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BYD Takes #1, #2, & #4 In China Electric Car Sales

This article is also being published on EV Obsession and the EV Sales blogspot.

The Chinese market had more than 31,000 new EVs zooming the streets last month, a 95% increase over the same month last year, inline with the annual growth rate, with the EV market share firmly above the 1% barrier, at 1.3% of all new car sales.

At this rhythm, the Chinese EV market is headed for some 450,000 units and 1.5% market share by December 31st, which will not only beat North America and Europe as the top-selling market, both in volume and market share, but would also mean that China will absorb around half of the EVs delivered in 2016 globally.

All this while 95% of the market belongs to domestic brands. For the record, of the 5% left for foreign brands, 2% belong to Tesla, 1% to BMW, another 1% to Porsche, and the remaining 1% covers remaining automakers.

BYD once again won the model and manufacturer titles in August, but the winning model wasn’t the Tang SUV.

Here are August’s top 5 best-selling models:


#1 — BYD Qin: The 300 hp PHEV sedan registered 3,106 units, its best performance in a year, continuing its growing sales trend for the seventh time in a row and winning for the first time this year the “Monthly Best Seller” trophy. China’s most popular plug-in, with over 62,000 units zooming around, is still far from its all-time record (4,030 units in July 2015), but it will probably beat it by year end. Now, whether or not BYD has production resources for that is whole different question.


#2 — BYD Tang: The 500 hp “Chinese Cayenne” continues its success story in the EV market, but deliveries dropped 17% in August compared to the previous month, falling to 2,502 units, the second consecutive drop for BYD’s plug-in hybrid SUV. Was this due to production constraints or is the BYD flagship running out of customers?


#3 — Zotye Cloud EV: A major player last year, when it reached #5, Zotye’s small EV had its best performance of the year in August, with 2,116 units delivered. It is now looking to recover lost sales in order to reach last year’s heights, when it delivered 15,467 units of this tiny five-seater.


#4 – BYD e5: The electric sedan is to the BYD Qin the same as Sancho Panza is to Don Quixote (or sideshow Bob is to Krusty the Clown, for those unfamiliar with the Cervantes classic). Essentially, the BYD e5 is a simpler and less fancy Qin EV300, with whom it shares the same body and specs (218 hp, 300 kms range). It aims at being popular with fleets and people who like to drive electric but don’t want the world to know about it. In August, the e5 broke its individual sales record, delivering 1,961 units, all while beating its Qin EV300 brethren by some 500 units. Sideshow Bob bested Krusty.

Zhidou D2 EV

#5 – Zhidou D2 EV: The tiny two-seater reached the top 5 ranking once again in August, with the Zotye D2 securing the “Best Seller” status for its class, with 1,938 units moved, a 95% increase YoY.

Year-to-Date Ranking

In the podium positions there weren’t any changes, and we have to look down to the seventh spot to see some moves. The BYD e5 jumped three positions to #7, followed by the surprise of the month, the Zotye Cloud EV shooting six positions to #8. The Zotye Cloud EV is surely looking to reach the #6 Chery eQ, currently the best-selling city car.

The other two models climbing in the ranking were the Zotye E200 and BYD Qin EV300, both rising one position, to #14 and #15, respectively.

Worthy mentions included the Tesla Model X (delivering 150 units), with last month being the first where a significant number of X SUVs were delivered in China; and also the SAIC Roewe E50 all-electric car, finally selling in decent numbers (463 units in August). Let’s see if the growth will continue. Now that we are on this topic, if SAIC finally releases the MG Dynamo version of the car, I’ll take mine in white, with 100 hp and 200 kms range.

Looking at the manufacturer ranking, BYD is the perennial leader, with 33% market share, followed by BAIC (12%), which is cementing its dark horse status among Chinese EV makers, and leaving SAIC Roewe (8%) in third place behind by a sizeable distance.

Finally, looking at the breakdown between BEVs and PHEVs, unlike other markets where plug-in hybrids are mostly winning the upper hand, all-electric cars just continue improving their share, now at 69%, up 1% relative to last month.

China August YTD
1 BAIC E-Series EV 1,465 12,798
2 BAIC EU260 / D50 EV 1,601 6,347
3 BYD e5 1,961 7,069
4 BYD e6 1,512 11,649
5 BYD Qin 3,106 15,266
6 BYD Qin EV300 1,464 5,264
7 BYD Tang 2,502 24,668
8 Changan Eado EV 3,720
9 Chery eQ 1,051 8,227
10 Geely Emgrand / Dorsett EV 1,085 6,436
11 JAC i EV 4 541 6,601
12 JMC E100 856 6,603
13 Kandi K17 Cyclone 1,002 5,968
14 Lifan 330 EV 641 3,593
15 SAIC Roewe 550 PHEV / e550 1,446 12,222
16 Tesla Model S 559 3,711
17 Zhidou D1 EV 598 5,241
18 Zhidou D2 EV 1,938 4,286
19 Zotye Cloud EV 2,116 6,649
20 Zotye E200 1,547 5,460
TOTAL 31,380 192,738

Note: As you might have noticed, there were some readjustments to the ranking, motivated by an update on the Zhidou numbers.

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Written By

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.


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