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The China Sales Syndrome (Not a Meltdown By Any Means)

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There isn’t an automaker on earth that probably doesn’t have its China strategy in play.

That is going to be where they’re really going to sell cars. All other home markets pale by comparison.

Recently, LMC Automotive released its data for China light-vehicle manufacturing and sales for May. And it found that in terms of local light-vehicle production, it was 1.8-million units, a 9.7% increase from May 2013.

Sales of passenger cars was 1.4-million units, a 14.2% increase over the previous year.

Yes, they’re building—and selling—a lot of cars in China.

What was the best-selling car in China this past May by a fairly good margin?


According to LMC: the Volkswagen Lavida (essentially a Jetta). Its sales were 37,557. Second place had sales of 28,440. That is for the Volkswagen Santana.

In terms of total sales through May, VW is way ahead of its competitors, with sales of 1,280,192 units. Second place goes to Hyundai, at 473,271. Rounding out the top five are Toyota (382,036), Buick (380,216), and Nissan (351,072).

That Buick number is interesting. For the month of May, Buick sold 72,660 vehicles in China. How many in the U.S. for the same month? 19,975. And its year-to-date sales through May in the U.S. were 92,069, compared with 380,216 in China.

Yes, China is that important.

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