Thursday, June 20, 2019

China May 2019

Resultado de imagem para xiaopeng g3
Xpeng G3: A rising star?

Foreign brands shine in cooling market  

After a strong start of the year, May saw the Chinese plugin market hit the brakes, to some 104,000 registrations, up only 2% YoY, but because the mainstream market is falling significantly (-17%!), the May PEV share reached an amazing 6.6%, pulling the PEV market share to 5.6%, frankly above the 2018 result (4.2%).

At this pace, this market could reach some 7% share by the end of this year and cross the 10% share in 2020. And that’s when things start to get interesting…Maybe it’s still early to say that part of the mainstream market drop comes from the EV Osborne effect, but at this point, I wouldn’t bet against it.

One thing is certain, this is without doubt the most fascinating plugin market on Earth, with several seismic changes happening at the same time, it’s not only the Tesla Model 3 joining the party, it’s also foreign brands scaling up plugin production to meet this year quotas, it’s the local startup companies hitting relevant volumes in the race to survive, all while the local big players race between each other to see who gets to launch more models faster (right now the race is between Geely and BYD, with each launching around 1 new model…per month!), with some of them no longer being BEV conversions made on the cheap, but dedicated EVs, with world class style and specs.

This month, foreign OEMs shined, with their market share surging to a record 14%, with Volkswagen jumping to 5% share (currently, VW has 6% share in Europe), followed by Tesla (3%), BMW (2%) and Nissan (1%).

In May, the surprises came in #3, with the Roewe Ei5 EV scoring a record 5,488 units, while in #5 we have the JAC E-Series, with 4,505 units.

Here’s May Top 5 Best Selling models individual performance:

 Resultado de imagem para baic eu-series

#1 – BAIC EU-Series: The electric sedan scored 7,079 units last month, confirming to be the brand’s main bet for this year. The revised design and improved specs (215 hp, 416 kms / 260 mi NEDC, US $32,500) allows it to remain a popular choice, but with new sedans coming from seemingly every corner of the universe, Beijing Auto’s will soon need to update again the specs, especially when a certain GAC Aion S promises 510 kms / 318 mi NEDC range, for less than $30,000...

Resultado de imagem para byd yuan ev 500

#2 – BYD Yuan EV: The Baby Crossover continues on the road for success, with the new 58 kWh version helping to keep the fire alive, so BYD’s star product continues to be delivered at a fast pace, with 6,044 units being delivered in May. With a thousand-long waiting list, demand is no problem, depending more on BYD’s ability/willingness to make them in large volumes (The Tang and Qin Pro are more profitable…), than anything else. With unrivalled specs (58 kWh battery, 410 kms/255 mi NEDC range, 163 hp motor), and price (25,000 USD), this is the year strongest candidate for the Best Seller title.

Resultado de imagem para Roewe Ei5

#3 – SAIC Roewe Ei5 EV: This model was something of a shot in a dark for Shaghai Auto, as station wagons aren’t common in China, but it has paid off, as the nameplate is not only the maker bestselling model, but it had its best month ever in May, with 5,488 units. Based on the GM platform Delta II (think Chevrolet Cruze, Opel Astra, or the Buick Velite 6 sibling), the Chinese wagon profits from a quality design and unique body, compensating the middle-of-the-road specs (35 kWh battery; 301 kms / 187 mi range) and price (213,800 CNY / $33,219).

 Resultado de imagem para white JAC iEV6E

#4 – JAC iEV E-Series: The city EV is the new star in JAC’s lineup, having registered 4,505 units in May, mostly thanks to competitive specs (42 kWh, 310 kms / 194 mi range NEDC), considering the price (CNY 112,550 / USD 16,300). With a distinctive design (for some reason the front reminds me of a mix between a bulldog and a panda), the nameplate is continuing its brilliant work as the piano-carrier of the Hefei maker.

Resultado de imagem para 2019 Chery eQ

#5 – Chery eQ: One of the pioneering EV brands, Chery had won China’s Best Selling EV title three times in a row (2011, ’12, ’13), and the automaker regained relevance with the small eQ EV, having registered 3,818 units last month, allowing it to collect another Top 5 position. But the increased competition (JAC iEV E-Series, BYD e1…), might make a dent in the nameplate success, especially considering it has a range (200 kms / 120 mi) that falls well below what the competition (see JAC E-Series) has to offer.

Resultado de imagem para GAC Aion S
GAC Aion S: The Next Big Thing in China?

2019 ranking

The market is dynamic as ever, with plenty of changes and record results, the most important position change was the Roewe Ei5 EV climbing to #6, with SAIC’s station wagon now looking to reach the #5 Geely Emgrand EV, preferably with another record score.

And in good time that the Ei5 EV is going up, because its stablemate Baojun E-Series is dropping like a rock, having scored just 546 units, losing positions to the #8 Great Wall Ora R1 EV and #9 JAC iEV E-Series, both direct competitors in the race to displace the #7 Chery eQ from the throne of Best Selling City EV.

Great Wall is surely happy with its Ora’s lineup, not only the R1 was up, but the strange looking singular iQ5 EV SUV also climbed one position, to #13.

There were none other than three new faces in the Top 20, with the highest entry being the BMW 530Le, in #17, becoming the highest standing full-size model and the 3rd foreign nameplate in the ranking, together with the #11 VW Passat PHEV and the #18 Tesla Model 3, this being the first time that 3 foreign nameplates appear on the Chinese Top 20.

The Xpeng G3 EV, from the startup Xiaopeng, also joined the Top 20, in #19, surpassing at the same time the other local startups, Weltmeister and Nio, although this last one is keeping the best-selling full-size SUV title, with its ES8 SUV in #21, and with its smaller (and cheaper) SUV ES6 landing in June, expect Nio to recover the Best Selling Startup title soon.

The final entry in the ranking is the BYD Qin Pro EV, with the midsize sedan scoring a record 2,936 units. Interestingly, the other two additions to the ranking also did it with record performances, with the Xpeng G3 doing it with 2,704 units and the 530Le with 2,878.

Despite this record performance, the Bimmer wasn’t the best selling foreigner last month, and it wasn’t the Passat PHEV (3,293) either, but the Nissan Sylphy EV, that came out of nowhere to score 3,335 units in May, if the Japanese sedan manages to keep the pace in the coming months, expect another foreign nameplate in the Top 20 soon…

Looking at the manufacturers ranking, BYD (22%, down 1%) is leading, thanks to the success of its lineup (there’s 3 BYD’s on the the Top 4 spots, and 5 in the Top 20), while below it, SAIC (9%) is ahead on the 2nd spot race, closely followed of BAIC (8%), while Geely (6%, down 1%) lost some ground to the podium bearers.


  1. Jose,

    The BYD e1 is a very small EV model (it's only 3465 mm long), but it's equipped with a 32.2 kWh battery pack, and the range is about 300 km. The price: 60,000 RMB - 80,000 RMB.

    BYD had delivered 1,157 units of the BYD e1 in April 2019. How many units of the BYD e1 were delivered in May 2019?

    Do you think that it's likely that the BYD e1 will be in the top 20 by the end of 2019?


    1. Around 1,500 in May. Well, it's a bit the same problem as the Yuan, because BYD is battery constrained, the most expensive and profitable models have priority, so i guess the e1 will be on the back of the line until they have enough batteries. Or demand for other models falls.

  2. Interesting to see the Qin Pro EV about to overtake the PHEV one... The BYD models available as both, traditionally sold way more of the PHEV variants. (Possibly because there is way less competition in Chinese PHEV models?...)

    1. I think it is a good sign, as previously PHEVs had priority in production, because for 1 BEV, they could sell 3 PHEVs, earning more money with it…

      Apparently, they have more battery output, which allows them to ramp up BEV production of the Qin and Song and even launch barely profitable models (e1).

  3. May 1249 as per:

    Best wishes
    Ahmet Giz

  4. Jose hi,

    I have heard from a dealer rep in the US that some 1/3 of US Leaf manufacturing is being shipped to China. Do you know anything of this? If true, do you think it is badged as Sylphy as well?

    Thanks, Assaf

    1. Doubt that, the Sylphy EV is locally made in China, and Asian Leafs come from Japan.

  5. Very much appreciate the data, but I noticed your numbers on Model 3 indicate downward revisions for May and/or April, as ytd 7392-1000=5392 vs 6738 ytd reported for May. And in May the 6738-3000 for May=3738 ytd didn't conform with 5300 reported for April. Can you clarify where each month now falls?

    1. Considering the ships that arrived to China, i was estimating a higher number of deliveries, but when the import numbers come my way, usually with a two weeks delay over the China post, then numbers are lower than estimated, that is why the Model 3 deliveries are revised downwards.

    2. A downward trend shouldn't be surprising. Once giga 3 opens Chinese consumers will be able to buy a M3 at a substantially lower price due to lack of tariffs. Only S, X, and performance M3 will likely be sold in China until the factory opens.

    3. Well yes, they actually removed the imported SR+ from the Chinese order page now, only leaving the option to pre-order the domestic one.

      (LR RWD and LR AWD are still available for order though, along with Performance -- AIUI none of these be made in Shanghai?)

      However, I wouldn't be surprised if there are actually *more* orders coming in now that the exact specs and prices are known for all variants, so people no longer have a reason to wait and see...

    4. AWD versions are said to be imported from the US, while the LR RWD is supposed to be discontinued (again).

      I hope this last Model 3 version (LR RWD) gets back in production sooner than later, as it is the best from the lot.

    5. The LR RWD variant still seems to be available for order on the Chinese site -- and AFAIK it was the same last time it was (temporarily) discontinued in the US?

  6. Note: since last Sunday, Model 3 SR+ is not available in Tesla's China website (US produced version).

  7. Something doesn't add up with the sales numbers. Tesla sent 14 ships to China (8 in Q1 and 6 in Q2), which should amount to roughly 42000 cars (3000 cars per ship), and probably around 80% of them Model 3. And yet, the sales so far are 7400.

    In Europe, Tesla sent 13 ships (8 in Q1 and 5 in Q2), but at least they are selling 3-4 times more in Europe than in China.

    If every 10000 cars of inventory in China equates to roughly 500 mil $ of unsold inventory, that is not a good picture in this moment.

    1. I have been thinking about that too, consequence of the oficial numbers being consistently lower than my ship-based estimates.

      I think Tesla overvalued the initial Model 3 demand in China, that is why they put GF3 on Fast Forward.

      I have no doubt there is Model 3 unsold inventory in China, but how big that number is, i do not know.

    2. Pretty sure there isn't significant unsold inventory... Why would they keep making and shipping them, if they had no buyers? That just doesn't make sense.

    3. If demand is low in a country, why put so many resources into a factory in the country?

      It seems like if you realized it wasn't selling in China, you'd put Gigafactory 3 on pause and shift all your efforts over to the European Gigafactory where the car is doing much better.

      Maybe we'll see some Model 3 blowout in China in June? If there's really 14 boats full of Model 3 that went there so far this year, I don't see how there'd be fewer than 20K sold.

    4. Well, it's quite likely that orders have been low *because* the Shanghai factory will be ready soon, bringing cheaper locally built Model 3; thus people being reluctant to order the imported ones... Might be one reason why Tesla opened order for the Chinese-built Model 3 early: once people know exactly what price and equipment the local version will come with, they can better decide whether to wait for that one, or order one of the imported variants now...

      It's an interesting question of course what would happen if demand had really turned out way lower than expected... Would it be cheaper to stop construction and write down the investments already made, rather than completing the factory and running it way below capacity? Not sure.

      Having said that, I don't think that's very likely. From the number of reservations (who didn't cancel over the course of almost three years, before Shanghai construction reached a point of no return), Tesla should have a reasonably good idea about medium-term demand.

  8. Wann hat BYD endlich mehr Kapazität für ihre BEV Fahrzeuge?

  9. Do you have an explanation on why the rate of progress has fallen so much? Is this related to the reduction of subsidies or to the shortage of batteries, triggered in part by the tendency to have bigger battery packs per car?

    1. AIUI the subsidy reduction will only hit on June 26th. So that shouldn't reduce sales right now -- on the contrary, I'd expect a demand pull-forward...

      I wonder whether perhaps demand was pulled forward into earlier months instead, because people were expected the subsidy cuts to come sooner?

    2. It is a good question indeed, maybe as antrik said, it was a question of pull forward demand, where people anticipated the end of subsidies in the first months of the year,

  10. Jose,

    After 5 months there are only two EV models (the BYD Yuan EV and the BAIC EU-series) that have reached/crossed the 30,000 sales milestone so far in 2019 (in China).

    And only these two EV models have the chance to reach/cross the 100,000 annual sales milestone in 2019 (in China).

    In 2020 it will be a totally different ballgame (in China).


    1. I have high hopes in a number of new models, namely the GAC Aion S, or the China-made Model 3, so despite this recent growth dip, i am still optimistic.

  11. I just realized that EV-Sales hasn't covered USA sales since March 2019. What happened to April 2019 numbers, and aren't they normally one of the first countries covered each month, so I'd expect May 2019 numbers by now, too?