Monday, October 26, 2020

China September 2020


Wuling Mini EV #1 in September

The overall Chinese market remained with positive numbers last month (+8% YoY), with plugins faring even better, growing by 66% YoY in September, to 131,000 units, a new year best, with BEVs growing faster (+73%), than plugin hybrids (+43%), allowing pure electrics to have 80% of plugin sales last month, slightly above this year average of 79%.

Last month plugin share reached 6.3% (5% BEV), pulling the 2020 share to 5.2% (4.1% BEV), that although is still below from the 5.5% of 2019, it is a step in the right direction and it should surpass last year's score towards the end of the year.

Looking at September Best Sellers, we have 2 midsize sedans ( #2 Tesla Model 3, #4 GAC Aion S) and 3 City EVs, confirming the return of small EVs to the spotlight, with the Wuling EV even managing to beat the almighty Tesla Model 3 in the race for Best Selling model.

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



#1 – Wuling HongGuang Mini EV

 A big name for a small car, the Wuling EV scored a record 14,495 units last month, meaning that the production ramp up continues, so expect the tiny four-seater to continue growing in the newxt few months. The reason for the overnight success? Well, 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, and not only in China...


#2 – Tesla Model 3

The poster child for electric mobility hit 11,329 units last month, and while it’s not its all time best, Tesla’s midsizer continues firmly above the 10,000 mark and should have a bump in deliveries during the next few months, as the new LFP-battery SR version starts its deliveries. The Model 3 is close to get in the way of the category Best Sellers in the overall market, as the Californian is not that far-off from the BMW 3-Series (15,900 units), Mercedes C-Class (15,700) and Audi A4 (14,300), 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?


 #3 – 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 5,141 units in September, the City EV best score since the new subsidy rules were enacted, back in June 2019. It looks the new name is allowing a second youth to the Ora model, that is also benefitting from the revenge of City EVs...


#4 – GAC Aion S

 GAC’s sleek sedan was 4th in September, having registered 4,548 units, a new year best, so it looks the Aion S has found its space, sharing the stage with its crossover sibling, the new Aion V (2,183 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 Bronze medal position.


#5 – SAIC Baojun E-Series

 Compared with the base basics Wuling EV, the Baojun E-Series (E100/200/300) are the SGMW more hip and upmarket city models, seeing their demand stay high during the past few months, winning a 5th spot in September, thanks to 4,236 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 remaining Best Sellers table in September, a mention to a few record performances, like the Li Xiang One (3,830 units), NIO ES6 (3,226) or the hot Xpeng P7 (2,573), confirming the good moment of local EV Startups, while two recent additions to the market, the GAC Aion V (2,183 units) and the BYD Han EV (3,624) and PHEV (1,988) siblings continue their production ramp ups, with the Han EV becoming last month’s Best Selling BYD, and if both were counted together, the full-size Han would have been 3rd last month...

Below the Top 20, a reference to the ramp-up of Geely’s Geometry C, with 1,156 units, with the Chinese maker hoping to succeed with this hatchback, where the sedan (Geometry A) failed. With Polestar, Lynk & Co and Geely itself also going for dedicated BEVs, one wonders how the Geometry lineup sits in the middle of all this...

NIO’s barge flagship SUV, the ES8, scored 1,435 units last month, its best score since May 2019, mostly thanks to the new 100 kWh version, while another EV startup is starting to gain momentum, with Hozon’s Neta N01 small crossover hitting a record 1,332 deliveries.

Looking at the 2020 ranking, if the Model 3 is the undisputed leader, below it, the Wuling Mini EV, after joining the table in July, in #13, kept on rising and in September, it jumped 4 spots, to #2.

This move highlights the latest trend, City EVs are returning to the spotlight, not only with the Wuling EV, but also the #5 Baojun E-Series, while the newly called Great Wall Ora Black Cat was up to #6, and the #8 Chery eQ, thus making 4 City EVs in the Top 8.   

But it weren’t only with the City EVs shining, as the local EV startups continue climbing positions, with the Li Xiang One rising to #10, and with just 234 units separating it from a falling BMW 530Le, the big SUV should become the Best Selling PHEV in the table by October.

The Weltmeister EX5 also had reasons to celebrate, as the crossover was up one spot, to #12.

BYD also had a positive month, as the Han EV joined the table, in #19, now making 6 BYD’s in the Top 20...

Looking at the manufacturers ranking, BYD (15%) is in the leadership, followed by the #2 Tesla (12%, down 1%), and the SGMW joint-venture (9%, up 2%).

Below the podium, the race is tight, Volkswagen (6%) is holding on to #4, with the #5 SAIC and #6 GAC less than 500 units away from the German maker, so anything can happen here, while NIO (4%) has surpassed BAIC and is now #7. 


  1. @Jose Pontes: Big thanks for 2 separate tables. Way to go, hope this will be applied for Europe & Global.
    2020 @ 5,2% vs 2019 @ 5,5%. So inching closer despite drastic subsidy cuts and pandemic.
    131.022 will give a massive boost to global sales along with Germany's high tide.

    Wuling EV disrupts "not only against 4-wheeled private transportation, but also against 2 and 3-wheelers." and this is very important as many poor people could now afford a 4-wheeler to carry family of 4.

    Model 3 sold only 11.329 units, but they sold whatever they produced and in Sep, they had 10 day holiday.
    If they only this much in super-sep, then they must have sold lot of Model 3 in USA or probably lot of Model Y.

    Seems 2 cats delivered 6.176, their new best. Baojun E-Series can also repeat MiniEV success, probably they need more batteries. BMW 530Le PHEV is not Sep table, this shows they should wake up. At least BMW has 1 in 2020 table, Benz & Audi has 0.

    BYD Han in both BEV & PHEV forms being in Sep table shows PHEVs have importance.

    1. I doubt SGMW suffers from a battery shortage. Chinese battery makers have been building up huge production capacities over the past years, in expectations of continuing exponential growth -- but with the growth slump that started last July, much of that new capacity is probably idle right now...

      (Which is likely the main reason why an increasing number of car makers are considering using CATL cells even outside of China: right now they might be the only globally positioned battery maker that can deliver in good quantities...)

    2. BYD has always had pretty strong PHEV sales: probably because they are one of the few Chinese makers to even bother making PHEVs -- thus getting a pretty large piece of a smaller pie...

      Nevertheless, even for BYD the share of PHEVs vs. BEVs keeps declining. While PHEVs used to dominate sales of BYD models offered in both variants, this is clearly no longer the case for most models...

  2. Li Xiang One EREV has a electric range of 180 km which puts it on par with MiniEV. So beyond 180 km, the 1,2 liter petrol engine starts. This vehicle keeps moving up the ladder slowly.

    BYD Han PHEV carries price of $31.400 with 81 km range
    BMW Le PHEV carries price of $62.000 with 58 km range
    Difficult for BMW to keep up its sales

    Of course quality and other things are there. But Model 3 LR should be much more affordable.
    Buick Velite 6 was in 2020, but not in Sep shows things are changing fast.

  3. I would have thought that the Renault K-ZE would become visible sometime.
    Maybe for budget oriented buyers a SUV premium is not worthwhile as Ora and GM Wuling are doing much better.

    1. According to Renault sold only 242 of them YTD and 0 in September, so there may be some production problems.

    2. It appears the K-ZE hasn't yet been updated to meet the new 300 km NEDC range threshold for getting any subsidies...

    3. Apparently the K-ZE became a victim of Renault ending their combustion car Chinese joint-venture... While the K-ZE is made by a *different* joint-venture, which is still in operation, the dissolved one was responsible for all sales, including the K-ZE -- thus leaving it stranded without a distribution channel...

    4. @antrik
      Thanks for bringing some light into this.

  4. test .. wondering if this login will ever work so I can comment. Beats me why it doesn't.

    1. Well, the publishing is not automatic, it needs the author approval.

      I'm doing this because there are plenty of "spam commercials" being posted as comments here, so i have to separate true comments from bot-originated spam.

    2. Thank you Jose, no probs. Some success this time for me.

      My question is: Would you please clarify what kind of data you're presenting here please? There seems to me to be three kinds of numbers being reported online for China ie factory, wholesale and insurance numbers/data.
      eg I see many EV here with te same numbers as 'factory' data but the Wuling Mini is very different, at 14K vs 20K on other reports. Would clarify why this is so, or point in a direction where I find out. Thank you.

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. I don't think the Wuling Mini will be disrupting two- and three-wheelers. Dirt cheap four-wheeled low-speed EVs have already been competing in this space. The fact that there is now also a highway-capable EV that is not that much more expensive (but comes with much higher licensing requirements), probably won't change the equation all that much...

  7. I believe the "cat pack" takes inspiration from Deng XiaoPing's quote:" I do not care whether it is a black cat or a white cat, if it catches mice, then it is a good cat". Which I believe is a response to a question about the economic system that China should follow.

    Just saying.

    1. Thanks for the insightful input, i think i will use it in future China posts.