China: BAIC EU-Series Hit 13,000 Sales In March, Tesla Model 3 Scored 5,000 — CleanTechnica EV Sales Report

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March saw the Chinese plug-in electric vehicle market surpass 110,000 units, up 86% year over year (YoY). Meanwhile, the mainstream market was down 7% in March, allowing the March plug-in vehicle (PEV) share to reach 5.8%. That pulls the PEV market share to 5.1%, which is already well above the 2018 result (4.2%).

With all this continued growth, we could see sales double this year, surpassing the 2 million mark. That could be some 60% of all global PEV sales in 2019.

With symbolic export numbers, the domestic market is more than enough to absorb current Chinese production, and foreign OEMs are starting to tackle the seismic changes in the country, dragged into electrification by the new PEV quotas. Foreign brands’ total share is now at 8% of the market, much more than it was in previous years.

Of this small cake, 3 percentage points belong to Volkswagen, 2 percentage points below to Tesla, and the remaining manufacturers share the remaining 3 percentage points.

In March, the headlining news were the BAIC EU-Series hitting #1, with 13,000 units delivered. Another big story was the Tesla Model 3 reaching the top 5, with some 5,300 deliveries.

Here are March’s 5 best selling models:

#1 – BAIC EU-Series: After the record 12,561 units of December, allowing it to be that month’s best seller, BAIC’s electric sedan is back on top, with a record 12,983 units being delivered in March. That beats its BYD e5 nemesis, as you can see. The revised design and improved specs (215 hp, 416 km / 260 mi NEDC range, $32,500) allows it to remain a popular choice and resist the BYD Blitzkrieg (the EC-Series can’t say the same…). This sedan seems to be Beijing Auto’s main bet for 2019.

#2 – BYD Yuan EV: We all knew that BYD’s baby crossover was destined for success, and with a new 58 kWh version now being delivered, the small crossover hit a near-record 10,021 deliveries in March. BYD’s star player is living up to expectations, eating everybody’s lunch on the way. With a 30,000-long waiting list, demand is no problem, depending more on BYD’s ability/willingness to make the car in large volumes (note that the Tang is more profitable). With unrivaled specs (58 kWh battery, 410 km / 255 mi NEDC range, 163 hp motor) and an attractive price ($25,000), this is shaping up to be this year’s strongest candidate for the best seller title.

#3 – BYD e5: BYD’s bread and butter electric sedan, a favorite among taxi drivers, registered 8,083 units in March. The oak tree of the BYD lineup has competitive specs for the price (61 kWh, 405 km / 253 mi NEDC range, 218 hp, $34,600). With a new, attractive design (finally!), the nameplate is set to continue its brilliant work as the lesser known team member of an All-Stars-rich Shenzhen Warriors team.

#4 – Tesla Model 3: The much-anticipated landing of the midsize sedan in China happened with a bang, as it did elsewhere. Tesla delivered some 5,300 units, the best result ever for a foreign model in China, allowing it to reach the 4th spot in March, another first for any foreign model in this market. At this point, the Tesla nameplate is far from the domination it has shown in North America and Europe, but it seems to be the only foreigner able to run at the same pace as some of the local best sellers. It’s like LeBron James, undisputed king in the Eastern Conference, but when in the Western Conference … it’s a different ball game.

#5 – BYD Tang PHEV: The second-generation Tang continues to sell like hotcakes, landing 4,763 registrations in March. Sales should continue strong for BYD’s successful flagship, although the just landed Tang BEV should prevent it from hitting new sales records. As for the current Tang PHEV’s specs, BYD’s midsize SUV saw the battery grow to 24 kWh, resulting in an increased 100 km / 62 mi NEDC range (around 70 km / 44 mi real-world range). In the power department, things have stayed the same, but with 500 hp and 0–100 km/h in less than 5 secs, one can’t really say it was ever underpowered. All of this is available for CNY 279,800 / $40,816.

Rank Model March 2019 2019 PEV Share
1 BYD Yuan EV 10,021 24,446 9.0%
2 BAIC EU-Series 12,983 19,343 7.1%
3 BYD Tang PHEV 4,763 14,887 5.5%
4 BYD e5 8,083 14,527 5.3%
5 Geely Emgrand EV 4,207 10,677 3.9%
6 SAIC Baojun E100 961 10,284 3.8%
7 Chery eQ 2,838 9,370 3.4%
8 SAIC Roewe Ei5 EV 3,219 8,587 3.2%
9 Great Wall Ora R1 EV 4,002 7,488 2.8%
10 JMC E200 2,295 7,284 2.7%
11 JAC iEV E-Series 2,698 6,613 2.4%
12 BYD Qin PHEV 2,051 6,520 2.4%
13 Great Wall Ora iQ5 EV 3,029 6,508 2.4%
14 Changan Eado EV 3,426 5,407 2.0%
15 Geely Emgrand GSE EV 1,518 5,360 2.0%
16 Tesla Model 3 (est.) 5,300 5,300 2.0%
17 VW Passat GTE 2,731 5,079 1.9%
18 BYD Song PHEV 1,034 4,272 1.6%
19 Weltmeister EX5 EV 1,637 3,926 1.4%
20 Hawtai Santa Fe xEV 1,856 3,904 1.4%
+ Others 39,455 91,891 33.8%
= TOTAL 118,107 271,673 100.0%

2019 Ranking

The market is as dynamic as ever, with plenty of models scoring record results, like the BAIC EU-Series registering a record 12,983 units, allowing it to jump to the 2nd spot. Both Great Wall Ora models continued their seemingly unstoppable rise, with the #13 Great Wall Ora iQ5 EV crossover scoring 3,029 deliveries. The Smart small R1 EV is now #9, thanks to a record 4,002 deliveries.

Another interesting feature is that we now have two foreign nameplates in the top 20, with the Tesla Model 3 landing directly in #16 and the VW Passat GTE now at #17, thanks to a record 2,731 deliveries.

The Nio ES8 dropped from the top 20, to #21, but it is still the best selling full-size model in the PEV ranking.

Looking at the manufacturer ranking, BYD (24%) is a comfortable leader, thanks to the success of the Yuan and Tang (and the e5 at #4, and Qin at #12, and Song at #18 … it’s a true BYD fest). Below it, SAIC (8%, down 4%) holds onto the #2 spot, just ahead of BAIC (7%, up 2%), which re-joined the podium at the loss of falling Geely (6%, down 2%). Great Wall (5%) is rising from obscurity to a relevant spot, #5.

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Cool New Kids

March was rich in significant landings. Besides the aforementioned Tesla Model 3, SAIC launched the export-minded MG eZS EV (158 units) compact crossover, set to land late this year in Europe, while BYD has launched two new models:

BYD Tang EV — The long anticipated BEV version of the flagship BYD has finally landed, and beyond the stylish looks, this new model bears some impressive, almost Tesla-like, specs: 83 kWh battery, 0–100 km/h in 4.5 secs, 482 hp electric motor, 500 km / 313 mi NEDC range, and fast charging at 80 kW (well, this last one isn’t very Tesla-like, but moving on…). The 7-seat SUV had 1,594 units delivered in its landing month, so it seems that the EV version of the Tang looks poised to replicate the PHEV version’s success.

BYD Song Max PHEV — The first volume 7-seat plug-in hybrid MPV in China delivered just 66 units in its debut month, but don’t let that fool you. BYD is launching this one, and soon its BEV sibling, to be sold by the thousands, as usual. Specs are top notch, with a 18 kWh battery allowing some 80 km / 50 mi NEDC range, and 296 hp. It is a family-friendly vehicle with styling in line with the current dragon-face theme in current BYD vehicles. This is another piece of the BYD puzzle to continue stealing sales from their gas/diesel competitors.

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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 468 posts and counting. See all posts by José Pontes