By on May 14, 2012


It seems like the bigger the areas I cover (March worldwide roundup anyone?) or the longer the rankings I talk about (Top 265 best-selling models in the USA over Q1 2012, Top 318 best-selling models in Europe in 2011 and Top 100 best-selling models in the World in 2011) the happier you are.

And that’s what I want.

You. Happy.

So I have more and more data in store for you. Don’t worry, when you think I will have exhausted every possible avenue I will still have more. Because that’s what I do all day, counting cars. So you can count on me.

And to follow-up on Bertel’s appetizer earlier today I give you the Top 265 best-selling models in China in April. Just another month in Chinaworld: two new brands launched, 10 new models, and we’re only talking about the cars produced locally…

Not interested? Fine. There is more data (told you) for 159 additional countries for you to visit in my blog, all one by one. Click. The link. You will love it.

Back to China.

And first two clarifications: we will be talking about passenger cars here (and not commercial vehicles which are the subject of another ranking) and only cars produced locally as imports data is still a bit patchy in China.

Now that it finally managed to be the most popular passenger car in the country after 4 years finishing at #2 (See the Full Year 2011 Top 250 here), the Buick Excelle is not letting go: in April it is holding the pole position for the third time in a row and the 6th time in the last 9 months with 23,179 sales.

In 2nd place we find the VW Jetta. Bland you will say. Maybe so. But the interesting fact about the VW Jetta sold in China is that it is still based on the 1984 second generation of the model! You can recognize the original body behind many layers of make-up… In spite of approaching the ripe age of 30, it still sells 21,909 units in April…

On the third step of the Chinese podium this month we find the Ford Focus boosted by the arrival of the new generation and up a massive 14 spots compared to March with 21,793 sales.

Volkswagen is still the dominant brand in China and manages to place 3 models in the Top 5 with the Passat at #4 and the Lavida at #5 and 4 models in the Top 7 with the Bora at #7…

The other interesting development this month is the arrival of the Hyundai Verna (aka Accent) in the Top 10 at #8 thanks to a record 18,786 sales, making it two Hyundais in the Top 10 with the Elantra Yuedong at #9.

The VW Magotan hits its highest ranking ever at #11 with 16,188 units.

Yes, you got this right. There is no ‘truly’ Chinese model in the Top 10 even though all cars above are manufactured by joint-ventures with Chinese manufacturers. In fact I wrote an article about the very fact that Chinese cars don’t seem to be selling well at home

The best-selling Chinese model at home this month is the Great Wall Haval H3/H5/H6 which is a little unfair because it is in fact 3 quite distinct models but no split sales are available. It ranks #13 overall with 15,747 sales.

The #2 Chinese is also composed of two models: it is the FAW Xiali N3/N5 at #15 overall with 15,476 units.

The Chery QQ is getting old but still selling reasonably well at #20 overall with 12,423 sales.

In transition between the old and new generations, the BYD F3, best-selling model in China overall in 2009 and 2010, is down to #45 at 8,216 units.

Notice also the excellent performance of the Audi A6 L up to #30 with 13,675 sales, double the amount it sold in Germany over the same period (and the German ones are not the eLongated version sold in China)!

Now you’ve read so far, it means you want to know about these two new brands I talked about earlier.

Getting right into it in a few, but first a bit of background.

The latest trend in the world of Chinese cars is the launch of new, allegedly low-cost brands. In April 2011, Guangzhou-Honda launched the new brand Li Nian with the S1 based on the previous generation City. It got a mild welcome with a peak at #89 last August.

Last August as well, General Motors launched its own Chinese low-cost brand, Baojun. Looking like a truly new car, the Baojun 630 received a much warmer welcome: it peaked at #31 last February, and after falling to #83 last month it is back up to #53 in April.

But wait there’s more. In April we welcome not one but two new low-cost brands in the market, with their first model appearing for the first time in the ranking… Ciimo, Dongfeng-Honda’s low-cost attempt, has launched the Ciimo Si Ming based on the previous generation Honda Civic and it sells 3,022 units for a respectable 118th position.

Dongfeng-Nissan released the Venucia D50 based on the previous generation Nissan Tiida sedan, landing at #122 with 2,845 sales. These two monthly figures are so far the strongest starts for Chinese low-cost models: the Li Nian S1 debuted at 2,084 units and the Baojun 630 at 869.

That’s it for the new brands. I still find it quite exhilarating that new brands keep popping up in this market. It must have felt like this in Europe at the start of the 20th century. Even though the majority of these brands may not survive for long there is no denying it is a fascinating time to follow car sales in China.

Especially when you realize that there are 8 other all-new models making their first appearance in the ranking in April…

We also welcome the Gleagle GX7 at #135 with 2,307 sales, the now locally produced Mercedes GLK at #169 with 1,344 units…

…the Beijing E-Series, a Mercedes B-Class clone, at #183 with 949 sales…

…the Dongfeng Fengshan A60 at #191 with 700 units…

…the Chery Cowin 5 at #194 with 589 sales…

…the Great Wall Haval M4, probably the most attractive of these newcomers, at #197 with 532 units…

…the GAC Trumpchi GS5 with a ‘je-ne-sais-quoi’ from an imaginary Subaru Tribeca at #200 with 484 sales…

…and the Gonow Aoosed GX5 at #245 with 85 units. Wait. What? Seriously? Is that the name of the car? I can see the proud owner boasting about how tough its Gonow is. Sounds suspiciously like some hidden, unknown part of my body that I wouldn’t want anyone to know about. But hey, I’m sure it sounds great in Chinese!

Now don’t lie to me. You didn’t know brands like ‘Beijing’, ‘GAC’ and ‘Gonow’ even existed? Don’t panic, it also hurt my feelings to know that somewhere in the world there were cars allowed to be driven on the streets without me knowing not only the model but the brand… But that’s why I’m here! To push the boundaries of ignorance. Nothing less.

China’s best-selling and worst-selling cars, April 2012


Looks familiar? The Shanghai Englon TX4 only sold 6 units in April though…

Top 10 worst-selling cars in China – April 2012:

Pos Model Apr 2012 Pos 2011
1 Buick Excelle 23,179 99,557 1 1
2 VW Jetta 21,909 75,084 6 4
3 Ford Focus 21,793 59,400 12 9
4 VW Passat 21,357 90,107 2 12
5 VW Lavida 20,000 77,977 4 2
6 Chevrolet Sail 19,860 82,111 3 6
7 VW Bora 19,836 72,418 7 5
8 Hyundai Verna 18,786 67,275 8 21
9 Hyundai Elantra Yuedong 17,523 62,266 11 8
10 Honda CR-V 17,417 54,074 18 14
Pos Model Apr 2012 Pos 2011
256 Riich G6 32 110 262 n/a
257 Haima 3 24 99 264 228
258 BAW (Beijing) Luba 17 166 257 237
259 Great Wall Coolbear 17 17 270 n/a
260 Nissan Murano 12 123 259 243
261 Hawtai B11 11 80 267 211
262 Riich M1 9 467 240 187
263 Tianqi Meiya SUV 9 30 269 247
264 Chery Eastar 6 224 253 234
265 Shanghai Englon TX4 6 506 238 238

You can check the entire Top 265 best-selling models in China in April 2012 here

I think you have a few things to say at your next pub meal don’t you?

Until next week…

Data for this post was sourced on, many thanks to DC from for sharing, translating and helping compile the data.

Matt Gasnier, based in Sydney, Australia, runs a blog named Best Selling Cars, dedicated to counting cars all over the world.

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4 Comments on “Best Selling Cars Around The Globe: Discover The Top 265 Most Popular Cars In China...”

  • avatar

    The move from small player to big player for Ford seems to be happening with the introduction of the Focus. Last time I visited Shanghai, a couple years back, there seemed to be a lot more Mazdas on the road than Fords (not that there were that many Mazdas).

  • avatar

    So with the Focus selling quite well, does this mean Ford are finally establishing a toe-hold in the Chinese market?

  • avatar

    With the proliferation of brands and models, China reminds me of the early days of the auto industry. By 1920, there were hundreds of defunct brands.

  • avatar

    @Ronnie the problem with that logic is that many of these brands here in China were forced to be made by the Chinese government. Whereas those in the USA were started by people who were hoping to be a success.

    For the USA there was no government mandate for them to make a car, so no preferential loans, not reduction of regulations etc to get the brands made.

    Still there is a dizzying number of brands here. I’m surprised the Chery Cowin doesn’t sell more. Having seen the vehicle the only thing I can think of is either they lack a good dealer structure or there is something much better at a similiar price. It’s a relatively big car. Then again I’ve yet to figure out why Chinese buy vehicles other than “everyone has one so I should too” or “I have to show how much money I make”

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