After two months of small declines, the Chinese car market returns to a modest growth with sales up 3,2% to just under 1,79 million units. However, there have been reports that the June sales figures are artificially boosted by heavy discounts as 2017 sales threatened to lag behind 2016. Again, crossovers and SUVs are the only type of vehicle to improve year-over-year, with a 16% increase to 741.400 sales. Meanwhile, sedan sales were down 4,3% to 883.000 and MPV sales dropped 3,7% to 163.700 units. Within those sales figures, electric cars and PHEVs also showed a nice improvement of 33% in June to 59.000 units, of which 48.000 EVs and 11.000 PHEVs. For the first six months, sales of New Energy Vehicles totaled 195.000 (160.000 EV and 35.000 PHEV), an improvement of 14% due to a slow first quarter when the government reduced tax incentives on this type of vehicle. New Energy Vehicle sales represented less than 1,5 percent of China’s total new-vehicle volume in the first six months, but the Beijing government holds on to its target of 6,7% in 2020 and as much as 20% by 2025, helped by a carbon credit scheme that will be imposed in 2018.
The Seasonally Adjusted Annualized selling Rate in June stood at 23,2 million, up from the last two months and the third-highest figure of the year so far. The share of domestic automakers was similar to that of May at 40% as all the growth in the market came from domestic brands while sales of import brand cars were stable. Year-to-date, the share of domestic brands now stands at 42,25%. First half car sales in China now total just over 10,9 million units, an increase of 3% on the first half of 2016. However, average transaction prices dropped 4% over the first half of 2017.
And again we have a new leader topping the Chinese car sales charts: for the first time ever, the Buick Excelle GT is China’s best selling car, beating the Haval H6 and traditional leader Wuling Hongguang, now down to third. The Volkswagen Lavida, the last sedan to have topped the Chinese charts, is down into fifth place and even with its Gran Lavida hatchback/station wagon version included cannot top the Excelle GT’s figures for the month. The last time a Buick ranked first in China was in April 2012 when the old generation Buick Excelle, based on a Daewoo platform, topped the charts. The Toyota Corolla is up to 6th place, behind the Nissan Sylphy and the Lavida sedan, while the GAC Trumpchi GS4 is the #2 best selling crossover ahead of the all-new Baojun 510 and Volkswagen Tiguan, making it 4 crossovers in the top-9, of which 3 domestic models. The 510 breaks the 30.000 sales milestone for the first time, but greatly cannibalizes its larger sibling 560, which is down to its lowest volume since its launch and out of the top-100. In 12th place, the Geely Boyue celebrates 7 months of 20.000+ sales, while in 34th places the Geely Emgrand GS breaks its monthly sales record at over 12.000 sales. The Honda Civic in 16th place also breaks its monthly volume record at over 17.000 sales but falls short of becoming the brand’s best seller as the XR-V (#12) outsold it by 1.500 units, the small crossover was just 600 sales off its best-ever volume, hit last April. Behind the aforementioned Baojun 510 and Roewe RX5, the best selling newcomers (<12 months) are the Chevrolet Cavalier (#37), Geely Vision X6 (#43), Mercedes-Benz GLC (#57) and Baojun 310 (#59).
Market leader Volkswagen outgrows the market for the second consecutive month, and does so convincingly with a 13% gain to almost a quarter million sales. Its individual models show great fluctuations, with triple digit gains for the Touran (#53, +206%) and Lamando (#15, +103%) and high double digit gains for the Sportsvan (#131, +85%), Tiguan (#9, +79%), Magotan (#17, +67%) and Bora (#27, +45%), compared to double digit decreases for the Gran Lavida (#182, -55%), Santana (#20, -38%), Jetta (#10, -28%) and Lavida (#5, -13%). The Teramont SUV (sold as the Atlas in the US) climbs to #87, closing in on the Toyota Highlander (#75) and Ford Edge (#66). Sister brand Audi reduces its loss of locally produced models to just -0,7%, although this is still its 7th straight monthly loss. However, including imports, Audi sales are up by 1,7% and the brand reclaims its position as best selling luxury brand despite Mercedes-Benz‘ sales increase of 28% and BMW‘s 12% improvement. In terms of locally produced models, Mercedes-Benz was up 25% and BMW just 1,5% as a dip in deliveries of the 5-Series L (#105, -63%) was barely offset by the success of the brand’s small car range, led by the new generation X1 (#72, +85%) and the recently launched 1-Series sedan (#152). Volvo enjoyed booming growth at +38% but remains far behind its German rivals, while Jaguar appears to have found its stride even further behind at around 1.700 sales, a number that will significantly increase later this year when the brands starts local production of the E-pace crossover. Sister brand Land Rover is up 50% on a surprisingly weak month last year.
No sign of improvement for the struggling PSA brands, as Citroën is down by a worrying 69% to its lowest monthly figure in more than 10 years, outsold for the second month in a row (and the second time ever) by Volvo. Peugeot is down “just” 32%, which is its second-best performance of the year so far. Its crossovers are starting to gain traction, especially the 5008 (#155) which has become the brand’s second best selling model behind the 4008 (#143). For DS, June is actually its least-bad month of the first half of the year with sales down “just” 50%, and its 503 sales are the third-best month of 2017. Still embarassing figures considering the brand’s ambitions and its 5-model line-up. French rival Renault takes a breather as sales of its two locally produced crossovers dip to 5.000 units, the lowest since last October. After 3 months of declines, Skoda recovers with a 16,5% increase which can be fully attributed to the newly launched Kodiaq crossover, already the brand’s #3 seller in its third month of sales (#106).
Buick continues to struggle with its fourth decline of the year at -3,4%, as the ancient Excelle has finally hit the end of the road this year and the new generation Regal (#193, -46%) wasn’t available yet. The GL8 MPV (#36, +71%) shows great strength, but the newly launched Velite 5 (#385), a rebadged Chevrolet Volt, has sold just 356 units in its first three months of sales. Sister brand Chevrolet enjoys its third consecutive month of gains with a 10,4% improvement thanks to the launch of the Equinox crossover (#104). Surprisingly, the Captiva (#184, +111%), which was supposed to be replaced by the Equinox and which sold just 27 units in the last 4 months, makes a comeback with 2.525 sales in June. Sales of the Lova RV station wagon (#382, -80%) have all but come to an end. GM’s luxury brand Cadillac improved 60% again and stays around the 14.000 monthly sales level as three of its four nameplates improved on last June while the ATS-L (#107, +127%) was just 12 sales off its best month, last December. The CT6 (#277, +187%) also enjoyed its second-best month ever at just over 1.000 sales.
Ford celebrates its second month of recovery after a four-month decline due to the tax increase on cars with small engines at the beginning of this year. The Blue Oval gained 8% thanks to the Mondeo (#78, +88%) and Taurus (#216, +168%) sedans as well as the EcoSport (#169, +49%) and Kuga (#51, +32%) crossovers. The Everest SUV (#231, +260%) had its highest volume in 18 months. After quickly surging into contention when it finally started local production, Jeep appears to have hit its peak as sales are down 13% or more on the previous three months. Compared to a year ago, the first month after expanding its portfolio to two models, Jeep’s three models currently produced in China were still up by 65%, but the new Compass clearly cannibalizes sales of the Cherokee, or perhaps the latter is just starting to age a bit.
The Japanese continue to benefit from the struggles of the South-Koreans and show nice gains in China, as they occupied the two bottom steps of the brands podium behind VW. Honda once again leading the way with a 24% gain thanks to the new generation Civic (#16, +146%) and the launch of its two large SUVs Avancier (#80) and UR-V (#119). Toyota is not far behind with a gain of 20% thanks to the Corolla (#6, +19%) and RAV4 (#38, +50%) and the launch of the Vios FS (#126). Nissan sales are stable as losses of the Sunny (#194, -72%) and Lannia (#179, -65%) sedans are offset by gains of the Murano SUV (#153, +175%) and Teana sedan (#42, +128%). Of the smaller brands, Mitsubishi is the fastest grower at +35% as the Outlander (#83) continues to perform well, while Mazda hits its lowest growth rate in 11 months at “just” 11%. The new generation CX-5 (#92, +49%) reclaims the title of the brand’s best selling crossover from the CX-4 (#108, -21%) for the first time this year. Suzuki remains stuck in contraction mode wiht another third of its volume disappearing despite a facelift for the S-Cross. Infiniti faces a second month of single-digit declines as its range of two models is in need of expansion if the brand wants to break through in China. Rival Acura celebrates its first anniversary of local production and has sold a total of 12.444 units of the CDX small crossover (#276) in that period, averaging just over 1.000 per month, similar to its June figure.
There’s no sign of improvement in the fate of Hyundai and Kia, as anti South-Korean sentiment remains widespread in China following the diplomatic spat in which South-Korea allowed the placement of US weapons on its soil, which put China in their range. Several South-Korean companies and brands have been boycotted and the two car brands have been struggling for four months now. Hyundai sales fell by 64% in June as none of its models improved and even the still-fresh Celesta (#282) dipped to its lowest figure since its launch four months ago. Sister brand Kia fared only slightly better at -58% as its losses remained mostly limited to its crossovers KX3 (#320, -89%) and KX5 (#289, -90%) as well its best seller K3 sedan (#86, -48%), while some of its sedan models even improved, most notably the low-volume Forte (#272, +700%). A few years ago the Japanese brands faced a similar plight when there was a diplomatic dispute between China and Japan over a few islands. It took the brands a long time to recover from the losses during that period, indicating that the Hyundai and Kia face an uphill battle even when tensions relax. Customers may have already flocked to domestic brands which have greatly improved their quality and design, and which undercut the Koreans in price.
Overall, the domestic brands are the winners in June, but the love is not shared equally. For the third month in a row, Geely is the best selling Chinese automaker, placing it at #5 overall thanks to a 74% increase. The continued strong performance of its newly launched models has even convinced the company to elevate its forecast for the year from 1 million sales to 1,1 million. With a 1% loss, once mighty Changan is relegated to #7 overall and #2 domestic in June and only holds on to the year-to-date domestic brand leadership by the skin of its teeth. Baojun continues its winning streak to outsell Haval for the second consecutive month as Great Wall‘s SUV brand is down 9%, its third back-to-back monthly loss. Guangzhou Auto’s GAC Trumpchi brand surges 52% to outsell the struggling Dongfeng brand for the third month in a row. Dongfeng is down almost 10% as its new model offensive has come to a halt and customers are still being confused by a flock of brands and sub-brands, the difference between which remains sometimes unclear as well. In fact, Dongfeng just launched another (sub-)brand: Junfeng, dedicated to EVs. Another former fast-grower that has hit a speed bump is Beijing Automotive (BAIC), which sees its decline accelerate for the fourth month in a row, to -35% in June. Of the 24 (!) different models it sold, only 2 sold more than 4.000 units: the Huansu S3 (#95, -1,3%) and Huansu H3 (#116, -41%). BYD also continues to struggle, with its fifth month of declines this year, of which four with double digits. Surprisingly, it are the brand’s crossovers that take the biggest hit with the Yuan (#211, -69%), S7 (#200, -60%) and Tang (#235, -55%) all down with large double digits. The exception is the Song (#46, +89%), which has become the brand’s best seller this month.
On the other end of the scale, Chery improves 29% thanks to its launches in the past 12 months: the Cowin sub-brand and the flagship crossover Tiggo 7 (#110). SAIC Roewe also maintains its momentum as the brand celebrates a full year of monthly double-ups or better. This coincides with the first anniversary of the RX5 crossover (#25), but the brand is also boosted by the recently launched i6 sedan (#89). Sister brand MG keeps a slower growth curve at +38% despite also having launched a crossover in recent months, but the ZS (#91) greatly cannibalizes the GS crossover (#266, -75%).
We welcome a new brand this month: Wey, the long-awaited premium SUV brand of Great Wall, that’s positioned above Haval and will share some platforms but will have its own distribution network. Its first model is the Wey VV7, a mid-sized crossover that starts with a promising 3.166 sales in its first month, putting the newly found brand immediately right between Hanteng and Borgward, the latter of which had an off-month in June. Perhaps because of the increased competition by Wey? We’ll keep an eye on both brands in the coming months. Best selling all-new brand is still SWM Motor, which just launched its second model, the X3 crossover, and #2 new brand is now Bisu, thanks to a successful launch of the T5 crossover, its third model.
China brands ranking June 2017
Please note these figures are for locally produced models only, they exclude imported cars, which make up only a small portion of sales in China.
Get all of the latest sales figures right to your inbox!
Privacy & Cookies Policy
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.