Plugins are a hot item in China, having scored a near-record 211,000 units last month, jumping 244% regarding the same month last year, making it the second best month ever, only behind last December.
Last month plugin share reached the two-digits mark for the first time ever, by hitting 11% (9.2% BEV), pulling the 2021 share to 10% (8% BEV), and considering January and February are China's weakest months, we can now safely assume that the local plugin market share will end North of the two-digits mark this year, and the total tally of the year will exceed 2 million deliveries!
After Europe, #EVDisruption is now reaching China...
Looking at March Best Sellers were exacly the same as February, and in the same order, with the Wuling Mini EV leading the pack, followed by both Teslas in the remaining podium positions.
Here’s March Top 5 Best Selling models individual performance:
#1 – Wuling HongGuang Mini EV
After a small break in February, the Wuling EV is back at full speed, scoring a record 39,745 units last month, resuming its long streak of records, and allowing it to reach the 3rd spot in the overall market, with the little Wuling selling some 270,000 units in 270 days, meaning that if the tiny four-seater continues to grow at this pace, a half a million score by the end of the year seems not only feasible, but likely. The Wuling EV is becoming a disruptive force in urban mobility, a true EV for the masses, and unlike what many might think, its success isn't just happening in the poorer regions of China, as the tiny EV is also selling well in places like Tianjin (3rd Best Selling EV), Guangdong (#2), or Fujian (#1), and like a certain 1959 model bearing the same name, or the original bug-named VW, the Wuling Mini EV is becoming a sort of icon for classless transportation, as the people buying it (mostly females, mostly under 35 year olds) are usually a hard to capture audience. This EV has a lot to become a game changer, and not only in China...
#2 – Tesla Model 3
The poster child for electric mobility hit a record 25,327 units last month, allowing it to reach the 11th spot in the overall market, a rather surprising result in retrospective of past performances, and considering that MiC Model 3 are now being exported to Europe and the Asia-Pacific region, we might start to see end-of-quarter peak deliveries in China, replicating the behavior of the US-made Model 3. Something we will no doubt have the opportunity to check in the next couple of quarters...
#3 – Tesla Model Y
Tesla's new baby hit 10,151 units last month, and while it’s not (yet) a Model 3-beating score, it means that the production ramp-up is going smoothly and should hit its peak during the second quarter of the year. Tesla’s midsize crossover future cruise speed in China is a question mark, while traditionally SUVs/Crossovers haven't sold as much as their sedan counterparts, the truth is that the market is leaning towards higher riding bodies, so the Model Y could surf the wave and outsell the Model 3 by some margin.
#4 – Great Wall ORA Black Cat (R1)
Ora's ever-growing Cat Pack (the VW-Beetle inspired Punk Cat has just been presented at the Shanghai Auto Show), is becoming quite popular, and none of them has been as popular as the tiny Black Cat, that delivered 8,527 units in March, allowing the Great Wall model to continue in the forefront of the resurgence of City EVs and might reach new heights soon, say maybe...10,000 units-plus in April?.
Looking at the remaining Best Sellers table in March, a mention to the rise and rise of the small Changan Benni EV, with 4,076 units, its 3rd record performance in a row, allowing the Toyota Yaris-like hatchback to reach the 9th position last month, and raising the question if we aren't witnessing the rise of a new star in the competitive Chinese EV market...Discuss.
Another model with surging sales is the new BMW iX3, 10th last month with a record 3,519 units, with the midsize SUV now being BMW's main bet in China, and the only other foreign model on the table, besides the Tesla siblings.
Local startups continue to shine, and the highlight of the month belonged to Hozon's small Neta V, that scored a record 3,206 units, while in total we had 7 representatives from 6 different startups in the table, with the highest placed being the #7 Li Xiang One (4,900 units), this is creating an interesting phenomenon, while established Chinese makers (FAW, Dongfeng, etc) are apparently oblivious to the current NEV wave, it's smaller makers, like BYD, and the local startups that are filling the empty space. The most bizarre example is Geely, owner of Volvo and Polestar, two brands that are heavy on plugins, and inclusively Geely itself is leading plugin markets in places like Russia and Belarus, and yet, in its home market, it has less than 1% share...
Speaking of BYD, after a quick transition into the new Blade Battery in its lineup, the new policy is now starting to bear its first fruits, with the new BYD D1 people carrier showing up in #16, thanks to 2,796 units, its fourth record result in a row, while the new Qin Plus PHEV had its first volume month, allowing it to show up in #18, with 2,509 units.
Below the Top 20, a reference to the ramp-up of ORA's White Cat (2,406 units) and Good Cat (2,116), while the VW Magotan PHEV (Euro-spec Passat, but made in China) hit a record 2,352 units, and still on the Volkswagen stable, a mention to the ramp-up of the ID.4, that reached 990 units last month.
Looking at the 2021 ranking, the Wuling Mini EV is the undisputed leader, and the same can be said about the runner-up Tesla Model 3, so unless something unexpected occurs, the top two positions are already taken for
Below it, the Climber of the Month was once again the Tesla Model Y, that jumped four positions, into #5, and this was the only change in the Top 10.
There wasn't also much to talk about on the second half of the table, the NIO ES6 climbed to #11, while the BMW iX3 joined the table, in #16, interestingly, all three climbers in this Top 20 were high end midsize SUVs...A coincidence?
Just outside the Top 20, we have two models on the rise, with the #21 BYD D1 just 767 units behind the #20 Ora Good Cat, so the MPV might already join the table in April, while the small Leap Motor T03 could also reach the Top 20 soon, with the startup model only 1,074 units below the table.
Looking at the makers ranking, the SGMW joint-venture (21%, down 1%) is in the leadership, while below it, Tesla (14%, up 2%) is now firmly in the 2nd spot, ahead of BYD (11%).
Below the podium, SAIC (7%, down 1%) is 4th, followed by the #5 Great Wall (6%) and the #6 NIO (5%)