Tuesday, November 24, 2020

China October 2020


Wuling Mini EV shines in hot market

While the overall Chinese market remained with positive numbers last month (+9% YoY), plugins sales are firmly on the fast lane, growing by 120% YoY in October, to 147,000 units, a new year best, with BEVs growing faster (+128%), than plugin hybrids (+93%), allowing pure electrics to have 82% of all plugin sales last month, slightly above this year average of 79%.

Last month, plugin share reached 7% (5.4% BEV), pulling the 2020 share to 5.4% (4.3% BEV), that although is still below from the 5.5% score of 2019, it is a step in the right direction and it should surpass last year's result already in November.

Looking at October Best Sellers, we have 3 City EVs, confirming the return of small EVs to the spotlight, with the Wuling EV keeping the Best Seller status..

Here’s October 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 20,631 units last month, a new all-time record for a single model in China, meaning that the production ramp up continues, so expect the tiny four-seater to continue growing until the end of the year. The reason for the overnight success? 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 in car that is a tad larger (2,917 mm / 114.8 in) than a Smart Fortwo EV. 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 12,143 units last month, with Tesla’s midsizer steady in the 10,000-plus cruise speed. With the recent refresh and new LFP SR+ version added to the year end sales bump right on the corner, will we see it reach some 15,000 units/month in December?


 #3 – Great Wall ORA Black Cat (R1)

Probably inspired by Deng Xiaoping famous quote: "It doesn't matter wether a cat is black or white, as long as it catched mice",  Great Wall decided to create a 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, 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 6.269 units in October, the City EV highest score ever, so it looks the new name is allowing a second youth to the Ora Black Cat, making it a good cat, because of the many mice sales it gets.

#4 – SAIC Baojun E-Series

Compared with the bare 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, scoring even a Year Best result last month, thanks to 5,949 units delivered. The access to the current subsidy, added to competitive pricing (CNY 93,900 / USD 14,700) before subsidies, makes them appealing for young urban drivers, as well as car-sharing companies and other fleets. 

#5 – BYD Han EV

BYD's flagship model was 5th in October, having registered 5,055 units, a new record for the sleek sedan, so it looks the production ramp up is going smoothly and demand is allowing consecutive record performances. One of the most competitive domestic EVs on the market, the Han EV will probably become a regular in this Top 5, thanks to competitive pricing, it's the size of a Model S, and yet it costs only $32,800, less than the cheaper Model 3. But price doesn't tell the whole story, with a cutting edge 77 kWh LFP battery allowing it to reach 605 km (376 miles) NEDC range (think 400 km / 250 miles in real world), the Han EV is a whole package, with good looks, competitive specs and features, with the killer prices being just the icing on the cake.

Looking at the remaining Best Sellers table in October, a mention to a few record performances, namely SAIC's Roewe Clever EV, with the Shanghai-based maker banking on the synergies of the SGMW joint-venture in small EVs, it has also created it's own vision of the tiny two-seater theme, with the Clever EV, that clocked 3,054 units last month.

The Welmeister EX5 record month (3,003 units), added to Leapmotor's surprising  score of 1,681 units coming from its small T03 EV, confirms the good moment (and variety, Leapmotor even has a small coupe, the S01) of local EV Startups, while BYD had 3 models with record performances, besides the aforementioned Han EV (5,055 units), the Han PHEV (2,490) evil twin also hit a record score, with the two models clocking 7,545 units if added together, while the compact BYD e2 also reach a record 2,598 units, and even the Tang PHEV had its best score of the last 18 months, with 3,721 units, with these performances confirming the return to form from the Shenzhen maker.

Below the Top 20, a reference to the sucess of Geely’s Geometry C, with 1,189 units, with the Chinese maker succeeding with this hatchback, where its sedan (Geometry A) failed. A mention also to the ramp up of the Great Wall Ora R2/White Cat, that delivered 1,651 units, while the recent SAIC Roewe ER6 EV sedan is also ramping up fast, having reached 1.124 units last month.

Looking at the 2020 ranking, if the Model 3 is the undisputed leader, below it, the Wuling Mini EV is running away from the rest of the pack and has already consolidated its runner-up spot, a nice start for next year's Best Selling EV in China.

This highlights the latest trend in China, City EVs are returning to the spotlight, not only with the Wuling EV, but also the #5 Baojun E-Series, the newly called Great Wall Ora Black Cat in #6, and the Chery eQ that climbed to #7 in October, thus making 4 City EVs in the Top 7   

But it weren’t only City EVs rising in the table, as the local EV startups continue climbing positions, with the Li Xiang One yacht large SUV rising to #9, and becoming the Best Selling PHEV in the table, by switching positions with the BMW 530Le.

The much hyped XPeng P7 had reasons to celebrate, as the sedan joined the table, in #20, while BYD and SAIC also had a positive month, as the BYD Han EV climbed to #18 and the Tang PHEV jumped two spots, to #15, and the Shanghai-based maker saw the small Roewe Clever EV join the Top 20, in #19, and the MG ZS EV crossover going up to #13.

Looking at the manufacturers ranking, BYD (15%) is in the leadership, followed by the #2 Tesla (12%), and the SGMW joint-venture (10%, up 1% share).

Below the podium, the race is tight, SAIC (7%, up 1% share) is now 4th, overcoming the #5 GAC (6%), while Volkswagen (5%, down 1% share) fell from 4th to 6th in just one month, the German maker needs desperately those ID.4's to start flooding the market, because the remaining line up is already falling behind.

Interestingly, if we were to add the SGMW (10%) tally to the one of SAIC (7%), Shanghai Auto would be the market leader in China, with 17% share...


  1. Will be interesting to see how long the Wuling MINI will be allowed to keep disrupting the market all on its own, before others come up with models in a similar price range...

  2. The success of the affordable city car like GM Wuling should be taken as a role model for Europe.

    Europe needs a NEW Class of vehicles like between Citroën Ami and Dacia Spring.

    This class should not contain any nonsense like lane assist.

    It should be allowed for teenagers from age 15.
    It should be allowed for four persons.
    Speed should be limited somewhere between 60 and 100.

    Today many young people do not want to own a vehicle.
    Such a small class vehicle could be an introduction to automobiles.

    But the OEMs are scared because they want to sell expensive vehicles.
    That is very short sighted.

    I would rather spend the battery material of one long range vehicle to produce 10 tiny City EVs.

    1. A long-range vehicle will typically be driving much longer distances -- so it will indeed save as much emissions as a whole bunch of limited-use mini EVs.

      Also, none of what you described has anything to do with why young people often don't want to own cars... Which BTW is a good thing.

    2. @antrik
      Sorry what you say is nonsense.
      90% of rides are short distance on average.
      Very few people ride long distances often.
      And if they do they usually us a PHEV or even a Diesel.

    3. Owners of long-range EVs on average drive longer distances than average combustion cars -- more like diesels. That's a fact. There's been research on that.

      But sure, call it nonsense because it doesn't fit your conjecture...

  3. 147.285 with the reduced subsidies is wonderful. Again next year, there may be another cut in subsidies. But this time, automakers are better prepared to keep selling more.

    Tesla Model 3 sales have crossed 700.000 mark. Congratulations.
    3 city EVs being in top-4 is great. Clear message to every automaker that 4 seater is good enough.

    Global sales will hit 300.000 again.

    1. Didn't the government commit to no major subsidy cuts next year?...

      Though I guess that might change, if the current trend continues and tiny city EVs start grabbing most of the subsidies again... The government has repeatedly shown that they aren't interested in promoting that.

    2. As more PEVs are sold, government have to shell our more subsidy money. Its very likely that they can subsidy. 7% of the vehicles being PEV is a lot.
      Eventually automakers will have to sell without any subsidy.

      What is great is that without any subsidy Wuling MiniEV sold 20.631 units. Other automakers can emulate this.

  4. Tesla produced around 23,000 Model 3 in the GF3 in October. Why were only 12,000 sold? What's going on there?

    1. Maarten VinkhuyzenNovember 25, 2020

      The Model 3 theoretical capacity was increased to 250,000/year.
      This volume will be reached in the first few month of 2021. Likely March 2021 will be first month with 1/12*250,000 production speed. Without holidays or other disruptions that is just over 20,000 Model 3. October was likely between 12,000 and 15,000 with about 7,000 exported to South-Korea and Europe.

      Between adding the machinery to the line, and getting workers and suppliers up to speed is normally a few month to a year.

    2. 7,000+ Model 3s were shipped to Europe on 30 October from China.
      Net-net 3k difference in production and Deliveries and that's normal because you can not deliver the last few days of production of the month to customers.

    3. @Maarten there is no need to speculate: 22,929 is the actual production figure for October. (Yes, it did exceed everyone's expectations...)

  5. Just like vehicles move from engine to motor,
    they will go from 5 & 7 seater to 4 & 6 seater (3-front, 3-back).
    This optimizes the space fully. With no stick shift in the middle and no need for center console to store CDs, the middle area can be converted to a seat.

    And these compact 4 seaters will soon become common. Thats why you see so many city cars in the list. I am hoping for some company to launch 6 seater as well in 3, 3 format which is much shorter in length.

    1. The last times someone attempted launching a car with 3+3 seat arrangement were the Fiat Multipla and the Honda FR-V -- neither of which was exactly a roaring success...

    2. Honda FRV is too narrow a crossover to be a 6 seater, they should widen it a little bit. After all, its much shorter in length than a typical 6/7 seater. So widening a little bit will not increase the cost. BTW, which market did it flop.

    3. All markets. Both were discontinued around 2011/2012 -- the FR-V after only a few years and a single generation. (The Multipla was introduced earlier, and got a major facelift around the time the FR-V was introduced, but didn't make it beyond that either.)

  6. VW ID.4 gets official EPA range of 250 miles / 400 km. Priced at $40.000, its more affordable for its size than rivals. Time for others to cut the prices.

    I am hoping VW to price it much lower in China where there is whole lot of competition. While US gives $7.500 rebate, China gives only $3.200, so the post rebate price is much higher there.

    1. Rivals to cut prices? You mean combustion cars?...

      The only comparable EV I can think of is the Nissan Ariya (which isn't even out yet) -- and that is supposed to have similar pricing IIRC.

      As for Chinese subsidies, they also get a 10% sales(?) tax waiver -- so for vehicles in this price class, the total subsidies are actually similar.

      Having said that, the ID.4 might indeed end up cheaper in China, simply because it isn't imported from Europe...

  7. Does anybody know where I can check Chinese car registrations? They used to be available through www.chooseauto.cn.com but the site ceased to exist.