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100% Electric Vehicles = 13% Of New Vehicle Sales Globally!

And 18% of new vehicles sold across the world have a plug.

Global plugin vehicle registrations were up 51% in September 2022 compared to September 2021, reaching a record 1,040,000 units. This is the first time ever the world reaches one million plugin vehicle registrations in a month. Despite the USA and Europe not reaching record months in September, China made up for it. China was also supported by a long list of other markets at record heights, with the highlights being: Australia (8,000 units), South Korea (17,000), and … Japan (13,000)!

Yep, Japan is (finally!) warming up to EVs, in no small part thanks to the success of the kei car Nissan Sakura and its Mitsubishi sibling, the eK X EV. Another interesting trend: all of the previously record-breaking markets are located in the Asia-Pacific region….

With such a strong month in September, plugins represented 17% share of the overall auto market. Full electrics (BEVs) themselves reached 13% share of the market! And these numbers could have been even larger if the overall market had not been in its newfound recovery mode. That, added to the fact that plugless hybrids (HEVs) posted their highest growth rate since last January (+14% YoY), confirms once again the significant correlation between the HEV and pure ICE (internal combustion engine) markets.

In September, the BEV growth rate (+50% YoY) was slightly smaller than that of plugin hybrids (+54%), but if we exclude China from the plugin hybrid vehicle (PHEV) tally, we discover that PHEVs would be down for the seventh month in a row. So, excluding China, where PHEVs have evolved into 30–40+ kWh battery systems (working more as extended-range electric vehicles than classic PHEVs), plugin hybrids are still struggling.

Year to date, the plugin vehicle share grew to 13% (9.3% BEV). With the plugin market now consistently reaching two-digit results in market share, one can say that EV disruption in knocking on the global automotive market’s doors. Expect the floodgates to open next year!

That’s all great, but the internet loves lists, so here you go: The top 20 electric car sales leaders in the world!

A month ago, I wondered if the Tesla Model Y would 1) reach 100,000 units in September, and 2) become the best selling model in the world in that month.

Well, the answers are: Yes, and … YES!!!

In truth, regarding the first question, we can confirm it is true — the Model Y got an all-time record of 113,000 registrations. As far as the second, though, we do not know with absolute certainty at the moment, but we can say with 90% certainty that the Tesla Model Y beat the Toyota RAV4 in September to become the best selling vehicle in the world.

In the #2 spot, we have another Tesla, with the Model 3 profiting from its end-of-quarter peak to reach close to 69,000 registrations and secure September’s runner-up spot. So, it was another #1 plus #2 month for Tesla.

The BYD Song ended the month in the last place on the podium, but with the midsize SUV securing another record month, one can hardly complain about it. We are still wondering when the BYD star player will find its cruising speed, and what that will be.

Off the podium, the little Wuling Mini EV managed to stay ahead of most of BYD’s Fab 5. Despite losing the #3 spot to the BYD Song, it ended ahead of the #5 BYD Qin Plus (36,061 units, a new record), #6 BYD Han (31,323, a new record), #7 BYD Dolphin (24,956 units, a third record in a row), and #8 BYD Yuan Plus (23,561, a new record). Interestingly enough, all Fab 5 models hit record scores in September. It seems BYD’s ramp-up is a never ending story….

The Tesla Model 3 ended the month in 5th, with 31,529 registrations, followed by the BYD armada — three models from the Shenzhen automaker showing up from 6th to 8th. The #6 Han (BEV + PHEV) had a record 25,994 registrations (with both powertrains scoring record months). The #7 Dolphin also scored a new record, 23,486 registrations. And the Yuan Plus ended the month in 8th, with 18,518 registrations.

The #9 Volkswagen ID.4 was one of only two legacy OEM models on this table, with the other being the Hyundai Ioniq 5, in a low 20th position. The German crossover scored 15,305 sales, which was not a record month because Chinese operations didn’t replicate the delivery ramp-up of the Volkswagen EV in both Europe and the USA.

Below the VW model comes a long list of models in record-breaking mode. That includes the #10 BYD Tang (BEV + PHEV = 15,251 registrations), GAC’s Aion S and Aion Y (in #11 and #12, respectively), Hozon’s ever expanding Neta V small crossover in #13 (11,935 registrations), the cutesy Changan Lumin in #15 (also with a record, 10,010 units, its 4th record in a row…).

And in 14th we have Li Auto’s L9 land yacht full size SUV! It’s in the top 15 in its first full sales month! This is the most incredible landing ever. Few models can pride themselves on starting their commercial career with a five-digit month, let alone a Cadillac Escalade–sized brontosaurus like this one!

Will the L9 improve on this result? I doubt it. In the best case scenario, it will cruise somewhere around 10,000 units/month, which would already be a significant feat for such a massive vehicle.

Looking below, we have another BYD in ramp-up mode. The Destroyer 05 is in #17, with a record 9,101 units, thus making it 7 BYDs in the global top 20! Nearly 8, with the just-landed BYD Seal in #21 with 7,473 units.

One of the Surprises of the Month was the Zeekr 001 joining the table in #19, thanks to the production ramp-up of this full size fastback EV. The Zeekr 001 reached 8,276 registrations, its third consecutive record month. With its striking design, Geely’s mothership has high hopes for the model, and not only in China. Will it sometime in the future be able to beat the BYD Han? Geely surely hopes so….

As someone said previously in the China EV sales report comments section, looking at the top 20 models in China is basically the same as looking at the global top 20. And that’s not far from the truth. Except for the Hyundai Ioniq 5, all models in this top 20 are being made in China and almost all of them depend on that market to be here. Basically, the two major differences between this top 20 models list and China’s top 20 models list is that we have to add Tesla’s and Volkswagen’s overseas deliveries (as in, registrations outside of China). That allows them to jump a couple of positions.

Outside the top 20, it is basically the same story. The models deserving a mention are the same as in the China article. That includes Geely’s Geometry A/G6 and E, as well as the veteran Emgrand EV.

In the Chinese new blood group, the highlights are the new AITO M7 (4,746 units) full size SUV as well as the never ending ramp-up of Hozon’s Neta U compact crossover (6,070 units). Will we see two Neta EVs in the top 20 soon?

If we search for models coming from legacy OEMs that deserve a mention, then Kia has two of them (EV6 — 6,480 units; new Niro EV — 5,363 units), while the Audi Q4 e-tron scored a record 5,693 registrations thanks to greater production output. That’s something its Volkswagen cousin, the ID.3, could also profit from. It registered 5,379 units, which is an okay result, considering how badly the first half of the year was, but it is still far from the promises made at the time of the ID.3 launch (the car that was going to retire the once all-mighty VW Golf).

January–September Top Selling Models

In the year-to-date (YTD) table, the big news was the Tesla Model 3 recovering the runner-up position from the little Wuling Mini EV, thanks to Tesla’s end-of-quarter push. Despite this, the sign to the market has been given: the Model 3 is no longer untouchable and Tesla’s #1 and #2 rankings could be in danger next year.

This is especially true when we realize that the Tesla Model 3 is now at its apparent cruising speed (during the 3rd quarter, it only grew 1% compared the same period of last year), while the BYD models below it continue to be in record-breaking mode.

Speaking of the Fab Five, the first change came at #8 — the BYD Yuan Plus was up one spot, having surpassed the VW ID.4. This allowed the BYD crossover to become the world’s best selling compact EV.

Let’s keep in mind that the Shenzhen automaker currently has the leadership position in the subcompact/B-segment (Dolphin), compact/C-segment (Yuan Plus), and full size/E-segment (Han) categories, and next year it will try to ruffle some feathers to try for the Model 3’s leadership position in the midsize car segment — with the fresh new BYD Seal. As for the Tesla Model Y, that one is simply in another galaxy right now, and it will take years until someone will be able to reach its sales levels….

Regardless of the Volkswagen ID.4 being surpassed by the BYD Yuan Plus, it is important to highlight that the German crossover is the only legacy OEM model in the first 14 positions!

The Climber of the Month was the GAC Aion Y, with the compact MPV jumping three spots, to #11, proving that MPVs are still palatable to the buying audience, when done properly….

Still on the GAC stable, its other star player, the Aion S, was also on the way up. It climbed to #16, with the Guangzhou sedan looking to climb a few more positions in October, probably ending the month in #14.

Finally, we should highlight that the Ford Mustang Mach-E was kicked out of the 20th position, by the Great Wall Ora Good Cat. Still, with the Ford Pony fewer than 200 units behind the Great Wall hatchback, anything can still happen between these two striking EVs.

The Rise and Rise of BYD

In September, BYD’s record streak continued, scoring over 200,000 registrations, its seventh record score in a row. It even allowed it to beat Tesla in a record end-of-quarter peak month.

Down from the rarefied stratosphere where BYD and Tesla live, the SGMW joint venture managed to overcome Volkswagen, thus securing the last place on the September podium. And by the way, GM, when are you going to start selling the little Wuling in overseas markets? There have been several sightings of Wuling Mini EV private imports to markets in Africa and Latin America — maybe it’s at least worth considering this? With competition increasing in China, maybe it’s time to explore less saturated markets? Just my 2 cents

Records Shattering in China

Off the podium, we had five record performances, four of them coming from Chinese OEMs. In #5, we have surging Geely, benefitting from the fast ramp-up across its lineup. Geely had a record 30,318 registrations and should reach some 35,000 units/month sometime during the last quarter of the year. In #6, peak-form GAC scored 30,070 registrations, this being its fifth record score in a row. In #9, there’s Changan taking profit from the success of its Lumin small EV. In #15, we have Hozon, which is pushing its lineup (Neta V and U) to consecutive records while it awaits the ramp-up of its Neta S large sedan. This little-known startup is now the best selling Chinese automotive startup!

This time, legacy OEMs also had brilliant results, like the record performance of #12 Hyundai, with 20,008 registrations thanks to the success of the Ioniq 5 and the brand new Ioniq 6 (2,751 units). The streamlined Porsche-inspired EV is looking to replicate the success of its Ioniq 5 older sibling. Has the Korean automaker found its dynamic duo?

Another great performance came from Mercedes. The Stuttgart make delivered 29,486 units in September, its best score since December 2020, but most importantly, this allowed the three-pointed-star marque to surpass its Bavarian rival BMW for the month of September. That surely must have sounded the alarms in Munich. It’s one thing to be surpassed by four Chinese brands in the ranking, another completely different thing to be surpassed by its arch rival. (Tip to BMW: ramp up those i4s and iXs so this won’t happen again….)

Volvo and Renault have returned to the table. In the case of the Swede, this is thanks to the ramp-up of its BEV models (XC40 EV and C40). The French make is currently enjoying the success of the Renault Megane EV, a truly crucial model for the brand that allows it to stay relevant until the future Renault 5 hatchback and 4 crossover land.

But this time there are also interesting things burbling up, just below the top 20. NIO ended in #21, with 10,971 registrations. The startup is banking on the ET5 ramp-up to return to the table. Nissan(!) ended in #23, just below #22 Peugeot, with the Japanese make scoring its best result since November 2018 thanks to the success of its Sakura kei car (4,000 registrations last month) and the introduction of the Ariya. Electric kei cars are low-hanging fruit for Japanese brands, so while others still have their heads in the sand, Nissan and Mitsubishi will have no trouble finding customers for their tiny EVs in the months to come. They just need to make them fast enough….

A final reference goes out to Huawei-backed AITO. With 10,098 registrations, it had another record month, improving its score every month since it landed last December.

In the year-to-date (YTD) table, the top two position holders are in a different galaxy, but by now, it is certain that BYD is the clear favorite to win this year’s manufacturer title. BYD has a 200,000+ unit lead.

Below these two, the SGMW joint venture is comfortable in 3rd and shouldn’t be bothered until the end of the year by 4th placed Volkswagen.

An interesting duel is happening in the #7 spot, with GAC recovering ground on Chery. The two brands are now separated by fewer than 2,000 units. With GAC’s dynamic duo (Aion S & Y) running faster than Chery’s own dynamic duo (QQ Ice Cream & eQ1), the stage is set for the Guangzhou automaker to gain another position in October.

The same can be said about the race between #10 SAIC and #11 Hyundai, with the Shanghai brand slowing down lately and the Korean brand in peak form thanks to the Ioniq 5 & 6. Expect Hyundai to surpass SAIC sometime during the last quarter of the year.

The only position change in the table happened in #14, with Changan jumping two positions thanks to the success of its cute-as-a-button Lumin EV. Meanwhile, #17 Hozon cemented its position as the best of the Chinese new blood.

We have #21 Peugeot recovering some ground over #20 Ford, with the French brand now fewer than 2,000 units below the Dearborn-based make.

Note: The OEM ranking, including a BEV-only top 5, will be reported in another article to be published soon.

 
 
 
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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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