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 EV sales 2016: where almost half of the world’s EVs are sold

Auto-sales-statistics-China-BYD_Tang-SUVAfter discussing the China car sales figures for 2016, we’ll take a more detailed look into sales of EVs and PHEVs in the People’s Republic, which is by far the biggest market for Plug-in passenger cars in the world with a share of 44% of the world’s sales of this type of vehicle. That’s up from just 6% in 2013, helped by generous and sometimes fraud-prone subsidies. Will this quick rise continue? The Beijing central government has set a goal of 3 million EV sales in China by 2025, up from the almost 325.000 in 2016, so it’s definitely aiming for it. They will switch from the carrot strategy (subsidies) to the stick strategy (a carbon-credit scheme and a Corporate Average Fuel Economy standard), effective within the next few years, which mean foreign automakers will be forced to enter this market too. At the moment, most of China’s EV sales come from the local brands: Chinese automakers have produced 43% of all Plug-in cars built in 2016 worldwide. However, in the short term there is some uncertainty in the market as the central government’s subsidies will decline in 2017 to prepare for the new strategy. But moreover, the government has set standards for EV energy consumption and range, which could lead to a shakeout of mainly manufacturers of small and cheap EV citycars, many of whom are likely to fail to meet these tougher guidelines.… Continue Reading …

New model introductions in China, December 2016

The Chinese car market is one of the most diverse in the world, with almost 500 locally produced passenger car models from more than 70 domestic and foreign brands, as you can see in our 2016 Chinese car sales analysis. If we include imported vehicles, minivans, pickups and commercial vehicles, there are more than 1.000 different models available. In the December 2016 China car sales ranking, we welcome 10 new models: 5 SUVs, 2 sedans, one MPV and an EV, including a new brand, the fifth domestic new brand this year (offsetting the demise of 3). As a bonus, I’ll also throw in an interesting 11th model which isn’t entirely new (it’s been on sale since July), but for which we didn’t have sales figures available yet.

Soueast DX3

Auto-sales-statistics-China-Soueast_DX3-SUVSoueast Motors, a joint venture of Fujian Auto, CMC of Taiwan and Mitsubishi, has struggled to reach sustainable volume in its home market, as its line-up of sedans based on out-of-production Mitsubishi cars failed to keep up with rising demands of Chinese car buyers. That changed in 2015 when the brand launched its first crossover DX7 Bolang, which was designed with the help of Italy’s famous design house Pininfarina, and which immediately became the brand’s best selling model with more than three quarters of total brand sales. In December, that model was accompanied by a smaller crossover called DX3, which also was co-designed by Pininfarina. In its first month of sales, the DX3 immediately outsold its larger sibling and the two crossovers took a combined 92,5% of Soueast volume, a very promising start for the newcomer that’s intended to double the brand’s sales in this year after topping 100.000 sales for the first time ever in 2016.… Continue Reading …

China car sales analysis 2016

China-car-sales-graph-2003-2016For years, analysts have predicted a slowdown of Chinese car sales. After becoming the world’s largest market in 2013, outpacing the United States, it was believed the market could not sustain its impressive growth record. Then halfway through 2015, the critics finally appeared to find reality on their side, when Chinese stock markets suddenly crashed and the economy stalled. Add to that a government crackdown on corruption and the recipe for a slowdown in car sales was ready. However, the central government stepped in and lowered the sales tax for vehicles with engines of 1,6 liters or smaller from 10% to 5%, starting from Q4 of 2015. That helped car sales peak recover and 2015 set yet another sales record of over 20 million passenger car sales. In 2016, the tax break continued and the market grew further, adding another 17% to 23,6 million sales.

Country of origin

  2016 Change 2016 Share 2015 Share
Domestic +27,4% 41,4% 38,1%
European +9,8% 22,4% 23,9%
Japanese +11,5% 16,0% 16,8%
US +13,9% 12,5% 12,9%
Korean +6,7% 7,6% 8,3%

60% of the growth came from domestic brands, as 9,8 million of the 23,6 million sales bore a badge from a Chinese brand, a record 41,4% of the total market. The previous record was 38,1% in 2015, which means local brands added 3,3 percentage points of share in a single year. Chinese brands increased their sales by 27,4%, more than double the growth rate of any of the other countries, as all saw their shares reduced. European brands took the biggest hit, losing 1,5 percentage points of market share to 5,3 million sales, with PSA Peugeot-Citroën as the biggest cause of concern. The American brands did best of the rest, losing just 0,4 percentage point of share to 2,96 million sales. Japanese brands sold 3,8 million cars in China in 2016 and South Korean brands sold 1,8 million units. All figures are for locally produced models only and exclude imports, which make up just 5% of the Chinese car market.… Continue Reading …

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

Continue Reading …

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.

Continue Reading …