Friday, September 18, 2020

China August 2020


Wuling Mini EV shines in growing market


The overall Chinese market remained in positive numbers last month (+6% YoY), with plugins faring much better, growing 30% YoY last month, to 100,000 units, a new year best, with BEVs growing slightly faster (+31%), than plugin hybrids (+27%), allowing pure electrics to have 81% of plugin sales last month, slightly above of this year average of 79%.

August was the best selling month this year, and it shows, as last month plugin share reached 5.7% (4.6% BEV), pulling the 2020 share to 5% (3.9% BEV), which is still below from the 5.5% of 2019, but it is a step in the right direction and hopefully it will reach last year's score towards the end of the year.

Looking at August Best Sellers, we have 2 midsize sedans ( #1 Tesla Model 3, #3 GAC Aion S) and 3 City EVs, confirming the return of small EVs to the spotlight.

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

#1 – Tesla Model 3

The poster child for electric mobility hit 11,811 units last month, and while it’s not its all time best, Tesla’s midsizer continues firmly above the 10,000 mark. And the Model 3 is starting to get in the way of the category Best Sellers in the overall market, as the Californian was not that far-off from the BMW 3-Series (16,919 units), Mercedes C-Class (14,249) and Audi A4 (13,053), so the Tesla sports sedan still has some room to grow. Will we see it reach some 15,000 units/month cruise speed this year? Another question is, will Tesla deliver a surprise performance in September? Mmmm...Discuss.


#2 – Wuling HongGuang Mini EV

A big name for such a small car, the Wuling EV, let’s call it that way, scored 9,150 units last month, thanks to a steep production ramp up, so expect the tiny four-seater to hit five-digit performances soon. Why the reason for this overnight success? Well, from the start, it is one of the cheapest EVs on the market ($4,200!!!), and yet, it’s not all that bad, as the SAIC-GM-Wuling joint-venture model can seat 4 people (or 3 people and a bit of cargo, or 2 with a fair amount of cargo – 741 liters), in car that is a tad larger (2,917 mm / 114.8 in) than a Smart Fortwo EV, sure, range is not brilliant (smaller battery version has 9.2 kWh battery, top spec version has a 13.8 kWh battery), just like the motor (27hp), but it has only 665 kg curb weight to carry around and is highway capable, so in order to have the 4,200 USD price, without subsidies, one can’t expect miracles... At this price level, the Wuling EV is in position to be a disruptive force in urban mobility, not only against 4-wheeled private transportation, but also against 2 and 3-wheelers. This EV could be a game changer for many, and not only in China...


#3 – GAC Aion S

GAC’s sleek sedan was 3rd in August, having registered 4,071 units (excluding the 665 Toyota-badged iA5 units), a new year best, so it seems the Aion S has found a way to live with its crossover sibling, the new Aion V (2,086 units last month). 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.


#4 – Great Wall ORA Black Cat (R1)

A few decades ago, Hollywood had a Rat Pack, and maybe inspired by that one, Great Wall decided to create its own Cat Pack, transforming its tiny R1 Smart-lookalike into the Black Cat, launching the R2 model (think Scion XB/Toyota Urban Cruiser kind of vehicle) as the White Cat, that delivered 1,035 units last month, and to lead the Pack, Great Wall is now preparing the launch of the Good Cat, a chunky (and funky) compact hatchback (VW Golf sized) that kinda looks like a Porsche 356 in the front, a Toyota from the side, and the back...Well, it’s its own thing. But enough of the Good Cat, we are here to talk about the Black Cat, that delivered 3,748 units in August, the City EV best score since the new subsidy rules were enacted, more than a year ago. Does this mean the new name will allow a second youth to the Ora model? To be answered in the next few months...


#5 – SAIC Baojun E-Series 

Baojun works as the more hip and upmarket version of the Wuling EV, and thanks to their E-Series (E100/200/300) lineup of City EVs, the SGMW (SAIC-GM-Wuling joint-venture) offspring has seen its demand stay high during the last months, winning a 5th spot in August, thanks to 3,312 units last month. The access to the current subsidy, added to competitive pricing (CNY 93,900 / USD 14,700) before subsidies, makes it an appealing model for young urban drivers, as well as car-sharing companies and other kind of fleets. 



Looking at the 2020 ranking, if the Model 3 is the undisputed leader, below it, everything is up for discussion, with the #3 GAC Aion S shortening the distance, to less than 1,000 units, to the 2nd placed BYD Qin Pro EV, but both should be surpassed in a couple of months by a rising star...

...The Wuling EV, that after joining the table in July, in #13, last month the Wuling model jumped 7 spots, to #6, and should reach the 4th place in September, only to surpass the aforementioned two by October. 

This move highlights the latest trend, City EVs are returning to the spotlight, not only with the Wuling EV, but also with the newly called Great Wall Ora Black Cat, that climbed to #8, and the #9 Chery eQ, that delivered 3,307 units, its best score in over a year.   

But it weren’t only with the City EVs shining, as the MG ZS EV was also up, to #15, while BYD saw two of their models climb, with the Tang PHEV climbing two positions, to #17, thanks to a Year Best performance of 1,525 deliveries, while the Song Pro EV was up to #19, and despite staying in the same spot, the BYD e2 had a Year Best score of 1,557 units.

Highlighting BYD’s positive month, the Han siblings saw the benefits of the production ramp up, with the EV version scoring 2,700 units, while the PHEV registered their first 1,300 units, if we to count both together, the full size BYD would feature on our monthly Top 5.

A final mention to two startup EVs, with the #11 Li Xiang One full size SUV scoring a record 2,711 units, while the Weltmeister EX5 had its best performance this year, with 2,042 units. 

Below the Top 20, a reference to the ramp-up mode Xpeng P7 (1,996 units in August), the 1,035 units of the Great Wall Ora R2 White Cat, the 2,086 units of the crossover GAC Aion V, or the 1,722 deliveries of the Changan Eado EV, its best score this year.

NIO’s barge flagship SUV, the ES8, scored 1,125 units last month, its best score in 16 months, mostly thanks to the new 100 kWh version, which constrasts with last month paltry result of the Tesla Model X (112 deliveries).

“Yeah, but August is not a peak month for Tesla...” – True, but Tesla’s flagship SUV top score this year in China was 650 units, last March, which pales next to the Li Xiang One regular scores, and the NIO ES8 4,506 deliveries this year are two times the score of the Model X...

Currently, the Model S & X are weak points for Tesla in China, as they are being trailed by several opponents, be it startups (NIO, Li Xiang), local OEMs (BYD), or foreign ones (BMW), which is a stark contrast with the current Model 3 domination of the midsize category...

#MakeModelS&XinChina; #RefreshModelS&XonBatteryDay.

Looking at the manufacturers ranking, BYD (15%) is still in the leadership, but the #2 Tesla (13%), and especially the rising #3 SAIC (13%, up 1%) are looking to catch it soon.

SAIC is 3rd, although i should say, it’s more SAIC+SGMW, because if we remove the joint-venture small EV models from the SAIC tally, the Shanghai maker would have only 6% share. Technicalities, technicalities....

Below the podium, Volkswagen (6%) is holding on to #4 by just 2 units(!), with GAC (also 6%) looking forward to surpass the German maker in September, while NIO (4%) has surpassed BMW and is now #6, and with the #5 BAIC less than 300 units away, it is waiting for a chance to climb higher (In September?). 


  1. Covid-19 was good for nothing.
    But it is making small city EVs like Wuling HongGuang Mini EV popular.
    Hopefully in Europe too!

  2. So Tesla lands the #1 position in Aug. I thought Wuling sold 15.000 units in August alone, but thats probably cumulative sales. Being in ramp up mode and with 50.000 orders, Mini EV may hit 5 digit sales. Wonderful.
    Using a car as a 4 seater with little cargo space or 1/2/3 seater with more cargo space also makes sense for some. In fact every rich household can buy it as 2nd / 3rd car. 40% of apartments in china are 2nd owned while another 30% has 3rd owned. So many rich people there may own 2 / 3 cars also.
    Many food/flower delivery outlets who need only a small cargo will go for this. 1 million + low speed evs which has < 100 km range and < 100 km/h are sold with lead batteries. All those will migrate to this 100 km range Mini EV which costs lesser altering the whole balance.

    If BYD Han which is bigger than Model S in all 3 dimensions has a price that is lesser than Model 3, then its something Tesla should take note of, especially with very advanced blade battery. Will the MIC Model 3 with CATL LFP battery come up with shorter range/lower cost. Or Tesla does the usual high sales in quarter end.
    September results will show the exact demand for Model 3. After all when the 3 series, C series and A4 could sell at that high level, Model 3 should also have the demand.

    At what level will the BYD Han sell is a big ?

    1. Low-speeds are not only cheap, but also have much lower legal requirements (driver's license, registration, insurance) -- just because there is a fairly cheap (sorta) highway-capable EV available now, doesn't mean most users will migrate.

    2. Don't get fooled by the hype: there is nothing "very advanced" about BYDs "Blade Battery". It's just cheap LFP in a cell-to-pack architecture -- much the same as the CATL one Tesla will soon be using...

      (And by the way, there is a lot more to vehicle pricing than just dimensions...)

    3. What is going on with BYD? Are they supply constrained after switching their plants to mask production? Or are their cars (especially the smaller ones e1, e2, s2) running out of oomph?

    4. LSEV (low speed EV) come in 3-wheeler and 4-wheeler and there is difference between 2.
      4-wheeler has 1 extra wheel, 1 extra axle, proper metal doors, proper glass windows which makes it much costly.
      Thats why bajaj 3-wheeler rickshaw costs ₹ 200.000 while 4-wheeler quadricycle costs ₹ 250.000 which is 25% extra.
      Converting the same to US $ means $3.300 for petrol powered vehicle.
      So the LSEV sold in china may also cost above $3.300 for 4-wheeled vehicle. Paying an extra $900 for Wuling MiniEV which can take them for longer trips and also long lasting batteries will easily fetch the ROI.
      As for the registration and others, chinese government may bump up the costs and put them on parity with high speed/high range mini EVs. chinese government has already started discouraging those lsev with lead batteries.
      May be they will spare the 3-wheelers for a while for poor people which may also cost low at below $2.500.
      Thats why Wuling has bold plan to produce 200.000 units.

      "In 2018, China issued a policy prohibiting new capacity of low-speed electric vehicles. In 2019, Technical Conditions of Four-Wheel Low-Speed Electric Vehicles was released to drag down the growth rate of the LSEV market sharply."
      You can read more from,rate%20due%20to%20policy%20impact.

    5. @Ahmet: I think they have two different issues, first, they are busy ramping up production of the Han flagship, so the rest of the models are taking a backseat, on the other hand, i believe they were expecting more demand for the e1/e2/e3, for some reason, they haven't caught on with local buyers.

  3. 3 mini vehicles being in top-5 is a big shakeup, may be we can call it a disruptor also.
    In japan, 35 - 40% of all vehicles sold are mini vehicles which has 3 cylinder 660 cc engine.
    If china also goes that way, then it will favor the small car makers, put BEVs at an advantage
    and reduce oil consumption drastically. A 40 KWh battery pack in a mid size car can power 2 mini cars with 20 KWh battery.

    Chery eQ and BYD e2 are also charging ahead. VW confirmed that it will launch ID.1 small car, Tesla is also working on affordable small car, probably that will prompt many other automakers to join in.

    1. If incentives were ecology minded, they would have an upper limit i.e. 20KWh or maximum 200Km range.
      Too bad it is the other way round.

    2. Capping range/capacity would prefer EVs replacing lightly used combustion vehicles only, which provides *less* ecological benefit than replacing heavily used vehicles.

    3. I would go with a different perspective, using a weight penalty, something like this:

      < 1000 kgs - no penalty;

      1000-1500 - 10% tax;

      1500-2000 - 20% tax;

      > 2000 kgs - 40% tax.

      This way, we were going to encourage people to buy, smaller, more efficient vehicles.

      And something like this will be needed in the future, once the market moves massively to BEVs, after all, governments will need to continue taxing cars...

    4. @Jose Pontes: Very valid points. With cheap oil in late 1990s, vehicles were made heavier especially the SUVs built on truck chassis. Trucks need truck chassis since they carry very heavy load like raw materials, finished goods, heavy machinery and these could weigh 1,5 - 2 tons.
      But SUVs which carry passengers dont need it. Even if 5 passengers weighing 100 kg each travel with another 100 kg of cargo, its still a total of 600 kg and the unibody vehicles can easily do this.
      Lets see whether cybertrk which is built on unibody frame can carry such heavy cargo. If they do, then even the trucks dont need truck chassis.

      Anyway 2005 was the year USA had the highest oil consumption. In the next 14 years, despite 12% increase in population with probably 12% increase in vehicle population, the oil consumption was 8% lesser in 2019 than in 2005. Because of vehicles becoming lighter, getting rid of truck based SUVs, 6/8/9 speed transmission, turbo engines, hybrid, plugin, electric vehicles, the oil consumption has dropped.

      Vehicle weight reduction is very important and subsidies should be cut on heavier vehicles or even taxed. After all a small car that weights 1.000 kg itself is so heavy for the passengers it carries who weighs a max of 500-600 kg including cargo. Those vehicles which weigh above 2.000 kg is super heavy.

    5. I agree about taxing weight: but it needs to be done carefully, not to put long-range EVs in general at a major disadvantage... Which was why the attempt in Norway a few years back had to be scrapped.

  4. Events this wonderful month.
    2020-09-09: Lucid Air with 800 km + range.
    2020-09-22: Battery day.
    2020-09-23: VW ID.4 reveal

    Also VW ID.3 deliveries started.
    VW confirmed the development of ID.1

    Chinas auto sales over the months this year. From 06 to 07 to 08, there is gradual increase that has come with the launch of new models. This is the best instead of big ups and downs. Hope 09 will cross into 6 digits and will keep
    increasing steadily. May be when VW ID.3 goes on sale there, it will give another bump followed by Model Y launch.

    2020-08 : 99817
    2020-07 : 94940
    2020-06 : 91270
    2020-05 : 72963
    2020-04 : 61374
    2020-03 : 59637
    2020-02 : 14693
    2020-01 : 51217

    Only downside is worldwide sales may be lower than previous month because of some decrease in european sales.
    Thats ok, super sep will give a boost again.

    1. I don't think ID.3 is scheduled to be launched in China this year?...

    2. @antrik - Last thing i heard, the ID.3 is supposed to land in China, sometime next year, after the start of the ID.4, that is the current priority.

  5. @José as I pointed out before, the current subsidy rules have *not* been in place for over a year. While there was no "big" step-down this year, there were several changes. The new 300,000 yuan price cap has been widely discussed; and the 10% reduction in subsidy amount is also pretty well know. However, according to at least on source, the bar for getting any subsidies has also been raised from 250 km to 300 km -- very relevant for the low-end models...

    1. Yes, 300.000 yuan cap means the expensive EVs dont get the subsidy, thats correct.
      NEDC rating is liberal, so their 300 km means 225 km WLTP. A car like Nissan Leaf with 40 KWh should easily top 225 km and giving subsidy only for a vehicle with that range makes good. Lastly a 10% cut is also modest.
      Again in 2021, they may
      set the cap at 250.000 yuan
      raise the range to 350 km NEDC / 260 km WLTP
      another 10% cut.

  6. I find it confusing that you list the Baojun as SAIC, but not the Wuling, despite both being made by SGMW... Is there a reason for that?

    1. Good point, will change that in the future, removing "SAIC" from the Baojun model. It's easier that than to add "SAIC" to the Wuling name, that is already too big.

  7. @Jose Pontes
    If BYD sells another 4.000 Hans in sep, then it may get into top-20, but it has both BEV & PHEV variants. Will it be combined and placed in plugin when BEV part sells more or it will be split into 2 and shown separately.
    I wonder how BMW 530Le PHEV is able to sell 1.985 units and stay in #5. But it has gone down from #4 in May to #5 a month later and is able to stay at that level.

    1. BEV and PHEV variants are always listed separately.

  8. @Jose Pontes: Request - Please publish an article on Battery Day.

    When ID.3, Han, Wuling Mini and few more BEVs get into top-20 and edge out all plugins from top-20 in the next few months, will the top-20 be expanded to top-30, this may be required for both Worldwide and China.

    Just like full hybrids are included for Norway, is there any plan to include them for Worldwide. Those vehicles still goes 50% more distance than the non-hybrids by using just 1,5 kw battery.

    1. Contrary to Toyota's propaganda, plug-less hybrids are not EVs. They are just slightly less inefficient fossil burners...

    2. @Famlin, Norway has HEV sales included, because the plugin sales share is so high that it makes more sense to show the overall ranking split by fuel source, than looking just at plugins. Once other markets get close to some 50% share, i will do the same to them.

      @Battery Day: The lack of a Model S/X refresh is disappointing, that means Tesla has given up on the luxury market, to the benefit of Rivian, Lucid, Chinese EV startups and Premium Legacy OEMs.

      The good thing was the "Model C" announcement, that will force Legacy OEMs to continue pushing their EV efforts, if they want to be competitive with the upcoming compact Tesla.

  9. Hi Jose, Will you be adding in Xpeng soon. They sold about 3,478 units in September 2020.