China Electric Car Sales — BYD Tang Is #1 Again

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Post also published on EV Obsession and EV Sales.

BYD Qin is Back

The Chinese auto market had more than 26,000 new EVs zooming the streets last month, a 119% increase over the same month last year, which is in line with the annual growth rate. The EV market share is now around 0.9%.

Let’s take a look at May’s top 5 best-selling models in more detail:

Image by BYD

#1 — BYD Tang: The 500 hp Chinese Cayenne continues to rule the EV market. With 3,249 units, the SUV is the best-selling model for the 6th consecutive time, but somehow, we get the feeling that it could reach even higher sales levels if BYD wasn’t production constrained….

Image by Pooi Wang Chan (some rights reserved)
Photo by Pooi Wang Chan (some rights reserved)

#2 — BYD Qin: The most common plug-in car in China, with over 50,000 units registered, the Qin received recently a 100% electric version (207 units last month), but the model’s bread and butter is still the 300 hp PHEV version, with 2,705 units sold in May. This sort of “BYD Corolla” is experiencing a resurgence as of late, growing for the 4th month in a row. Will it reach its all-time record (4,030 units, July ’15) soon?

Kandi Panda EV K11
Photo by Kandi

#3 — Kandi Panda EV: One of the best-selling models of 2015, this city car has adapted to China’s new incentives and just returned in April. Last month, it was already the best-selling all-electric model, and was third in the overall plug-in car ranking, with 2,598 units. At this point, Kandi seems to be the only automaker able to reach similar sales levels as BYD’s best-selling models.

SAIC Roewe e550
Photo by SAIC

#4 — SAIC Roewe e550: Shangai-based SAIC expects to replicate BYD Qin success with this one, the recently re-named e550, which is the plug-in hybrid version of its 550 ICE best-seller. For the moment, it has no reason to complain, as it just beat its monthly sales record, with 2,198 units sold in May. It seems we will see it on this list frequently.

BAIC E-Series
Image by BAIC

#5 — BAIC E-Series EV: Sales of BAIC’s B-Class electric hatch are a mish-mash of good and bad results: On the one hand, YTD sales are up 102% YoY. On the other hand, comparing last month’s sales with that of May ‘15, numbers are up only 14%. Production constraints? I suspect it is so, now that the Beijing-based automaker is turning its attention to the larger (and more profitable) EU260 sedan.

Year-to-Date Ranking

While the podium positions have remained unchanged, we now have a new customer in the 4th position, with the BYD Qin returning to its old form (2,912 units, best result since last August) and displacing the JAC I EV 4/5, which moved to 5th. Another model has made a thunderous comeback as well: The Kandi Panda EV jumped to #9. A fourth BYD rounded out the top 10, the e5 sedan, which rose to #10 thanks to a record performance of 1,172 units.

Outside the top 10, we can see the Changan Eado EV (721 units) jump to #13, while on the other hand, the Tesla Model S dropped to #15 — it looks like a rather discrete positioning for the imported car, until you realize that 96% of the Chinese EV market belongs to domestic automakers, and of the remaining 4%, half of that belongs to Tesla. It’s also worth noting that the second-best-selling foreign automaker model is the locally made Volvo S60L PHEV, which is in #25, with 394 units.

In #19, we see the return of the Zhidou EV, a tiny city car that, like the Kandi model, has adapted to the new Chinese EV incentives (more range and power required) and is back on the market.

Looking at the manufacturers ranking, BYD is the firm leader (37%, down 3%), followed in 2nd place by BAIC (12%, down 1%) and JAC (9%, down 2%) in 3rd.

China May YTD May Market Share YTD Market Share
BYD Tang 3,249 15,615 12% 18%
BAIC E-Series EV 1,714 8,712 6% 10%
BYD e6 1,683 7,579 6% 8%
BYD Qin 2,912 7,334 11% 8%
JAC i EV 4/5 1,076 6,513 4% 7%
SAIC Roewe 550 PHEV / e550 2,198 6,382 8% 7%
JMC E100 1,300 4,527 5% 5%
Chery eQ 1,269 4,384 5% 5%
Kandi K11 Panda EV 2,598 3,127 10% 4%
BYD e5 1,172 2,676 4% 3%
Geely Emgrand / Dorsett EV 1,000 2,461 4% 3%
Zotye Cloud EV 406 2,301 2% 3%
Changan Eado EV 721 2,163 3% 2%
JAC i EV6S 554 1,858 2% 2%
Tesla Model S (estimate) 300 1,811 1% 2%
Zotye E200 853 1,602 3% 2%
BAIC EU260 / D50 EV 769 1,561 3% 2%
GAC Trumpchi GA5 REV 570 1,399 2% 2%
Zhidou EV 1,071 1,071 4% 1%
Venucia e30 / Morning Wind 274 1,052 1% 1%
TOTAL 26,578 89,210 100% 100%

*Qin = 2,705 PHEV + 207 BEV

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José Pontes

Always interested in the auto industry, particularly in electric cars, Jose has been overviewed the sales evolution of plug-ins on the EV Sales blog, allowing him to gain an expert view on where EVs are right now and where they are headed in the future. The EV Sales blog has become a go-to source for people interested in electric car sales around the world. Extending that work and expertise, Jose is also market analyst on EV-Volumes and works with the European Alternative Fuels Observatory on EV sales matters.

José Pontes has 447 posts and counting. See all posts by José Pontes

11 thoughts on “China Electric Car Sales — BYD Tang Is #1 Again

  • The article title doesn’t match the data – the BYD Tang is #1, not the BYD Qin.

    • Sorry, that was my slip and I don’t know how it happened, but corrected.

  • The Chinese sales numbers dwarf the numbers in most of the rest of the world. Have to keep an eye on this!

    • Yeah, they will learn a lot fast on how and what works.
      And once they did that they will look for export markets..
      If the incumbents fear Tesla now, I don’t know what they are able to field against the Chinese.
      Probably nothing.

      • The Chinese would rather buy a BMW. They just resignate after some time and buy some PHEV rather than no car at all.

        Chinese cars are at least 10years behind anyways. EV or not, that won’t change over night.

        • We’re always told that the Chinese are 10 years behind on everything, but we used to be told that about the Japanese and Koreans too. Maybe our standards aren’t as reality-based as we think.

  • Haha their names are hilarious “Kandi K11 Panda ” , “Chery EQ” , “Morning Wind”

  • Do they all use the same plug?

  • BYD’s policy of naming cars after Chinese dynasties is shortsighted. There haven’t been many, still less unproblematuc ones. They can still use Han, Ming and Sung, but the Yuan were Mongol invaders, the Ching were Manchus and failed to preserve China’s territorial integrity. The Shang are prestigious but basically mythical – it’s a culture not a proper dynasty.

  • Tang looks like exactly the type of car I want Tesla to come out with.

    • The US needs a Tang type vehicle.

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