33%) and Lavida (-32.1%). As for Toyota, it is helped by stellar performances by the Wildlander (+71.6%), Allion (+37.2%) and Camry (+22%) as well as successful launches by the Sienna (6,746), Front Lander (6,561), Corolla Cross (4,135) and Crown Kluger (3.378). BYD (+164.7%) continues to defy gravity and is the hero of the month once again, delivering the largest year-on-year gain in the Top 30 and scoring its third ever six-digit monthly volume. Almost all BYD nameplates display insolent upticks, including the Yuan (+842.1%), Qin Plus (+374.4%), Song Plus (+273.5%), Tang (+168.1%), Han (+116.1%) and Qin (+73.8%) while newcomers the Yuan Pus (record 11,631) and Dolphin (6,526) boost the brand’s bottom line even further.

The QQ Ice Cream helps Chery up 9.5% this month.

All remaining Top 13 brands are in decline, with GAC (-7.7%), Wuling (-11.8%), BMW (-16.8%) – up three spots on April to #7 – and Changan (-19.6%) managing to outpace the market albeit staying in negative. Buick (-52.6%), Nissan (-33.5%), Geely (-32.4%), Audi (-32.4%) and Mercedes (-31.9%) are at the other end of the scale. Chery (+9.5%) manages the only additional lift in the Top 30, staying at #14 above Haval (-51.9%) in total freefall. Gainers further down are mainly new energy startups: Geometry (+239.8%), Leap Motor (+203.3%), LI (+139.4%), Neta (+132%), Xpeng (+73.2%), Ora (+72.7%) and Weltmeister (+27%) while TANK (+23.6%) and Venucia (+2.4%) are also in outstanding shape. Recently-launched AITO (4.406) and Zeekr (4,321) both smash their volume record this month. Finally, notice Tesla (-53.3%) in difficulty just above 10,000 monthly sales for May and down -8.2% year-to-date.

Looking at the models ranking in separation, the Wuling Hongguang MINI EV (+4.8%) delivers a fourth consecutive monthly win and cements its YTD lead (+20.6%). The Nissan Sylphy (-27.3%) is back up to the 2nd place it holds year-to-date as is the VW Lavida (-32.1%) at #3, despite the two models losing more ground than the market. The BYD Song PLUS (+273.5%) is down two ranks to #4 ahead of the Toyota Camry (+22%) and BYD Qin PLUS (+374.4%) both securing fantastic results. The Han (+116.1%) makes it three BYDs in the Top 9, with the Honda CR-V (-9.8%) and VW Sagitar (-19.2%) both resisting better than the market in the remainder of the Top 10. It is not the case for the Toyota Corolla (-45.5%) at #10. The BYD Yuan Plus is the best-selling recent launch at #19, distancing the Chery QQ Ice Cream (#43), Honda Integra (#48) and Changan UNI-V (#49) both breaking their volume record at 7,311 and 7,212 respectively.

We’ll look at New Energy vehicles as a separate segment from now on. You can check out the Top 50 best-selling New Energy models for May below. The Wuling Hongguang MINI EV obviously reigns supreme at just under 30,000 sales and is followed by three BYDs: the Song Plus, Qin Plus and Han. The LI One takes the 5th spot ahead of the Changan Benben E-Star, Chery QQ Ice Cream and Chery eQ1. The Neta V and BYD Dolphin round out the Top 10. Notice the Tesla Model Y at #12 and the Model 3 at #20 below the GAC Aion Y, AITO M5, GAC Aion S and Zeekr 001 and just above the Xpeng P7.

Previous month: China retail April 2022: Toyota teases VW for #1, BYD (+156.9) stuns again in market down -38.5%

One year ago: China retail May 2021: Changan, Haval, Wuling impress in market up 4.3%

Full May 2022 Top 125 All-brands, Top 645 All-models and Top 50 New Energy models below.

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