China 2021. Market Grows 3.2%, While Wuling Keeps Overperforming

China vehicle market
The 2021 Volkswagen Touareg R

China’s car market in 2021 rises by 3.2% with 25.65 million sales, reporting a very strong Q1, but reported a drop in sales all other quarters. Wuling reports the best performance this year, gaining 34.3%.

Market Trend

The Chinese car market this year kept recovering effectively, but reported positive performance only in Q1, with the sharpest drop reported in Q3.

The market has slowed down since 2016, after having achieved 30% of global sales. The future evolution is clearly driven more by real solutions regarding the two main issues created by the last decade’s market boom: pollution, and traffic congestion.

The Chinese government has shifted its attention from total volume to engine mix and is progressively creating incentives for small and low emission vehicles while supporting investment in the AFVs, mainly electric. In this direction, in January 2017 it has been increased the duties for vehicles with engine displacements over 1.6 liters (from 5% to 7.5%). During 2017, sales have been 28.2 million, up 0.9%.

However, in 2018, new light-vehicle sales have progressively lost steam, following the deceleration of the domestic consumer demand. Indeed, The market interrupted the positive trend of recent years losing for the first time since the ’90s and closing 2018 with 27.5 million units sold (-3.7%). In 2019 the Full-year ended at 25.7 million, down 6.5% from the previous year

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic sales fell in  2020. In fact, 24,730,045 units have been sold, reporting a decline of 4.1% compared to 2019.

In 2021 the year started extremely positively for the Chinese market due to extremely low sales levels in Q1 2020, in fact, in Q1 6.03 million units have been sold, reporting a 61.7% increase in sales, while in Q2 sales remained almost flat, reporting a 1.3% decrease in sales with 6.12 million units.

In Q3 sales dropped quickly, losing 14.2% sales with 5.82 million units, and lost 5.5% in Q4 with 7.69 million sales.

Indeed, Full-Year sales for 2021 have been 25.65 million, reporting a 3.2% increase compared to 2020.

China quarterly sales variation
China quarterly sales variation

Brand-wise, this year the leader Volkswagen (-17.6%) lost 2% market share and registered the worst performance in the leaderboard, followed by Toyota (+4.5%), which gained 0.2% share. Wuling gained 1.5% share, increasing sales by 34.3%, reporting the best performance.  Honda fell in 4th place while losing 6.7%, followed by Changan which gained 10.1%.

Geely reached 6th place by losing 7.6%, followed by Nissan (-12.5%) -down 3 spots- and Buick which lost 10.5% sales. Closing the leaderboard we have BMW -up 2 spots- reporting the best performance in the leaderboard by gaining 6.7% and Mercedes -down 1 spot-, losing 3.4%.

The most sold vehicle this year has been the Nissan Sylphy (-7.8%) with 500,150 units sold, followed by the Wuling Mini Truck, which lost 1.5% registering 494,412 new sales this year. The Wuling Hongguang Mini EV (+257.6%) closes the podium and reports 426,484 new units sold.

Tables with sales figures

In the tables below we report sales for all Brands, top 10 Manufacturers Group and top 10 Models.

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