Saturday, January 16, 2016

China 2016 Forecast

BYD Tang: 2016 Best Seller?

Based on the request of some readers, but also considering recent new model announcements and commitments of foreign brands to start producing their EV's in China, i found the need to write this post, looking into the future of the most dynamic EV market in the world.

This forecasting exercise will try to guess how the existing best selling models will behave, but also see how new models from the best selling brands will impact the market, and how foreign brands will behave.

2015 Top 5 Models

1. BYD Qin - 20.000 units. The reason for this 40% drop has to do with two factors: One, chinese consumers and therefore EV buyers, are shifting away from regular sedans to the more fashionable SUV category, and Two, BYD is still production-constrained, so for them is more profitable to make the Tang a priority;

2. Kandi Panda EV - 55.000 units. Unless Kandi starves the small city car production in profit of other future models, like the larger K30 sedan, this number is fairly attainable for the Panda EV, once again granting it the runner-up status in 2016;

3. BYD Tang - 75.000 units. Will BYD's current top-of-the range SUV finally reach its natural sales level? I guess so, and the numbers will not only place it as the Best Selling EV in China, but probably in the World...

4. BAIC E-Series EV - 22.000 units. A 35% sales increase is considered a moderate growth in this market, but this slower growth is related to increased competition in its segment, but also by the brand effort to go upmarket with new models, a trend that will define 2016 in this market;

5. Zotye Cloud EV - 25.000 units. This target might depend on Zotye's other models performance, as both the TT EV and the new Zhima E30 city car might steal sales from its best selling model. 

New Zotye E30

Incoming New Models

BYD Song - 25.000 units. The PHEV version will arrive early this year and will have time to develop production and reach significant numbers, which will depend on how much will BYD become production constrained;

BYD Yuan - 17.000 units. Following on the Song mid-size SUV footsteps, the Yuan will also have time to develop production and reach significant numbers, which will depend on how much will BYD be willing to make them;

BYD Ming - 3.000 units. The giant full-size SUV will arrive later in the year and will probably only reach its full production potential in 2017;

BYD T5 / T7 - 3.000 units. The upcoming delivery vehicles sales level will depend not only from BYD's installed capacity to make them, but also from the demand and fleet deals made in the meantime, so these numbers might end up very differently, be it much higher or lower than forecasted;

Kandi Cyclone - 20.000 units. The deliveries of the hatchback will depend in most part on which priorities will the brand have for 2016, be it fleet sales, then the Panda EV will have priority, or private sales, where the Cyclone will be playing a major role;

Kandi K30 sedan - 15.000 units. The deliveries of the upcoming sedan will depend in most part on which priorities will the brand have for 2016, be it fleet sales, then the Panda EV will have priority, or private sales, where the K30 will try to profit from the current trend of EV buyers shifting away from small-range city EV's to larger, more upmarket products;

BAIC D50 EV - 7.500 units. BAIC's new EV sedan is the result from the manufacturer efforts to go upmarket, it remains to be seen if it will succed with the same kind of success as it did with the E-Series EV;

Zotye Zhima E30 - 20.000 units. The sharply designed model, reminding you of a nice Smart/i3 mashup (The best-looking plug-wearing Zotye, in my view), has the mission to succeed to the E20 model, a vehicle now only sold under the Zhidou brand. Zotye has some big expectations for its new baby, but the current trend of private buyers going into larger, five seater models might undermine the career of the E30. 

Foreign Brands

Tesla - 10.000 units. The California-based manufacturer is by far the most successful foreign EV automaker operating in China, and the addition of the Model X will have an important role in build up the brand success, as Tesla's new model is in the intersection of two of the most important trends on this market: EV's and SUV's/Crossovers. The only question mark is, as many times with Tesla, product availability. 

Volvo - 5.000 units. For one to succeed in China, one must produce locally. And that's what Volvo started doing, with the S60L plug-in, with the swedish brand being one of the most committed to the plug-in scene, i would guess that they will build up production to a point where availability isn't a problem. 

BMW - 3.000 units. The 530Le is being made in small numbers and it might stay that way, unfortunately, as a locally produced X5 PHEV would sell like hot cakes;

Mercedes - 3.000 units. It seems the C350e will start to be made locally, if it does, it will be a tremendous opportunity for the brand, but considering the current policy of Mercedes regarding plug-ins, don't expect high numbers... 

Cadillac - 2.000 units. The american brand says it will base its production of CT6 plug-ins in China, so one can only expect a strong push of that model there, but the question is, even if they push sales of the extended-range CT6, will (rich) chinese buyers spend their checks in a Cadillac EV?


  1. Hey! :)
    Would you mind doing some kind of symbol on your postings for all-electric vehicles? I am sure many of us favor the all electric movement, and it would be much appreciated if we would be able to distinguish between hybrids and bevs.

    Keep up your good work! :)

  2. Interesting topic, I will test it in the Top 20 world ranking by the end of the month.

  3. Jose, Remember Kandi 2016 sales will include K12 City Beauty and K13 City Cowboy. Expectations are high especially for the K12. Thanks!!

  4. I think your figures for new models should include the Kandi K12 and K13. Both are advanced economical pure EV models built to European Specs.
    K12. City Beauty aimed at professional female buyers.
    K13. City Cowboy aimed at professional male buyers.

    By year, end 17 cities had signed up to Kandi's Micro Public Transport scheme. MPT is municipal shared car scheme subsidized by government.
    That is a market of close to 200 million people.
    Other cities will qualify to apply once their charging infrastructure meets Kandi's spec.
    To date, the workhorses of these MPTs were K10 (2 door and K11 (4 door). The addition of 4 new models will attract a wider base of customers.
    The BYD Qin and Tang are hybrids.
    Folks were buying then to get huge EV concessions but only using them as gas gars - an unintended consequence.
    Since Sept 2015 you can only purchase an EV or hybrid if you can prove you have chargin facilityes at home hence the collapse of Qin sales in Q4.
    By the way, in an online poll (Dec 2015) of best passenger EVs on the d1ev website in China, the clear winner was the Kandi Cyclone (K17).

  5. Thanks for the input, by the way, do you know when the Cyclone will be available?

  6. Ford says they are bringing the C-Max Energi to China in 2016, what do you expect sales to be?

    1. Good question, if they wanted, they could sell their PHEV's in larger quantities, it was just a question of releasing the Mondeo Energi and increase the availability of the C-Max Energi in europe, but apparently Ford is happy with the current sales level, so if they release the C-Max Energi in China, the numbers will probably be small, maybe 150/200 month...

  7. Out of over 20 million cars, that sounds about right. Say 2%