According to data from the Federation of passengers, demand at the high end of the market is good from January to May in 2023, but passenger car imports are only 280000, a year-on-year drop of 28%. Among them, car imports in May were 58400, down 18% from the same period last year.
As electric vehicles gradually erode the market share of fuel vehicles, the fuel vehicle market is undergoing great changes. Data show that the market for traditional fuel imported cars declined sharply from January to May 2023, with cumulative import sales of gasoline vehicles falling by 29% compared with the same period last year, while hybrid models represented by Japanese brands dropped by 46%. On the other hand, the performance of imported pure electric passenger cars is relatively strong, with a cumulative increase of 81% from January to May compared with the same period last year.
From January to May 2023, Japanese imported cars plummeted, plunging 53% to 54614 compared with the same period last year, while American imported cars fell 33%, Swedish imported cars dropped 31%, and German imported cars dropped 13%. Mexican imported cars, by contrast, increased by 28% year-on-year, making it the only country on the chart that achieved year-on-year growth.
In terms of brands, from January to May 2023, the top three imported brands were Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Lexus, with Mercedes-Benz growing 44 per cent year-on-year to 77621 vehicles and BMW up 68 per cent to 75523 vehicles. The overall performance of the two companies is relatively stable. In addition, including Porsche, Audi, Land Rover, Toyota, Volvo and other imported brands also achieved year-on-year growth.
By contrast, Lexus, which has had the strongest performance in previous years, has suffered a severe recent decline. Data show that in the first five months of this year, Lexus sales fell 24% year-on-year to 54131 vehicles, the only decline in the top three brands in the chart, industry people believe: "although Lexus is also in the transition to electrification, but it has not been widely recognized by the market."
In terms of specific models, the highest-selling model from January to May in 2023 is the BMW X5, with cumulative sales of 38536 vehicles. Although the BMW X5 has been made in China for a year, according to the data, the import volume of the car still increased by 144% compared with the same period last year. It was closely followed by Lexus es, with sales of 29008 vehicles, but down 23% from a year earlier, while Mercedes-Benz GLB, which ranked third in sales, showed a marked increase, rising 782% year-on-year to 27533 vehicles, the highest increase on the chart. In addition, although Audi Q7 sales were only 6361, it increased by 192% year-on-year, second only to the BMW X5 and Mercedes-Benz GLBs. It should be noted that the Lexus NX is down 47%, and the Lincoln-branded navigator is down 29%.
Cui Dongshu, secretary general of the passenger Association, pointed out that the trend of Chinese traditional luxury cars in 2023 is relatively weak, but the import and sales of the main German brands are better, among which the BMW X5 and Mercedes-Benz GLB are super strong.
Generally speaking, since 2023, China's imported car market has undergone very obvious changes. Data show that China's imported car sales reached 1.24 million in 2017, but have continued to decline since then, with sales falling to 880000 in 2022, an average annual decline of 10 per cent. The downward trend of imported car sales continues after 2023, which is still lower than the low point of the past decade. However, despite the decline in overall sales of imported cars, growth is particularly pronounced in the luxury car sector, and market share is also increasing. According to the data, the market share of luxury cars has risen from 79.8% in 2019 to 91% in 2023.
Cui Dongshu, secretary general of the Federation of passengers, pointed out that the core driving force for the growth of the import market is still the upgrading of the consumption of passenger cars, so compared with ordinary fuel vehicles, the overall trend of luxury cars and imported vehicles is very good, but the electrification transformation has changed the demand for fuel vehicles, and the demand for imported fuel vehicles has also declined significantly. With the increasing complexity of international relations, it is still necessary to plan in advance to establish more import models and maintain the reasonable scale of imported cars.
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