China car sales are up 21,5% in December 2015 to 2.389.313 units, which makes it the third year in a row that December is the biggest month of the year in China. However, we have to note that the volume was artificially boosted by the government temporary tax cut on small vehicles (engines smaller than 1,6 liters) in Q4. Still, the Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate of 23,7 million units was the highest of the year, and in fact the highest ever recorded in China. However, as the tax cut from 10% to 5% has been suspended on January 1st, we can expect a backfire effect in January.
Chinese brands have benefited the most from both the tax cut and the switch from sedans to crossovers, as the share of local brands has never been as high as in December, at more than 40%. It has to be noted that Chinese brands traditionally score better in the last month of the year compared to their foreign competitors. For example Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Co. or BAIC, has sold almost 17% of its total 2015 volume of its BAW, Huansu, Senova and Weiwang subbrands in December, scoring a nice 8th place in the brand ranking, compared to 15th overall. [Read more…]