Friday, December 20, 2019

China November 2019 (Updated)

Resultado de imagem para GAC Aion S
GAC Aion S...

Model 3 & the Disciples   

When you find yourself in times of trouble, Model 3 comes to the
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be
And in this hour of darkness it is standing right in front of the
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be

With the Chinese plugin market enduring heavy losses, in November it plunged 42% YoY, to 83,000 units, with both powertrain technologies crashing, although BEVs fared a little bit better (only -36%), as the market adjusts to a new, less subsidy-dependent, reality.

In the midst of this adverse environment, October’s PEV share was just 4% (3.5% BEV), dropping the 2019 PEV market share to 5.4% (4.3% for BEVs alone), which is still above the 2018 result (4.2%), but it is significantly lower than the 6.3% peak of last June.

With the subsidy changes last summer, when NEV subsidies were cut off completely for vehicles with less than 250 kms electric range, while those with higher range saw their subsidies halved, the effects of these changes will continue to be felt for a few more months, possibly up until next summer. 

While many models saw their sales dry up, or be significantly impacted, with smaller, cheaper models unable to compensate the subsidy loss, the most expensive end of the market continues to thrive, helping foreign OEMs to increase market share, now at 15%, and even within small EVs there were winners, like is the case of the SAIC Baojun E-Series, that saw its sales jump after the subsidies end, as it was the only model of the A00 category (Smart-like, 2-seater EVs) to keep access to subsidies, winning even last month Best Seller title.

In November, besides the Baojun E-Series win, the highlights were the 5th position of the SAIC MG ZS EV crossover, a model that Shanghai Auto has high hopes in making it the first Chinese plugin model to sell in significant volumes in overseas markets, so the fact that the MG crossover is making itself noted at home, bodes well for its success elsewhere.

The Tesla Model 3 and its disciples (GAC Aion S and Geely Geometry A) are coming to the rescue of the Chinese market, with these 3 models already representing 16% of the total market last month, thanks to all three models scoring record results last month, as these new generation EVs show the market where to go in order to resume the growth path. 

Interestingly, 4 of the Top 7 sellers in November were models launched this year, which says a lot about the fast-changing evolution of the Chinese market.

Here’s last month Top 5 Best Selling models individual performance:

#1 – Baojun E-Series: With the end of subsidies for most of the small city EVs, unable to reach the minimum 250 kms range, the Baojun E-Series won the lottery, with the Shanghai Auto and General Motors offspring watching its sales jump in the past few months, winning consecutive podium positions, and in November it even managed to beat the BAIC EU-Series and become last month Best Seller, having registered a record 9,809 units last month. The access to the current subsidy, added to its competitive price (CNY 93,900 / USD 14,700) before subsidies, makes it an appealing model for car-sharing companies, as well as other kinds of fleets. 

#2 – BAIC EU-Series: The electric sedan this time was relegated to the runner-up spot in November, with the 6,258 units of last month being its worst result since April. Is the Beijing Auto model losing charge? Despite an attractive design and specs (215 hp, 416 kms / 260 mi NEDC, US $32,500), the Beijing Auto is starting to look dated, next to newcomers like the the EVangelist Tesla Model 3 and the Californian Chinese disciples, the GAC Aion S and Geely Geometry A.

#3 – GAC Aion S: Things look great for the Aion S, because the sleek sedan continues to improve its performance every passing month, having scored yet another record, with 5,538 units, reaching the 3rd place last month, its 5th Top 5 spot in a row. And if we add the 865 units of the badge-engineered Toyota iA5 EV, that is nothing else than a Aion S with a Toyota badge, the GAC sedan registered 6,403 units, which is higher than the 2nd placed BAIC EU-Series... But back to the Aion S, beyond the stylish (and aerodynamic - 0.245cd) looks, this new model bears some impressive specs: a 59 kWh CATL NCM 811 battery, 510 km / 318 mi NEDC range and Level 2 driving aids, but the real killer is the price: Around 180,000 CNY / $26,000. Before subsidies. 

#4 – Tesla Model 3: The success of the Tesla sedan in China is starting to materialize, in November the sports sedan scored a record 4,658 units, allowing it another Top 5 presence. With the GF3 ramping up, one can imagine the Californian becoming a familiar face next year in this Top 5, and with the Tesla having “Diana Ross” levels of customer attraction, who knows how high it can go...

#5 – SAIC MG ZS EV: The production of the compact crossover has been steadily ramping up, and last month it reached a record 3,687 units, allowing it to achieve its first monthly Top 5 spot. While the MG model has a middle of the road specs (45 kWh battery, 262 kms / 163 mi WLTP range, 110 kW motor), it compensates with a spacious and well apointed interior. With Shanghai Auto betting heavily on its electric crossover to finally get a hold in foreign markets, the ZS EV will also have to succeed in its domestic market, in order to gain scale and profitability. Will they make it?

Imagem relacionada
...And Toyota iA5: spot the differences. And say which looks better.

2019 ranking

The market is now adapting to the new reality, with many former best sellers now witnessing symbolic sales, while a new generation of EVs is rising.

We’ll start with the position changes, with the Geely Emgrand EV climbing to the 6th place, while both the Great Wall Ora R1 and BMW 530Le surpassed the Roewe Ei5, allowing them to reach the 9th and 10thpositions, respectively. 

But the Climber of the Month was once again the GAC Aion S, jumping 2 positions, to #12, with both the GAC and another of The Supremes element, the Model 3, now aiming for a Top 10 position this year, which would be a great starting point for a Top 5 (Podium?) spot in 2020.

The other member of the “Model 3 & the Disciples” band, the Geely Geometry A, finally pulled out a decent performance, thanks to a record 2,465 units, allowing it to be #7 in November, with the streamlined becoming for the first time the best seller among their Geely stable mates. Is Geely’s Cinderella finally ready to blossom?

There are other new players taking the opportunity to disrupt the market, like the MG ZS EV, 4th in November, with 3,687 units, that with a little of luck, can still join the ranking next month. 

Outside the Top 20, a mention also to the ramp-up of the Renault K-ZE, aka Kwid EV, now at 1,382 units, in only its 3rd month on the market, while among the landing models, we have two models already scoring 500-plus performances, with the Audi Q2L e-Tron registering 785 units, while GAC sold 865 Aion S to Toyota, that the Japanese maker rebadged as iA5 EV. Why? EV quotas, with the Corolla/Levin PHEV twins not really setting the market on fire (500 units each, in November), Toyota has to resort to this subterfuge in order to win NEV credits, so the Aion S is a piggy-bank for GAC in two ways, not only it is a popular EV by itself, but it is also an easy sell to car makers in need of NEV credits, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see in a few months Aion S rebadges for Honda, Fiat, Mitsubishi, insert name

Looking at the manufacturers ranking, BYD (17%, down 1%) is losing momentum, while below it, BAIC (13%, up 1%) is getting closer, and the #3 SAIC (11%, up 1%) is benefitting from the Baojun E-Series and MG ZS EV to gain share. 

Outside the podium, Geely (5%) is hanging on, but has to keep a close eye on Great Wall and GAC, both with 4% share, in order to keep the 4th position.


  1. While a fall of 48% seems terrible, there are a couple of silver linings:

    (a) there is significant growth from the previous month;
    (b) it is certain that the yearly numbers will show growth (albeit small) and more significant growth in market share; and
    (c) the sales that are no longer subsidy dependent are much more sustainable, as subsidies are not economically sustainable in the long term.

    1. What's more, despite the setbacks, this market still has higher EV share than most other places in the world (especially when looking at BEV only) -- not exactly what I'd call "hell"...

    2. X2.

      Sales seemed to have bottomed. Imagine some of it was manufacturers trying to make the govt sweat out a rethink on support.

      Byd seem to be in a world of hurt with its very good phevs. Could it prompt it to look to export markets??

      Otherwise its Bevs or bust. Interesting to see numbers for Tesla December and January. Anything less than 5k would be seen as a fail. Any more than 10k would be seen as great success.

    3. Well, BYDs BEVs already surpassed their PHEVs in the latter part of last year and the first half of this year... But now they seem hit by the subsidy cuts just as much as their PHEVs -- so it's really pain all around for BYD... (Apart maybe from their combustion car sales?)

      Let's hope it's just temporary.

  2. Among the Top-5 models, there is 1 PHEV in #5 place and amont Top-20 models, there are 5 PHEVs.
    Total sales of those 5 PHEVs are 4,943 units.

    BEVs took 3.2% out of the PEVs 3.8%. With a drastic subsidy cut, still these vehicles are surviving and that's great.
    Automakers must have retooled their plants to vehicle lighter and place more batteries to increase the range.
    Come 2020-01, Tesla must be starting the sales of Made in China Model-3 and this should prompt the chinese automakers to try the same. Those who cannot afford to buy Model-3 will at least go for some chinese made EV thats pretty close.
    With the GF-3 in Shanghai taking over chinese sales and some european sales, Fremont should be able to sell more Model-3s in American market.

    Lets hope for a better 2020. After all average battery prices has gone down to $156 / KWh as per bloomberg estimate.

    1. It's really hard to force buyers to buy, though, without big incentives. China brands also looking to use safer cells such as LiFEPO4 and NCM 811.

    2. Actually, Chinese brands have given up on LFP (except for buses) -- models that haven't switched to "ternary" chemistries (NMC/NCA) aren't competitive any more. Just as it was an early policy decision by the government to bet on LFP, it was a more recent policy decision to reverse this bet.

      As for NMC-811, first time I hear it mentioned as "safer"... AIUI, it's actually more volatile than earlier NMC formulations like NMC-111. (More similar to NCA, which was already nickel-rich before, and thus also pretty volatile...)

  3. There's a report out today that there were 5,597 Tesla vehicles registered in China in November.

    Apart from that your number seemed low considering that Tesla has sent five fully loaded car transport ships to China this Q, which probably amounts to 5 - 10,000 vehicles.
    So do you think your number should be revised..?

    1. Then some other country sales must revised down, or Tesla will have overunity total sales. I always suspected the US sales are unbelievable hight.

    2. Why? We are speaking about sales in November, so Q4, and we don't know how many Tesla cars have been delivered this quarter so far. Maybe you are confusing matching each markets deliveries with the official total quarter deliveries that Tesla can only release AFTER the end of that quarter, so only in January. Monthly world deliveries estimates that Jose does every month are estimations based in the numbers that he can retrieved from different sources, very rarely official Tesla numbers. So, if his sources gave to him a too low number of deliveries in China in November this is not a reason to think that US numbers estimates were to high, but maybe it is the monthly deliveries estimates for Tesla for November that should be elevated. Furthermore, this registration numbers in China doesn't mean that all these cars were delivered in November as a lot of them can be being delivered right now!

    3. FWIW, there have been a lot of boats arriving in China in previous quarters as well; yet sales were pretty low for some reason... So that's not really much of an indication unfortunately. (Unlike in Europe, were sales seem to align well with boats.)

  4. Seems Tesla estimate is low.

  5. 900 Model 3 units is dramatically different than what Bloomberg reports -- 5,597 units for Tesla a whole, which would likely imply close to 5,000 for the Model 3. How come this dramatic difference?

  6. Thanks for the revision.
    So the Top-5 in sales last month belongs to BEV. Wonderful, Captain Tesla comes to our rescue again.
    When the Dec sales comes in, Model-3 will enter Top-10.

    Starting from 2020-01, it will be a whole different picture since GF-3 will make and sell.

    1. Thank you, readers, for putting me on notice regarding Tesla, i would have never imagined the Model 3 would have pulled out a record month in November!

      "Captain Tesla" sounds nice :D

  7. Hi. Why is there a difference between your data for EV sales from China and data from CAAM (NEV sales 95,000 in November)? Thanks.

    1. CAAM also counts Commercial Vehicles. This is passenger cars only.

    2. Thank you