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China Electric Car Sales — BAIC Shines Again

The Chinese market had more than 32,000 new electric cars zooming the streets in October, with the market up a mere 3% over the previous month, but still, up 46% over the same month last year.

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

The Chinese market had more than 32,000 new electric cars zooming the streets in October, with the market up a mere 3% over the previous month, but still, up 46% over the same month last year.

With the market share continuing to rise steadily, now at around 1.4%, the Chinese electric car market is headed for some 400,000 units by December 31st, which will not only beat North America and Europe as major selling markets, both in volume and market share, but would also mean that China will absorb around half of the electric cars delivered in 2016.

In October, BYD managed to place only one model among the top 5 — the veteran e6 — compared to two models from Beijing Auto, with BAIC repeating its Gold & Bronze medals of September. The Chery eQ filled its predecessor’s big shoes and collected a top 5 position as well, as did the Zhidou D1 EV.

BYD’s recent performances have been particularly disappointing, as the brand seems to have stopped growing, with October being the fifth consecutive month of 10,000-something performances. That is in stark contrast to Beijing Auto, which in the same period jumped from 4,116 units to 7,279. Can it be that BAIC will put BYD’s domination to an end soon?

Here are last month’s top 5 best-selling models:


#1 — BAIC EU260: Beijing Auto’s new poster child for success, the EU260 (the “260” is its range in kilometers) has hit record heights once again, with 4,580 cars delivered, a new high for the year in China and a new volume record for any BAIC model. Sitting at the heart of the plug-in sedan market, with a price of 255,000 yuan (+/- $37,000), this model seems set to be a force to be reckoned with in the future. For reference, the fancier BYD Qin EV300 starts at 260,000 yuan, while the more utilitarian BYD e5 costs 240,000 yuan.


#2 — BYD e6: Launched back in 2010, this BYD model is currently the “granddaddy” of Chinese EVs, being a popular model among fleet companies in China and abroad. It must have been one of those fleet deals that allowed the e6 to surge with deliveries reaching 3,118 cars in October, making it the best-selling BYD last month. With a massive 82 kWh battery and 400 kilometers of range, expect the oldtimer to make the top 5 again.


#3 — BAIC E-Series EV: This Mercedes B-Class inspired BAIC hatchback has been the brand’s bread-and-butter model over the years, and despite the recent success of its EU260 sibling, BAIC had enough production capacity to keep the E-Series running at high voltage, with 2,395 cars delivered in October. That meant a repeat of BAIC’s September feat of having two models on the podium, something that must be sounding alarms at BYD headquarters.

Zhidou D2 EV

#4 — Zhidou D1 EV: The tiny two-seater is becoming a regular here, repeating its 4th place finish again in October, with the D1 securing the best-seller status of its class, with 2,308 cars delivered, a 98% increase YoY.


#5 — Chery eQ: This rather funky little hatchback is the spiritual successor of the QQ EV, a basic model that once epitomized what EVs were like in China, winning the best-seller trophy three years in a row, from 2011 to 2013. The eQ is a significant departure from its predecessor, as now it can be considered an actual car, with a 22 kWh battery, 200 kms range, a 56 hp engine, and suitable equipment (airbags, ABS, A/C, and back radar). The Chery eQ can be considered the Mitsubishi i-MiEV of China … and at 160,000 yuan (+/- $23,000) before incentives, it ought to. But it certainly sees more sales than the i-MiEV. Last month it reached 2,130 sales, its best result to date.

Year-to-Date Ranking – It’s BYD vs BAIC all the way

The podium remained unchanged, but the following positions saw the Roewe e550 stumble two positions to #6, benefitting the now #4 BYD e6 and #5 BAIC EU260, two models that broke their personal records last month (something that has a special meaning for the 6-year-old BYD, which some time ago had 1,544 units delivered … during the whole year of 2013).

Other models from the two current Chinese powerhouses also climbed in the ranking, with the BYD Qin EV300 (2,124 units, new personal best) jumping three positions to #10 while the BAIC EX200 climbed one position to #19. However, the 300 units the EX200 delivered were somewhat disappointing, considering the great potential this compact crossover has.

A final mention is warranted for the Zotye E200 city car, which by registering a record 1,655 units jumped four positions to #14, becoming the one of the surprises of the month.

Looking at the manufacturer ranking, BYD is the perennial leader, with 33% market share, followed by BAIC (14%, up 1%), which is cementing its dark horse status among the Chinese EV makers. Zotye (8%, up 1%) replaces SAIC Roewe (7%, down 1%) in 3rd place.

Finally, looking at the breakdown between BEVs and PHEVs, unlike other markets where plug-in hybrids are winning the upper hand, all-electric cars just continue improving their share, now at 72%, up 2% compared to last month.

China October YTD
1 BAIC E-Series EV 2,395 17,852
2 BAIC EU260 / D50 EV 4,580 14,747
3 BAIC EX200 300 4,205
4 BYD e5 1,943 11,106
5 BYD e6 3,118 16,008
6 BYD Qin 1,538 19,929
7 BYD Qin EV300 2,124 8,922
8 BYD Tang 1,529 28,317
9 Changan Eado EV 151 4,119
10 Chery eQ 2,130 10,857
11 Geely Emgrand / Dorsett EV 0 7,359
12 JAC i EV 4 614 8,270
13 JMC E100 1,007 8,358
14 Kandi K17 Cyclone 0 6,104
15 SAIC Roewe 550 PHEV / e550 527 13,600
16 Tesla Model S 1,085 6,964
17 Zhidou D1 EV 2,308 8,787
18 Zhidou D2 EV 1,002 7,141
19 Zotye Cloud EV 2,053 9,778
20 Zotye E200 1,655 7,441
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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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