Global plugin vehicle registrations were up 70% in April 2023 compared to April 2022. There were 928,000 registrations, making it possibly the last month with fewer than one million sales per month ever for plugin electric vehicles. In the end, plugins represented 14% share of the overall auto market (10% BEV share alone). This means that the global automotive market remains in the Electric Disruption Zone.
Interestingly, plugless hybrids were also on the rise in April, rising to 808,000 units, robust two-digit growth. This means that in total, over 1.7 million units in April, or some 26% of the global market, had some form of electrification.
Year to date, plugin electric vehicle market share stayed at 13% (9.2% BEV).
Full electric vehicles (BEVs) represented 70% of plugin registrations in March, pulling up its year-to-date tally by two percentage points, also now at 70% share.
20 Best Selling EV Models in the World in April
Looking at April best sellers, there were no surprises on the podium. The Tesla Model Y was high above everyone else, while behind it, the BYD Qin Plus managed to beat the Tesla Model 3, profiting from Tesla’s usual off-peak month in the first month of each quarter.
Interestingly, Tesla’s sedan had more or less the same number of deliveries as it had last January, so the upcoming refresh is needed if Tesla wants to keep growing sales of its midsized sedan.
What was a surprise was the BYD Song ending just in 5th, behind its sibling BYD Yuan Plus (aka Atto 3 in some export markets). Will the recent refresh and price cut help kickstart its sales again, or is the recently introduced BYD Frigate 07 (#17, with a record 10,042 units) starting to cannibalize its sales?
Speaking of records, there were several of them in April, like the #6 BYD Dolphin getting 30,607 registrations and the #7 GAC Aion Y getting 21,069 registrations. The highlight, though, was the Wuling Bingo’s surging sales. It ended the month in 10th with 15,011 registrations. Should the BYD Dolphin be scared?…
But it wasn’t only in the upper half of the table that records fell. In fact, four recent models have proven that they are here to disrupt their respective categories. The #14 Geely Panda Mini reached 10,615 registrations and is casting a shadow (admittedly, a small one) on the Wuling Mini EV’s success (only #9 last month). The #17 BYD Frigate might already be stealing sales from its Song cousin, while the #15 Denza D9 and #16 Li Xiang L7 ended fewer than 4,000 units behind the leader of the full size category, the #11 BYD Han. The Li Auto model in particular seems to be a promising one at this point. After a couple of years of domination in the category, the flagship BYD sedan might have found its match.
Outside the top 20, there is plenty to talk about. Going from the biggest to the smallest, despite the Li Xiang L7’s success, the other
yachts models from the startup brand are hanging on with notable volumes, as proven by the 6,082 registrations of the Escalade-like L9 and the 6,887 registrations of the slightly less offensive L8 SUV.
The Zeekr 001 is starting to profit from the battery ramp-up of the Qilin batteries. With all of its 140 kWh battery cars getting a boost, its sales performance improved to 6,463 registrations in May. Will we see it return to the top 20 soon?
In the midsize category, the highlight is the record performance of the Leap Motor C11 SUV. Thanks to its new EREV version, it reached 6,146 registrations, providing the struggling startup some much needed volume. As for the compact category, we salute the return of Great Wall’s Ora Good Cat to decent performances. It scored 7,521 registrations this month. In the city car category, the highlight is the 7,759 registrations of the cutesy Changan Lumin.
Top 20 EV Models YTD
In the year-to-date (YTD) table, there was nothing new on the podium, with the Tesla Model Y ruling supreme above the BYD Song. The US crossover’s success is such that is it is currently the best selling passenger car in the world, all powertrains counted!
In the remaining podium positions, the #3 Tesla Model 3 recovered some ground over the #2 BYD Song, so Tesla’s midsizer could profit from June’s peak performance to try to displace the Chinese SUV from the runner-up spot.
The first position change happened with the GAC Aion Y jumping two positions into 10th. The MPV-disguised-as-a-crossover benefitted from a record performance in April and could surpass the #9 BYD Han in May.
Thanks to a recent resurgence, VW’s ID.3 climbed another position, now up to 15th. Three positions below, the Audi Q4 e-tron is hanging on to a top 20 position, thus putting three MEB-platform models in the table.
But it is in the last positions that things are most interesting, with two fresh faces in the top 20. The cutesy Geely Panda Mini joined the table in #19, while just below it, we now have the #20 BYD Frigate 07, with the plugin hybrid SUV becoming the 7th BYD model in the table (or 8th if we count the Denza D9).
Top Selling Brands
In April, BYD failed to reach a 200,000+ unit performance, but it was still enough to beat Tesla in its off-peak month. The pattern between these two seems to continue, for the rest of the year will be Tesla winning the end-of-quarter months when it benefits from its usual delivery peak, while BYD will win the other stages of the race.
Below the top two galactics, the big surprise is GAC jumping to 3rd, thanks to a record 41,114 registrations. That new record is thanks to another memorable performance from its dynamic duo, the Aion Y and Aion S. While the upcoming Aion SSR (don’t call me a Tesla Roadster killer) is not going to move the needle, GAC’s other upcoming model, the ultra-aerodynamic Aion Hyper GT sports sedan, could ruffle some feathers in the full size segment. Times are looking good for GAC’s Aion brand….
April saw a really close race for the 4th position. In the end, #4 SAIC ended the month fewer than 1,000 units ahead of #6 BMW, with the joint venture taking advantage of the success of its new Bingo EV to end ahead of #5 Volkswagen and #6 BMW.
#8 Li Auto also had a record month, with close to 26,000 registrations, thanks to strong results across the lineup. With the startup brand still supply constrained, expect the high-end make to continue beating records regularly in the near future. But the real fun will start when the L6 and L5 midsized models land sometime in the future. Will we see them already this year?
The second half of the table saw Hozon return to the top 20, in #18, all while Denza joined the table in #19 despite having only one model on sale today. With the N7 (midsized crossover) and N8 (full size SUV) coming soon, expect BYD’s premium brand to become a regular presence here.
#16 Toyota saw a positive result, with 12,503 registrations, mostly thanks to the ramp-up of its Chinese operations (bZ4X and bZ3). With Toyota currently the 3rd largest brand in China (and 2nd before the rise of BYD), it needs to ramp up its EV operations fast — or else it could say bye bye to the million-plus units it sells in that market.
In the Stellantis stable, Jeep continues profiting from strong sales of the Wrangler PHEV (thanks in no small part to IRA incentives) and the production ramp-up of the Grand Cherokee PHEV, thus posting another good score of 11,942 registrations. That means it beat its US counterparts Ford and Chevrolet!
In the YTD table, there wasn’t much to report regarding the podium. BYD is ahead of Tesla, with the two makes together responsible for more than one third of the global plugin vehicle market.
Far below these two, which are really in a league of their own, BMW is comfortable in the 3rd spot, while below it, Volkswagen remained in 4th. However, Volkswagen will have a hard time resisting rising GAC, which surpassed SGMW last month to reach the 5th spot. Will GAC be able to displace #3 BMW from the podium sometime in the future?
Li Auto’s rise also continued, climbing to 10th, and could climb higher in May considering that #9 Changan is just 1,000 units ahead. The startup brand is without a doubt the hottest startup brand in 2023.
In the second half of the table, one highlight was Hyundai, which climbed one position to #13. Additionally, Toyota joined the table in #18, surpassing on the way its domestic rival Nissan, now in #19, and proving once again that EVs are a race of resistance and not sprint. #LegacyOEMsfightingfortheirlives
Top Selling OEMs for EV Sales
Looking at registrations by OEM, leader BYD gained share, going from 21.3% to its current 21.6%, while Tesla was down, as expected, to 15.4% share (it had 16.5% a month ago).
Compared to what was happening a year ago, both BYD (+6% share) and Tesla (+3%) were the big winners. Although, in the case of the latter, that is entirely on the shoulders of the Model Y, while the Shenzhen profited from a never ending wave of new models.
3rd place is in the hands of Volkswagen Group, with the German OEM losing 0.1% on the way (7.4% a month ago, 7.3% now). Meanwhile, #4 Geely–Volvo was up slightly (6.2%, up from 6.1%). The “Chinese Volkswagen Group” was one of the winners YoY, increasing its share by 0.5% compared to the same period last year.
As for #5 SAIC, the recent success of the Wuling Bingo allowed it to stop the sales bleed and reverse the downwards trend, increasing 0.1% month over month from 5.5% to its current 5.6%.
Below SAIC, Stellantis (4.8%, down from 4.9%) is firmly in the 6th spot, with a comfortable distance over #7 BMW Group (4.3%).
Looking just at BEVs, Tesla remained in the lead with 22.1%, down from 23.6% in March. The US make has a comfortable lead over BYD (15.1%, up from 14.7%), making it unlikely the Chinese automaker will be able to remove Tesla from the BEV throne this year.
The last place on the podium saw Volkswagen Group (7.6%, up from 7.5%) slightly increase the distance between itself and #4 SAIC (7.5%).
In 5th we have Geely–Volvo, with 5.9%, up from 5.7%. The Chinese OEM is looking to reach #4 SAIC but still has a ways to climb. Geely should primarily look in the rear-view mirror and watch out for rising #6 GAC (5.2%, up from 4.6%), as this last one could reach the Chinese conglomerate soon.
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