Friday, June 19, 2020

China May 2020

Tesla baixa preço do Model 3 Standard Range Plus para 37.574 euros ...

Tesla Model 3 undisputed leader

While the overall Chinese market returned to positive numbers in May (+7% YoY), plugins are still in red, being down 32% last month, to close to over 73,000 units.

This PEV subpar performance is concerning, but because it might be connected to the incentives-related sales rush that happened around this same time last year, when they were cut towards the end of June, we will have to wait for July to see if growth returns by then, as it is expected, or if we are in for a lost year.

Still, it was the best month this year regarding volumes, and that shows on May’s PEV share, with 4.4% (3.3% BEV), pulling the 2020 share by 0.1%, to 4.3% (3.3% BEV), which is still a step below from the 5.5% of 2019, but hopefully the second half of the year will bring the possibility to reach last year's score.

Looking at May Best Sellers, Tesla dominated the scene, almost tripling the deliveries of the #2 GAC Aion S, while the surprise of the month coms from Buick(!), with its Velite 6 station wagon(!!!) reaching May’s Bronze medal.

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

#1 – Tesla Model 3

The poster child for electric mobility hit a record 11,468 units (including estimated imports), and while a record performance is always something to cheer, frankly i was expecting better (15,000 was my target), trying to find a reason for this, and after checking the local available inventory and orders, something interesting happened: While on one hand, there was a several thousands long waiting list for the LR RWD version, on the other, there were a few thousands of SR Model 3’s sitting on stock, which provides a couple of interesting insights on the Model 3 demand: The upper end of the range still has significant demand, while the lower end is suffering from the increased competition / adverse times, with the “Tesla is supply constrained” mantra proving to be more nuanced than previously thought. Finally, the lower cost of the upcoming LFP battery SR version is another piece of the puzzle, with Tesla proactively recognizing the current weak point of the Model 3 lineup, and the new version allowing Tesla to “play ball” with the local competition.

#2 – GAC Aion S

GAC’s sleek sedan finished second in May, having registered 3,892 units (excluding the 599 Toyota-badged iA5 units), a new year best, and while the Aion S is still far from the 8,460 units of last December, the ramp up continues and should reach cruise speed some time during the summer. One of the most competitive domestic EV’s on the market, the Aion S is sure to continue a regular in this Top 5, being a strong candidate to the medals positions.

#3 – Buick Velite 6

Something of an oddball in China, station wagons, especially electric ones, are a niche in this market, but for some reason General Motors and its local partner, SAIC, thought it was a good idea to bet on them, and while the SAIC version has occasionally shown up here, this is the first time that the GM variation on the theme, the Buick Velite 6, reached a Top 5 position, earning the first medal ever for GM in this market. This compact wagon (think Chevrolet Cruze or Opel Astra-sized) has a couple of trump cards up its sleeve, for once, its style is original and striking (imagine if the original Opel Ampera had a second generation, and that generation was a wagon), plus a competitive 53 kWh battery, allowing it 410 kms (255 mi) NEDC range, and a complete set of features, including OTA updates(!) and a virtual key. All this has allowed the Buick wagon to reach 3,526 units in May, by far its best result so far, although one wonders if this is just a one time thing, or will the GM EV become a regular feature on this Top 5.

#4 – BYD Qin Pro EV

The maker’s reply to the GAC Aion S and BAIC EU-Series Xpeng P7 reached  3,201 units in May, so BYD’s bet on its electric sedan to stay among the podium Best Sellers is working, but from here on, demand could end up being an issue, with so many fierce competitors on this category and price range, without forgetting the internal competition that the upcoming Han full size car might also make.

#5 – NIO ES6

Another Top 5 presence for NIO, with the Midsize SUV scoring 2,685 deliveries in May. Facing an uphill battle, after all, marrying “Premium” and “Chinese” in one EV-only brand is no easy task, the fact is that NIO products and concept add something new to the current EV landscape, not only they have battery swap stations, but they also increase regularly their models battery capacity, from the initial 74 kWh, back in 2018, to 80 kWh in 2019, and now in 2020, they have launched a 100 kWh option. Even better, the brand allows existing owners to upgrade their current batteries to the 100 kWh pack, for little over $5,000! The ES6 is the current best seller, but in a few months, the presumably cheaper and lighter EC6 midsize crossover-coupé will land, possibly stealing the thunder from its larger, taller, sibling ES6.

Xpeng P7 launches in China NEDC 706km Super-long range, first L3 ...
Xpeng P7: The Next Big Thing in China?

Looking at the 2020 ranking, the top positions remained the same, with Tesla possibly having enough advantage in front to start preparing the celebrations for its first Best Selling Model trophy ceremony ahead of schedule, while the #6 NIO ES6 is closing in fast on the BAIC EU-Series, with the midsize SUV most likely surpassing the Beijing Auto sedan in June.

But NIO is not the only local EV startup shining, with the Weltmeister EX5 (1,421 units, new year best) climbing to #13, while the Hozon Neta N01 returned to the table, in #20, making 5 EV startup models in the table! Disruption?

And to think 2019 ended with no startup model in this Top 20...And the best selling foreigner (Tesla Model 3) ended only in #8! Now we have 2 foreign models (Tesla Model 3 and BMW 530Le) above that...Yes, disruption.

In other news, the City EV category is picking up, the tiny Baojun E-Series climbed yet again, now to #7, thanks to a year best 2,447 units, but the Chery eQ (2,563 units, year best) is chasing it, with the small Chery jumping 2 positions, to #9, while the Great Wall Ora R1 was also up, now at #11, thanks to 2,326 units, which was, you guessed it, a new year best.

The BYD e2 compact hatchback climbed two positions, to #14, thanks to 1,461 units, a new year best (Do you see a trend here?)

We have two new entries to the table, besides the aforementioned Neta N01, the Buick Velite 6 profited from its amazing May performance (3,526 units) to jump into #15, making it 4 foreign models in this Top 20.

Outside the table, a reference to the BYD Song Pro EV, that registered a record 1,015 units last month, jumping to #21, less than 100 units away from the #20 Hozon Neta N01, while the Changan Benni EV scored its best result in over a year, with 1,838 units.

Looking at the manufacturers ranking, BYD (17%, down 1%) is in the leadership, but Tesla (14%, up 2%) is rising, while SAIC (10%) is stable in 3rd, with the #4 GAC (7%) winning precious advange over the #5 Volkswagen (6%, down 1%), behind it. 


  1. I see April in the table :-)

  2. I don't think the SR+ vs. LR situation really tells much about competition. Exactly the same happened in the US in Q3 2018, when they had a significant inventory of RWD units produced previously, while most new orders coming in were for the recently introduced AWD... This will normalise with time.

  3. Regarding the LFP Model 3, I'm not sure how buyers will react to that. While the cost should be around $1,500 lower -- which will surely be passed on to customers sooner or later -- and the LFP battery is also somewhat safer in theory (not that Model 3 has a bad track record on that score, though), it's also 100 kg heavier, and might have other downsides we don't know yet about...

  4. Given that the Velite 6 is not exactly new, I'd assume the sudden surge to be from some kind of fleet deal? Though on the other hand, we are seeing such weird jumps in this market all the time...

    1. New, 53 kWh battery. Previously, it had a (puny) 35 kWh unit.

      But then again, a fleet deal is also a possibility...To be continued :)

  5. Great job Tesla for selling 11K + units (another 5 digit sales).
    72.963 is a big # especially considering the fact that last june was the greatest month with big subsidies. When it comes to range, the 72.963 vehicles sold in 2020-06 will be covering lot more distance with the long range vehicles compared to the short range vehicles sold in 2019-06.

    All 3 positions in Top-3 and 9 in Top-10 and 17 in Top-20 is held by BEV shows the peoples interest with the higher range vehicles.
    BEVs hold 75% share.

    Finally GM is showing some interest in electrification, hope they show the same interest in USA as well.

    Editors: Heading should be May and not April.

    1. Yeah, if only GM sold its Chinese lineup (Chevy Menlo, Buick Velite 6...) in its domestic market...Oh well, maybe the upcoming Velite 7 crossover could cross the Pacific (fingers crossed!)

      (Heading corrected)

    2. Apparently the Velite 7 is just a badge-engineered version of the Bolt EUV, which is coming to the US next year.

      (The Menlo and Velite 6 probably have too small batteries for the US market, even after the recent upgrade...)

    3. @famlin don't put too much hope into GM. While they are talking big, and supposedly want to introduce almost 10 new vehicles based on their new BT1 and BEV3 platforms in the US in the next couple of years, an insider source (based on supplier data) recently claimed that the actual US EV production capacity GM and Ford are planning in the next years is pretty ridiculous...

  6. Here are the dimensions of Buick Velite 6
    4,650 mm, a width of 1,817 mm, a height of 1,510 mm

    A 5-door vehicle with a height >= 1,500 mm is classified as a crossover and there are many models in this height which are called crossover by their respective companies.

    Per the Buick China website, Velite is classified as MAV (Multi Activity Vehicle) which is not but a different name for crossover.

    Somewhere we have to draw the line and ideally 1.5 meters (60" / 5 feet) is a right threshold.
    Can you please change it from station wagon to crossover.

    1. What about a crossover-wagon? ;-)

    2. @famlin the Chevy Menlo is the same vehicle as the Buick Velite 6, except with a (slightly taller) crossover-style body. They look different, and address different customers. Claiming they are the same category makes little sense.

  7. These are the terms already used for 5 conventional door vehicles build on unibody frame and >= 1.5 meters in height.
    CUV: Crossover Utility Vehicle
    MPV: Multi Purpose Vehicle
    MUV: Multi Utility Vehicle
    MAV: Multi Activity Vehicle
    SAV: Sport Activity Vehicle

    Apart from this there are
    SUV: Sport Utility Vehicles built on truck chassis. These vehicles are sold mostly in USA, Canada, Australia
    Minivan: Has 2 sliding doors.
    SUT: Sport Utility Truck which has midgate between rear windshield and cargo bed. Chevy-Avalanche, Cadillac Escalade-EXT, Hummer H2 & H3 had this option.

    Tomorrow automakers may come up with new terms like
    RAV: Recreational Activity Vehicle
    FUV: Functional Utility Vehicle
    OUV: Outdoor Utility Vehicle

    And then there are wagon/estate/hatchback/liftback/sportback that are also 5 conventional door vehicles build on unibody frame and < 1.5 meters in height.

    Thats why its better to standardize on crossover for all those vehicles. Pretty soon those wagon/estate/hatchback/liftback/sportback which are < 1.5 meters will morph into crossovers and its already happening. Hope this makes sense.

    1. If you put everything under the same term, the term becomes completely useless. This is already happening with "crossover" -- we need *more* distinctive names for meaningful differences between body styles, not less.

    2. The terms are
      Crossover: 5 conventional door vehicles built on unibody frame >= 1.5 meters.
      SUV: 5 conventional door vehicles built on truck chassis.
      Minivan: 2 rear sliding doors
      Sedan: 4 door vehicle
      Coupe: 2 door vehicle
      Hatch/wagon: 5 door vehicle < 1.5 meters.

      Eventually minivan sales will shrink followed by coupe, hatch/wagon, sedan in that order. Its aleady happening in China, Europe & USA.
      As automakers accelerate their move into BEVs, they will narrow down to the right segment which is crossover since it uses the lighter unibody frame, maximizes on trunk space, offers 3 dimensional spacing (bigger crossover will be longer, wider and taller than smaller ones as opposed to wagon which has to expand only in length & width).

      Automakers cannot afford to make a mild, full, plugin, electric version of a Crossover, SUV, Minivan, Sedan, Coupe & Hatch/wagon and in sub-compact, compact, mid-size, full-size vehicles. Their profitability is shrinking.

    3. Delved in deeper to see how many wagon models are sold in USA.
      It shows 97, but it included the 2019 & 2021 models, so I excluded them and zoomed in on 2020 and I see 48, but many are duplicates like FWD & AWD are listed as 2 model when infact they are one. Similarly having 2 different engines.

      Here is 1 such comparison, both are same in terms of passenger & cargo space and dimensions as well.

      Ultimately it came to 18, again a full size SUV like Rolls Royce Cullinan is placed wrongly under wagons. Similarly Nissan (Kicks & Murano), Kia (Soul & Niro). So excluded them it came to 13.

      Since Fiat 500L, Chevy Bolt, Volvo V60 CC & V90 CC are taller than 1.5 m and if we choose to exclude it, it will come down to 9.

      Here are those 9. Buick Regal TourX is discontinued and even Fiat 500L, Volvo V60 CC & V90 CC are not far behind. Now you know the status of wagon in USA. With Europe using the word "Estate", the word "Wagon" may soon be dropped in English dictionary.

      2020 Audi A4 allroad quattro 2.0 L, 4 cyl, Automatic (AM-S7), Turbo, Premium Gasoline
      2020 Audi A6 Allroad 3.0 L, 6 cyl, Automatic (AM-S7), Turbo, Premium Gasoline
      2020 Buick Regal TourX AWD 2.0 L, 4 cyl, Automatic (S8), Turbo, Premium Gasoline
      2020 Chevrolet Sonic 5 1.4 L, 4 cyl, Automatic (S6), Turbo, Regular Gasoline
      2020 Jaguar XF Sportbrake AWD 2.0 L, 4 cyl, Automatic (S8), Turbo, Premium Gasoline
      2020 Mercedes-Benz E450 4matic (station wagon) 3.0 L, 6 cyl, Automatic 9-spd, Turbo, Premium Gasoline
      2020 Subaru Impreza 5-Door 2.0 L, 4 cyl, Automatic (AV-S7), Regular Gasoline
      2020 Volvo V60 AWD PHEV 2.0 L, 4 cyl, Automatic (S8), Gas and Electricity
      2020 Volvo V90 AWD 2.0 L, 4 cyl, Automatic (S8), Turbo, Supercharger, Premium Gasoline

    4. Everyone know the status of wagons in the US. It's a completely different story in Europe. The lack of BEV wagons is indeed the major reason in several markets why PHEVs remain more popular. The sudden fad for taller cars, after the trend has been opposite for the better part of a century, is not something everyone subscribes to.

      Claiming that the V60 CC is a crossover, just because the raised suspension takes it over a completely arbitrary 1.5 metres boundary, completely misses the point. In fact it's a perfect counter-example: the V60 CC is still very much the same body style as the regular V60, and very different from the XC60.

  8. Can you explain what XPENG is doing in a blurb abut BYD?

    "The maker’s reply to the GAC Aion S and BAIC EU-Series Xpeng P7 reached 3,201 units in May"