In this section of the blog, you can find information and opinions about car sales in China. Stay up-to-date with which cars are selling the best and what we think future models will do.
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China car sales analysis December 2016

China-car-sales-graph-december_2016It’s only fitting to see the Chinese car market end 2016 with yet another sales record broken: for the first time in history, more than 2,6 million cars were sold in the People’s Republic in a single month. To put this in perspective: this is almost as many cars as were sold in the UK in all of 2016, and over 900.000 units or 54% more than the 1,69 million cars US auto dealers sold in December, both figures are also records by the way. In relative terms, December’s 9,3% growth rate was the smallest since April and only the third time in 2016 the Chinese car market grew by less than double digits. Part of the explanation for this is that December 2015 was already a monster month, but still the Seasonally Adjusted Annualized Selling Rate came in at 25,1 million units, lower than the 3 months prior, reflecting December is traditionally the biggest selling month for Chinese car dealers. The sales tax break from 10% to 5% on vehicles with engines smaller than 1,6 liters which has fueled the market since October 2015 and which had been anticipated to be cut for 2017 will be phased out slowly to soften the blow next year. In 2017 these vehicles will incur a 7,5% sales tax before going back to 10% in 2018. Still, a more moderate growth rate is expected for 2017, especially in the first quarter. Then again, this is what experts have been predicting for a few years now, and somehow the market keeps proving them wrong.… Continue Reading …

China car sales analysis November 2016

China-car-sales-graph-november_2016Get ready to see some sales records shattered again: in November the Chinese car market broke its 11-month old record of 2,38 million sales in a single month by 150.000 units to over 2,53 million sales, an increase of 19,6% on last year’s November, which happened to be the first time Chinese car sales topped the 2 million sales milestone. It also means that China has broken 2015’s full-year record of 20,18 million sales already in November, as the year-to-date tally now stands at 21 million sales in 2016. Again, the purchase tax cut on vehicles with an engine of 1,6 liters or less fueled the market, as the central government still hasn’t decided (or at least made public) whether to extend the tax cut into 2017. If they keep this up, next month could be yet another monster month, breaking this month’s record again. Regardless of the outcome, pulling forward these car sales will have a moderating effect on the first few months of 2017, as analysts uniformly agree the next two years will see Chinese car sales plateau. Then again, analysts have been predicting this scenario for a few years now, and they keep getting proven wrong as the Chinese auto market has continued to grow sharply against all odds.

The Seasonally Adjusted Annualized Selling Rate again hit a new record in November at 26,4 million units. Sales of crossovers and SUVs shot up 41% to 1,02 million units, while deliveries of sedans increased 10% to 1,28 million and MPV sales grew 8% to 235.700. The share of local brands dipped from their record of 44,35% in October to 42,42% in November, still above the average of this year, as year-to-date the local brands have a share of 40,67% of their home market, compared to just 37,66% over the full year 2015.

The earth-shaking news this month is the Haval H6, becoming the first SUV to break the 70.000 monthly sales barrier.… Continue Reading …

New model introductions in China, November 2016

The Chinese car market is one of the most diverse in the world, with over 400 locally produced passenger car models from more than 70 domestic and foreign brands. If we include imported vehicles, minivans, pickups and commercial vehicles, there are more than 1.000 different models available. In November 2016 we welcome 7 new models, of which 4 crossover/SUVs, 2 MPVs and one station wagon.

Buick GL8

Auto-sales-statistics-China-Buick_GL8_Avenir-MPVThe Buick GL8 is not an entirely new nameplate, it has been around for two previous generations since 2000, and in fact this third generation isn’t all that new considering it sits on the same platform of the previous generation. Then why bother featuring it here at all? The GL8 marks a significant shift in Buick’s positioning, as this is the first model of the brand worldwide to get the new upscale Avenir moniker. Avenir is not a sub-brand, but more like a top-of-the-line trim, a bit like Ford’s Vignale in Europe and GMC’s Denali in the US. The GL8 is a big MPV, which at first was mostly used by luxury taxi and transport companies, but is now also being embraced by families looking for a lot of passenger space.… Continue Reading …

New model introductions in China, October 2016

The Chinese car market is one of the most diverse in the world, with over 400 locally produced passenger car models from more than 70 domestic and foreign brands. If we include imported vehicles, minivans, pickups and commercial vehicles, there are more than 1.000 different models available. In the October 2016 China car sales ranking, we welcome 9 new models, of which 5 crossover/SUVs, one of which from an all-new brand, the fourth domestic new brand this year (offsetting the demise of 2), 2 sedans and 2 MPVs.

Dongfeng Fengxing SX6

Auto-sales-statistics-China-Dongfeng_Fengxing_SX6-SUVDongfeng already has an impressive line-up of MPVs, and adds another one to it, even though the brand itself would like you to think of it as a crossover. The SX6 is based on the Dongfeng Fengxing S500, with a similar wheelbase of 2.750mm. The exterior dimensions are similar too at 4.650/1.820/1.790mm and the Fengxing SX6 also has three rows seating 7. Prices run from 69.900 yuan (€9.500,- / US$ 10,200) to 102.900 yuan (€14.100,- / US$ 14,950). Two engines are available: a Mitsubishi 1,6-liter with 117hp and 150Nm with a five-speed manual or a CVT, and a PSA 2-liter with 138hp and 200Nm with only the five-speed manual. The Fengxing SX6 clearly cannibalizes sales of the Fengxing S500 but combined still add volume to the brand, as sales of the latter have dropped from an average of 6.500 (and 9.000 in September) to just 2.349 units in October, while the SX6 adds 8.157 sales in its introduction month. That immediately makes it the brand’s #3 best seller after the Fengguang 580 and the Fenxing Lingzhi.

Dongfeng_Fengxing_SX6-China-car-sales

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China car sales analysis October 2016

China-car-sales-graph-october_2016The Chinese car market shows no sign of slowing down, even though a slowdown of the growth curve keeps being predicted by critics. October 2016 is the fourth consecutive month of more than 20% year-over-year growth with sales up 21% to 2,3 million sales. That means volume has more than doubled on the same month just four years ago and this month is the second-best ever after tax-break fueled December 2015. This reduction of sales tax on vehicles with engines of 1,6 liters or less from 10% to 5% has boosted sales of qualified vehicles since its introduction in Q4 of 2015. In the first ten months of the year, those vehicles accounted for 72% of sales, up 4,1 percentage points from a year earlier. This tax break had been expected to be cut by the end of 2016, pulling forward the buying decision for buyers interested in such vehicles. However, it’s become likely the program will be extended into 2017, which may influence sales figures in the last two months of the year. Still, even a 15% drop in sales in November and December would keep 2016 in double digit growth compared to last year, and the year-to-date figure of almost 18,5 million sales (+15%) is already above the 2014 full-year figure with two months to spare.

The Seasonally Adjusted Annualized Selling Rate again hit a new record in October at 26,18 million units. Sales of crossovers and SUVs shot up 43% to 896.000 units, while deliveries of MPVs surged 20% to 231.800 and sedan sales increased just 10% to 1,17 million. The share of local brands is up to a record 44,35%, crushing last February’s figure of 43,63%. That pulls the year-to-date ratio of domestic brands above 40,5% again, compared to just 37,66% over the full year 2015.… Continue Reading …

New model introductions in China, September 2016

The Chinese car market is one of the most diverse in the world, with over 400 locally produced passenger car models from more than 70 domestic and foreign brands. If we include imported vehicles, minivans, pickups and commercial vehicles, there are more than 1.000 different models available. In the September 2016 China car sales ranking, we welcome 9 new models, of which 3 SUVs, one of which from an all-new brand, the third domestic new brand this year (offsetting the demise of 2), 1 EV version of an existing SUV, 1 hatchback and 4 sedans. And for a change, the sedans are in my opinion the most significant launches of the bunch.

Chevrolet Cavalier

Auto-sales-statistics-China-Chevrolet_Cavalier-sedanShanghai-GM has resurrected an old name with the launch of the Chinese Chevrolet Cavalier. This car has nothing to do with the one that was sold in North America before being replaced by the Cobalt in 2005. Instead, the new Cavalier is basically a reskinned previous generation Chevrolet Cruze, a car that’s also still on sale in China next to the new generation.

That means the Cavalier is powered by the same powertrain as the Cruze Classic: a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine with 109hp, mated to a five-speed manual or a five-speed automatic. Its dimensions are 4.544/1.779/1.467 mm with a wheelbase of 2.600 mm.… Continue Reading …

China car sales analysis September 2016

China-car-sales-graph-september_2016Car sales in China keep skyrocketing, with a 29,5% growth rate in September, the highest rate of growth since 2013. With 2,22 million sales of domestically produced passenger cars, this reflects an additional half a million vehicles compared to September of 2015 and the second-best ever month in absolute numbers, after December 2015. One of the reasons for this accelerated growth rate is the government tax cut on vehicles with engines of 1.6 liters and lower, which is expected to be axed at the end of this year. So expect Q4 sales to be artificially boosted before a hard landing in the first quarter of 2017. To prevent this scenario, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers CAAM is lobbying the Chinese government to extend the tax cut into 2017, but has been unsuccessful so far. The Seasonally Adjusted Annualized Selling Rate hit a new record in September at 25,16 million units. The year-to-date figure for the first nine months of 2016 stands at 16,2 million, just shy of the full-year figure of 2013. Sales of crossovers and SUVs shot up 52% to 879.000 units, while deliveries of MPVs surged 37% to 221.500 and sedan sales increased 17% to 1,12 million. The share of local brands is back up to 41,9%, the third highest ever, behind last January and February. That pulls the year-to-date ratio of domestic brands above 40% again.

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China car sales analysis August 2016

China-car-sales-graph-august_2016The Chinese car market continues its booming growth rate when compared to the depressed figures of last year after the collapse of the domestic stock market. 2015 car sales would recover sharply in the last quarter after the government subsidized sales of small vehicles by halving the purchase tax on vehicles with engines of 1.6 liters and lower to 5 percent. That means it is unlikely Chinese car sales will keep up this growth rate for the coming months. In August, 1,76 million domestically produced passenger cars were sold in China, an increase of 27,8% for a Seasonally Adjusted Annualized Selling Rate of 23,2 million units, the highest since January. Year-to-date, Chinese car buyers have bought nearly 14 million locally produced cars, an increase of 14% over the first eight months of last year. Unsurprisingly, sales of SUVs and crossovers fueled the market, up 44% to 654.100 units, followed by MPV sales at +36% to 180.400. Even sedan sales showed impressive growth in August, albeit slower than the overall market. Still, a 20% improvement is the best we’ve seen in months, which translates into 916.200 sales. Local brands make a nice rebound with a 39,2% share of the market, the highest figure since Q1. Year-to-date, almost 40% of the cars sold in China wore a badge from a domestic brand, still two points above the full-year 2015 figure and the highest it’s ever been.

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New model introductions in China, July 2016

The Chinese car market is one of the most diverse, with over 400 different locally produced passenger cars from over 70 domestic and foreign brands, which increases to more than 1.000 models including imported vehicles, minivans, pickups and commercial vehicles. In June just 2 new models were introduced, but July marks a return to the familiar launch cadence with no less than 7 new models, including an all-new brand, the second new brand in 2016 and the third in the past 12 months, after Qiteng in January and Enranger last July. This month marks the addition of 3 domestic SUVs, 2 sedans and one MPV. We’ve already discussed the overall July 2016 sales figures for China, below we’ll introduce those newly introduced models for this month.

Borgward BX7

Auto-sales-statistics-China-Borgward_BX7-SUVThe highly anticipated resurrection of the Borgward brand has materialized with sales of the BX7 SUV starting in China this July. For those who haven’t heard of Borgward before: this is a former German luxury brand that ceased operations in the 1960s. It’s most famous model is the Isabella, which was produced from 1954 till the end of the company. In 2005 Christian Borgward, the grandson of the original founder started making plans to restore the brand to its former glory. Fast forward a decade and although Christian is the president of  the company, its owner is 100% Chinese: Beiqi Foton Motor, a subsidiary of BAIC (Beijing Automotive Industry Corporation), one of China’s largest automotive manufacturers. Surprisingly, Foton Motor is the commercial vehicle division of BAIC, making anything from heavy trucks, light trucks, pickups, SUVs, vans and MPVs to pickups. Unsurprisingly, Borgward tries to capitalize on its heritage, not bothered by the fact that it’s largely unknown to its prospective buyers, especially those in China, but the brand expects its image to benefit from the emphasis on its German roots, in a similar way Qoros also tried to flaunt its German design and technology.… Continue Reading …

China car sales analysis July 2016

China-car-sales-graph-July_2016Chinese car sales are back in their traditional fashion: up with booming figures, as 1,55 million locally produced cars were sold in July, an increase of 28,7% over July 2015, although it has to be noted this was an exceptionally low month with sales down 5% over July 2014, because the domestic stock market collapsed just over a year ago. Still, we’re talking about the best July ever recorded, and by a large margin. This is also supported by the Seasonally Adjusted Annualized Selling Rate, which stands at 22,2 million units, the highest of the past four months. Year-to-date, Chinese car buyers have taken delivery of over 12,1 million locally produced cars, an increase of 13% over the first seven months of last year. As we’re used to by now, sales of SUVs and crossovers fueled the market, up 47% to 580.700 units, followed by MPV sales at +39% to 153.600. Even sedan sales showed impressive growth in July, naturally slower than the overall market, but a 20% improvement is the best we’ve seen in months, which translates into 824.900 sales. After enjoying record shares of over 43% in January and February, the local brands have seen their share slowly decline to 37,5% in July. Year-to-date, 40% of the cars sold in China wore a badge from a domestic brand, still two points above the full-year 2015 figure and the highest it’s ever been.

What will be interesting to see is if the Chinese auto market will finish 2016 in the positive. That may seem like a no-brainer as it ended last year with a bang, when the government stepped in to save a depressed market after the stockmarket meltdown, by launching a tax cut for cars with small engines (below 1,6 liters). This boosted sales to record heights in the last three months of 2015, as you can see in the graph above. The tax cut is scheduled to end by December 31st and if that happens as planned, Chinese consumers will pull forward their prospective purchases to 2016 and the market will get yet another boost in the last few months of the year before plummeting back down in early 2017. However, if the government decides to prolong the tax break (and communicates that in a timely manner), the market will remain more stable but it remains to be seen if it can keep up with the sales pace set in Q4 of last year. If the tax break stays, chances are the final figure for this year will be 22 million vehicles, an increase of “just” 9%. Still, that would be the healthiest solution for the market as a whole.

The leader of the model chart Wuling Hongguang celebrates 12 consecutive 40.000+ months and keeps the Haval H6 behind, by an ever-shrinking margin. The H6 topped the ranking in April and has been close behind ever since. Its multiple price cuts this year have boosted sales 69% in July and 43% YTD to help it close in on the year-to-date #2 position. The Volkswagen Lavida is the best selling sedan model in China, but is under threat from the Buick Excelle GT. The GAC Trumpchi GS4 goes from strength to strength in fifth place, once again frankly outperforming the Baojun 560, which has seen its volume shrink for four straight months, coming from 42.000 in March to just over a third of that figure in July. The Honda CR-V is also very impressive in 12th place, ahead of the Buick Envision for the first time in 11 months to take the title of best selling foreign brand SUV.… Continue Reading …