Thursday, April 22, 2021

China March 2021

11% share!

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?.

#5 – BYD Han EV

The successful career of BYD’s luxury sedan in China has been resumed in March, by delivering 7,956 units, enough to beat the 2nd best selling full-size model (Li Xiang One) by a sizeable margin, as the big SUV ended some 3,000 units behind. The current poster-boy for BYD is expected to continuing thriving in the foreseeable future, keeping the category leadership with an iron fist.

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%)


  1. Hello José, do you know where I can find NEV sales numbers for Chongqing Changan Automobile Company, FAW Group, Beijing Automotive Group, Chery Automobile, WM Motor Technology and Yudo? Thanks

  2. The more than decent result of the mediocre iX3 is quite shocking...

    1. why?

      regular x3 is selling great in China, so why should the ix3 be different.

      Also the ix3 is not something amazing, because it is the electrified version of an existing car, but it is not too bad either. For the not so aerodynamic shape it got even quite decent efficiency.

      If you want an BMW, the ix3 is not a terrible option and many Chinese want a BMW. Not too surprised by the result tbh.

    2. Well, I guess if you specifically want a BMW for some reason... It's just surprising to me, considering that they have superior (and usually cheaper) domestic options.

  3. Considering the situation a few years ago, it's quite surprising that Tesla is ahead of BYD not only globally, but even on BYD's home turf...

    Though now that BYD has finally unveiled what I understand to be their first dedicated EV platform, I guess they might become more competitive?

    1. BYD is also having battery constraint problems for their batteries I heard which will be solved in the Summer.

    2. Their buses probably suck up a lot of their battery supply.

  4. Happy Earth Day folks: Originally Earth Day was proposed on March 21 which is the start of Spring (Vernal) Equinox in northern hemisphere. But it was changed to April 22 when nationwide environmental teach-in started on April 22, 1970.
    Occurs when the Sun crosses the equator line, heading north. This event marks the start of spring in the northern half of the globe. After this date, the Northern Hemisphere begins to be tilted more toward the Sun, resulting in increasing daylight hours and warming temperatures.

    Consequentially in Assyrian (Iraq/Syria region) calendar, March 21 was the start of their New Year, they also gave gifts to children and played with eggs (symbol of fertility). This is year 6771 in their calendar. Perhaps their technology could have been used to make electric vehicles.

    1. Thanks for these lines, sometimes it's refreshing to discover stuff not direcly related to EVs through our readers.

  5. 210.517 is impressive and hope they will repeat this increase in the coming months as 200 bev models are in pipeline. only 2 phev and 2 fcev are coming.

    Wuling MiniEV is #3 selling model overall. Can you believe this. A year ago there is no such model called Wuling MiniEV and who would have predicted that it will be #3 selling model.

    Wuling MiniEV cumulative sales cross 200.000 mark. Congratulations. Its not a full car that can go long distance, at least for the daily commutes, weekly shopping, it can cover the distance and reduce oil consumption.

    1. Wuling MiniEV easily crossed 200K quicker than any other PEV before.

      To the best of my knowledge, there are only 7 PEVs that have managed to sell 200K vehicles:

      1 - Wuling MiniEV did it in just 9 months in China alone.
      2 - Model 3 did it in 21 months.
      3 - Model S did it in about 5 years.
      4 - Leaf took just over 5 years.
      5 - Outlander PHEV did it in about 6.5 years.
      6 - BMW i3 did it in 7 years.
      7 - Zoe did it in ~7.3 years.

      The Model X and Y haven't managed to reach 200K sales yet. Model X will probably do it 1.5 - 6 months after production resumes... so maybe around September, after sales began 6 years prior, so a bit quicker than the Outlander but not as quick as the S and Leaf.

      Model Y will pull it off in May or June, so within ~15 months of introduction, about halfway between how quickly the 3 and the Wuling MiniEV reached it.

    2. @Taylor S Marks.
      Happy to read that BMW i3 also reached 200.000 mark. Per the stats I collected, it has 195K. I dont have the complete stats for 2020 and 2021. Can you tell me the exact global # in 2020 & 2021.
      2021 3.043 1.542 (EU-01,02); 340 (UQ-Q1); 1.161 (Germany-03)
      2020 19.359 17.857 (EU); 1.502 (US)
      2019 39.501
      2018 34.623
      2017 31.482
      2016 25.500
      2015 24.057
      2014 16.052
      2013 1.477
      Total 195.094

      So only 6 BEVs have reached the 200.000 milestone so far. Even the early bird like BYD e6 could not reach it. And Mitsubishi Outlander remains the only plugin hybrid to have reached this level.

      Tesla Model 3 is the only 1 to have crossed 900.000 mark and Nissan Leaf is the 2nd model with 500.000.
      And Model S has 300.000 +

  6. Tesla Model 3 is #11 overall and #1 among luxury makes. What a wonderful result.

    good to see 2 tesla models in top-3. hope they re-launch model s/x. we cannot ask anymore from the company which leads the ev revolution. hope other automakers increase the sales.

    1. The Model S/X badly needed some love, i am curious to see how high they will go in their 2nd youth.

  7. The fact that a car should seat 5 will soon be put to end as most families have only 1-2 children and so a 4 seater that is narrow, lighter, more fuel efficient is good enough. This is more important in the bev world since battery price, range are all important factors.

    I wish there is also a 6-seater as 3 rows of 2 seats each in a longer, narrower car with slightly higher price.

    Wuling MiniEV is talked about many in the media, something that none of the japanese kei cars did. Seems the factory that makes miniev uses many minievs for moving parts with the car running in autonomous mode. what a wonderful idea, this small bev will consume much less electricity to move small parts in smaller quantities.

    1. I like your post.
      The first dimension I am checking when choosing a car is it's width.
      A slim car is much less hassle when parking. But I admit I must be an exception.

    2. While it's true that inefficiency and thus battery size add somewhat more cost to larger EVs than is the case for larger combustion cars, the difference is almost negligible compared to the total cost of a typical car -- so I doubt it will shift the market in a significant way.

      Historically, the only times when trends have switched from ever larger to smaller vehicles, is when fuel prices went up -- which is basically a non-issue with EVs. Unfortunately, that means that on the whole, EVs are more likely to favour a trend to even larger vehicles :-(

      The success of the Wuling is impressive, but doesn't imply smaller EVs are gaining traction against larger ones. First of all, keep in mind that it's totally unique (for now), essentially having an entire segment for itself.

      More importantly, the vast majority of buyers surely aren't people who would have bought larger EVs otherwise. Many probably come from very cheap combustion cars. Some presumably come from low-speed EVs -- although I'm not sure these are many, since besides being even more affordable, there are other aspects making LSEVs easier to own, in the form of registration, insurance, and licensing requirements... And last but not least, I'm sure a significant portion of buyers are coming from no car ownership at all.

    3. @Koogle
      narrower means easier for parking is a valid point.
      car the size of Fiat 500 should be comfortable for 4 passengers even if they are fat.
      however the 3 door vehicle is not comfortable for rear seat passengers. thats why 5 door is becoming standard.

    4. I see the success of the Wulling a natural move from a still large part of population that can't afford a regular car yet but enjoyed government and local incentives to switch from ICE scooters and other motorcycles to a vehicle that can manage a little family in safer condition than a motorcycle.
      Remember, before the last thirty years of strong economic growth, the streets of Chinese cities were full of bicycles, since a growing middle class was able to buy cars and the rest switched there bicycle for scooters and motorcycles. Now, we are entering a third phase with people going to buy these somehow city golf cart and the Wulling being the first of its kind, but soon, this market will attract others car makers.

      Outside China, I can see a seemly scenario in India, maybe five to ten years from now, and some other Asian countries like Thailand.

      For Europe, there can be a market, but far from this Chinese success story.

      In the USA, there is virtually no market there.

      For Latin America and in a certain degree some African countries, this is not a match for the local cultural love for cars, it is more like in the USA in fact. Even if a big part of the population still can't afford a regular car, I can't see the will to switch for this type of transportation, specially with no incentives from governments.

    5. While it's likely true that many people are switching from two-wheelers, it's wrong to assume that these are mostly combustion-based. Electric scooters are quickly displacing combustion ones; and electric bicycles are also huge.

      The takeaway is that while *some* people might be switching from larger vehicles, this is likely a small minority. Some are (hopefully) switching from similar-sized combustion cars; but many are very likely switching from smaller (more efficient) types of vehicles -- or from public transport...

    6. @Antrik: I believe the Wuling Mini EV is getting buyers from several types of buyers, many of them with money to buy something more expensive, that is why the "Macaron" special edition had over 30,000 orders in a couple of weeks, and why they are studying the feasibility of the Convertible concept, convertibles aren't exactly a hot item in China, but it would be a great way to increase margins of the model.

      And besides, the Wuling Mini EV is being successful at a target audience (under 35y females) that, with a few exceptions (Mini brand, Fiat 500, etc) isn't usually targeted/understood by car makers.

    7. I don't doubt that the Wuling is getting some buyers from more expensive cars: but I'm pretty sure these are predominantly more expensive models in a similar size class -- such as the Ora R1 or the Baojun -- rather than larger cars...

  8. +Europe~215000.World>500000.Very,very nice

  9. Tesla overtakes Lexus in China in 2021-Q1, hooray.

    In Jan & Feb, there were 4 phev in month sales, in mar, its down to 3. BMW 503Le PHEV is out. Li Xiang One will hang on with its impressive 180 km (NEDC) range.

  10. suddently Ora has become a Bad Cat or Copy Cat. Their new model is an exact replica of VW Beetle with only difference being its a 5 door wagon.

    chinese government told their entities to stop copying european monuments like eiffel tower, big ben ... how can they allow this type of copy of another company's car model which is an icon.

    hope VW files a lawsuit, otherwise many more models will be copied.

    1. Nothing wrong with copies, as long as they aren't forgeries.

      Even more so when the original is not in production...

    2. ...for decades :-D

      If it were a complete copy of a current model, i think VW would be right to be angry, but on this case, the original Beetle stopped being sold in the 90's, or the 70's in most of the World, so i believe copycat laws do not apply here.

      Besides, the Punk Cat looks badass, in a Punk kind of way, much better than the original "New Beetle" and on par with the Gen 2 "New Beetle".

      Maybe it could work as an inspiration for VW to make a MEB-based Gen. 3 "New Beetle"?

      And make that one rear-driven, rear-engined, badass thing, not something out of Hello Kitty accessories shop, paleeeeze!...

  11. Wuling MiniEV has sold 270.000 units in 270 days.
    Time for BYD, Ora, Changan to check how Wuling sold nearly 40.000 vehicles while their products could not touch even 5 digits. If the lower range between 120 - 200 km with $4.200 price is what most customers need, then these companies should also introduce a version with smaller battery at lower price to get the customers.

    250 days of commute + 50 days of local shopping requires less than 120 km range. For travel beyond this, they can rent a car or take public transit.

    1. It's not "most" customers. The Wuling only looks this strong because there isn't anything else in this class (yet) -- while the higher-specced mini-cars have to share the segment amongst multiple entrants.

  12. Just fyi: Norways electrified vehicles (bev, phev, fhev) has crossed 90% share, pushing petrol/diesel to single digit %age. i hope this pure ice segment is routed and then bev takes on fhev.