Auto-sales-statistics-China-Volkswagen_Gran_Santana-hatchback

China car sales analysis Full Year 2015

Auto-sales-statistics-China-Volkswagen_Gran_Santana-hatchbackCar sales in China increased 8,7% in 2015 to top 20 million units for the first time ever, as the tax break on small vehicles in Q4 helped to double the 4,3% increase in the first three quarters, after an unprecedented three consecutive months of declines from June to August. This was a result of the slowing economy and a stock market crisis, which has taken away a potential 500.000 car sales, according to analysts from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. Car purchase limits in 7 major cities due to congestion and subsequent air quality concerns have also cost a potential 2 million vehicle sales. As a result, 2015 is the second consecutive year that the Chines car market grows slower than the year before, and with tax break having ended on December 31st, this year may prove to be a difficult year again, unless the government pulls another subsidy rabbit out of their hat.

As you’ll know when you’ve followed the Chinese car market on this blog, SUVs are the main reason for this boost, as Chinese car buyers have shied away from sedans. Sales of crossovers and SUVs soared 52% to 6,22 million units, and MPVs increased 10% to 2,11 million sales, while sedans slumped 5,3% to 11,72 million sales.

The share of foreign brands in the Chinese market has  shrunk by 4,2 percentage points, a landslide change in such a huge market, as it means that foreign car brands only added 338.000 units of volume last year for an increase of 2,8%, while the local Chinese automakers added over 1,45 million units of volume for an increase of 23,3%. The share of local brands has floated between 28% and 34,5% in the last decade, but in 2015 it suddenly jumped to 38,1%, undoubtedly helped by the government tax cut on small vehicles in Q4, as the share was above 39% in each of the last three months of the year and even above 40% in December.

% local brands % foreign brands
2015 38,1% 61,9%
2014 33,9% 66,1%
2013 34,5% 65,5%
2012 31,8% 68,2%
2011 31,8% 68,2%
2010 33,4% 66,6%
2009 31,0% 69,0%
2008 30,3% 69,7%
2007 29,5% 70,5%
2006 28,9% 71,1%
2005 28,5% 71,5%

 

Auto-sales-statistics-China-Honda_Greiz-sedanThanks to improving relations between China and Japan after tensions from a dispute over an island group a year before, the Japanese brands have made the biggest inroads in China, improving 8,5% while the US brands improved their sales in China by just 3,2%. However, that’s still better than the European and South-Korean brands, as the Europeans added just 1,67% and the Koreans even lost volume in China last year, down 4,9%.

 

Keep in mind, that this “local vs. foreign brands” comparison is becoming somewhat distorted by foreign automakers having launched their own local brands in recent years, of which Wuling and Baojun are the most successful as local brands from the SAIC-GM Joint Venture. So although they’re considered local brands, they’re technically speaking just as local (or foreign) as Chevrolet.

Auto-sales-statistics-China-Wuling_Hongguang-MPVWell, you could say that at least Chevrolet also sells and produces models that have been developed for and sold in other continents, while Wuling and Baojun models are, for now, developed for the local Chinese car market. But if you really want to make things confusing, you could counter again by saying that some Wuling minivans are exported and sold under the Chevrolet brand in certain African and South-American markets.

China 2015 car brand ranking

For the top-3 brands, China remains the biggest single market in the world in 2015. VW and Hyundai get more than 20% of their worldwide volume from China and Buick is for over 80% dependent on China, where it sells more than 4,5 times as many cars as in its home market US.

While Volkswagen holds on to the brand crown with a comfortable margin of selling 2,5 times as much as its nearest competitor, the German brand has lost 1,5% of market share and almost 50.000 units of volume, or just about its entire annual volume in a country like Sweden or The Netherlands, despite a last-month surge of +32%. VW still increases its lead over the #2 as Hyundai is down 5% and 57.000 units of volume, which is more than the brand sells in a country like Italy or Spain.

Auto-sales-statistics-China-Changan_CS15-SUVBuick is up 12,9% and passes Toyota to grab the third place on the podium, as both brands break the 1 million sales for the first time. But the real stars are in #5 and #6 with Honda shooting up 27% and 2 places to become the second best selling Japanese brand in China and Changan up almost a third and 4 places. If both these brands keep growing like this, they’ll hit the million in 2016 as well, which would make Changan the first ever Chinese automaker to hit that volume in its home market.

Nissan and Ford are both kicked down two places, as the former loses 0,3 percentage points of market share despite improving 37% and 38% respectively in December. Nonetheless, both also break their sales records in China. Wuling, the MPV and minibus maker of SAIC-GM loses 9,6% of its volume and is under threat from Haval for second-best Chinese brand. Haval, the SUV brand from Great Wall, is up more than 54% in 2015, adding more than 233.000 units of volume, which is more than the entire annual sales of a brand like Mazda.

Auto-sales-statistics-China-Chevrolet_Sail-sedanChevrolet is, like in Europe, the biggest loser of all brands, with sales down 130.000 units and a full percentage point of market share, and dropping out of the top-10. However, General Motors as a whole will be very pleased with its performance in China, as its Baojun brand is by far the biggest winner in 2015, with sales up almost threefold from 181.000 in 2014 to over half a million last year, thanks to 2 successful model launches in the past 18 months.

In the luxury race, Audi holds on to its title despite sales down 0,6%. BMW grows 3,2% but the big hit comes from Mercedes-Benz, improving a whopping 83% from about half of BMW volume in 2014 to just 32.000 units behind. As a result, China has now become Mercedes’ biggest market, ahead of the United States and Germany. For Volvo, China already was its biggest market, and like Cadillac and Infiniti, it benefits greatly from the production start of new models in China.

Auto-sales-statistics-China-Yingzhi-Enranger_737-MPVWe welcome a few new brands to the ranking in 2015, of which Enranger is the most successful so far. The brand from engine maker Weichai Auto has launched two models this year and sold over 20.000 units in just six months time, putting it way ahead of full-year sales of Qoros, last year’s newcomer. Huasong has launched a single model, the Huasong7 MPV, and sales picked up in November, selling over 4.000 units in each of the last two months.

Jeep isn’t technically a newcomer to China, as it has imported all of its models until now, but production of the Cherokee has started in November, and already reached 5.800 units in December. That makes it by far the best selling Jeep in China on a monthly basis and I think it can get even higher than that. Jeep will also start local production of the Renegade this year and the successor to the Patriot and Compass next year. The latter has been the best selling import model overall in China last year, so local production (and therefore lower prices because of the 25% import duties) should boost it even more.

 

Model 2015 2014 Change 2015 share 2014 share 2014 pos.
1 Volkswagen 2.666.360 2.713.351 -1,7% 13,2% 14,7% 1
2 Hyundai 1.062.925 1.120.048 -5,1% 5,3% 6,1% 2
3 Buick 1.035.372 917.017 12,9% 5,1% 5,0% 4
4 Toyota 1.010.178 956.281 5,6% 5,0% 5,2% 3
5 Honda 980.662 772.717 26,9% 4,9% 4,2% 7
6 Changan 937.980 710.276 32,1% 4,6% 3,9% 10
7 Nissan 891.361 859.490 3,7% 4,4% 4,7% 5
8 Ford 870.652 801.603 8,6% 4,3% 4,4% 6
9 Wuling 678.938 751.028 -9,6% 3,4% 4,1% 9
10 Haval 662.475 429.328 54,3% 3,3% 2,3% 16
11 Chevrolet 636.518 767.001 -17,0% 3,2% 4,2% 8
12 Kia 616.096 646.036 -4,6% 3,1% 3,5% 11
13 Dongfeng 537.097 437.259 22,8% 2,7% 2,4% 15
14 Geely 532.384 425.773 25,0% 2,6% 2,3% 17
15 BAIC 524.022 283.708 84,7% 2,6% 1,5% 20
16 Audi 509.998 513.000 -0,6% 2,5% 2,8% 12
17 Baojun 502.872 181.586 176,9% 2,5% 1,0% 28
18 BYD 452.488 437.725 3,4% 2,2% 2,4% 14
19 Chery 408.733 455.379 -10,2% 2,0% 2,5% 13
20 Peugeot 406.738 384.005 5,9% 2,0% 2,1% 18
21 JAC 346.175 195.799 76,8% 1,7% 1,1% 26
22 Citroën 298.080 320.011 -6,9% 1,5% 1,7% 19
23 BMW 287.000 278.195 3,2% 1,4% 1,5% 22
24 Skoda 279.462 282.390 -1,0% 1,4% 1,5% 21
25 Mercedes-Benz 255.270 139.508 83,0% 1,3% 0,8% 32
26 Mazda 226.926 204.652 10,9% 1,1% 1,1% 25
27 FAW 225.841 272.985 -17,3% 1,1% 1,5% 23
28 Zotye 223.327 149.925 49,0% 1,1% 0,8% 30
29 Suzuki 199.210 262.209 -24,0% 1,0% 1,4% 24
30 GAC 190.123 116.758 62,8% 0,9% 0,6% 35
31 Haima 180.678 176.982 2,1% 0,9% 1,0% 29
32 Brilliance 161.691 137.939 17,2% 0,8% 0,7% 33
33 Lifan 133.140 144.302 -7,7% 0,7% 0,8% 31
34 Venucia 123.772 114.035 8,5% 0,6% 0,6% 36
35 SAIC Roewe 99.639 127.801 -22,0% 0,5% 0,7% 34
36 Great Wall 90.755 183.158 -50,4% 0,4% 1,0% 27
37 Hawtai 71.172 53.017 34,2% 0,4% 0,3% 41
38 SAIC MG 70.377 52.217 34,8% 0,3% 0,3% 42
39 Soueast 67.993 54.376 25,0% 0,3% 0,3% 40
40 Volvo 66.994 18.957 253,4% 0,3% 0,1% 50
41 Mitsubishi 62.469 73.257 -14,7% 0,3% 0,4% 37
42 Luxgen 60.315 52.203 15,5% 0,3% 0,3% 43
43 Cadillac 53.086 37.256 42,5% 0,3% 0,2% 45
44 Karry 50.104 5.104 881,7% 0,2% 0,0% 60
45 Leopaard 45.027 21.160 112,8% 0,2% 0,1% 49
46 Landwind 43.099 34.002 26,8% 0,2% 0,2% 46
47 Yema 40.783 12.326 230,9% 0,2% 0,1% 53
48 Jinbei 32.244 15.729 105,0% 0,2% 0,1% 51
49 Fiat 31.481 68.090 -53,8% 0,2% 0,4% 38
50 Infiniti 25.467 2.440 943,7% 0,1% 0,0% 63
51 Changhe 24.871 304 8081,3% 0,1% 0,0% 65
52 Gonow 23.763 45.522 -47,8% 0,1% 0,2% 44
53 DS 21.451 26.008 -17,5% 0,1% 0,1% 48
54 Enranger (Yingzhi) 20.805 0 New 0,1% 0,0% 69
55 Jiangling 19.655 26.855 -26,8% 0,1% 0,1% 47
56 Zhongxing ZX Auto 17.525 10.670 64,2% 0,1% 0,1% 55
57 Qoros 14.247 6.867 107,5% 0,1% 0,0% 58
58 SAIC Maxus 13.985 3.588 289,8% 0,1% 0,0% 62
59 Youngman Lotus 11.581 63.031 -81,6% 0,1% 0,3% 39
60 Huasong 9.996 0 New 0,0% 0,0% 70
61 Jiangnan 9.188 13.700 -32,9% 0,0% 0,1% 52
62 Jeep 8.005 0 New 0,0% 0,0% 67
63 Jonway 6.786 6.812 -0,4% 0,0% 0,0% 59
64 Foton 6.509 7.197 -9,6% 0,0% 0,0% 57
65 Zhi Dou 6.164 0 New 0,0% 0,0% 68
66 Huanghai 4.829 7.616 -36,6% 0,0% 0,0% 56
67 Everus 3.521 4.547 -22,6% 0,0% 0,0% 61
68 Denza 2.888 132 2087,9% 0,0% 0,0% 66
69 DongfengHonda 2.354 11.014 -78,6% 0,0% 0,1% 54
70 Hafei 19 665 -97,1% 0,0% 0,0% 64

Chinese car model ranking January – December 2015

[excel_table fname=”China-auto-sales-2015-January-December”]

  1. Very good year for Chinese brands, this one can only be better…
    I’m glad for Volvo’s success, finally very good year for them everywhere.
    DS only 21 000 ?? Big disappointment for me, every model was pretty much unsuccessful. PSA needs to distance them much more from Peugeot and Citroen ….
    Renault’s factory should be finished in 2016, so they should appear in 2016 ranking.

  2. Hey love this summary, I’d like to use some parts in my final thesis, but I need to know where you collect the data from? I can’t find you citing any sources. Please let me know,
    Eric

    1. Hi Eric,

      This data is supplied by the CAAM, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.
      Good luck on your thesis!

      1. Perfect, I’ve been working with data from CA am before. Thank you, love your side!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.