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China wholesales May 2022: Market decline thaws to -12.6%, BYD (+152.1%) superstar again

The BYD Han smashes its monthly volume record by over 10,000 units in May.

As lockdowns begin to wind down in China, wholesales are down a more restrained -12.6% year-on-year in May to 1,862,000 units compared to -47.6% in April. That’s according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM). The year-to-date volume is now down -12.2% to 9,555,000 units. Passenger Vehicles edge down -1.4% year-on-year in May to 1,623,000 but Commercial Vehicles sink -50.5% to 239,000. Year-to-date, PV are off -3.6% to 8,133,000 and CV dive -41.9% to 1,421,000 units. Removing exports from the equation, the market is down -18.3% year-on-year to 1,617,000 units and down -15.9% to 8,586,000 year-to-date including 1,829,000 New Energy Vehicles. In the Passenger Vehicle detail, cars are actually up 2.8% to 801,000 units in May and down -1.9% to 3,846,000 year-to-date, SUVs edge down -1.4% to 738,000 for the month and -3.4% to 3,852,000 year-to-date, MPVs are down -21.2% to 64,000 in May and -20.9% to 307,000 YTD and minibuses plunge -47.6% to 20,000 for the month and -12.2% to 128,000 year-to-date.

Chinese brands continue to improve, up 17.5% year-on-year in May to 799,000 Passenger Vehicles or 49.2% of the market vs. 41.3% a year ago. Year-to-date, sales are up 11.3% to 3,897,000 units and 47.9% share. New Energy PV shoot up 108.8% year-on-year to 427,000 units including 327,000 BEV (+97%) and 100,000 PHEV (+159.8%). Year-to-date New Energy PV are up 113.4% to 1,915,000 including 1,500,000 BEV (+102.2%) and 414,000 PHEV (+167.1%). When adding Commercial Vehicles, the year-to-date New Energy Vehicle volume stands at 2,003,000 (+111.2%) and the CAAM is confident the 5 million annual unit target for 2022 remains within reach. Exports continue to evolve at record numbers: up 62.3% to 245,000 units including 196,000 PV and 43,000 NEV.

First Top 10 finish for the BMW 5 Series in China.

In the brands ranking, Volkswagen (-14.9%) reclaims the top spot it traditionally holds but falls faster than the market. Outstanding performances by the CC (+196.8%), Talagon (+133.3%), Tayron X (+73.6%), Golf (+46.4%), Passat (+45.6%), Magotan (+36.7%), Teramont (+32.8%), T-Roc (+26.7%), Lamando (+21.8%) and Santana (+18.4%) weren’t enough to compensate a paltry performance by its traditional best-seller the Lavida (-46.9%) as well as a continuing slump by the manufacturer’s SUVs with the T-Cross down -99.1%, Tiguan down -94.4%, the Tayron off -61.6% and the Tacqua down -36.5%. Moreover the Polo has disappeared from the charts. Toyota (+3.8%) swims upstream and stays #2, helped by strong showings by the Avalon (+81.8%), Camry (+48.9%) and Wildlander (+21.6%) as well as a long list of successful launches: the Sienna up to a record 7,635 units, the Front Lander (6,752), Venza (4,259), Corolla Cross (4,071) and Crown Kluger (3,333).

The hero of the month is once again BYD (+152.1%) more than doubling its sales year-on-year to a new  record 113,903 units. It drops two spots to #3 but remains by far the best-selling local brand. The Han (+191.4%) is up to a record 23,934 units, eclipsing its previous best by more than 10,000 units (13,701 in December 2021), the Song (+129.8%) signs a third consecutive all-time monthly record at 31,989, its first time above 30,000 units. Elsewhere, the Yuan (+391.4%) and Tang (+267.2%) also show spectacular growth, while the Yuan PLUS (11,500) delivers a fifth consecutive volume record. Honda (-27.3%) is in trouble year-on-year but climbs back two spots on April to #4. Changan (-15.7%) drops one to #5 while BMW (+2.5%) goes against the negative market and gains four ranks to #6 overall. Chery (+38%) and Wuling (+23.3%) also shine in the remainder of the Top 10 as opposed to Geely (-19%) and Nissan (-34.4%). Buick (+9%) shows its first year-on-year growth since February 2021, with GAC (+40%), MG (+58%), Dongfeng (+15.1%), Chevrolet (+45.4%), Jetour (+12.3%), LI (+165.9%), Sehol (+24.8%) and Neta (+144.2%) all outstanding in the remainder of the Top 30. Below, Leap Motor (10,069), AITO (5,033) and Zeekr (4,330) break records. Notice also Tesla down -3.9% to 32,165 units including 22,340 exports, and to 215,851 units YTD including 96,214 exports.

The Wuling Hongguang MINI EV is the best-selling vehicle in China.

Looking at the models ranking in separation, the Wuling Hongguang MINI EV (+27.3%) posts a third consecutive win but remains below the Nissan Sylphy (-21.5%) in the year-to-date order. The BYD Song (+129.8%) remains in third place just as the BYD Han (+191.4R) leaps up four spots on April to a best-ever #4, enabling BYD to place two nameplates in the May top 4. The Toyota Camry (+48.9%) is up one rank to #5, the VW Bora (-29.4%) rallies back up 63 spots to #6 and the Haval H6 (-22.9%) stays at #7 and #2 SUV in the country. The Tesla Model Y (+57.4%) is up to #8 but its volume includes exports, while the BMW 5 Series (+17.7%) is up 10 ranks to #9, its first Top 10 finish ever, its previous best being #13 in August 2021. The VW Lavida (-46.9%) is back up 13 spots to #10 but struggles year-to-date. The BYD Yuan PLUS (#35) is the best-selling recent launch above the Chery QQ Ice Cream (#53), Geely Xingyue L (#61) and Changan UNI-V (#66 and a record 7,818 sales).

Previous month: China wholesales April 2022: BYD (+129.2%) shoots up to #1 brand in market hit by Covid lockdowns (-47.6%)

One year ago: China wholesales May 2021: First market decline in over a year (-3.1%)

Full May 2022 Top 100 All-brands and Top 445 All-models below.

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