Friday, February 13, 2009

Interesting Moves in Auto Market Share

Here's a chart put together by showing one-month market share changes in China. While a single month's results should not be interpreted as a trend, there are a few interesting observations to make here.

The most interesting detail I can see is that three of the top six market share gainers are the only three private firms on the list: BYD, Great Wall and Geely. The remaining firms are SOE-foreign JVs and a handful of SOE Chinese brands (Chery, Brilliance, Hafei, Tianjin and Changan).

Given Beijing's support for its state-owned automakers, and its determination to see consolidation in this industry, the continued success of the private firms is fascinating. One of the objectives of my research is to understand the story behind why these guys continue to slug it out with the SOEs, and why they think they can succeed.

Although there's no way for me to know this for certain, it is possible that BYD's bump is related to Shenzhen's announcement of a fleet purchase of BYD's new plug-in hybrid.

Also, keeping in mind that these are full-year 2008 numbers compared to January of 2009, Hyundai's increase is a little surprising given that 2008's numbers likely contain huge fleet purchases of Hyundais for taxis in Beijing.

As for Toyota's drop, that's surprising given the popularity of Toyota in China. While there's no love lost between China and Japan, Chinese consumers tend to place Toyota at the top in terms of quality.

Any other ideas on what may have driven these one-month changes in market share?

UPDATE: Despite its having lost a sliver of market share during January, Chery announced that it had the biggest January in its 12-year history, working its people overtime during the Spring Festival and moving over 35,000 vehicles. They attribute the big increase to the tax breaks given to purchasers of small cars from January 20.