|Baojun E300: It's this what the Autonomous Driving pods will look like?|
Tesla and the Minions
The overall Chinese market returned to negative numbers in June (-6% YoY), but on paper, plugins fared much worse, being down 53% last month.
But this number is misleading, because last month result, with over 91,000 units, was in fact the market second best result in the last 12 months, while June 2019 marked an all-time high for plugins in China, due to a sales rush derived from the subsidies changes, that happened at the time.
Expect next month to see a return to growth, as July ‘19 was the first month with the current subsidy rules.
With this out of the way, June was the best month this year, and that shows on June’s plugin share, with 5.5% (4.1% BEV), pulling up the 2020 share by 0.4%, to 4.7% (3.6% BEV), which is still a step below from the 5.5% of 2019, but it is a step in the right direction and hopefully the second half of the year will bring the possibility to (at least) reach last year's score.
Looking at June Best Sellers, the Tesla Model 3 dominated the scene, almost tripling the deliveries of the surprise runner-up, the Baojun E-Series, highlighting the most recent trend in this market, the return of City EVs, underlined by the small Chery eQ and Great Wall ORA R1, that were were #6 and #7 respectively, in June.
Here’s June’s Top 5 Best Selling models individual performance:
#1 – Tesla Model 3
The poster child for electric mobility hit a record 15,023 units (including estimated imports), and while it’s still not an all time high for EVs in China (that is still in the hands of the BAIC EU-Series – 21,963 units last December), Tesla’s midsizer is getting closer to it. And the Model 3 is starting to get in the way of the category Best Sellers in the overall market, as the Californian was #23 in June, ahead of the #24 BMW 3-Series and not that far-off from the #21 Mercedes C-Class, so the Tesla sports sedan still has some room to grow. Will we see it reach some 20,000 units/month cruise speed this year? Intriguingly, in Q2 the Model 3 started slow (4,312 units in April), then picked up the pace in May (11,468) and ended the quarter with a bang, with 15,023 units, replicating Tesla’s typical behavior elsewhere. A coincidence, or is Tesla China also addicted to end-of-quarter peak deliveries?
#2 – SAIC Baojun E-Series
With the end of subsidies for most of the small city EVs, unable to reach the minimum 250 kms range, Baojun won the lottery, thanks to their E-Series (E100/200/300) lineup of City EVs, with the Shanghai Auto and General Motors offspring watching its sales jump in the past few months, winning a 2nd spot in June, thanks to 5,875 units last month, a new year best. The access to the current subsidy, added to competitive pricing (CNY 93,900 / USD 14,700) before subsidies, makes it an appealing model for car-sharing companies, as well as other kinds of fleets.
#3 – BYD Qin Pro EV
The maker’s reply to the GAC Aion S and Xpeng P7 reached 4,303 units in June, so BYD’s bet on its electric sedan to stay among the podium Best Sellers is working, but demand could end up being an issue soon, not only because of the ever increasing competition from other makers, but also because of the internal competition of the upcoming Han full size car, an appealing and technologically advanced model that might sway some buyers from its smaller sibling.
#4 – GAC Aion S
GAC’s sleek sedan was only 4th in June, having registered 3,695 units (excluding the Toyota-badged iA5 units), an unexpected drop regarding the previous month, that might be linked to the arrival of its SUV sibling, the Aion V. One of the most competitive domestic electric sedans on the market, the Aion S should continue to be a regular in this Top 5, being a strong candidate to the 2020 medals positions.
#5 – BMW 530Le
The BMW luxury sedan continues to be a hot item in China, impressing in more than one way, first with the steady demand flow, consistently scoring 2,500-plus performances, second, the full-size sedan is running in the top positions with cheaper models, and thirdly, despite the wave of new full-size models (Li Xiang One is the most successful of them), both imported and locally-made, the big Bimmer is still the undisputed leader in the Luxury category, continuing to sell close to 3,000 units per month, which is well above its direct competitors, that are happy to reach 1,000 units in one month.
|BYD Song Pro EV: A future Best Seller?|
Looking at the 2020 ranking, the top positions remained the same, with Tesla already having enough advantage to start preparing the celebrations for its first Best Selling Model trophy ceremony, while the Baojun E-Series jumped two spots, to 5th, thanks to 5,875 deliveries, a new year best.
If in the past months, the hype was about EV startups, now the mood is changing, with only one startup model climbing in the ranking, as the Weltmeister EX5 was up to #12, thanks to 1990 units, its best score in the past 10 months.
Now, City EVs are returning to the spotlight, not only with the Baojun E-Series, but also with the Chery eQ climbing to #8, thanks to 2,632 units, its best result in a year, while the Greal Wall Ora R1 (2,601 units, new year best) was up to #10, now making 3 small BEVs in the Top 10.
BYD also had a positive month, with the e2 compact hatchback climbing one spot, to #13, thanks to 1,517 units, a new year best, while the Shenzhen maker sees two models joining the table, with the Tang PHEV (1,197 units, best score since last October) back to the Top 20, in #19, while the Song Pro EV (1,086 units, new personal best) is a new face in the ranking, and could climb higher in the next few months.
Other models on the rise are the Roewe ei6 PHEV climbing to #18, while the locally-made VW Passat PHEV, jumped to #14, thanks to 1,357 units, leading a strong month for the German maker, that had five (5!) plugin models scoring four-digit results, besides the aforementioned Passat PHEV, the Tiguan PHEV, the Tayron PHEV compact SUV, the e-Lavida sedan and the e-Bora sedan all registered over 1,000 units in June.
Below the Top 20, a reference to the BYD Song Pro PHEV, that registered a year best score of 1,060 units last month, jumping to #21, making it 6 BYD models in the Top 21 positions(!), while the NIO
barge flagship SUV, the ES8, scored 1,264 units last month, its best
performance since June ’19, mostly due to the new 100 kWh version, and the
Honda XN-V EV, basically the made-for-China BEV version of the Honda HR-V, had
a record 1,268 units score last month. So...Is Honda finally waking up to BEV’s?
Looking at the manufacturers ranking, BYD (16%, down 1%) is still in the leadership, but slowly losing charge, with Tesla (14%) firm in 2nd, same as SAIC (10%) in 3rd, while below the podium, we see a position change, with Volkswagen (7%, up 1%) climbing to #4, switching positions with GAC (6%, down 1%), with BAIC and BMW, both with 5%, are waiting for a chance to climb higher.