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China August 2018 – New Energy: BYD up 169% to #1 brand

BYD New Energy sales are up 169% year-on-year in August partly thanks to the new Tang (pictured).

* See the Top 50 brands and Top 105 models by clicking on the title *

This is a new Chinese monthly update exclusive to BSCB, part of a China coverage we want as exhaustive as possible. New Energy vehicles include electric, hydrogen, PHEV and hybrid models. We are referring to retail sales here including imports here as these offer a much more complete picture of New Energy sales than the wholesales data we have access to. However it still doesn’t cover the entirety of the New Energy market in China where many actors don’t report sales officially. New Energy models included in this study see their sales soar 59% year-on-year in August to 78.893, leading to a year-to-date total of 508.840. BYD confirms its New Energy renaissances, surging 169% year-on-year to snap the brands pole position for the 2nd time in the past 3 months with just under 20.000 deliveries.

Toyota (+33%) is knocked down to #2 but remains in the YTD lead with 97.500 sales. Roewe (+118%) and Geely (+354%) both post brilliant results and camp on their July positions at #3 and #4 respectively, as does BAIC BJEV (-35%) but this time despite a hefty fall. GAC Trumpchi (+686%), BMW (+423%) and Changan (+225%) also see their New Energy presence greatly improved compared to a year ago. Model-wise, the Toyota Corolla Hybrid (+27%) is the best-seller once again, followed this time by the Geely Emgrand EC7 PHEV (+246%) and the BYD Yuan EV coming back to life. The BYD Qin (+182%) and Toyota Levin Hybrid (+2%) complete the Top 5 with the Roewe ei6 (+555%), BYD Tang EV (+258%) and BYD e5 (+127%) also posting spectacular gains in the remainder of the Top 10.

Previous month: China July 2018 – New Energy: The truth about NIO revealed

Full August 2018 Top 50 brands and Top 105 models below.

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China August 2018 Retail sales: Crisis deepens – market down 10.1%

At GAC Trumpchi, while SUVs are struggling the GA4 breaks its volume record.

* See the Top 90 China-made brands and Top 602 models by clicking on the title *

April 2017 – August 2018 monthly All-models China Retail data also available, Contact us here

After detailing China August wholesales it is now time to explore China August Retail sales, a new monthly update exclusive to BSCB. Retail sales are dealership sales to end-customers as opposed to Wholesales which are ex-factory sales to dealerships. These new Retail updates enable a second perspective, perhaps closer to the reality on the ground. This update only includes China-made vehicles, China August imports are covered in a separate update. Chinese new light vehicles are enduring a spectacular and sudden slump linked to a government crackdown on P2P digital lending platforms the younger generation was using to finance the purchase of Chinese SUVs.  More on this crackdown and its impact on the Chinese car market here. If wholesales stabilise their fall in August at -4.7% vs. 5.3% in July, the reverse is true for retail sales plummeting down 10.1% (vs. just -4.9% in July) from 2.003.200 to 1.801.400. This means dealerships in China remain bearish about the next few months and reducing their orders drastically, which in turns means at least a couple more months of wholesales decline are in the cards.

Toyota (+14%) is helped by the (late) arrival of the C-HR/IZOA tandem.

Brand leader Volkswagen (-10%) follows the market but still sells more the twice the amount of any other carmaker in China. Toyota (+14%) is very dynamic, helped by the (very late) arrival of the C-HR/IZOA tandem, overtaking Honda (-9%) to snap the overall 2nd spot. This is a clear illustration that the market slump is only selectively affecting Chinese-branded SUVs, the ones that younger Chinese were buying through P2P lending, and less so foreign SUVs and sedans, traditionally purchased by an older age group that hadn’t been using that type of financing as much. Geely (+10%) continues to gallop ahead but retrogrades to #4 YTD, now below Honda, Hyundai (+7%) shyly recovers and Audi (+1%) edges up but Baojun (-35%), Changan (-25%), Haval (-25%) and Buick (-20%) all plunge. BMW soars 43% to #12, BYD is up 50% to #17, with MG (+48%), Cadillac (+17%), Mercedes (+10%) and Roewe (+9%) also impressive in the Top 40.

The H5 lifts Hongqi sales to a whole new level: +1310% year-on-year!

However most carmakers endure very harsh falls, such as Zotye (-61%), Soueast (-55%), BAIC (-53%), Suzuki (-47%), JAC (-45%), Ford (-41%), Peugeot (-38%), Leopaard (-31%), Chana (-29%), FAW (-29%) and Dongfeng (-28%). Among smaller brands, notice Hongqi (+1310%) thanks to the arrival of the H5 sedan, Qoros (+265%), Maxus (+167%), Foton (+125%) and Jaguar (+27%) in great shape. Among marques launches than a year ago, Lynk & Co dominates head and shoulders with a record 10.468 retail sales, its first ever five-digit retail month – logically following its first five-digit wholesales score in July – and frankly outsmarting archival WEY (7.131) for the first time retail-wise. Another important milestone is passed by NIO, the Chinese premium EV maker delivering its first four-digit monthly result at 1.135 sales.

Sales of NIO es8 are starting to gear up, passing the 1.000 mark for the first time in August.

No surprises atop the retail models ranking: for the third consecutive month the five most popular nameplates are all sedans, with the Top 4 unchanged on July led by the VW Lavida (-5%) despite a decline ahead of the Nissan Sylphy (+4%), Toyota Corolla (+5%) and VW Sagitar (-11%). The VW Jetta (-7%) climbs up 6 spots on July to break into the Top 5 while the VW Tiguan (-15%) manages a second consecutive month atop the retail SUV charts in spite of a double-digit declines however smaller than traditional SUV leader Haval H6 (-27%) stuck at #7.

The Hyundai Celesta hits an all-time record retail volume in August.

Confirming the return in form of sedans in China given the P2P lending crackdown prevents younger Chinese from snapping up crossovers en masse, 12 of the 15 double-digit gains in the Top 50 are the works of sedans, led by the BMW 5 Series L (+126%), Hyundai Elantra Lingdong (+96%), Toyota Camry (+96%), Honda Civic (+40%), Geely Emgrand GL (+35%) and BMW 3 Series L (+31%). Only the Hyundai ix35 (+727%) thanks to the new generation, Changan CS55 (+49%) and Toyota RAV4 (+36%) stand out in the SUV aisle. Notice also the Hyundai Celesta up 123% to an all-time record 7.235 sales.

The third generation Wuling Hongguang has just launched. Will it stop its freefall?

The Wuling Hongguang S3 (#52) is up 16 spots on July to become the best-selling recent launch (<12 months) just as Wuling launched a new generation of its once outright best-seller Hongguang (#18) to try and stop freefaling sales down 50% year-on-year in August. The Baojun 360 (#60) slows down its growth to just +3% on July, the GAC Trumpchi GA4 stuns with a 61% surge on last month to a new all-time record 8.601 sales, the BYD Song MAX (#68) confirms it’s an instant blockbuster, ahead of the Baojun 530 at #72 (-10) and the Lynk & Co 01 at #88 (-13).

The Haima F5 has landed in the retail charts.

The Lynk & Co 02 is up 178% on its inaugural month to a cool 4.447 sales, jumping 101 spots to #121 and strikingly outselling both the WEY VV5 (3.852) and VV7 (2.855). The Skoda Kamiq (3.426) overtakes the Geely Emgrand GE (2.751) to become the most popular July launch. The August retail charts welcome the Toyota IZOA (2.580), Toyota C-HR (1.786), Leopaard Mattu (1.109) and Haima F5 (150), a replacement for the Haima Family that hasn’t pointed its bonnet inside the wholesales ranking just yet.

Previous month: China July 2018 Retail sales: P2P lending crackdown identified as main reason behind SUV crisis

August wholesale update: China August 2018: P2P lending crackdown triggers 2nd decline in a row

Full August 2018 Top 90 All China-made brands and Top 600 models below.

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China August 2018: Focus on the All-new models

WEY VV6

Now that we explored August China wholesales, it is time to focus on the all-new locally produced launches for the month so you are up-to-date on the fastest-evolving market in the world. Note these updates remain based on wholesales data. In August, the market posts a second consecutive year-on-year decline partly due to the continuing weakness of SUV sales. This has been triggered by a government crackdown on P2P digital lending platform that enabled up to 15% of car sales in 2017. More on the P2P lending impact on the 2018 Chinese car market here. We spoke about it last month: the new nameplates that are now hitting the market were conceived years ago at a time when SUVs were the sole engine of growth of the Chinese market, and therefore we are seeing a constant flow of new SUVs hitting local dealers even though the market conditions are now a lot tougher. If in July 5 of the 7 launches were SUVs, in August the ratio is even higher with 6 of the 7 new launches being SUVs. You can also keep track of the fast-expanding list of all active Chinese brands by consulting our Exclusive Guide to all 175 Chinese Brands, updated live.

1. WEY VV6 (#261 – 1.038 sales)

Unveiled in November 2017 at the Guangzhou Auto Show, the VV6 is the 4th nameplate under the WEY brand, a new semi-premium marque launched by Great Wall Motors in 2017. It logically slots in-between the VV5 and VV7 but does seem like a superfluous addition, given how similarly-looking it is from its siblings but also the Haval H6 (see below). WEY has seen its wholesales peak quickly at 21.349 units in December 2017, down to just 10.174 in August 2018 after a low of 7.080 in July and despite the arrival of the P8 hybrid. Direct competitor Geely’s Lynk & Co overtook WEY in July (12.300) and doubled-down in August (13.674) with the 02 taking off. The glaring difference between the two Chinese semi-premium brands is Lynk & Co models have their own design and personality whereas WEY seems to be content just popping out upscale versions of Haval models. As a result, Haval have been cannibalised and are tumbling down so far in 2018: -20% YTD and -23% in August.

Are WEY models looking too similar to Haval’s H6 (pictured)? We think so.WEY VV6 interior. Picture autohome.com.cn

In this context, the VV6 enters a challenging environment not only internally within the Great Wall stable but also nationally: consumers aren’t gobbling up Chinese SUVs blindly like they had been this decade. The VV6 is based on the VV5 platform but is 12.3 cm longer at 4.585m vs. 4.462m for the VV5 and 4.749m for the VV7, and is equipped with the same 169hp 1.5T and 197hp 2.0T engines. The VV6 is priced from 148.000 to 175.000 yuan (US$21.600-25.500 or 18.500-21.800€) compared to the VV5 at 150.000-163.000 and the VV6 at 167.800-188.800. This is still not cheap, and may handicap the model’s career given the pricing of direct competitor Lynk & Co 02 (122.800-192.800) and the Haval H6 (103.000-146.800). But what WEY is hoping to target instead – a difficult task – are foreigners such as the Mazda CX-4 (140.800-215.800) and VW T-Roc (139.800-209.800). The VV5 peaked at 10.798 sales and the VV7 at 10.551 but times will be harder for the VV6 and reaching half this volume should be a realistic target.

Bar for success: 5.000 monthly units

2. Jaguar E-Pace (#279 – 896 sales)

Unveiled at the Beijing Auto Show last April, the E-Pace is Jaguar’s first China-made SUV, manufactured by a joint-venture with local manufacturer Chery. It joins two stablemates, the XFL launched in September 2016 and the XEL launched in December 2017, and should comfortably become the brand’s best-seller in the country. In fact it already is, outselling both sedans for its first appearance in the Chinese charts. Unlike its sedan siblings, the E-Pace has the same length and wheelbase as the rest of the world, with no plans to launch a China-only long-wheelbase version for now. The E-Pace is powered by 250hp or 200hp 2.0T engines and priced from 288.800 to 395.800 yuan (US$42.100-57.700 or 36.000-49.400€), placing it in the same sandpit as the BMW X1 (283.800-439.000), Mercedes GLA (269.800-395.800) and Volvo XC40 (321.800-411.800).

Jaguar E-Pace interior. Picture autohome.com.cn

You may have noticed that the E-Pace is cheaper than the XC40 which seems like an anomaly but also means Jaguar can target solid volumes with this compact SUV. To which extent is hard to predict, as the XFL peaked at 2.558 sales, the XEL at 1.539 and the imported F-Pace at 1.526. Looking across the street the BMW X1’s personal best is 9.984 and the Mercedes GLA is at 8.002 with the XC40 yet to launch in China. We set the bar for success at 3.500 monthly sales.

Bar for success: 3.500 monthly units

3. Traum SEEK 5 (#280 – 894 sales)

Traum, German for dream, is a new brand by Zotye launched in June 2017. The Chinese name is Junma (君马) translated as Supreme Horse. The English slogan is Driven by Dreams, while the Chinese slogan is Dream for a Horse. All Traum-branded vehicles are manufactured by Jiangnan Auto, a subsidiary of Zotye. The SEEK 5 is Traum’s third launch in less than a year alongside the S70 and the MEET3 (yet to appear in the wholesales charts). It is based on the same platform as the S70 with an identical wheelbase. The SEEK 5 is 4.771m long while the D70 is at 4.746m. Engines are the same: a 116hp 1.6 and 156hp 1.5T and they are both 7-seater SUVs. The pricing is also very similar, which is a Zotye specialty – launching as many cars as possible in the midsize SUV segment – that results in cannibalisation and lower volumes.

Traum SEEK 5 interior. Picture autohome.com.cn

It looks like Zotye is repeating the same mistakes with the Traum brand although this SEEK 5 isn’t a copycat of any existing car, so that’s some progress right there. SEEK 5 pricing is a tight 77.900-128.900 yuan (US$11.350-18.800 or 9.700-16.100€) compared to 81.900-115.900 for the S70. Traum is aiming at younger buyers in third and fourth tier cities and as such is competing full frontal with similar new brands by large Chinese manufacturers: Chery’s Jetour X70 (69.900-120.900) and to a lesser extent Chana’s COS1° (93.800-145.800). The SEEK 5 slides in-between Haval’s “low cost” offering the M6 (66.000-86.000) and its best-seller the H6 103.000-146.800). Traum has had a difficult start so far with the S70 peaking at a meagre 1.601 units last month, so the SEEK 5’s bar for success will be modest.

Bar for success: 2.500 monthly units

4. JMEV E400 (#281 – 874 sales)

JMEV is a brand by JMC dedicated to electric vehicles, already including the E100, E160, E200 and E200N sedans, rebadged and electrified versions of existing models by other brands, notably Zotye. True to form, this E400, JMEV’s first SUV, is in fact an electric Landwind X2. Priced between 163.800 and 175.800 yuan before government subsidies (US$23.900-25.600 or 20.400-21.900€), the E400 competes with the likes of the Chery Tiggo 3xe (157.800-189.800), JAC iEV6e (118.500-158.800), BAIC EC-Series (121.900-164.800), BAIC EV-Series (158.900-189.900) and BAIC EX-Series (183.900-202.900).

JMEV E400 interior. Picture autohome.com.cn

JMEV’s other nameplates have had uneven but quite successful careers so far, notably the E200 launched in December 2016 and peaking at 4.914 sales last December, with the E100 also launched in December 2016 and peaking at 1.755 but the E160 launched in April 2017 a lot weaker with a peak at a meagre 299 units at its 2nd month of sales. In this context, we’ll place the bar for success for the E400 halfway between the E200 and E100’s best scores, at 3.500 sales.

Bar for success: 3.500 monthly units

5. MG HS (#354 – 284 sales)

The HS is MG’s third crossover offering after the successful GS and ZS, but also its largest so far. It is built on the same platform as the enormously successful Roewe RX5 which sold just under 475.000 units since it launched two years ago in July 2017. The MG HS comes with driver assist features such as lane-departure warning, blind-spot assistance and rear-cross traffic alert. It is powered by a 170hp 1.5T or 220hp 2.0T but doesn’t offer any 4×4 variant. It is 4.574m long vs. 4.31m for the ZS and 4.51m for the GS. It is logically priced above MG’s existing SUV offers at 119.800-189.800 yuan (US$17.500-27.700 or 14.900-23.700€) compared to 73.800-115.800 for the ZS and 98.800-175.800 for the GS. Some overseas markets such as Thailand are already considering discontinuing the GS to make room for the much more modern HS.

MG HS interior. Picture autohome.com.cn

In terms of external competition, the HS is markedly dearer than the Roewe RX5 on which it is based (99.800-188.800) in order to maintain the premium and UK-origin brand image of MG in China. The other two Chinese blockbusters in the category are also cheaper: the Haval H6 goes for 103.000-146.800 and the GAC Trumpchi GS4 is at 89.800-161.800. The MG HS will also try and snap customers away from the similarly-priced but smaller VW T-Roc (139.800-209.800). Looking at the commercial performance of the other two MG crossovers, the ZS’s highest monthly volume is 11.755 hit last April while the GS has been on a long a painful slide down given its record (6.740) dates back from December 2015 only a few months after launch. We want at least the GS score to feel content.

Bar for success: 6.000 monthly units

6. YGM E-Series (#406 – 72 sales)

Although listed under the Link Tour brand, the E-series electric hatch is actually branded YGM, a brand by mini EV manufacturer Hebei Yogomo Motors owned at 25% by Great Wall Motors. The YGM marque was created to sell road-worthy EVs and its first model is this E-Series. Link Tour is a separate brand by Yogomo that also sells EVs whose first offer is the K-One that should appear shortly in the charts. More details on both brands can be found in our Exclusive Guide to all 175 Chinese Brands.

Bar for success: 1.000 monthly units

7. Roewe MARVEL X (#428 – 14 sales)

The spectacular MARVEL X debuted at the Beijing Auto Show last April and is an electric SUV based on the upcoming Roewe RX7. It is 4.678m long and powered by two electric motors (116hp + 71hp), one on each axle, giving a range of 370 or 403km depending on the variant. The MARVEL X is one of the first premium electric SUVs manufactured by a Chinese company, and as such has few competitors for now. It is priced from 268.800 to 308.800 yuan before government aids (US$39.200-45.000 or 33.500-38.500€).

Roewe MARVEL X interior. Picture autohome.com.cn

Chinese competitors include the Weltmeister EX5 (186.600-298.800), Borgward BXi7 (358.800-378.800) and NIO ES8 (448.000-548.000), which foreigners in its line of fire are none others than the Jaguar i-Pace (648.000-736.800) and Tesla Model X (964.900-1.572.200). The MARVEL X certainly competes with the Tesla Model X when it comes to the gigantic touch screen on its dashboard. Being more of a pinnacle product strategy for the Roewe brand, don’t expect high volumes for this MARVEL X.

Bar for success: 1.000 monthly units

Previous month: China July 2018: Focus on the All-new models

One year ago: China August 2017: Focus on the All-new models

China August 2018: P2P lending crackdown triggers 2nd decline in a row

Chinese brand Bisu (-79%) had focused solely on SUVs and is now paying the price dearly.

* See the Top 80 All China-made brands and Top 450 models by clicking on the title *

Wholesales data released by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) shows a second year-on-year decline in a row for the Chinese new light vehicle market in August at -4.6% to 1.789.900 units. As a reminder, these are ex-factory sales to dealerships as opposed to retail sales that are direct to consumer and will be reported in a separate update. Once again, SUV sales are weak at -4.7% to 737.600 units but recover somewhat after dropping 8.2% in July. Sedans are down 3.4% to 901.100, MPVs sink 14% to 119.300 and microvans are up 5.1% to a still tiny 31.900 units. We have now identified the reason behind this sudden and unexpected market slump: a government crackdown on P2P digital lending platforms following a wave of lender scams and borrower defaults.

The new generations Tang (pictured) and Qin lift BYD up 46% in August.

These P2P platforms are used by a younger audience to finance their car purchase to the extent of 10-15% of total car sales and explains a very targeted market slump towards Chinese-branded SUVs in particular, a category of vehicles favoured by younger Chinese. As a result Chinese brands, many of which have been solely focusing on SUVs in the past few years, are struggling: down 11% in August after sinking 6.1% in July whereas foreign carmakers are stable. More on the P2P lending impact on the 2018 Chinese car market here. However a strong start of the year means the YTD volume remains at record heights after 8 months, up 2.6% to 15.2 million light vehicles. Meanwhile, commercial vehicles gain 1.1% to 313.000 units and are up 8.7% YTD To 2.903.300 units. This means the overall Chinese new vehicle market is down a more modest 3.8% to 2.102.900 units and the YTD volume gallops up 3.5% to a record 18.1 million units. Once again the most dynamic segment of the Chinese market is electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, up 50% to 101.000 units with EVs up 32% to 73.000 and PHEVs up 131% to 28.000. Year-to-date, EV sales soar 72% to 447.000 while PHEVs surge 160% to 154.000, bringing the category up 88% to 601.000.

Geely snaps a 29th consecutive month for double-digit year-on-year gains.

Volkswagen (-2%) remains comfortably in the lead of the China-made brands ranking but posts its first year-on-year wholesales decline in the past 5 months, a trend we predicted because the brand’s retail sales have been in negative for the past two months, and wholesales are bound to catch up at some point: declining retail sales to consumers mean higher dealer stock and lower orders the following months. Geely (+18%) climbs back to the 2nd place overall for the first time since last April and the 8th time in the past 11 months, managing an incredible 29th connective month of double-digit year-on-year gains and a full 12 months in a row above 100.000 monthly sales. Geely edges past Toyota (+15%) for just 568 wholesales, with the Japanese manufacturer scoring one of only two double-digit gains in the Top 6. Honda (-15%) takes a hit but post a 20th month in the past 25 above 100.000 sales. Nissan (+7%) is also solid but Buick (-12%) endures a fourth consecutive double-digit decline. Hyundai (+14%) confirms its recovery, rallying back up 11 spots on July to #7, with Audi (+20%) and Chevrolet (+12%) also very strong at the tail end of the Top 10. In contrast, Changan (-29%), Baojun (-26%) and Haval (-23%) are all hit full frontal by the SUV slump.

The ix35 is up 11-fold on August 2017, helping Hyundai up 14%.

In the remainder of the Top 20 China-made brands, BYD (+46%) now is in full swing thanks to the launch of new generations for the Tang SUV (+1068%) and Qin sedan (+102%) and the continued success of its new best-seller the Song MAX (#55). BMW (+30%) is lifted by strong sales of the 5 Series L (+67%) and new X3 (#125) and Chery (+49%) surfs on the success of the new Tiggo 8 (#79) hitting a new volume record at 7.187, the eQ micro-EV (+105%) and the new Tiggo 5x. The most impressive gains further down are almost uniquely Chinese with Qoros (+308%), MG (+102%), Yema (+80%), Hawtai (+70%), JAC (+53%), WEY (+41%) and SWM (+35%) among the most dynamic while among foreigners only Mitsubishi (+36%) and Jaguar (+23%) stand out.

Despite the arrival of the V7, Briliance sinks 47% due to an over-reliance on SUVs.

This month the four most popular brands launched in the past year all break their volume record, starting with Lynk & Co at 13.674, frankly outselling archenemy WEY (10.174) for the 2nd month running, Traum up to 1.990 thanks to the arrival of the SEEK 5 (see our upcoming August focus on the all-new models), COS scoring its first four-digit figure at 1.007 and Yudo up to 777. We also welcome YGM/Link Tour at #76 (more on this new carmaker in our Exclusive to all 175 Chinese brands). In contrast, some Chinese carmakers that had put all their eggs in the same SUV basket suffer greatly such as Bisu (-79%), Landwind (-79%), Lifan (-60%), Soueast (-57%), Changhe (-56%), Foton (-48%), Brilliance (-47%), Venucia (-43%), Dongfeng (-42%), Leopaard (-42%), Zotye (-42%), BAIC (-37%), FAW (-37%) or Jinbei (-37%). Some foreigners also have a terrible month, such as Ford (-65%), Suzuki (-63%), Peugeot (-57%), Land Rover (-53%), Acura (-51%), Renault (-42%), Jeep (-33%) or Citroen (-28%).

After only three months in market, the VW T-Roc already flirts with the 10.000 monthly wholesales.

Over in the models ranking, sedans confirm their return to grace by monopolising the Top 5 for the second time in the past 3 months: the VW Lavida (-1%) is the outright best-seller for the 5th consecutive month, cementing its YTD domination ahead of the Nissan Sylphy (+11%) now also #2 YTD, the VW Jetta (+14%), Toyota Corolla (+0.02%) and VW Sagitar (-1%). The Buick Excelle GT (-43%) and Geely Emgrand (+9%) make it 7 sedans in the August Top 10. The Haval H6 (-31%) remains the most popular SUV despite a 4th consecutive double-digit gain, the Wuling Hongguang (-33%) climbs back up 5 spots on July to #8 but continues to freefall just as the VW Tiguan (-23%) post a very disappointing score that may have a lot to do with the smashing success of the VW T-Roc, up 108% and 32 spots on July to 9.660 sales.

The 02 pushes Lynk & Co towards a new monthly volume record at 13.674.

Once again sedans post the majority of the largest gains in the remainder of the Top 50 with the Hyundai Elantra Lingdong (+139%), Chevrolet Sail (+126%), Toyota Camry (+108%), BMW 5 Series L (+67%), Audi A4L (+55%), Honda Accord, Civic and Fit (all at +32%), VW Magotan (+29%) and Chevrolet Cavalier (+28%). The sole SUVs standing out are the Hyundai ix35 (+1048%) and Audi Q5 (+21%). Below, notice the Geely Vision X3 (+2806%), BYD Tang (+1068%) breaking the nameplate’s volume record at 10.048 thanks to the 2nd generation, the Hyundai Celesta (+191%), Kia Sportage (+181%) and Hyundai ix25 (+102%). The GAC Trumpchi GS3 (8.650) also breaks its volume record this month.

The Toyota C-HR now outsells its twin the IZOA.

The Baojun 360 is up 22% on July to break its volume record at 15.391 wholesales, becoming the most popular recent launch (<12 months) at #26 ahead of the Baojun 530 at #48, the BYD Song MAX at #55, VW T-Roc at #63, Lynk & Co 01 at #67 (new record at 9.303), Chery Tiggo 8 at #79 and Skoda Kamiq at #87 (new record at 5.794). The Geely Vision S1 (#105), WEY VV5 (#106) and Geely Emgrand GE (#114) complete the Top 10 best-selling recent launches, making it an astounding 8 Chinese nameplates and 7 SUVs vs. 2 MPVs and one EV sedan. As far as models launched last month, the Lynk & Co 02 (+44%) remains in the lead at #117, but the most impressive surge is delivered by the Toyota C-HR (+2387%) at 3.756 sales #137), now outselling its twin the Toyota IZOA (+45%) at #142. The C-HR/IZOA tandem is already up to 7.434 wholesales in August vs. 25.259 for its archenemy the Honda Vezel/XR-V. The SWM G01 (+53%) impresses and slots in-between at #141, while the Kia Stonic (+259%) is also gearing up nicely at #163.

Previous month: China July 2018: Deepening SUV crisis pulls entire market down 5.3%

One year ago: China August 2017: Chinese SUVs near 60% segment share, market up 4.1%

Full August 2018 Top 80 All China-made brands and Top 450 models below.

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China imports August 2018: Lexus snaps lead in market up 12%

The Lexus NX is the best-selling import in China in August.

* See the Top 50 All imported brands and Top 215 models by clicking on the title *

All-brands and All-models January 2017-August 2018 monthly data available, contact us here.

Complete Chinese imports data is now available for August, BSCB being the first media outside of China to report on these figures monthly. The new tariff situation for new car imports in China is now two-fold: 40% on U.S. imports and  15% on all other imports (instead of 25% up until June 30). However once again there is no negative effect (yet) of the U.S. import tariff hike with total August volumes up 12% year-on-year to 109.496. The year-to-date tally is down 6% to 658.129. Surprise atop the imported brands ranking: Lexus surges 61% to almost 18.600 units, roughly 4.000 above #2 Mercedes (+1%) while last month’s leader, BMW (-6%), is down two ranks to #3 and 14.100. Toyota (+28%) is back above Porsche (+29%) with Audi (+48%) and Lincoln (+30%) also frankly beating the market in the Top 10 and Mazda (+37700%), Mitsubishi (+217%), Volvo (+43%), Renault (+38%) and Ford (+32%) doing so further down.

The imported models ranking reflects Lexus’s domination this month: the Lexus NX (+155%) shoots up to pole position for the first time in at least 20 months, followed by the RX (+55%) at #2. As a result, the NX steps up to #3 year-to-date, overtaking the Mercedes CLA (+64%) and the RX is up to #5, now above the Mercedes GLE. The BMW X5 (-9%) posts a decline this month at #3 but remains in the YTD lead with 35.800 sales ahead of the Lexus ES (-28%) back up 16 spots on July to #6 in August but in difficulty again. The Lexus IS (+668%), Audi Q7 (+90%), Porsche Cayenne (+48%) and Toyota Land Cruiser (+44%) also stand out in the Top 10 with the Toyota Alphard (+717%), Lincoln Continental (+211%) and Volvo XC90 (+109%) making waves further down. The BMW 6 Series GT (#38) tops all recent launches ahead of the Mercedes AMG GLC (#74) and Mazda CX-3 (#77).

Previous year: China Full Year 2017: Exclusive imports data by model and brand

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China July 2018 – New Energy: The truth about NIO revealed

An SEC filing reveals low reservation volumes for the NIO ES8.

* See the Top 50 brands and Top 100 models by clicking on the title *

This is a new Chinese monthly update exclusive to BSCB, part of a China coverage we want as exhaustive as possible. New Energy vehicles include electric, hydrogen, PHEV and hybrid models. Keep in mind we are referring to retail sales including imports here as these offer a much more complete picture of New Energy sales than wholesales alone. New Energy models included in this study see their sales soar 57% year-on-year in July to 64.190, lifting the year-to-date total to 429.947. Toyota (+33%) reclaims the brands top spot off BYD (+176%), the two manufacturers being the only ones scoring five-digit sales figures. Roewe (+304%) remains in third place while Geely (+184%) is up 5 spots on June to #4 and BAIC BJEV (+2%) down one to #4, making it four Chinese carmakers in the Top 5 like in June. GAC Trumpchi (+30100%), Changan (+2852%), Lexus (+507%) and Honda (+331%) all post spectacular gains in the remainder of the Top 10. Model-wise, the Toyota Corolla Hybrid remains on top, a spot it also holds year-to-date, followed this time by the BYD e5 (+203%) and BYD Qin (+202%) with the Geely Emgrand EC7 PHEV (+79%) up 7 spots to #4 and the Roewe ei6 holding onto its 5th position. The Honda CR-V Hybrid shines at #9 and the Geely Emgrand GE lands directly at #10.

In July NIO scores its first three-digit sales month at 388 units of its electric SUV the ES8 vs. 83 in June, following an official launch on 28 June. One of the most impressive Chinese carmakers at the Beijing Auto Show last April, NIO is touted as the “Chinese Tesla” but has been extremely secretive – even combative – about disclosing actual sales. When we contacted them last April, they contested the sales figures we published (at the time 2 units in March) without providing additional info. A recent filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), a mandatory disclosure before any potential IPO in New York which is what the company is aiming at, has uncovered the truth about NIO. As of 31 July 2018, the company had only 17.000 ES8 reservations, of whom only 4.989 are firm (ie non-refundable with 45.000 yuan deposit) and 12.000 are fully refundable (5000 yuan deposit). NIO also declares that if these 17.000 reservations were to be converted into actual orders, it would take the company “6 to 9 months” to produce the required vehicles. That is an awful lot of time for a local producer (through a license with JAC) in a market where to be deemed a success they would need to be able to pop out – and sell – that amount in 2-3 months max: Tesla imported 27.230 units over the past 9 months alone. NIO also claimed it delivered just 481 ES8 SUVs since the June 28 launch – a figure that ends up very close to the official 521 YTD we have in our charts this month. Bloomberg reports a little less than 1,000 units in August (see graph above). Better, but still low.

Previous month: China June 2018 – New Energy: BYD back in charge in market up 92%

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China July 2018 Retail sales: Peer-to-peer lending crackdown identified as main reason behind SUV crisis

In 2017, 10 to 15% of new cars were sold in China thanks to peer-to-peer lending online platforms.

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April 2017 – July 2018 monthly All-models China Retail data also available, Contact us here

After detailing China July Wholesales we can now explore China July Retail sales, a new exclusive monthly BSCB update. Retail sales are dealership sales to end-customers as opposed to Wholesales which are ex-factory sales to dealerships. These new Retail updates enable a second perspective, perhaps closer to the reality on the ground. This update only includes China-made vehicles, China July imports are covered in a separate update. The Chinese new light vehicle market is currently undergoing an unexpected and sudden slump linked to SUV sales in crisis, a segment that had been the engine of Chinese growth for almost a decade.

I had not found a plausible explanation for this blindsiding trend reversal up until today, and it turns out a government crackdown on peer-to-peer lending digital platforms is behind the slump. Peer-to-peer lending – a financing method that bypasses banks by directly connecting borrowers with lenders – was legalised by the Chinese government in 2015. In a very short timespan, the Chinese P2P lending industry had become the largest in the world, with over 8 million investors and borrowers active in June 2018 alone, but it grew unbridled and unregulated to over 8.500 platforms by the end of 2017. Faced with a wave of lender scams and borrower defaults, the government intervened and closed the vast majority of P2P lending platforms over the course of the past few months, with only 1.800 remaining by the end of June.

Young car buyers, very fond of Chinese SUVs, are the main users of P2P financing.

How is this connected to declining new car sales – and particularly Chinese SUV registrations? It’s simple: the P2P lending platform is particularly popular with younger Chinese who tend to fall in love with Chinese SUVs more so than their older compatriots. Car loans secured through P2P financing had reached roughly 10 to 15% of new car sales in China in 2017 according to Shanghai-based Shenwanhongyuan Securities. Link the dots and the surprising evolution of the Chinese market is now explained. Roughly speaking, if you can afford a foreign SUV or sedan, you don’t usually need P2P financing. Therefore, the government crackdown on P2P lending platforms has prevented 10 to 15% of potential young buyers, very keen on Chinese SUVs, from entering the market over the past couple of months. That’s enough to explain a very targeted sales slump on Chinese SUVs and not the rest of the market, less favoured by younger buyers and therefore less affected by a P2P lending crackdown.

Second consecutive month of decline for Volkswagen, despite the new Bora up 22%.

In this context, it’s no surprise that sedans continue their comeback in the retail charts as we’ll see further down in this report, and similarly to wholesales figures, the retail market is down 4.9% to 1.688.700 units. In the brands ranking, handicapped by weak registrations for the Jetta (-21%), Tiguan (-20%) and Passat (-15%), market leader Volkswagen drops 6% to just over 240.000 units. Honda (-1%) steps up on spot on June despite declining sales, with Toyota (+16%) and Geely (+21%) both posting fantastic performances and the Japanese carmaker overtaking Geely in the YTD order to rank #2 so far. There are no other double-digit gainers in the Top 10 with Nissan (+8%), Audi (+5%) and Hyundai (+1%) up but Baojun (-23%), Buick (-17%) and Wuling (-14%) in difficulty.

The 5 Series L (+133%) and the new X3 help BMW up a whopping 51% in July.

Great performers further down include Hongqi (+801%), Qoros (+446%), MG (+76%), BMW (+51%), Roewe (+27%), BYD (+23%) and Mercedes (+19%). Having focused solely on this segment at the detriment of sedans, Chinese carmakers are hit full frontal by the SUV crisis, such as Haima (-66%), Lifan (-53%), Soueast (-52%), Bisu (-46%), Cowin (-45%), BAIC (-42%), JAC (-41%), Leopaard (-40%), SWM (-38%), Zotye (-38%), Borgward (-35%), Haval (-31%), Chana (-27%), JMC (-23%), Landwind (-23%), Dongfeng (-21%), Karry (-20%), Changan (-18%) and Yema (-17%)… A fair amount of foreign carmakers are also freefalling this month, led by Peugeot (-40%), Suzuki (-38%), Ford (-37%), Acura (-27%), Luxgen (-21%), Renault (-21%), Land Rover (-20%) and Mazda (-15%).

Hyundai Elantra Lingdong sales shoot up 147% year-on-year.

Like in June, the five best-selling nameplates in China are all sedans: the VW Lavida (+2%) scores its first monthly retail win of 2018 even though it dominates YTD, outselling the #1 of the past two month, the Nissan Sylphy (+16%) ahead of the Toyota Corolla (+15%), VW Sagitar (+4%) and VW Bora (+22%) already helped by a facelift. The VW Tiguan (-20%) becomes the #1 SUV for the first time in at least 16 months and despite a heavy year-on-year fall. But the Haval H6 (-33%), Baojun 510 (-30%) are falling even harder. The Wuling Hongguang (-37%) and Biuck Excelle Yinlang (-48%) totally implode to complete the Top 10. Illustrating the regain of form of sedans in China, they once again monopolise the largest gains in the remainder of the Top 50 with the Hyundai Elantra Lingdong (+147%), BMW 5 Series L (+133%), Toyota Camry (+95%), Geely Emgrand GL (+51%), Audi A4L (+37%), Chevrolet Cavalier (+32%), BMW 3 Series L (+26%), or Honda Civic (+17%). In the SUV aisle, only the Honda CR-V (+157%) and Toyota RAV4 (+31%) shine.

The Geely Emgrand GE is new for July.

Among recent launches (<12 months), the Geely Vision X3 is the most popular for the first time at #51 (+3) ahead of the Baojun 360 at #58 (+3), Baojun 530 at #62 (-14), BYD Song MAX at #66 (-6), Wuling Hongguang S3 at #68 (+2), Lynk & Co 01 at #75 (-7), GAC Trumpchi GS3 at #97 (+26) and WEY VV5 at #102 (+14). Looking at models launched last month, the BMW X3 is the best-seller at #163, up 176% and 101 spots, followed by the FAW Besturn Senya R9 at #206, up 82% and 61 ranks, the Jeep Grand Commander at #216, up 141% and 91 spots and the Brilliance V7 at #290, up 6146% and 239 ranks. We welcome five new nameplates in the Chinese retail charts in July: the Geely Emgrand GE at #189, the Skoda Kamiq at #192, the Audi Q5L at #232, Chana Star V3 at #243 and the Lark Q1 at #537.

Previous month: China June 2018 Retail sales: SUV slump, sedan recovery confirmed

July wholesales update: China July 2018: Deepening SUV crisis pulls entire market down 5.3%

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China imports July 2018: BMW leads, Volvo, Land Rover and Porsche up

Volvo Chinese imports are up 62% in July thanks to the XC90 (+148%).

* See the Top 50 All imported brands and Top 235 models by clicking on the title *

All-brands and All-models 2017 monthly data available, contact us here for more details.

Complete Chinese imports data is now available for July, BSCB being the first media outside of China to report on these figures monthly. The new tariff situation for new car imports in China is the following: 15% on all imports (instead of 25% up until June 30) except imports coming from the U.S. which are now taxed at 40% as retaliation for Trump’s tariffs on Chinese imports. However what we are looking at here are retail sales which remain globally unaffected by the tariff changes in either direction, as dealership would mostly be clearing out existing stock: imports are actually up 5% year-on-year in July to 95.120, meaning the year-to-date tally is now down just 9% to 548.633. The next few months may give us a better indication of the impact of these new tariffs on car imports into China.

First surprise in the imported brands ranking: BMW (+12%) takes the lead above Mercedes (-6%) for the first time this year – the last time BMW was the most popular import was in December 2017. Year-to-date, Mercedes (+11%) however remains a comfortable 18.440 units above BMW (-6%). Lexus (+12%) continues to gallop ahead in third place with a YTD uplift at an even more impressive +18%. Excellent month for Porsche (+19%) up four spots on June to #4, distancing Toyota (-9%) while Land Rover soars 30% year-on-year but is knocked down one rank on last month to #6. Volvo (+62%), Lincoln (+20%) and Audi (+15%) also make themselves noticed in the remainder of the Top 10 whereas Volkswagen sinks 18%, the largest decline in the Top 15. Further down, let’s single out Mazda (up 360-fold thanks to the new CX-3 and MX-5), Mitsubishi (+117%), Chrysler (+49%), Rolls-Royce (+48%) and Tesla (+41%).

Model-wise, the BMW X5 surges 27% to become the best-selling import for the third time this year after January and February, and takes advantage of a particularly weak month by the traditional leader the Lexus ES (-73%) to also snap the YTD lead with over 31.700 sales (+18%) vs. 30.900 (+0.01%) for the ES. The Lexus NX (+119%) and RX (+50%) complete the podium with spectacular gains, with the NX earning a 4th spot YTD, overtaking the Mercedes GLE (-31%). The Mercedes CLA (+75%) is knocked down one spot on June to #4 despite a hefty uptick and remains at #3 YTD. The Porsche Cayenne (+41%) and BMW 7 Series (+25%) also shine in the Top 10, while below the Toyota Alphard (+330%), Volvo XC90 (+148%), Land Rover Discovery (+113%), Lincoln Continental (+106%) and Porsche Panamera (+69%) are among the most dynamic. The BMW 6 Series GT (#40) leads all recent launches above the Mercedes AMG GLC (#63), Mazda CX-3 (#80) and Audi S4 (#87) new for the month.

Previous month: China imports June 2018: Tesla up to #7 thanks to price cuts

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China July 2018: Focus on the All-new models

Lynk & Co 02

Now that July China wholesales have been studied, we can focus on the all-new locally produced launches for the month so you are up-to-the-minute on the fastest-evolving market in the world. Note these updates remain based on wholesales data. The big news in July is the sudden and unexpected freefalling of SUV sales at -8.2%. This edition of the All-new models reveals an issue that will quickly become front and centre over the next few months: all manufacturers present in China have been working overtime over the past couple of years on engineering as many SUVs as possible to make sure to ride the popularity wave. Even though SUV thirst seems to have dried up among Chinese buyers, the carmakers’ SUV tap is far from being done with as we are now witnessing the launch of SUVs conceived years ago, except that it has now become harder than ever to succeed in this now depleted segment. A perfect illustration of this phenomenon is the 5 SUVs making their first appearance in the Chinese charts in July out of 7 new launches, the rest being EVs, with no “traditional” sedans. You can also keep track of the fast-expanding list of all active Chinese brands by consulting our Exclusive Guide to all 175 Chinese Brands, updated live.

1. Lynk & Co 02 (#141 – 3.040 sales)

Launched in December 2017, the Lynk & Co 01 inaugurated Geely’s new semi-premium brand that has its sights on the European and US markets. A true exploit, the 01 has kept seeing its wholesales climb up to this day with a new volume record every month. This is a really great sign that retail demand has not slowed. It is now time for Lynk & Co to expand its lineup with this 02, which I had the chance to test drive as part of the Beijing Auto Show last April, before launching the 03 sedan later this year. The 02 is shorter in height and length than the 01, giving its a sporty crossover look. The mechanics are Volvo – the XC40 specifically – making it one of the best Chinese models I ever drove. So far so good. At 122.800 to 192.800 yuan (US$18.000-28.250 or 15.400-24.200€), the 02 is priced at a premium vs. mass Chinese SUVs with similar dimensions, logical in order to establish the Lynk & Co brand as aspirational, but remains very affordable when compared to foreign competitors such as the Mazda CX-4 (140.800-215.800) or Nissan Qashqai (139.800-189.800).

Lynk & Co 02 interior. Picture autohome.com.cn

Lynk & Co’s archenemy among the Chinese is the equivalent venture at Great Wall Motors, WEY, and the 02 comes full frontal with the WEY VV5 (150.000-163.000). There’s great news right from the start for Lynk & Co: with over 3.000 wholesales for its first month, the 02 starts with a bang and already outsells the WEY VV7 (3.032) while coming very close to the WEY VV5 (3.508). To a lesser extent, it also competes with larger Chinese SUV blockbusters such as the Haval H6 (103.000-146.800) and Geely’s very own Boyue (98.800-159.800) whose volumes will remain inaccessible to the 02. The Director of Lynk & Co’s Zhangjiakou factory which produces the 02, Xiangbei Tong, told me in April that the production target for the 02 in 2018 is 82.000 units. That’s ambitious, and we place the bar for success at 6.500 monthly sales.

Bar for success: 6.500 monthly units

2. Toyota IZOA (#165 – 2.538 sales)
7. Toyota C-HR (#381 – 151 sales)

Finally! Almost two years after hitting dealerships in Europe, North America and most Western markets, the Toyota C-HR has landed in China. Last February we took the C-HR on a 5.000 km trip to the Australian Outback and were very impressed. It is now time for Chinese customers to discover Toyota’s daringly designed blockbuster, and it does look like this vehicle was designed with China in mind in the first place, so fitting it is to the current SUV trends. Until a couple of months ago that is, and Toyota might very well find they have waited way too long to launch the C-HR in China as the SUV bubble is now suddenly and spectacularly bursting. As it is the case with the Corolla and Yaris already, Toyota has launched two twin versions of the C-HR, one for each joint-venture. GAC-Toyota keeps the original name while FAW-Toyota re-baptises it IZOA.

Toyota IZOA interior. Picture autohome.com.cn

I estimate Tyota has missed out on 130.000 to 160.000 sales of C-HR in China by not having launched it at the same time as other markets two years ago. An illustration of Toyota’s tardiness is the stupendous success of direct competitors by Honda, the Vezel and XR-V twins (the same way the C-HR and IZOA are split between two joint-ventures) which have racked up over one million sales in China alone since their simultaneous introduction in late 2014! That’s how much Toyota misjudged its crossover priorities for China. The IZOA is priced from 149.800 to 175.800 yuan (US$21.950-25.750 or 18.800-22.100€) and the C-HR from 144.800 to 179.800 yuan (US$21.200-26.350 or 18.200-22.600€), aimed at the Honda XR-V (127.800-162.800) and Vezel (128.800-189.800) as well as the Nissan Qashqai (139.800-189.800) and Hyundai ENCINO (129.900-155.900). Toyota should not be shy in predicting sales for this blockbuster couple, however they might be hampered by the sudden falling out of Chinese customers with crossovers.

Bar for success: 10.000 monthly units each

3. SWM G01 (#170 – 2.400 sales)

The SWM brand was launched in China in September 2016. Originally an Italian motorcycle brand, it was bought in 2014 by a joint-venture between Brilliance Auto and Xinyuan Holding (aka Shineray). Its initials stand for Sironi Vergani-Vimercate Milano but Chinese management canned that to replace it with Start Win More. SWM plays its Italian “heritage” to death with, for example, a Beijing Auto Show stand recreating an Italian caffe complete with a multitude of Italian flags. In a little less than two years, SWM has managed to sell over 110.000 units, a solid score that however remains far below the 300.000 units of annual capacity sported by its Chongqing factory. Worse, the brand is down a damning 36% so far in 2018. Some fresh metal was therefore badly needed… In comes the frustratingly-named G01 (why not X4, X5 or X6 to fit with the rest of the lineup?), priced from 79.900 to 152.000 yuan (US$11.700-22.250 or 10.000-19.100€) and sliding in between the X3 (59.900-82.900) and X7 (85.900-113.900).

SWM G01 interior. Picture autohome.com.cn

Local outlet Autohome.com.cn pits the G01 against SUV blockbusters such as the Haval H6 (103.000-146.800) and Geely Boyue (98.800-159.800) but this seems a tad overrated: SWM models mainly find their clientele in less developed areas where buyers aren’t too worried about brand image but can still be tricked into purchasing an Italian-looking Chinese brand – the same way Borgward is playing the German card and MG the English one. In terms of targets, a worrying trend has seen previous SWM nameplates reach their highest volumes at the very start of their career: the X7 launched in September 2016, peaked at 7.168 sales in December 2016 (a very satisfying result in itself) but its first 5 months in market ended up being its 5 best months ever, while the X3 launched in July 2017 and peaked at 2.429 as early as for its 2nd month of sales in August, with its first 2 months remaining its best 2 ever. Therefore the fact that the G01 has instantly become SWM’s best-seller straight from its launch month shouldn’t come as a surprise but isn’t an indication of the model’s future success.

Bar for success: 5.000 monthly units

4. Kia Stonic (#271 – 864 sales)

Another worldwide crossover that has taken way too much time to reach Chinese shores, the Kia Stonic was originally going to be called KX1 to fit in with the rest of the brand’s Chinese lineup, but it looks like the Dongfeng-Yueda-Kia joint-venture that produces it has decided otherwise at the last minute. A competitor of the Honda HR-V, Toyota C-HR and Hyundai Kona elsewhere, the Stonic stuns with its Chinese tariff: from a tiny 69.800 to 79.800 yuan – that’s US$10.200-11.700 or 8.800-10.000€! In effect half the price of its twin the Hyundai ENCINO (the name of the Kona in China) itself available from 129.900 to 155.900 yuan… A rather troubling situation and a questionable marketing decision from the Korean sister brands, perhaps triggered by the absolute lack of success of the ENCINO so far (only 5.199 wholesales in 4 months).

Kia Stonic interior. Picture autohome.com.cn

What it means is that the Stonic competes not with Western models but with a range of Chinese crossovers such as the Baojun 510 (54.800-76.800), Changan CS35 (68.900-92.900) and MG ZS (73.800-115.800), a dangerous trajectory for the Korean brand that will forever struggle to meet the cost-cutting standards most Chinese carmakers are capable of at home. Moreover, the Stonic also competes full-frontal internally with the similarly-sized KX Cross, a crossover-looking variant of the Kia Rio, priced from 74.900 to 90.900 yuan. It might sell high volumes but definitely won’t be profitable for Kia… A strange equation from the Korean carmaker.

Bar for success: 6.000 monthly units

5. Lifan 650EV (#314 – 414 sales)

That Lifan is struggling in 2018 is not new news, but the freefall is accelerating with wholesales down a ghastly 71% in July vs. -29% so far this year. The low-cost Chinese carmaker had placed almost all its eggs in the same SUV basket and now that even this segment is struggling, there aren’t many ways to grow. Except perhaps EVs, hence the launch of this 650EV variant this month, priced from 168.900 to 175.800 yuan before government subsidies (US$24.750-25.800 or 21.200-22.100€) that will struggle to find its public.

Lifan 650EV interior. Picture autohome.com.cn

Bar for success: 1.500 monthly units

6. Chery Ruitesi Q2 (#329 – 366 sales)

Not much information is trickling in about this new EV, in essence an electric version of the previous generation Chery QQ launched by Chery itself through a new sub-brand with its own logo, therefore eyeing a status upgrade as a full-blown brand in case of success. The micro EV market is way too crowded already to allow this very bland Q2 to flourish in my opinion.

Bar for success: 1.000 monthly units

Previous month: China June 2018: Focus on the All-new models

One year ago: China July 2017: Focus on the All-new models

China July 2018: Deepening SUV crisis pulls entire market down 5.3%

Geely posts a 28th consecutive month of double-digit gains thanks to a strong sedan lineup.

* See the Top 83 All China-made brands and Top 440 models by clicking on the title *

According to data released by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM), in July the Chinese new light vehicle market endures its second month of decline in 2018 after February when the Chinese New Year Holiday disrupted sales. Wholesales drop 5.3% to 1.589.500 units, yet the year-to-date volume remains strong at +3.4% to 13.364.500. Last month’s big story, the sudden decline of SUV wholesales after 9 consecutive years of monthly gains, gets a lot worse in July: after dropping just 0.5% in June, SUV wholesales dip a very worrying 8.2% to 632.700 units. Sedans are down also, but by just 1.3% to 814.600 with MPVs diving 22% to 106.600 and microvans getting a small respite at +30% to 35.600. It’s hard to emphasise enough how unexpected, sudden and steep this SUV crisis is turning out to be, and it now has the potential to turn local carmakers’ strategies and fortunes upside down as most had completely focused their energy on launching as many SUVs as possible, totally neglecting the sedan segment. With the notable exception of Geely, which made sure to strengthen its sedan game over the past few years, this SUV crisis will indeed paradoxically benefit foreign carmakers that had been a lot slower to launch their own SUV lineups and can now fall back on strong existing sedan ranges.

The new 6 sedan helps lift MG deliveries up 119% in July.

In the China-made brands ranking, once again the Top 3 best-sellers are in frank positive territory thanks to strong sedan sales: Volkswagen is up 9% to 234.000, Toyota up 13% and two spots on June to #2 and 118.000 and Geely up 18% to remain at #3 with 108.000 deliveries. That’s almost double any other Chinese brand (the #2 Baojun is down 9% to 57.000) and amounts to Geely’s 28th consecutive month of double-digit year-on-year gains and its 11th month in a row above 100.000 monthly sales. All other Top 10 brands are in negative bar Chevrolet (+17%) here too thanks to a strong sedan sales (Sail and Cavalier, see further down). Buick (-19%), Changan (-16%), Audi (-13%), Honda (-10%), Baojun (-9%) and Nissan (-7%) all fall faster than the market.

The arrival of the 02 (pictured) means Lynk & Co posts its first five-digit sales month ever.

Strong gainers further down include Qoros (+659%), MG (+119%), Hawtai (+76%), JAC (+39%), Brilliance (+34%), Mitsubishi (+34%), BYD (+30%), BMW (+25%), Chery (+23%), Hanteng (+20%), Cadillac (+19%) and Roewe (+13%) whereas Ford (-49%) continues to implode, Hyundai (-40%) is surprisingly back in hell, Dongfeng (-35%) is in great difficulty and Haval (-31%) marks a very worrying 16th consecutive month of year-on-year decline and a very clear worsening of its performance after losing 11% in April, 18% in May and 20% in June. There are more good news for the Geely Group and more bad news for Great Wall Motors: thanks to the arrival of the 02 crossover at over 3.000 units (see our upcoming Focus on the All-new models report), Lynk & Co lodges its very first five-digit month at a record 12.300 sales and #30, meaning it outpaces for the first time archenemy WEY, down a steep 32% on June and 67% on its monthly record to a meagre 7.080 units despite 3 models (VV5, VV7 and P8).

Kia Sportage sales are up a whopping 433% year-on-year thanks to the new model.

Model-wise, the VW Lavida enjoys a 4th consecutive pole position thanks to the new generation boosting wholesales up a smashing 34%, it distances the Toyota Corolla (+12%), Nissan Sylphy (+33%) and VW Jetta (+19%) meaning the Top 4 best-sellers are 100% sedans for the 2nd month running (it was the Top 5 last month), yet sedans break another record in July: they are 8 in the Top 10 with the great performances of the VW Passat (+152%) and Honda Civic (+23%), the Geely Emgrand beating a 5-year old ranking record at #9 (previous best #10 first hit in December 2012) and a disappointing show by the VW Sagitar (-12%) about to be renewed. The Haval H6 implodes 30% year-on-year but manages to hold onto the SUV lead by the skin of its teeth at #5 overall, with a meagre 487-unit advantage over the VW Tiguan (+21%) in excellent shape. Below the GAC Trumpchi GS4 (-26%) and Geely Boyue (-11%) in difficulty, the Wuling Hongguang (-45%) implodes to beat its worst ranking for the 2nd month running, falling from #7 in June to #12 this month. The culprit: the all-new Baojun 360, up 15% and 20 spots on last month to a new record 12.643 sales, also cannibalising the Baojun 730 (-74%)…

The Chery Tiggo 8 leaps up to #82 overall for its 2nd month of sale.

Fittingly, the majority of impressive gainers in the Top 50 are sedans, such as the VW Lamando (+119%), Toyota Camry (+107%) boosted by the new generation, Chevrolet Sail (+64%), BMW 5 Series L (+58%), Chevrolet Cavalier (+53%), Geely Emgrand GL (+50%), Honda Fit (+47%), Skoda Octavia (+35%) and VW Bora (+15%). A sprinkling of SUVs defy the overall gloom such as the Kia Sportage (+433%) lifted by a completely new model, Buick Envision (+29%) and Toyota RAV4 (+28%), but that’s it. More common among SUVs are ghastly falls such as the BYD Song (-68%), Haval H2 (-67%), Changan CS75 (-54%), the hero of 2017 the Baojun 510 (-49%), Honda UR-V (-47%), Nissan X-Trail (-45%), Dongfeng Fengguang 580 (-44%), GAC Trumpchi GS8 (-44%), Skoda Kodiaq (-44%), Toyota Prado (-44%), Audi Q3 (-43%), Honda XR-V (-37%), Jeep Compass (-37%), Ford Edge (-34%) and Honda CR-V (-33%).

The VW T-Roc has taken off: it breaks into the Chinese Top 100 for the first time in July.

The Baojun 530 remains the most popular recent launch at #23 (+3) even though it drops 7% on June, followed by the Baojun 360 at #30 (+20), Geely Vision X3 at #38 (+18), Lynk & Co 01 at #52 (+14) and a new record 9.260 sales, the GAC Trumpchi GS3 at #60 (+28) and a new all-time high 8.389 units, the Chery Tiggo 8 at #82 (+27) up 16% on its inaugural month to 6.051 deliveries, the VW T-Roc at #95 (+183) up 358% on June to 4.641 sales and the Skoda Kamiq at #100 (+83%) up 65% on last month to 4.335 units. In the good news aisle, let’s single out the BYD Qin (+864%), Qoros 5 SUV (+731%), BYD Tang (+622%), Hyundai ix35 (+483%), Changan CS55 (+257%), JAC Refine S5 (+209%) and MG ZS (+56%), all bar the Qoros and ZS due to new generations.

Previous post: China First Half 2018: Market accelerates to +5.6% despite sudden SUV weakness

Previous month: China June 2018: SUV sales drop for the first time in 9 years

One year ago: China July 2017: Haval H6 leads, market lifted up 4.9% by SUVs

Full July 2018 Top 83 All China-made brands and Top 440 All-models below.

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