Thursday, January 21, 2021

China December 2020

9.4% share in (another) Record Month

If the overall Chinese market ended the year on a positive note (+12% YoY), plugins ended with a record month, growing by 50% YoY in in the last month of the year, to a record 224,000 units, and this time it were PHEVs that grew faster (+108%), than BEVs (+42%), but despite this recent uptick from plugin hybrids, BEVs ended owning 80% of the market, which, incidentally, was the same score of 2019, so it seems plugin hybrids have found their corner of the market, especially in higher end models.

Last month, plugin share reached a record 9.4% (7% BEV), pulling the 2020 share to 6.3% (5.1% BEV), almost one percent increase over the 2019 result of 5.5%, and the same result the market had at the time of the last subsidy change, in the summer of 2019, so one can say that the Chinese EV market took 18 months to recover from impact of the subsidy change.

But looking at the bright side, the only way is up, with only minor subsidy changes happening in the foreseeable future, next year we should see the market reach a few months with two digit shares, preparing the disruption to finally set in by 2022...In the largest automotive market in the World.

And once we get to that point, then it's game over for ICE.

Looking at December 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 December Top 5 Best Selling models individual performance:


#1 – Wuling HongGuang Mini EV

 A big name for a small car, the Wuling EV scored 33,489 units last month, its 6th record score in a row, but the difference regarding previous months wasn't significant, so it seems the production ramp up (or is it demand?) has already peaked, but expect the tiny four-seater to continue in the podium positions throughout 2021, as it is one of the cheapest EVs on the market ($4,200!!!), and yet, it’s not 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. At this price level, the Wuling EV is a disruptive force in urban mobility, not only against 4-wheeled private transportation, but also against 2 and 3-wheelers. This EV is becoming a game changer in China, and should do the same elsewhere, if (when?) it manages to expand to overseas markets.


#2 – Tesla Model 3

The poster child for electric mobility hit a record 23,804 units last month, which was somewhat less than expected, but then again, the shadow of its younger sibling Model Y, set to land in January, could be the reason for this. Looking at next year sales performance, expect it to remain more or less on the current numbers, because the bulk of growth in 2021 should come from the new MiC Model Y. 


 #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 has just successfully launched (2,016 in its landing month) 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 will have plenty of time to talk about it in 2021, we are here to talk about the Black Cat, that delivered 10,010 units in December, it's 3nd record score in a row, creating great prospects for the Cat Pack in 2021

#4 – BYD Han EV

BYD's flagship model continues to grow, having registered 9,007 units in December, its 5th record performance in a row, so it looks the production ramp up is still developing. One of the most competitive domestic EVs on the market, the flagship BYD is becoming 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. Oh, and if we were to add the 3,082 units of the PHEV version, then the Han would have been 3rd, with 11,483 units, not bad for a flagship model, right?

#5 – 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, with demand hitting record levels, with 8,992 units being delivered in December. 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. 

Looking at the remaining Best Sellers table in December, in a record month, several models hit best ever scores, like the Chery eQ, with 7,074 units, or the Li Xiang One, that with 6,126 units, was last month Best Selling PHEV, consolidating its status as the Best Selling SUV and the most successful model coming from a local EV startup.

Speaking of local startups, there were several models on this category shining, besides the aforementioned Li Xiang, Xpeng also had a record month, with its P7 sedan hitting a record 3,691 deliveries, thanks to the continuing production ramp up, while the older G3 crossover had 2,618 units, its best score in 18 months, Leap Motor saw its small T03 reach a record 2,983 units, while the much hyped NIO saw its new baby, the EC6 sports SUV, become the brand best selling model in December, with 2,505 deliveries.

A reference also to the surprise appearance of VW's Tiguan PHEV, in #16, with the compact SUV scoring a record performance of 2,645 units, while the Changan Benni EV profited from the recent restyling to show up in #18, with 2,610 units, the hatchback best score since 2017.

Outside the Top 20, a reference to the #21 Geely Emgrand EV, with 2,503 units, the sedan best performance in 18 months, so Geely's bread and butter model might be headed for a (much needed) revival in 2021, while NIO's flagship, the ES8 full size SUV, had its best score in 2 years, by delivering 2,009 units.

Looking at the 2020 ranking, the Model 3 is the 2020 Best Seller, with a commanding 20,000 units lead over the runner-up, but below it, the #2 Wuling Mini EV is already preparing next year's assault to the Best Selling EV title in China, as the tiny EV won all monthly trophies since September, while in 3rd we have another SGMW model the Baojun E-Series, that surpassed GAC's Aion S in the last stage of the race and secured another medal for the joint-venture.

This highlights the latest trend in China, City EVs are returning to the spotlight, not only with the SGMW EVs, but others are also earning the spotlight, like the Great Wall Ora Black Cat, that ended the year in 4th (it had been #11 in the previous year), the #7 Chery eQ, thus making 4 City EVs in the Top 7. Just counting these four models together, we get a quarter million units, or 20% of the total EV market...  

But it weren’t only City EVs rising in the table, BYD had two models rising in the table, with the Tang PHEV climbing to #15, while the Han EV jumped 3 spots, to #9, becoming the 2nd BYD on the Top 10.

Speaking of the flagship BYD, i was going to add "Best Selling full size model" to the Li Xiang One number of titles (Best Selling PHEV and Best Selling SUV), but the truth is that if we add both of the BYD Han versions (BEV and PHEV), we get almost 41,000 units for the big sedan, so i believe it's best to split the title between both, as 41,000 units for a full size model model that only started halfway throught the year is truly amazing, especially if we consider that the global category leader was the Audi e-Tron, that ended the year with 47,000 deliveries...

With this in mind, i believe the 2021 Full Size Best Selling EV in the World will probably be the BYD Han.     

XPeng also had reasons to celebrate as the much hyped P7 ended the year in #19, being the 4th local startup model on the table, another significant change regarding 2019, because at that time, there was none (and the Tesla Model 3 was only #8, imagine that...).

Looking at the manufacturers ranking, the Surprise of the Year was the SGMW joint-venture (15%) breaking a 6 year winning streak of BYD (14%, down 1%), thus becoming the 2020 Best Selling manufacturer, with Tesla (11%, down 1%) securing the last place of the podium.

Interestingly, in 2019 SGMW ended with just 5% share and Tesla with 3%...

Below the podium, SAIC (7%, up 1% share) won the 4th spot with some ease, overcoming the #5 GAC, #6 Volkswagen and #7 Greal Wall, each with 5% share.

As for BAIC, 2020 was a true horror movie, falling from 2nd place and 14% share in 2019, to just 2% share this year!

By Automotive Group, the big winner was Shanghai Auto, or SAIC, that thanks to the SGMW joint-venture, where it has a majority stake (50.1%), and its own sales, it had 22% of the market all to itself, a jump from the 12% of 2019, followed by BYD (15%), Tesla (11%) and the VW Group (6%).

Expect these last two to increase their share in 2021, thanks to the Tesla Model Y and VW ID.4 launch.

So, long story short, in 2020, there were three main stories in the Chinese EV market:

1 - The Tesla Model 3 became the Best Selling EV, the first time a foreigner achieves such a feat;

2 - Local startups, lead by NIO, are growing fast, and are already starting to show up on the radar, so their next step is to gain scale fast in order to get to six digit sales numbers per year and thus securing their survival from the big sharks;

3 - City EVs returned to the spotlight, proving that Chinese OEMs are in a unique position to dominate that vehicle category (and future autonomous pods?), and in that context, SAIC was the biggest gainer of the year, managing even to steal Tesla's thunder towards the end of the year (but don't tell that to Wall Street...). 


  1. Surely the many small EVs will contribute to the reduction of pollution.

    Also the Range Extender Li Xiang One with 180km battery range is a good compromise between PHEVs and BEVs.
    This year to be joined by Mazda MX-30 but in a smaller category.

    Surely there won't be an issue regarding not charging an EREV.
    Maybe this is a better solution than PHEVs.

    Too bad BMW did not continue this concept.

    1. EREV is just a fancy term for a series PHEV... Though having more powerful electric drive trains and larger batteries, they are indeed much more useful than pretty much all other PHEVs.

      Still, with affordable long-range BEVs available now, I think EREVs are obsolete nevertheless.

  2. Wuling reported selling 127,651 of HONGUANG MINI EV.
    That's very close to the top spot.

  3. The success of Wuling is interesting as it shows evidence that there is also a competitive cost/value for extreme small ( and not only for luxury SUV and sedans) electric cars. In my view this is the true revolution.

    1. Hail (praise/salute) Heinrich: I am fully with you.
      Earlier compact cars were 6 seater (2 rows of 3 passengers) with gear stick near dashboard.
      Because its painful, automakers brought gear stick to floor. Its fine.
      But when automatic came, they should have taken it back to dashboard and made it 6 seater again.
      Many families have 2 children and quite often grandparents (maternal/paternal) do visit them and 6 seater car made sense.
      Instead they forced everyone to buy a 3 row crossover/suv/van to milk money.

      Now comes the mini cars (even short range) with vengeance. Selling 3 cars using 10 KWh battery each is fine since 3 passengers could make daily commutes. Still 5 billion people in developing World dont have vehicles and they are going to buy. Small EVs do make sense for them to use it for local travel at least with family.
      This way every KWh of battery is put to fullest use.

  4. 224.082 / 9,4% (7% BEV) in 2020-12; 1.271.958 / 6,3% (5,1% BEV) in 2020. Fantastic.
    Congratulations to Tesla Model 3 and Wuling MiniEV for crossing 100.000 mark in 2020 and including Ora Black Cat for crossing 10.000 mark in 2020-12.

    BEVs take top-6 and 16 in top-20.
    If LiXiang One has 180 km (140 WLTP), then its pretty close to BEV. Hope the higher range is pushing the sales higher.
    BYD Tang has 80 km range (60 km WLTP)
    BYD Han has 100 km range (75 km WLTP)
    VW Tiguan has 80 km range (60 km WLTP)

    Is there any subsidy for PHEV still. If not how are they able to sell well. Time for Europe to take note.

    1. There is a subsidy for PHEVs -- though quite a bit smaller than for BEVs, as it should.

  5. Wuling Hongguang Mini EV is #8 overall while Tesla Model 3 is #15. BEVs making to top-10 and top-20 is certainly a great achievement. BYD Han seems to be another top performer crossing 10.000 mark.

    Crossovers have overtaken cars in 2020. MPVs are shrinking fast, probably automakers are increasing ground clearance of MPV / Wagon / Hatch and calling it crossovers.

    Cats (Ora) are pouncing on the rats (ICE).
    FYI: There are 450+ models in chinese market.

    1. "Cats (Ora) are pouncing on the rats (ICE)."

      LOL. Genius.

  6. Wuling MiniEV sends these messages
    * 4 seater (2+2) can sell
    * 3 doors can sell
    * 110 km range can sell
    Its ok to have a car with minimal features, as long as it has an affordable price at $4.500, it can sell.
    In Japan 35% of vehicles sold are minicars with 3.500 mm in length, ultra small vehicles are common in many parts of Asia.

    Still it will be better if they can add another version with 2 extra rear doors making it a proper crossover.

    1. Fully agree. And it would be good for Europe too.

    2. @famlin the HongGuang MINI has 2,917 mm, not 3500. That's a *completely* different story. There is a small niche for ~3 m cars in Europe as two-seaters, like the Smart or the Toyota iQ. Four-seaters in that format are a complete non-starter in Europe. Not even at the price of the HongGuang.

  7. @Jose Pontes: Some media said that 206.000 NEVs were sold last month, some wrote 246.000 and I thought difference is because of exclusion of heavy vehicles. Your website says 224.082 which seems to be in middle.
    Are you excluding 6 wheeled vehicles like buses and including 4 wheeled pickup trucks. Can you please clarify.

    France: 35.902
    Sweden: 16.929
    Norway: 17.910
    Netherland: 30.860
    Germany: 82.778
    China: 224.082
    As of now: 408.461

    Seems global will cross 500.00 mark for 1st time. What a wonderful jump.

    1. CVs and pick-ups are excluded, but imports are included.

    2. In looking at Chinese web sites, some report wholesale (that is, sales to dealers which to OEMs is what matters, as they get paid). Others report end consumer purchases (= vehicle registrations). José, which?

      BTW I can now read enough Chinese to make it through online stories, where do you get your data? Unfortunately some sites that look like they might provide details require (free) registration with a Chinese cell phone (completion requires SMS confirmation), which I don't have. Thanks!

  8. every year, few million diesel buses are sold and they run 300.000 - 1.000.000 km in their 10 - 15 year lifetime. china has more than 400.000 electric buses (99% of worlds share), other countries are slowly rolling out, still a long way to go and it could be expensive for some.
    Will it be better to jump into a much cleaner fuel like LPG which has only 3-4 carbon atoms and is much cleaner. since buses are refuelled only in depots, there is no need for massive LPG refuelling network.

    just like diesel is removed from the 4-wheeled personal vehicles, it can be removed from 6-wheeled public vehicles also giving that segment to cleaner LPG. diesel can be used in much bigger vehicles like 10, 14, 18 wheelers, mine & farm vehicles, trains and water going vessels.

    similarly existing diesel buses can also be converted to LPG, this way the investment on fuel network can be obtained quickly. there are many companies doing such LPG conversion business. pollution could be reduced drastically. For info: diesel is mostly a hydrocarbon with 16 carbon atoms while petrol has 8.

    1. I don't remember ever hearing of an LPG bus... Generally, LPG seems to be rather niche. LNG on the other hand is somewhat common for buses. While it's certainly less toxic than diesel, it's still toxic -- and not really better for the climate. (Quite possibly worse, due to fugitive emissions...)

      Frankly, it's a dead end at this point: buying new LNG buses now is almost as wrong as buying new diesel buses. Just get on with switching to BEVs... The only thing preventing a rapid ramping of electric bus deployment outside China is protectionism keeping out BYD and other Chinese makers with a complete product portfolio and significant production capacity.

    2. give some breathing time to europeans/americans to start making their own electric buses.

      chinese dont import european products. already they make 60% or worlds steel, 80% of battery, 99% of electric buses. in another 10 years, if they control 100% of worlds steel and battery, they will be masters and others will be sl????.

      japanese started the concept of export everything, import nothing and it went to korea and now china.
      this is exactly what brought trump to power, if current admin dont balance, he will come again.

    3. LPG buses (mainly school buses) are very common in USA. Overnight we cannot produce batteries for million buses, but adding LPG kit is possible and the fuel supply is all over. Italy, Turkey, Russia ... have million + LPG vehicles and they can easily scale it. As electric buses come in, slowly LPG can be phased out.

      Expect 15 - 20 million diesel buses to be sold in next 10 years despite rise of electric buses.

      Even maritime association has put a rule to reduce the sulfur content in ships. They are considering to replace dirty bunker fuel (24 carbon atoms) with dirty diesel (16 carbon atoms). Bunker fuel is even more dirty, here too LPG can be added, but LNG ships are increasing rapidly. LNG (1 carbon atom) is more cleaner than LPG (3-4 carbon atoms).

    4. Correction: I meant CNG, not LNG.

    5. @famlin the climate doesn't care how long European and American dinosaurs need to get their shit together. We need action *now*, not some time in the future.

      And BTW protectionism against cheaper imported products is a dumb idea that actually harms the local economy, not helps it.

    6. @antrik
      Thats exactly what I am saying. By the time you finish eating your lunch/dinner a diesel bus rolls off the assembly line to road and starts polluting. Should we keep producing diesel until we get batteries to convert all of them to electric. LPG conversion is lot more easier and can be an intermediary step and LPG pollution is at least 50% lesser than diesel.

      At least shit will decompose into soil and become manure, but the pollution is slow poison.

    7. @famlin no, we shouldn't keep producing diesel buses, of course. We should drop protectionism and buy Chinese EV buses available in large numbers, and/or delay purchases for a bit, until the rest of the world manages to catch up with EV bus production.

    8. BYD (from memory) assembles EV buses in California.

  9. I wonder how come BYD is able to price their Han EV/PHEV at such low price even though its bigger in all 3 dimensions than most cars. A full size car selling at that price point is amazing. I am sure luxury ICE vehicles cost much more besides costing more in fuel prices. Will this model increase higher in sales in coming months.

    I think Wuling MiniEV has hit the max production/sales rate. May be they open new plant and also introduce newer bigger model.

    Ideally automakers should focus on smaller 4-seater 5-door vehicles with range options and affordable price to compete with 450+ models. Seems 150 new PEVs are going to be launched this year.

    Legacy automakers are selling more ICE vehicles there and are very happy. May be it will continue for few more years until BEVs start capturing market share from ICE.

    1. The major reason why larger cars are typically much more expensive, is that they are usually also more luxurious. Everything else being equal, going from say 4.5 m to 5 m doesn't change production costs all that much... In the US, where most cars are large, there is a significant market for large but affordable cars -- unlike in Europe, where there are few non-premium large cars.

      (Having said that, the price of the Han is indeed very impressive given its specs, regardless of size...)

  10. Almost 24,000 Model 3 is less than expected? I for one certainly didn't expect more than that...

    In fact, with installed capacity reportedly being 250,000 per year, and about 100,000 of this supposedly earmarked for export, we should expect monthly average going forward to be only slightly more than half of this!

  11. Regarding the BYD Han: while it's certainly impressive for this price, it should be noted that the XPeng P7 costs about the same, has similar specs, is roughly the same size (possibly even larger interior thanks to dedicated BEV platform?...), and I suspect is more high-tech -- though I don't have an actual comparison for that...

    1. But here is where BYD strength plays: Production capabilities, Xpeng might have demand for 10k/month units, but they need time to ramp up production.

      Same thing happens in Europe with the Renault Zoe and the competition, others might have big demand, but only Renault (and now VW) has enough capability to pump out over 10,000 units every month.

  12. Xpeng P7 is a 5 door (2 box type) vehicle. Ideally they can offer 3rd row rear facing seat for 2 children.
    Family of 4 could use it if they go with grandparents, relatives, neighbors, friends. Launched in 2020-05, sales have grown gradually over months.

    During advertisements, they should how how it can transport 3-4 m long lumber, washer dryer ... That will provide the best marketing for a car like this.

  13. Here is the old/new subsidy scheme in china. See how many there were able to sell with the small subsidy amount. Reason is the presence of new BEV players.

    Yuan 300-400 >= 400
    2021 13,000 18,000
    2020 16,200 22,500
    Plugin hybrid (50 km+ range)
    2021 6,800
    2020 8,500

    USD 300-400 >= 400
    2021 2,000 2,800
    2020 2,500 3,500
    Plugin hybrid (50 km+ range)
    2021 1,100
    2020 1,300,this%20year%2C%20from%2022%2C500%20yuan

  14. Interesting to see how the updated Chang'an Benni(BenBen E-star) Ev sales. On the website the starting price is 29,800 yuan (USD $4,257) then goes up to 69,800 yuan (USD $10770.14) post subsidies. The starting price is far lower than last years version of the car which was priced around
    69,800 yuan to 74,800 yuan ($10,770 -$11,541). Looks like they are selling this EV at a loss to gain market share especially against something
    like the Wuling mini ev. The specs are close to something like the Ora R1. The version with 55kW, 170nm, and 301km NEDC range can be had at 39,800 yuan (USD $ 6141) post subsidies Which match the range of the lower trim Ora R1(301km NEDC range,28.5KWh battery,35Kw motor, and 125 NM of torque) at a lower price 2021 Ora R1 starts at 69,800 yuan (USD $10,770 post subsidies).
    The BenBen E-star has a more powerful motor, bigger battery 32.2/31.18 kwh, more torque 170nm over 125 nm of torque, and top speed. Ora R1 top speed 102 k/h the $4,257 version has a top speed of
    101 km/h and higher trims have a top speed of 125 km/h. With Changan being such a larger manufacturer and the great specs you get for the price with this car. I expect it to quickly rise up
    the sales chart.

    (BenBen E star stats)

    (Ora R1 stats)

    (Chang'an BenBen e-Star gets 6K orders in 3 days after its launch)

    1. Sounds like the entry variant is a more capable car for the same price as the Wuling HongGuang MINI... Didn't take long for competition to catch up.

    2. That's the beaty of the EV market in China, because there is a large diversity, it is quite dynamic.

    3. I agree. I wonder if they can rack up production to meet demand.

  15. how about BMW ix3 in December?

  16. #synopsis
    Of the 2,375 million passenger vehicles registered in December (market up 7.2%), 224082 (9.4%) were PEV.
    For the year, a total 20,178 million vehicles were registered (market down 6.0%), of which, 1,37 million (up 11%) were New Energy Vehicles (NEVs), that includes battery-powered electric, plug-in hybrid and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles.

    767782 vehicles from the total registered 1,271 million PEVs, capture the PEV Top20 positions, were the leading carmakers are SAIC (24.9%) with 190942 units, followed by Tesla (18.2%) with 139925 units and BYD (16.6%) with 127381 units. The best selling electric model was the Tesla Model 3 with 139925 units and the best selling plug-in hybrid model the BMW 530Le E-range Extension with 25692 units.