Sales of domestic passenger cars in China beat all expectations for January 2018 with an 11% increase to 2,4 million sales. Analysts and experts had expected a slow start of the year as the tax cut on cars with engines of 1,6 liters or less had ended. However, January 2017 was an exceptionally slow month with stable sales on the same month in 2016 while February last year suddenly showed 20% growth on the year before. This phenomenon was due to the Chinese New Year celebrations last year falling in January, as opposed to February in 2016 and 2018. This means that next month is likely to balance off the January performance with stable sales or perhaps even a small decline. This is also reflected in the Seasonally Adjusted Annualized selling Rate which is down by 1 million on January 2017 at 24,74 million. We’ll need to analylse combined January and February figures to be able to draw a thorough conclusion of the state of the Chinese auto market. [Read more…]
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After discussing the 2017 China car sales ranking by brand, let’s zoom in on which models were the movers and shakers of the past year. And the Chinese car market is not only one of the most diverse with no less than 531 different nameplates in our ranking up from 502 in 2016, but also one of the most dynamic, with big movements up and down the ranking. On the other hand, the top-4 is stable on last year, even though 3 out of those top 4 lost volume. [Read more…]
In 2017, the four-year streak of double digit growth of the Chinese domestic passenger car market ended as sales increased 2,6% to just over 24,2 million, down from +17,2% last year. This is the lowest growth rate in at least a decade and a halft, possibly longer (we don’t have exact data from before 2003). Still, it is a new annual record as sales have almost doubled since 2011 (12,3 million) and more than quadrupled since 2008 (5,6 million). [Read more…]
Sales of domestic passenger cars in China were slightly down in December 2017 as expected after record volume in the same month last year. With a volume of 2,59 million sales, the volume was down by 0,4%, the third month of decline in 2017. On the positive side, this is the highest volume of the year, as consumers pulled forward their orders for small cars (engines of 1,6 liters or less), as the sales tax on these cars returned to their normal level of 10% as of January 1st, up from 7,5% in 2017. We’ll discuss the full-year 2017 figures in a separate post, and will focus on December here: the only segment to show growth was that of crossovers and SUVs again, although even their growth has slightly slowed down [Read more…]
The domestic passenger car market in China edges up by 0,8% in November 2017, to just over 2.55 million sales, the highest volume of the year so far. With such a slow growth rate and a December ahead of us which showed booming growth rate last year, it will be difficult for the Chinese car market to reach its expected 5% growth rate in 2017. Year-to-date sales for the first 11 months are up 3,07% to 21,64 million and we expect the market to be stable again in December, which would give us a total of 24,24 million sales in 2017, up just 2,7% on 2016 and the slowest growth rate in modern history, down from 17,2% last year. At least we can be almost sure the market will show another record year as sales would have to be downby 25% in December for a full-year decline (or down to its 2015 level, which hasn’t happened a single time so far this year). Last December, consumers were rushing to buy new vehicles before the sales tax increase on vehicles with engine sizes of 1.6 liters and below rose from 5% to 7,5% on January 1st, 2017. A similar effect will be noticeable this year, as the tax will increase to 10% on January 1st, 2018.
Back to November: the only segment to show growth was that of crossovers and SUVs again, which were up by 10% to nearly 1,1 million sales (YTD up 14%), while sedans were down 3,8% to 1.23 million sales (YTD down 1,4%) and MPVs took the biggest hit at -10,3% to 227.000 sales (YTD down 12,5%). Within those sales figures, sales of electric cars and plug-in hybrids (New Energy Vehicles) jumped 83% to 119.000, or 4,7% of the market. Full EVs took the grunt of those sales, rising 75% to 102.000 while PHEVs gained 154% to 17.000 sales. For the first 11 months, EV and plug-in hybrid sales rose 51% to almost 609.000 units, or 2,8% of the total market. The Beijing government has set a target of 6,7% in 2020 and as much as 20% by 2025, helped by a carbon credit scheme that was originally planned to be imposed in 2018 but which has been postponed to 2019. This year, total sales of New Energy Vehicles are expected to top 700.000. [Read more…]
Sales of domestic passenger cars in China edges up by half a percent in October 2017, to almost 2.32 million sales, the highest volume of the year so far. With such a slow growth rate and 2 months ahead of us with booming growth rates last year, it will be difficult for the Chinese car market to reach its expected 5% growth rate in 2017. Year-to-date sales for the first 10 months are up 3,34% to just over 19 million. If the pace does not improve for the full year, it would be the slowest growth rate in modern history, and down from 17,2% last year. At least we can be almost sure the market will show another record year as sales would have to be down 12% in the last 2 months for a full-year decline (or down to their 2015 levels, which hasn’t happened a single time so far this year). Back to October: the only segment to show growth was that of crossovers and SUVs again, which were up by 13,5% to 995.600 sales (YTD up 17,3%), while sedans were down 3,9% to 1.116.200 sales (YTD up 1,9%) and MPVs too the biggest hit at -13,2% to 205.600 sales (YTD down 5,7%). Within those sales figures, sales of electric cars and plug-in hybrids jumped 107% to 91.000, or 4% of the market. For the first 10 months, EV and plug-in hybrid sales rose 45% to almost 490.000 units, or 2,6% of the total market. The Beijing government has set a target of 6,7% in 2020 and as much as 20% by 2025, helped by a carbon credit scheme that was originally planned to be imposed in 2018 but which has been postponed to 2019. This year, an estimated 700.000 New Energy Vehicles are expected to be sold.
The Seasonally Adjusted Annualized selling Rate in October stood at 25,8 million, a similar level as last month. The share of domestic automakers in October jumped to 42,8%, up 3 percentage points on September and the highest figure since last March, but still down from 44,2% in October 2016. Sales of domestic brand vehicles across all segments were down 2,7%, compared to a gain of 5,2% for European brands, +5,3% for US brands and +10% for Japanese. In contrast, South-Korean brands continued their losing streak to 10 months as they lost 21,5% in October and 53,1% YTD. [Read more…]
The Chinese car market continue sits steady growth in September, showing a 3,4% increase to almost 2,3 million sales of passenger cars. This is the fourth consecutive month of single digit increases after years of booming growth. It also builds confidence in the belief that the market will continue its winning streak in 2017 and finish the year in positive territory despite an exceptionally strong last quarter of 2016. That brings the year-to-date total to almost 16,8 million sales, an increase of 3,7% on the same period in 2016. In absolute terms, 2017 is ahead of last year by 600.000 sales, which means the likelihood of yet another new sales record is becoming greater by the passin gmonth. We’d need at least an 8% sales decline in the last quarter to see the first annual decline in a few decades in China. Even considering the exceptionally strong finish of 2016, that seems pretty unlikely, especially taking into account the sales tax on cars with engines of 1,6 liter and smaller will increase again in January, from 7,5% back to its normal rate of 10%, which should pull forward sales of this kind of vehicle to the last quarter. Back to September: the crossovers and SUV trend seems unstoppable with yet another double digit gain: +10% to 971.000 sales, while sedans improve 3,7% to 1,16 million sales and the decline of the MPV segment accelerates to -25% to 165.900 sales. Within those sales figures, electric cars and PHEVs also showed a impressive improvement of 79% in September, to almost 78.000 sales. EVs were responsible for most of that growth, as sales increased 83% to 64.000, compared to a 62% increase for PHEVs, to 14.000. These figures add up to 325.000 EV and 73.000 PHEV sales in China so far this year, an increase of 38% on the first 9 months of 2016 and 2,4% of the overall market. The Beijing government has set a target of 6,7% in 2020 and as much as 20% by 2025, helped by a carbon credit scheme that will be imposed in 2018
The Seasonally Adjusted Annualized selling Rate in August stood at 25,8 million, a similar level as last January, which has been the highest so far this year, and up by 850.000 on August, marking the 6th consecutive month of increased SAAR. The share of domestic automakers in September was 39,8%, the highest figure in the past 3 months and down from 41,8% in September 2016. Sales of domestic brand vehicles across all segments were down 1,5%, compared to a gain of just 2% for US brands, +12% for Japanese brands and +15% for European brands. In contrast, South-Korean brands are down for the 9th month this year, by 23%.
The Chinese car market grows for the third consecutive month in August 2017, with a 6,5% increase to 1,87 million sales. That brings the year-to-date total to almost 14,5 million sales, an increase of 3,7% on the same period in 2016. Looking at the final four months of last year, they were exceptionally good in terms of sales volume due to the pending reduction of the tax cut on small vehicles (engines of less than 1,6 liters). The tax, which was temporarily halved to 5%, increased to 7,5% on Jan. 1st 2017 and will return to its normal rate of 10% on Jan. 1st 2018. This may give the Chinese car market another boost in the final few months of this year, but will it be enough to keep the market from decreasing for the first time in a couple of decades? The year-end rally in 2016 pulled forward a lot of sales, which translated in a slow start of 2017 and that may be difficult to make up in the final few months of the year. Back to August: crossovers and SUVs continue their boom with an 18% increase to 760.700 sales, but for only the second time this year, after February, sedan sales also improved, up 4% to 954.800 units. The MPV segment remains weak with a decline of 19% to 155.200 sales. Within those sales figures, electric cars and PHEVs also showed a impressive improvement of 76% in August, to almost 68.000 sales. EVs were responsible for most of that growth, as sales increased 96% to 56.000, compared to a 22% increase for PHEVs, to 12.000. These figures add up to 260.000 EV and 59.000 PHEV sales in China so far this year, an increase of 30% on the first 8 months of 2016 and 2,2% of the overall market. The Beijing government has set a target of 6,7% in 2020 and as much as 20% by 2025, helped by a carbon credit scheme that will be imposed in 2018.
The Seasonally Adjusted Annualized selling Rate in August stood at 24,9 million, the highest since last January and up almost a million on July. The share of domestic automakers in August was 38,5%, the lowest figure in the past 13 months and down from 39,15% in August 2016. However, it’s worth noting that the share of domestic brands in the crossover segment is an impressive 56%. Despite their success in this hot segment, sales of domestic brand vehicles across all segments trailed the market growth at +4,7%, though still beat the US brands at +2,8% and the South-Korean brands at -27,2%, their lowest rate of decline since last February. With European brands up 8,7%, most of the growth in China came from Japanese brands at +25,3%.
After two months of slumping sales in April and May, the Chinese car market recovers with two months of increases in June and July. July sales are up 5,4% on 2016 and a whopping 30,8% on July 2015, which was especially depressed when the Chinese stock market crashed, before the Beijing government stepped in with their tax reduction on vehicles with small engines. A total of 1,65 million new passenger cars were sold last month, naturally a new record for July sales in China. The year-to-date total now stands at 12,59 million sales, an increase of 3,4% on the first seven months of 2016. The Seasonally Adjusted Annualized selling Rate stands at 24 million in July, the highest figure since January. SUVs and crossovers are once again the main (and only) winners in April with sales up 18% to 689.500 units, while sedans decline for the fourth consecutive month at -0,3% to 824.900 sales and MPV sales continue to plunge at -11% to 136.500. New Energy vehicle sales improved 55% to 57.000 units, as EV sales gained 70% to 45.000 units and PHEVs rebounded for the second straight month at +16% to 12.000 sales. Year-to-date, EV and PHEV sales in China are up 22% to 251.000 sales, of which 204.000 EVs (up 34%) and 47.000 PHEVs (down 13%). Sales of domestic automakers were up 9,5% and their share is up from 38% to 39,5%, although that is the lowest share since last January. Japanese brand cars are up 16,3%, sales of US brand cars are up 3,9% and of European brand cars are up 0,9%, while sales of South-Korean brand cars are down 46,7%.
In the first six months of 2017, Chinese car sales are up just 3% to 10,93 million. If the market maintains this growth rate, it will become the lowest increase in more than 13 years and possibly in more than 25 years. And there’s reason to believe it will come to that scenario, if you look at the sales curve in the second half of 2016, with increasing sales in the last quarter due to a pending increase in sales tax on cars with engines smaller than 1,6 liters, from 5% to 7,5%. Then again, that same tax will rise again in 2018 to 10%, so sales may show a similar curve in Q4 of 2017 as consumers pull forward their buying decisions to benefit from the lower tax. Back to the first half of 2017, in which crossovers and SUVs gained 14,9% to 4,41 million sales, while sedan sales were down 2,5% to 5,42 million and MPV sales slumped 9,4% to 1,09 million. Of these 10,9 million total passenger car sales, 42,3% came from domestic brands and 57,7% from import brands, compared to a ratio of 41,3% vs. 58,7% in all of 2016, as sales of foreign brand vehicles have slightly dipped while sales of local brands have continued to rise, especially thanks to the introduction of a range of afFordable crossovers by almost every single brand.
But that doesn’t paint the complete picture, as European brand sales have remained virtually stable at +0,85% and US brand sales have improved only slightly better than the overall market at +3,86%. The big shift has taken place between Japanese brands and South-Korean brands, as the former are finally starting to recover from their troubles during a diplomatic spat between China and Japan in 2012 over a few islands in the East China Sea, even though only Honda and Mitsubishi have returned to the market share they held in 2011. Still, Japanese brands have grown at a pace of +16,36%, double the gains of the domestic brands, while Korean brands were the only nation to lose volume at a terrifying -46,7%. The reason for that demise has been explained in our monthly reports for the last four months, but there’s another underlying reason which has been going on for a longer period. The South-Korean brands never achieved the kind of mainstream status in China as they did in Europe or North America. They remained a low-cost, low quality option for customers who wanted an import-brand vehicle without having to pay the premium for an actual established brand from Europe, the US or Japan. When the domestic brands started to improve their quality and subsequently their brand image, and also started launching a huge number of afFordable crossovers to satisfy the demand for this type of vehicle, the Koreans were left behind as customers proved less brand loyal than expected. Especially Hyundai has been left behind in this race as its partner Beijing Automotive keeps on expanding the brand’s sedan range to no less than 9 models of different generations sold alongside each other with a 10th nameplate coming up, compared to just 4 crossovers. When recovering from the anti South-Korean sentiment, both brands need to be quick to launch afFordable crossovers to the Chinese market or risk facing reduced market shares for years to come.