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China Electric Car Sales — 22% Fully Electric, 31% Have A Plug!

Full electric cars accounted for 22% of new car sales in the Chinese market last month!

Plugin vehicles continue to be all the rage in the Chinese auto market. They grew 75% year over year (YoY) in October. They scored over 578,000 registrations last month, their second best month ever, only behind last September when they hit 636,000 registrations. Plugin hybrids (PHEVs) surged 143% year over year (YoY). They reached 168,000 registrations in October, which is their fifth sixth record month in row. It seems the Chinese version of PHEVs, with an average of 30+ kWh batteries and working more as EREVs, has struck a chord with buyers. As for BEVs, they grew a “paltry” 57% … to 410,000 units. In just one month. 😮

Share-wise, plugin vehicles hit 31% market share in October. Full electrics (BEVs) alone accounted for 22% of the country’s auto sales last month! These brilliant results kept the 2022 share at 29% plugins and 22% BEVs.

If electrification continues at this pace, expect the plugin share to be at some 45% in a year from now, with BEVs owning one third (33%) of the Chinese market!

And expect BEVs to cross the 50% share threshold 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 over half of global plugin registrations last month.

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

#1 — BYD Song Plus (BEV + PHEV)

With the Tesla Model Y in an off-peak month, it was an easy win for BYD’s midsize SUV, continuing its success story with another record score! The PHEV version got a record 50,777 registrations in October, while the BEV hit a record 6,086 registrations, leading to a grand total of 56,863 registrations, a new record for the BYD model. This result is far above the Q3 monthly average of 42,066 units/month last quarter, which means Q4 should post a monthly average above 50,000 — which is becoming truly insane! Still, the Song ramp-up should be in its last stages, as it is getting close to reaching the market’s natural limits. With the removal of subsidies by the end of next year, expect the Shenzhen make to compensate from what will likely be a slow Q1 2023 in China by starting to export its SUV in larger numbers, at least until its domestic market returns to its cruising speed (as in, 50%-plus growth rates).

#2 — Wuling HongGuang Mini EV

With 41,255 registrations last month, the tiny four-seater won the silver medal. This result was above the Q3 monthly average of 36,137 units/month in Q3. So, “the little EV that could” saga continues, apparently immune to the many clones and competitors that it now has to compete with. SAIC’s and GM’s electric offspring has become a trendsetter and a disruptive force in urban mobility. The Wuling Mini EV 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. This model’s success story marks a new chapter in urban mobility.

#3 — BYD Qin Plus (BEV + PHEV)

Despite not beating September’s record score of 36,058 units, the 32,195 registrations of last month allowed BYD’s midsize sedan to reach a podium presence, ending the month in 3rd. The culprit for failing to beat the previous month’s result was the PHEV version. Its 20,006 registrations were more than 4,400 units below the previous month’s total. The BEV version, for its part, fulfilled its duty, getting a record 12,189 registrations. Still, it was more than enough to beat all of its rivals, including within BYD’s stable. Looking at the quarterly average, the BYD model scored slightly less than the Q3 monthly average of 33,946 units/month. In isolation, that might not mean much, but looking to the Qin’s internal competition (Han, Destroyer 05, Seal…), which is truly fierce, one wonders for how long the dynasty midsizer will continue to sell at this level, especially considering the high ambitions BYD has for its recent Seal model.

#4 — BYD Han (BEV + PHEV) 

BYD’s flagship sedan secured 31,497 registrations in October, which is the result of a record 13,347 registrations of the BEV version and 18,121 registrations of the PHEV version. Interestingly, just like in the case of the Qin, while the BEV version continues to ramp up, the PHEV version saw its deliveries fall. Does this mean that the production ramp-up of BYD’s sedans have ended and the maker is slowly increasing the weight of BEVs in the overall production mix? Either way, the big BYD was well above the Q3 monthly average of 27,585 units/month. And that average translates into a yearly average of over 360,000 units. These are not only extraordinary numbers for a full size model in China, all powertrains counted, but this starts to get dangerously close to the global numbers of the full size perennial leader in this segment, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class. (Mercedes, take notice.)

#5 — BYD Yuan Plus 

Despite being the most exported model from BYD, the compact crossover still had enough room to score 26,648 registrations last month, its second record score in a row, ending the month in 5th. With the external competition selling less than half of the BYD crossover, and no internal competition (so far), the compact EV can continue profiting from its competitive price-vs.-specs ratio to ramp up its production. It should be looking for top 5 positions in China and globally. In the future, expect it to become BYD’s global best seller, beating the likes of the VW ID.4. BYD can even hope to one day reach Tesla Model Y sales levels.

In addition to placing four models in the top 5, the Shenzhen automaker also had the #6 BYD Dolphin score a record 25,240 registrations, its fourth record performance in a row (proving that the hatchback’s production ramp-up isn’t over yet). Additionally, the #7 Tang scored a record month, with 16,989 registrations.

Looking now at BYD’s future stars, in what is already an all-star lineup, the BYD Destroyer 05 PHEV continues to ramp up production. It ended October in #17 with 9,111 registrations. But all eyes are really on the much anticipated BYD Seal. In only its third month on the market, it jumped to #13, with 11,267 registrations. Expect a swift production ramp-up of the Seal, probably ending December at around 20,000 units/month, which would be a good base for its podium ambitions in 2023.

But enough about BYD — other brands and models also deserve a mention, especially the ones with record scores. GAC’s Aion S (14,507 registrations) had its third record month in a row. The cute as a button Changan Lumin reached 12,009 units, an impressive result for the city EV, especially considering that it has only been on the market for six months. Speaking of the smaller of the Big Four Chinese Legacy OEMs, the Chongqing make had another recent addition joining the table. Its take on the Tesla Model 3 formula, the Shenlan SL03, scored a record 8,176 registrations (3,059 registrations belonging to the BEV version and 5,117 to the PHEV version). That means Changan had three representatives in October’s top 20.

Looking at Geely’s squad, the only highlight was the Zeekr 001. With the big fastback continuing to ramp up, it ended October in #14 thanks to 10,119 registrations. That was its fourth record month in a row and the only record score in the Geely stable. A hiccup? Or has Geely’s lineup already found its demand limits?

Outside the top 20, we should highlight the never-ending ramp-up of Hozon’s Neta U, with the compact crossover scoring 6,295 registrations, its sixth record performance in a row. Still on the theme of startup models, AITO’s M7 flagship SUV scored 5,226 registrations in only its fourth month on the market. The Huawei-backed startup seems to have another winner on its hands, on top of the already well known AITO M5 (6,812 units in October).

Great Wall’s Haval H6 PHEV, a compact-to-midsize SUV, had 3,031 registrations in only in its second month on the market. More importantly, the Haval H6 in ICE form is one of the most successful Chinese exports, so expect the 45 kWh battery-sized plugin hybrid SUV to start showing up in several markets in Southeast Asia and elsewhere.

Finally, the BAIC EU-Series got 4,667 registrations last month, the sedan’s best score since December 2019! Is there still a future for it?

Wuling HongGuang Mini EV Still #1

Looking at the 2022 ranking, the main positions remained the same, but the runner-up BYD Song shortened the distance to #1 Wuling Mini EV by some 15,000 units. The BYD SUV has two months to recover the remaining 15,000 units that separate it from the tiny four-seater. True, the Wuling Mini should post two strong results in the last two months of the year, but with the SUV’s current record streak, those strong results shouldn’t be enough to keep the Song behind it.

Meanwhile, the BYD Qin Plus gained important ground over the Tesla Model Y in the race for the last place on the podium. With 33,000 units separating them, and the crossover possibly recovering 5,000 to 10,000 units in November, the US model will still need to recover 23,000 units in December, which is a tall order. So, unless something unexpected happens to BYD production, expect the Shenzhen maker to have two models on the final 2022 podium in China.

The first position change came in 8th position, with the BYD Tang surpassing the off-peak Tesla Model 3 (2,809 registrations in October) and recovering the #8 spot. Thus, there were 6 BYDs in the top 8 positions. But expect the US sedan to recover the #8 spot again in December, thanks to its expected end-of-quarter peak.

In the second half of the table, three models profited from the Li Xiang One’s retirement (after a short career of only three years). The GAC Aion S was up to #13, Hozon’s Neta V climbed to #14, and the Changan Benni EV climbed one position to #15.

In the last positions of the top 20, we now have the Dongfeng Fengshen E-Series, taxi companies’ favorite Dongfeng EV model, in #18, joining the table immediately ahead of the #19 Great Wall Ora Good Cat.

Just outside the top 20, we have the BYD Destroyer 05 PHEV, with 49,913 registrations. Soon we might see it join the table, which is exactly what this table needs, another BYD on the table. Because 6 out of 20 models just isn’t enough. …

Looking at the auto brand ranking in electric car sales, BYD (29.9%, up from 28.9% share) remains the dominant force in the plugin market. Behind the leader, we have a shrinking SGMW (8.6%, losing 0.1% share). It is suffering from the fact that it’s currently a one-trick pony (Wuling Mini EV) in an increasingly mature market where you need a full lineup of models selling in high volume to remain successful.

Because it was in an off-peak-month, Tesla’s share dropped (7.3%, down from 7.9% share). Tesla could try to steal SGMW’s runner-up spot in December, it won’t be easy, but you never know.

Chery (4.4%, down 0.1%) was surpassed by GAC (4.6%, up 0.1%), with the Guangzhou make now in 4th and counting with its dynamic duo (Aion S & Y), to keep this position until year end.

Volkswagen (3.4%, down from 3.5%) lost another position, now in 8th, leaving the 7th spot to Dongfeng (3.5%), while in the 6th position Geely (3.7%, down from 3.8%) seems to have lost its momentum and should remain outside the top 5 this year.

Looking at OEMs/automotive groups/alliances in the electric car space, BYD (29.9%) is the dominant force, while SAIC (11.1%, down from 11.3%) so far remains in the runner-up spot despite sliding shares for both SGMW and mother SAIC. They need to find another star player besides the Wuling Mini EV. Maybe it’s the recently introduced MG 4/Mulan?

Tesla (7.3%) is firmly holding the last place on the podium and should stay there through the end of the year.

Off the electric car sales podium, things are more interesting. #4 Geely–Volvo (5.5%, down from 5.6% share) has lost some ground over the 5th GAC (4.8%, up 0.1%), so Geely will need to keep an eye on the rear view mirror, if it wants to avoid surprises towards the end of the year.

Outside the top 5, both #6 Chery (4.4%) and #7 Volkswagen Group (3.9%, down from 4.1%) again had slow months in October, with the German conglomerate now having #8 Dongfeng (3.9%) just 500 units behind it.

With BYD owning close to a third of the Chinese market, and no one else close to contest BYD’s supremacy in any of the segments that the Shenzhen maker is present, one can argue that this is not a positive development, as it can suffocate many of the competitors in the long term. From a different perspective, it will also force BYD to start exporting in relevant volumes, if it wants to continue growing fast in 2023, but I will go in further detail on this topic on the upcoming Global EV Sales Report.

Add BYD’s domination in China to Tesla’s domination in North America, where the US make is responsible for over half of the market, and we have a situation where the top two OEMs have 31% of the global market. That isn’t really a duopoly position, but it is nevertheless a significant distance over the competition.

Will this distance continue to grow in 2023?

 

 
 
 
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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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