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China Electric Car Sales — 28% Share Of Auto Sales In July!

Plugin vehicles continue to be all the rage in the Chinese auto market. Plugins got back into the fast lane in July, growing 112% year over year (YoY). They scored over 505,000 registrations last month. Plugin hybrids (PHEVs) surged 174% year over year (YoY). They reached a record 137,000 registrations in July. Their growth even beat the growth of BEVs, which was a paltry 96%….

Share-wise, despite July showing another strong performance, plugin vehicles hit “only” 27% market share, since the overall passenger car market surged 30%. That surge was thanks to the start of the tax cut on most fossil fuel models (cars with an engine size lower than 2000 cc and priced below 300,000 CNY, or $44,000, got their registration tax reduced by half).

Full electrics (BEVs) alone accounted for 20% of the country’s auto sales last month! This kept the 2022 share at 26% (20% BEV).

If electrification continues at this pace, this market will be BEV-based by 2025! Imagine that: the largest automotive market in the world being BEV-based in three years time!

Another measure of the importance of this market is the fact that China alone represented some 60% of global plugin registrations last month.

Looking at the July best sellers, the highlight is the BYD Song beating the rest of the competition, including the little Wuling Mini EV!

Here’s more info and context on last month’s top 5:

#1 — BYD Song Plus (BEV+PHEV)

BYD is replicating the Model Y’s success with its own midsized SUV, and its ramp-up is still underway. The PHEV version got a record 32,367 registrations in July, while the BEV hit a near-record 5,417 registrations. This earned it the July Best Seller title, with its 37,784 registrations slightly above the Wuling HongGuang Mini EV’s total. The Song ramp-up might start to slow down, so we might be close to finding the model’s coasting speed (probably above 35,000 units/month). This should be enough to keep its Tesla Model Y arch rival in the rearview mirror.

#2 — Wuling HongGuang Mini EV

With 37,128 registrations last month, the tiny four-seater had to settle with the runner-up spot this time. Still, with the little EV now cruising at around 35,000+ units per month, it has become a trendsetter and a disruptive force in urban mobility. It has racked up plenty of big trophies in the cutthroat Chinese market along the way. And while many deride it for “not really being a car,” the truth is that it managed to create a whole new vehicle category, as proven by the large number of Wuling Mini EV copycat/inspired models being launched in this market. The added bonus is that the people buying it (mostly females, mostly under 35 years old) are usually a hard-to-capture audience. The model and its success mark a new chapter in EV mobility.

#3 — BYD Qin Plus (BEV+PHEV)

With a record 30,093 registrations last month, BYD’s midsize sedan earned itself a podium presence, with both versions scoring record performances (18,817 units for the PHEV, 11,276 for the BEV). It beat its most direct rivals, with the category runner-up, the Dongfeng E-Series, ending just in #16 (only 7,583 registrations). With increased internal competition (the BYD Destroyer 05 PHEV just joined the top 20 and the BYD Seal BEV is said to be a candidate for the best seller trophy in 2023), one wonders for how long the dynasty model will remain immune to BYD’s sales cannibalism.

#4 — BYD Han (BEV+PHEV) 

BYD’s flagship sedan secured 25,270 registrations in July, which is the result of a near-record 12,727 registrations of the BEV version and a record 12,543 registrations of the PHEV version. This is the result of the market launch of a slight facelift and revised specs. The upgrade includes a new 85 kWh battery for the BEV version and up to 38 kWh batteries for the PHEVs, making both versions truly class-leading when we look at their pricing ($33,000 for the PHEV version and $41,000 for the BEV — less than a base Tesla Model 3). This sales surge means the full size BYD is casting a long shadow over its smaller sibling Qin Plus (as if the midsizer needed more internal competition — see comment above). With the revised Han said to have tens of thousands of orders waiting to be fulfilled, expect the big sedan to stay among the top selling models during the coming months, even if that means a higher ratio of PHEVs in its mix. In fact, with average sales now set at over 200,000 units/year, expect it to win the full size category — not only in China, but also globally.

#5 — BYD Dolphin

With a record 20,493 registrations last month, the small BYD jumped into the top 5. With less production constraint on the BYD side, it seems BYD now has space to increase the output of its cheaper model. So, one wonders just how high the compact hatchback-shaped-as-MPV will end. Around 35,000 units per month? The Dolphin has the potential to become a trendsetter in many overseas markets, being the right size and price to do so. This model and its success might kickstart a new chapter in EV mobility in many countries. Depending on BYD’s production capabilities/model focus, of course….

Looking at the rest of the best seller table, there were several record performances, Besides the aforementioned ones (BYD Song, BYD Qin Plus, BYD Dolphin), below them we can see BYD flexing its muscles further.

In addition to placing 5 models in the top 6, the Shenzhen automaker also had the #6 BYD Yuan Plus score a record 19,239 registrations, its sixth record performance in a row (proving that the compact crossover’s production ramp-up is far from over and that it could reach over 25,000 units/month soon). This also completes BYD’s lineup of sales champs in every category (Han in the full size category; Song as midsize king; Yuan leading the compact category; and Dolphin #1 in the subcompact category). And let’s not forget the upcoming BYD Seagull, the automaker’s future representative in the city EV category.

And a new star is rising in the BYD all-star lineup, with the BYD Destroyer 05 PHEV already showing up on the table, in #17….

But enough about BYD — other models also deserve a mention, especially the ones with record scores. There’s the #7 GAC Aion Y, with 12,530 registrations, and the VW ID.4, which ended in #9 with a record 11,414 registrations. This was the second record score in a row for the German crossover, so it seems Volkswagen has gotten its act together in China and is now looking to recover lost ground, something confirmed by the fact that the larger VW ID.6 crossover (4,832 units) and the compact ID.3 (4,611) also had record months.

In the second half of the table, we see the Dongfeng Fengshen E-Series scoring another record month, with 7,583 registrations, confirming that Dongfeng had also joined the EV bandwagon. In #19 we have the new Leap Motor C11, with the startup midsize SUV debuting on the best seller table, thanks to a record 6,582 units. This should be another model to watch, as Leap Motor is one of the Chinese startups with high potential.

Outside the top 20, a mention goes out to Geely’s rise, with four(!) models scoring record performances, all of them with potential to join the top 20 soon. The Chinese automaker hopes to fight BYD’s current domination, model by model. Launched as a sort of BYD Yuan Plus/Dolphin fighter, the Geometry E, a small crossover, had 5,171 registrations in only its second month. The Emgrand L Hi-X PHEV, a BYD Qin Plus competitor, had 5,586 registrations, also in just its second month on the market. Additionally, Geely’s Geometry A, the midsize BEV sedan (aka BYD Seal/Qin Plus EV fighter), scored a record 5,286 registrations. Meanwhile, Geely’s luxury brand, Zeekr, had its big 001 fastback model reach 5,022 units last month, so the Porsche Panamera-like EV continues to ramp up, hoping one day to be able to run with the best in the category, which in this case means the BYD Han.

Clearly, Geely’s trying to hit back at BYD’s model strategy.

On the new blood side, on top of the C11 record, Leap Motors saw its small T03 score another consistent performance, with 5,462 registrations last month. The XPeng P7 flagship had 6,397 deliveries, and Hozon’s Neta U compact crossover is ramping up (delivering 5,070 units in July).

Finally, highlighting another good month for GAC, besides the aforementioned Aion Y record score, the Aion V compact crossover also registered a record month, with 5,070 units. Of all the B-League Chinese EV makers, GAC looks to be one of the most promising ones.

Wuling HongGuang Mini EV Still #1

Looking at the 2022 ranking, the BYD Qin Plus regained the 3rd position, surpassing the Tesla Model Y. Though, the US model is likely to recover the last place on the podium in September.

Other BYDs on the rise were the Dolphin, climbing to #6, and the Yuan Plus jumping three spots to #7. This makes 5 BYD in the top seven positions!

As for the second half of the electric car sales table, we should highlight the VW ID.4’s climb to #17. The German automaker is looking to place its star player in a more deserving position.

Looking at the auto brand ranking in electric car sales, BYD (27.8%, up from 28.9% share) remains the dominant force in the plugin market, while behind the leader we have runner-up SGMW (9.5%) losing 0.3% share. It is suffering from the fact that it’s currently a one-trick pony (Wuling Mini EV) in an increasingly pulverized market where you need a full lineup of models selling in high volume to remain successful.

At this moment, the Shenzhen automaker already has its 9th automaker title in the bag.

Due to the usual slow first month of the quarter, Tesla dropped (7.2%, down from 8.3% share) but is stable in 3rd. Chery (4.8%, up slightly from 4.7%) stayed in 4th, and #5 GAC (4.4%, up from 4.2%) kept its own over new #6 Volkswagen (3.7%, up from 3.4%).

GAC and even Chery should keep an eye on the two rising giants that are seemingly waking up — both #6 Volkswagen (3.7%) and #8 Geely (3.3%, up from 3.0%) are seeing their shares grow and are looking for top 5 positions soon.

Looking at OEMs/automotive groups/alliances in the electric car space, BYD (27.8%) is comfortably leading, while SAIC (12.9%, down from 13.4%) remains steady in the runner-up spot — despite sliding share for both SGMW and mother SAIC. Maybe they need to find another star player, besides the Wuling Mini EV?

Tesla (7.2%) is firm in the last place on the podium and should win a little bit of share in September.

Outside of the electric car sales podium, things are more interesting, with #4 Geely–Volvo (5.1%, up from 5.4% share) distancing itself from #5 Chery (4.8%) while #6 GAC (4.5%, up from 4.4%) and #7 Volkswagen Group (4.3%, up from 3.9%) are looking to reach Chery.

With Geely–Volvo and Volkswagen Group rising from the depths of the sea into top seller positions, soon we should have all five teams of the A-League (BYD, SAIC, Tesla, Geely–Volvo, and VW Group) aligned on the top 5 and fighting ruthlessly for the top positions.

 
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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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