According to data released by the Federation of passengers on October 11, retail sales in the passenger car market in September 2023 were 2.018 million, up 5.0 per cent from a year earlier and 5.0 per cent from a month earlier, while cumulative retail sales from January to September in 2023 were 15.233 million, up 2.4 per cent from a year earlier.
Retail sales in the car market were stable in September from a month earlier, and were about 9 per cent below their all-time high of 2.19 million in September 2017, after hitting an all-time high in August, the Federation said. In September, the quarterly sprint-driven promotion of the car market was significantly stronger, the promotion of fuel vehicles and new energy vehicles increased month-on-month, and the consumer demand for car purchases was released.
Subdivided into major national brands, self-brand retail sales were 1.07 million in September, up 20 per cent from a year earlier, 7.9 per cent month-on-month, and 53.4 per cent market share, an increase of 6.4 per cent over the same period last year. At present, the development of independent brands continues to improve. With the increase in the market share of domestic car companies such as BYD, Geely, Changan, Chery and Great Wall, the growth rate of independent brands during the year is strong, and the market share has further expanded. From January to September this year, the cumulative share has risen to 51%, an increase of 4.9% over the same period last year. Retail sales of mainstream joint venture brands were 670000, down 12 per cent from the same period last year and up 4 per cent from the previous year, of which the retail share of German brands was 20.2 per cent, down 0.9 per cent from the same period last year, 16.6 per cent for Japanese brands, down 1.1 per cent from the same period last year, and 7.3 per cent for American brands, down 3.3 per cent year-on-year.
According to the ranking of retail sales, the top 10 car companies in September were BYD, FAW-Volkswagen, Geely Automobile, Changan Automobile, SAIC Volkswagen, Chery Automobile, Guangzhou Automobile Toyota, SAIC General Motors, FAW Toyota and Great Wall Motor. The ranking of the top five car companies was the same as last month. Independent brand companies BYD Automobile, Geely Automobile and Changan Automobile all achieved year-on-year growth. Volkswagen's two joint venture brands showed different performance, with FAW-Volkswagen up 3.2% year-on-year. SAIC-Volkswagen is down 6.1% from the same period last year, and it is also the only brand among the top five car companies to show a year-on-year decline.
Specifically, BYD led a group of independent joint venture brands with sales of 258000 vehicles in September, making it once again the top seller of passenger cars in China. FAW-Volkswagen ranked second, with retail sales of 170000 vehicles in September, up 3.2% from a year earlier, a significant gap with BYD.
Geely and Changan continued to lead other joint venture brands except FAW-Volkswagen in September, with sales of 143000 and 125000 respectively, up 31.0 per cent and 18.7 per cent respectively from a year earlier. In addition, as one of the outstanding dark horses in the past two years, Chery also ranked in the top 10, rising from ninth in August to sixth in September, with sales up 17.9 per cent to 85000 vehicles from a year earlier. In addition to the above-mentioned car companies, Great Wall also made the top 10, but remained at the bottom, up 24.1 per cent year-on-year to 78000.
Taking a comprehensive view of the whole list, the five independent brands on the list in September all achieved year-on-year growth. Looking at the joint venture brands, some of the mainstream joint venture brands in the September list are still at a disadvantage in transformation. Among them, German brand FAW-Volkswagen slightly increased 3.2 per cent to 170000 vehicles compared with the same period last year, while SAIC Volkswagen, as a "brother enterprise", fell to fifth on the list, down 6.1 per cent to 115000 vehicles.
In fact, Volkswagen's sales in China have been in a severe moment of decline in the past two years. Volkswagen delivered 3.1845 million new cars in China in 2022, down 3.6 per cent from a year earlier, according to data. In the first half of this year, 1.4519 million vehicles were delivered in China, down 1.2% from the same period last year, making it the only single market in the world where Volkswagen sales declined. Fundamentally, Automotive Industry concern believes that the failure of Volkswagen's joint venture brands in China is related to the rapid rise of the domestic new energy market, but its performance in the new energy sector is well-behaved. the market of Volkswagen fuel vehicles began to shrink under the impact of new energy vehicles, which also led to Volkswagen's weak performance in China, while its lost market share was gradually being absorbed by its own brands. The industry believes that under the dual pressure of electrified transformation and global market competition, Volkswagen can only strive to make changes and speed up the pace of electrified transformation in order to reduce the possibility of falling behind.
Of course, the decline in sales of German brands is only a microcosm of joint venture brands. The performance of Japanese car companies is also different. Among them, Guangzhou Auto Toyota ranked seventh, down 1.3 per cent from a year earlier to 83000 vehicles, but fortunately FAW Toyota grew in September, up 8.6 per cent to 78000 vehicles, ranking ninth on the list. Guangzhou Auto Honda, Dongfeng Honda and Dongfeng Nissan all fell out of the top 10. Dongfeng's daily production and sales in September were 61300, down 23.91 per cent from a year earlier, according to official figures. Compared with Dongfeng Nissan's dismal market performance in September, Honda's joint venture brand in China improved in September, but also fell out of the top 10. Data show that Dongfeng Honda sold 48200 vehicles in September, up 19.91% from a year earlier, while Guangzhou Auto Honda sold 61400 vehicles, up 0.97% from a year earlier.
As for American brands, they can only rely on SAIC GM and Tesla in the Chinese market, but Tesla failed to make the top 10 in September, while SAIC's joint venture brand also survived, with sales falling 19.4% year-on-year to 81000 vehicles in September, the highest year-on-year decline on the list.
Overall, the manufacturers' sales performance in September is still independent brands, and the reason why independent brands can beat German-Japanese and other joint venture brands is mainly due to the rapid growth of the new energy vehicle market. According to the CAC data, retail sales of new energy vehicles in September were 746000, up 22.1% from a year earlier, 4.2% from a month earlier, and the market penetration rate was 36.9%. Among them, the penetration rate of new energy vehicles among independent brands accounted for 59.4%. The penetration rate of new energy vehicles in mainstream joint venture brands is only 6.2%.
The Federation believes that due to the influence of the market environment, domestic passenger car retail sales were only 1.84 million in October last year, lower than the retail sales of 1.87 million in August 2022, and the seasonal consumption pattern is abnormal, so retail sales in October and November this year have great potential for year-on-year growth. It is expected that the year-end market acceleration period will begin in mid-October, and the car market growth environment in October is better.
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