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 August 2015

Auto-sales-statistics-China-Honda_Vezel-SUV Chinese car sales in June and July were down 0,87% and 4,63% respectively, after booming for over five years. In August, the loss narrowed to 0,64% thanks to 1,37 million sales, and the Seasonally Adjusted Annualized selling Rate (SAAR) was back above the 17 million mark at 17,66 million units. Following the trend that the Chinese auto market has followed in recent months, sedans and MPVs were down harshly, at -16% to 761.600 sales and -9% to 132.700 sales respectively, while SUV sales continued their boom by surging almost 46% to 453.200 units.

However, the SUV love isn’t spread equally as well, as most small SUVs from foreign brands plunged hard on increased competition from larger but cheaper local offerings and powerful sales of Honda’s two models Vezel and XR-V. Just a few months ago, these models were among the hottest on the market, but they’ve quickly lost their appeal as the domestic brands turned up the heat. Among the victims are the Ford EcoSport, Chevrolet Trax, Kia KX3, Citroën C3-XR, Peugeot 2008, DS6 and Mitsubishi ASX, while the Hyundai ix25 appears able to resist the plunge. But also some domestic nameplates appear to suffer from the influx of hot new models, as the BYD S6, Brilliance V5, Chery Tiggo 3 and Tiggo 5, FAW Besturn X80, GAC Trumpchi GS5, and the Lifan X60 and still relatively X50 are also taking a hit from either a fresher SUV in their own line-up or worse: from other brands.

Please note these figures exclude import models, unless specifically noted.… Continue Reading …

China car sales analysis July 2015

Auto-sales-statistics-China-Baojun_560-SUVAfter Chinese car sales in June showed their first monthly decline in more than five years, in July the loss has widened with sales of locally produced cars down almost 5% to just over 1,2 million units. As a result, the Seasonally Adjusted Annualized selling Rate (SAAR) dipped to its lowest score of the year at just 16,6 million units. Unsurprisingly, the declines in the sedan and MPV segments are the greatest, while SUV sales keep improving further thanks to successful model introductions by mostly the local Chinese brands. SUV sales were up 41,8% to just over 400.000 units, while MPV sales were down 5,9% to less than 110.000 units and sedan sales were down even worse at -18,2% to just over 690.000 units. Please note these figures exclude import models, unless specifically noted.

Japanese brands

Auto-sales-statistics-China-Honda_XRV-SUVThe Japanese brands have fared relatively well in China this month, although their fortunes were still mixed. Honda profited from its small SUV duo XR-V and Vezel, which both topped 10.000 sales for the second straight month, making the brand’s three best selling models all SUVs (the CR-V is still the best selling Honda) and helping the brand to an 85% surge of sales. Toyota also clearly outperformed the market with sales up almost 18% and the Corolla in second place overall, and best selling sedan for the second month in a row. Mazda was up 12% and Nissan just 3%, which is the first increase of the brand since January, while Suzuki was down 10% although that’s its smallest decline since January. Mitsubishi sales were down more than 25%, causing the brand to dip below last year’s year-to-date volume.

European brands

In July, the European brands lost a lot of volume in one of their most important export markets, suffering from a lack of crossovers and SUVs. Mercedes-Benz proves that fact as the already successful GLA small crossover pushes its sales of locally produced models up 150% on last year. Mercedes is up 42% including imports. The GLA is already the brand’s second best seller behind the C-Class and helped the brand sell more locally produced models than BMW for the first time in history, as sales excluding imports at BMW dipped 5%, while Audi was down 3%. Year-to-date, the BMW 5-series L is now well ahead of the Audi A6L and looks set to outsell the former government favorite vehicle for the first year in history.… Continue Reading …

China car sales analysis June 2015

Auto-sales-statistics-China-Haval_H1-SUVThe Chinese car market remains as buoyant and dynamic as ever, even when it finishes June 2015 as the first month of decline since early 2009, as just over 1,4 million locally produced vehicles were sold in China, down 0,87% on last June. The Seasonally Adjusted Annualized selling Rate (SAAR) dipped below last year’s total at 17,9 million units. As has become usual for China (and for the US and Europe as well, for that matter), sales of SUVs and crossovers bucked the negative trend, as sales of this segment surged 38% to almost 450.000 units, while sedans were down 15% to less than 850.000 sales and MPVs were down 1% to 125.000 units. Overall sales, including import models, were down 3% to 1,51 million units.

To underscore the volatility of the Chinese auto market, of the 370 models that were sold in June, almost a quarter (91 nameplates) recorded their lowest volume of the year, and half of those (46 nameplates) even recorded their lowest volume ever. And even more worryingly for those brands, this includes models that have been introduced as recently as last year, for example the Dongfeng Fengdu MX6, Fengshan L60, and Joyear SUV, Haval H1 and H9, Kia KX3, MG GT, Peugeot 308S, Suzuki Alivio, Venucia R30 and Yema F16. To balance that, 58 nameplates had their best month of the year in June, of which half (29 models) had their best sales ever, including a handful of recent launches.


Auto-sales-statistics-China-Kia_KX3-SUVThe South-Korean manufacturers had a month to quickly forget, with Hyundai sales down 30% and Kia down 26,5%. The Hyundai Verna, Elantra Langdon and ix35 had their worst month of the year, and the Elantra Yuedong even had its worst sales ever. For Kia, the Sportage had its slowest selling month of the year, but more worryingly, the Forte, K3, K4, K5 and the recently launched KX3 small SUV had record low sales.… Continue Reading …

China car sales analysis May 2015

The cool-down of the Chinese auto market continues in May, with an increase of just 1,2% for the total market and 4% for locally produced cars, for a total of just over 1,5 million sales. Year-to-date, 8,6 million vehicles have been sold in China, of which 500.000 imports (not included in the figures below) and 8,1 million locally produced models. The Seasonally Adjusted Annualized Selling Rate (SAAR) for locally produced cars is up to 19,4 million units, from 19,1 million last month. May 2015 had 2 fewer sales days than the same month last year, which explains some of the decline.

Auto-sales-statistics-China-Volkswagen_Lamando-sedanThe shift towards SUVs and crossovers keeps becoming more apparent, as sales of sedan models were down 10% to just over 900,000 vehicles, while sales of SUVs were up a whopping 44% to almost 460.000 units. MPV sales were up 8% to 140.000 units. The slowdown occurred despite several brands cutting prices of across their line-up, most notably General Motors, Volkswagen, Ford and Hyundai. Despite these cuts, GM saw flat sales at Buick and a decline of 24% at Chevrolet, while Ford was down 8,7% and Hyundai slipped 12%. Volkswagen was also down 12%, as the brand is hurt by its failure to respond quickly to changing consumer preferences, offering just a line-up full of sedans but just one locally produced SUV, while Chinese automakers are launching a handful of new, low-priced SUVs every month.

Even premium brands were not immune to the downward trend in Chinese car sales. … Continue Reading …

China car sales analysis April 2015

Auto-sales-statistics-China-Leopaard_CS10-SUVBy now you’re used to my monthly updates on European car sales, and from now on I’ll be keeping you up-to-date on monthly car sales in China as well. You can also use the dropdown menu at the top right of this website to find brand-specific and model-specific auto sales in China of every model and brand since 2003. Keep in mind, the data I use is only comprised of locally produced models and excludes imported models.

After showing double-digit growth for decades, the growth of the Chinese car market seems to have slowed down in 2015. Mind you, this doesn’t indicate the market is shrinking, it merely indicates the growth rate is tempering to a more modest speed. However, after growing 13,55% in the first quarter of 2015, April growth has thawed to only 8,1%, almost half the growth rate of last April and a record low for the once-booming Chinese car market. When including imported models, the picture is even bleaker: +3,7% in April.

And while domestic carmakers have been losing market share at home for a few years now, April 2015 marks a slowdown of both imports and of foreign models locally built by the Joint Ventures the foreign carmakers have set up with their local partners. This phenomenon can be explained by two trends:… Continue Reading …