The rise of small EVs is finally happening
Global plugin vehicle registrations were up 41% in July 2023 compared to July 2022, rising to 1,104,00 units. In the end, plugins represented 16% share of the overall auto market (11% BEV share alone). This means that the global automotive market is firmly in the Electric Disruption Zone. Add close to 900,000 units coming from plugless hybrids and we have one quarter of global registrations having some form of electrification!
Year to date, plugin electric vehicle market share was stable at 15% (10% BEV).
Full electric vehicles (BEVs) represented 69% of plugin registrations in July, keeping the year-to-date tally at 70% share.
20 Best Selling EV Models in the World in July
Looking at July best sellers, there were no surprises on the podium. The Tesla Model Y was high above everyone else, even scoring its best first month of the quarter ever, so a record performance should be expected in September.
Behind it, the Tesla Model 3 this time lost the race against the BYD Song and Qin Plus, due to Tesla’s off-peak month. Although, with refreshed Model 3 deliveries beginning in a couple of months, expect this race to tilt heavily towards the US sedan.
BYD highlights were the #5 Dolphin and #7 Seagull, with the former hitting a record 31,968 units. The Dolphin benefitted from the start of exports. The Seagull is rapidly ramping up production, having reached 28,001 registrations in only its 4th full month on the market. It is still early to guess how high these models will get in the table, but I will go out on a limb and say that the Dolphin could be a future podium candidate while the BYD Seagull could become the only model strong enough to threaten the Tesla Model Y’s leadership position in the table!
There was another record performance on the top half of the table, with the all-important #10 Wuling Bingo scoring 19,782 registrations. It looks like the small EV is becoming a success story for the joint venture, so one wonders why SAIC (or GM) is waiting to start setting up export plans for the quirky hatchback. Will they let the BYD Seagull have all the “cheap and cheerful” cake to itself?
Elsewhere, another city car is highlighting the new “rise of small EVs” trend happening right now, with the cutesy Changan Lumin reaching #14 with a record 15,282 registrations thanks to a recent refresh. A somewhat larger proposition, but still in the “compact” category, the #16 VW ID.3 had a year best result, 13,388 registrations, thanks to Volkswagen’s Chinese operations. The model benefitted from a significant price cut, allowing it to jump into record territory. See, Volkswagen — for the right price, people still love you….
In other record news, the #15 Li Xiang L7 has hit another record result, 13,389 registrations. The big SUV has been in record territory ever since it landed in January, so it seems the production ramp up is still ongoing. How high will it get? Should the BYD Han, the leader of the full size category, feel threatened? Watch this space.
The last three positions in the table belonged to models hitting record levels. The midsized BYD Destroyer 05 was in #18, with 11,994 registrations. The 7-seat Li Xiang L8
yacht SUV reached #19 with 11,315 registrations. And the #20 Hyundai Ioniq 5 also pulled a record result, 11,261 registrations. Interestingly, apart from the VW ID models, the Hyundai EV was the only model in the top 20 coming from a legacy OEM, and for that to happen, it needed a record result just to show up in the last position on the table…. (So, this is what disruption looks like….)
Outside the top 20, there is plenty to talk about. Going from the biggest to the smallest, the Cadillac Escalade-like Li Xiang L9 had a year best result of 9,425 units, with added to the record results of the two other models, it means that Li Auto’s machine is firing on all cylinders, and everything they make is already sold, something that no other OEM can claim.
In the midsize category, the highlight is the record performance of the NIO ES6. Thanks to the new generation, it reached a record 10,252 registrations, the first time a NIO model crossed 10,000 units in a single month, providing the struggling startup some much needed volume.
Another record result deserves a notice in this category. The sporty-hatchback-disguised-as-a-crossover Kia EV6 reached 9,095 registrations, all in the same month that its cousin, the Hyundai Ioniq 5, also had a record month. Coincidence? Or is the Korean OEM increasing the production rate of its E-GMP models? If that was the case, it would come at a really good time, now that the baby Porsche Hyundai Ioniq 6 is still ramping up. Also, the Kia EV9 large SUV is about to start exports and the promising Kia EV5 looks to land with a bang later this year. Expect great news from the Korean auto group in the coming months….
Still in the midsize category, Changan’s Deepal/Shenlan S7 midsize SUV is starting to show up on the radar, having reached 7,704 registrations. Changan’s Model Y/Song fighter is looking to reach a top 20 position soon.
As for the compact category, we salute the record performance of the value for money Skoda Enyaq. It scored 7,352 registrations this month, its best score ever, thanks to the clearance of productions constraints. Now, about those deliveries in China ... is it just me that sees this as low-hanging fruit? I mean, the Enyaq seems a more appropriate model for Chinese tastes than the VW ID.4. Just sayin’.
Still discussing the Volkswagen stable, the Audi Q4 e-tron scored a near-record 8,729 registrations, highlighting the current good moment of the models coming from that platform. Now, all that VW needs to do is cut prices on its ID.4 best seller in order to propel it into third place among best selling brands, only behind the galactics BYD and Tesla.
Top 20 EV Models YTD
In the year-to-date (YTD) table, the Tesla Model 3 resisted the advances from the BYD Song, allowing Tesla to keep the #1 and #2 rankings.
The first position change happened in #7, with the GAC Aion S sedan surpassing the tiny Wuling Mini EV. The Wuling Mini EV seemed to be suffering from competition from other bare bones EVs, like Geely’s Panda Mini EV, but also from newer, more chic and cheerful small EVs, like the BYD Seagull and Wuling Bingo. For not a lot more money, these offer a very different driving experience.
And speaking of those recent city cars, the only models climbing in the table in July were small-to-compact EVs, which gives hope that small and efficient EVs will play a leading role in a future BEV-based automotive market, and that the roads won’t be just made of oversized and obese machines (like the Denza D9, Li Xiang L9, and Tesla Cybertruck). (And don’t even get me started on Hummers and Escalades….)
As such, we salute the two-position jump of the Wuling Bingo and Changan Lumin, to #13 and #14, respectively, the rise of the VW ID.3 to #16, and the appearance of the BYD Seagull in the table, in #18.
Expect the Bingo to be top 10 material in the future. The Seagull also has a bright future ahead of it, as it could become BYD’s best selling model globally.
Top Selling Brands
In July, BYD continued its never-ending record streak, thanks to a 250,000-unit performance. That was enough to double Tesla’s result. Having said that, Tesla also has reasons to smile, because it had its best first month of quarter ever. Expect a record month in September, with, say, 230,000 registrations?
Below the top two galactics, the SGMW joint venture ended the month in 3rd, banking on the Wuling Bingo’s success to narrowly beat Volkswagen to the last position on the podium. Not far from these two, we have #5 GAC Aion, with 42,652 registrations, looking to have another success story with the Hyper GT full size sedan in order to steal the last place on the podium in the 2023 race.
#7 Li Auto goes from strength to strength, with another record month, its 4th in a row. It had over 34,000 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 next year.
The middle of the table saw Koreans Kia (#10, 27,356 registrations) and Hyundai (#12, 24,849 registrations) score record results. That was thanks to good results from the Ioniq 5 & 6 in the case of Hyundai, and the Niro, EV6, and EV9 (for now, only in Korea) in the case of Kia.
But one of the biggest surprises of the month when it comes to the brand ranking was a record performance from #16 NIO — 19,096 registrations. That was thanks to surging deliveries of the ES6 SUV and another solid result from the ET5 sedan/station wagon.
Outside the top 20, one highlight is #22 XPeng, with 11,143 registrations, a new year best. The EV startup benefitted from the refresh of the P7 sedan, as well the first volume deliveries of its G6 crossover, its very own interpretation of the Model Y formula. The G6 has been impressing the media with its value-for-money proposition. And XPeng really needs good news….
Finally, BYD’s Denza, its premium brand, is starting to show up on the map. It had another record performance, 11,116 registrations, allowing it to be #23 in the table. With the N7 crossover and N8 SUV starting volume deliveries soon, expect Denza to start showing up in the top 20. Those two models provide much needed assistance to the D9 MPV’s heavy lifting.
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 now in trouble trying to keep it #3 spot. The hot GAC Aion is fewer than 3,000 units behind, and #5 Volkswagen is not that far off either, just at little more than 4,000 units behind. Expect an entertaining race between these three — each one of them has their own trump cards to play in the remainder of the year in an effort to end the year with the bronze medal.
Li Auto’s rise has been paused, staying in 7th, but expect the Chinese brand, without a doubt the hottest startup brand in 2023, to continue shortening the distance to #6 Mercedes.
The first position change happened in #9, with Changan switching positions with Volvo thanks to strong results from the cute Lumin and Deepal S7.
In the second half of the table, the highlight was Kia, which switched places with stablemate Hyundai to reach #12.
Finally, at the bottom of the table, NIO has returned to the top 20 thanks to July’s record performance, and expect it to stay here for a while.
Looking at registrations by OEM, leader BYD gained share, going from 21.4% to its current 21.8%, while Tesla was down, as expected — to 14.5% share.
3rd place is in the hands of Volkswagen Group (7.4%), keeping a good distance from #4 Geely–Volvo (6.1%).
As for #5 SAIC (5.6%, up from 5.5%), the recent success of the Wuling Bingo allowed it to stop the sales bleed and start recovering share, even if slowly.
Below SAIC, Stellantis (4.7%, down from 4.8%) is firmly in the #6 spot, a comfortable distance ahead of #7 BMW Group and #8 Hyundai–Kia, both with 4.2%.
Looking just at BEVs, Tesla remained in the lead with 20.9%, down from 21.8% in June. The US make has a comfortable lead over BYD (15.6%, up from 15.1%), making it unlikely the Chinese automaker will be able to remove Tesla from the BEV throne this year. Next year, however … stay tuned.
In the last place on the podium, Volkswagen Group (7.8%) gained precious ground over SAIC (7.7%). Expect an entertaining race between these two in the remainder of the year.
In 5th we have Geely–Volvo, with 5.7%, down from 5.8%. The Chinese OEM would like to reach #3 Volkswagen Group but still has a ways to climb. Geely should primarily look in the rear-view mirror and watch out for #6 GAC (5.5%, up from 5.4%).
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