SMM News: in the first quarter of this year, China's imported car market once again "burst cold."
According to the data, in the first quarter, China imported a total of 230000 cars, down 15.9 percent from the same period last year, and the cumulative sales volume of imported cars was about 250000, down 12.8 percent from the same period last year.
In the report on the imported Automobile Market for the first quarter of 2019 released by Guoji Automobile, it is believed that the decline in imported car sales is mainly affected by the Spring Festival holiday, plus the overall car consumption is weak. Thus limiting the consumer demand of some consumers.
Dealer inventory pressure increases Lexus "fare increase" sales increase instead of falling
In terms of model structure, sales of the three major models fell sharply in the first quarter. Of these, car sales were about 100000, down 10.0% from a year earlier to about 140000, down 12.7% from a year earlier. MPVs fell the most among the three models, down 36.1% from a year earlier.
Compared with the overall sales of imported cars in the first quarter, imported car sales in March were about 92000, down just 2.4% from a year earlier, down 15.6% from the previous two months.
However, due to the double decline in supply and demand in the imported car market in the first quarter, the depth of industry inventory (total dealer inventory + dealer inventory) increased significantly. According to the report, the depth of industry inventory in February was 3.9 months, up from 0.4 months in the same period of 2017 and 2018, and the industry inventory pressure was on the high side. At the same time, March imported car dealers inventory depth of 1.5 months, in a reasonable inventory ceiling.
Generally speaking, the dealer inventory coefficient between 0.8 and 1.2 is in a reasonable range; if it is greater than 1.5, it means that the inventory is up to the alert level; if it is greater than 2.5, it means that the inventory is already too high and the dealer operation risk is very high.
In terms of brand structure, although Lexus, which insisted on not cutting prices, suffered a "Waterloo" in March, it still took the lead by a narrow margin in the first quarter, with BMW and Mercedes-Benz in second and third place, respectively.
From January to February this year, Lexus sales in China grew by a single digit. In March, Lexus sold about 12700 vehicles, down 14.2 per cent from a year earlier.
It is understood that the "explosion" of Lexus in March is related to its pricing strategy. With the announcement of the VAT tax rate cut in March, major imported car brands have also launched a new round of price cuts, including BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar Land Rover, Lincoln and other brands have announced official cuts. Among them, Mercedes-Benz reduced the price of the maximum range of 64000 yuan, BMW the highest drop of 60, 000 yuan.
Compared with the sharp price reduction of the above brands, Lexus only slightly reduced the price of models such as LC and LS, while the main models such as RX, ES, NX, and so on, were not in the scope of price reduction, and even increased their prices in order to raise their prices.
Judging from the ranking of imported car sales in the first quarter, the gap between the top three Lexus, BMW and Mercedes-Benz is not obvious. In the first quarter, Lexus, BMW and Mercedes-Benz sold about 37790, 37610 and 37560 vehicles, respectively, according to CNAC data. Lexus has a smaller lead.
However, in April, Lexus sales in China rose 46.9 per cent year-on-year to 21800 vehicles, a reversal. This is the first time Lexus has sold more than 20, 000 vehicles in China and more than 21300 in the United States in the same period. In the context of the downward and intensified competition in the car market, it remains to be seen whether Lexus, which carries cars with a fare increase, can continue to grow steadily in the Chinese market.
The proportion of imported new energy vehicles changing into "Scud" Tesla has increased by 8 percentage points.
At present, due to the stricter environmental protection policy requirements, imported models have a downward trend. The report shows that in China's imported car market, the 1.5 to 2.0L emission range continues to maintain the first largest emission range with a market share of 48.4%, up 2.3 percentage points from the same period in 2018. At the same time, as a result of the tariff reduction policy on imported cars, parallel imported models with large emissions rapidly increased imports, and the market share of more than 3.0L emissions rose to 15.5 percent, an increase of 3.4 percentage points over the same period in 2018.
In addition, in the first quarter of this year, the cumulative market share of imported C-class and D-class cars was 52.6%. Of these, Class C cars accounted for 38.8%, down 0.7 percentage points from 2018, maintaining the position of the largest segment of the imported car market, and the market share of Class B cars increased by 3.2 percentage points to 30.8% compared with 2018.
In this regard, Wang Cun, senior manager of the National Machine Automobile Marketing Department, said: "from the current development of the import market, the demand trend of luxury high-end cars will become more and more obvious in the future."
Although the imported car market as a whole is depressed, the sales of imported cars with new energy sources are quite impressive. Data show that in the first quarter of this year, China's new energy imported vehicle sales of about 13000, up 49.3% from the same period last year, accounting for 5.3% of the total imported car sales.
Among them, the sales of pure electric imported vehicles dominated by Tesla accounted for 83.8% of the sales of imported new energy vehicles, up 8% from 2018.
Although Tesla's performance in the Chinese market is bright enough, he is still losing money. Tesla's first-quarter results showed that Tesla's total revenue in the first quarter of this year was about $4.541 billion, up from $3.409 billion in the same period last year, but down 37 per cent from the previous quarter. Tesla posted a net loss of about $668 million in the first quarter of this year, with only about 63000 new cars delivered, down 30 per cent from the previous quarter.
In response, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the company is expected to still lose money in the second quarter, but will return to profit in the third quarter. Tesla estimated total production at 360000 to 400000 vehicles in 2019. If the Shanghai plant achieves mass production in the fourth quarter, it could reach 500000 vehicles in 2019.
The national aircraft automobile forecast is different from the abnormal decline in imports and sales as a result of the expected tariff reduction in the import car market in the second quarter of last year, and the policy and market environment tend to improve in the second quarter of this year. Coupled with the early implementation of the sixth National Emission Standard in some regions on July 1, it is expected that the supply and demand of imported cars in China is expected to achieve positive growth and reverse the decline of the imported car market in the first quarter. In addition, in the second half of this year, the policy effect of national tax cuts and fees will be gradually reflected, and the imported car market is expected to pick up further.