October 2017 China Electric Car Sales
In a stable market, the big news is the EC-Series definitely quite likely securing this year’s Best Seller title, a first for BAIC and the first time since 2013 that BYD loses the Best Selling PEV award. Back then, the best-seller was the Chery QQ3 EV, with 5,727 registrations. With two months to go, the EC-Series is now at 49,000.
The rise and rise of the Chinese plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) market is unstoppable, with yet another record performance in October. With 66,000 new passenger PEVs registered last month, that’s almost double the result of October ‘16, while pulling the YTD count to over 405,000 units, up 55% YoY.
As consequence of this, the 2017 PEV market share has crossed for the first time the 2% share, firmly ahead of last year’s score (1.5%). As sales are expected to grow even further until the end of the year, the Chinese PEV market might even reach 2.5% share by year end.
This is still a highly protected market, where 94% of sales belong to domestic brands. Of the 6% left for foreign brands, 4% belong to Tesla, 1% to BMW, and the remaining 1% divided by all other automakers.
In October, both small city cars and compact SUVs placed two representatives in the top 5, with the EC-Series beating the world record for registrations in a single month, hitting 11,315 units, while the new 100 km version has given the BYD Qin PHEV a second youth, reaching 4,102 deliveries, a new record for the nameplate.
Here are October’s top 5 best selling models:
- BAIC EC-Series: I would say the 11,315 EC-Series registered in October were a historical landmark. After all, it was the first time that a single model crossed into five-digit sales. But with ever improving performances since the 2,563 units registered last June, it looks that number will continue to go upwards until December. The little city EV is a revolution itself in China, owing its success to a trendy design (reminding one of a crossover), improved specs (now with 200 km of range), and competitive pricing (~$22,000). In a booming market segment, that’s the recipe for success. With the Chinese edition of the 2017 Best Selling PEV title already in its hands, BAIC is now looking to win the global edition of the same award. To that end, last month, it surpassed the three big boys (Nissan LEAF, Toyota Prius Prime, and Tesla Model S), thus becoming the first Chinese model to reach #1 on the global market.
- Zhidou D2 EV: This is truly a bare-basics city vehicle, but it continues to be delivered in large quantities (4,502 units in October), probably due to fleet deals. This vehicle is sold as a quadricycle (think: Renault Twizy) in some European countries. It has the following specs: 12 kWh battery, 120 km of range, 90 km/h max. speed, ~$19,000. The brand has ambitious plans to market the D2 EV as a carsharing vehicle in Europe. Will anyone bite? Will local consumers want to drive it?
- BYD Qin PHEV: Thanks to a recently increased range (100 km), BYD’s sports sedan (0–100 km/h in 5.9 seconds) recovered its mojo and had a record 4,102 registrations in October. With a competitive price ($31,000 before incentives) and full access to government incentives, sales are expected to remain high, as long as BYD manages to make enough of them in order to satisfy demand.
- BYD Song PHEV: If the Qin is the “Model 3” of BYD, the Song is the “Model Y,” a VW Tiguan-sized SUV, here in plug-in hybrid version. Last month, it registered 3,064 units, dropping some 700 units compared to the previous month. Is the Qin renewed success hurting the Song demand, or is it just a case of production constraints? I believe the full potential of BYD’s compact SUV could be around 5,000 units/month.
- JAC iEV6S: One of the EV pioneers in China, selling plug-ins since 2010, JAC is trying to regain relevance with its iEV6S, a compact crossover (think: Kia Soul EV) that registered 2,861 units in October, allowing it to reach a top 5 position last month. A vehicle targeted to hip urbanites for a competitive $26,000 before incentives, you get a trendy city model, with a 33 kWh battery providing decent range (251 km, NEDC). And the engine has enough power (114 hp) to give it the “go” needed for its customers’ supposedly active life.
Year-to-Date Ranking – BAIC EC-Series Orders the 2017 Title
To see some changes in the ranking, we have to go to fifth place, where the JAC iEV6S climbed one position The BYD Qin PHEV jumped four positions to #10, surpassing, among others, the stablemate BYD Tang, which dropped two positions to #12, a surprisingly low position for the 2016 Best Selling PEV.
On the rise is also the Roewe eRX5 BEV, jumping to #15 thanks to a record 2,811 deliveries. Other models also hit personal records. Besides the aforementioned BAIC EC-Series, BYD Qin PHEV, and Roewe eRX5 BEV, three recent additions scored record results: The Changan Eulove EV scored 1,201 registrations, Hawtai registered 2,112 EV160s, and the much awaited Wuling E100 was at 1,724 registrations in only its third full month on the market. No production hell there…
Looking at the manufacturer ranking, BYD (20%, up 1%) is comfortable at the throne, keeping the runner-up BAIC (16%, up 1%) at a safe distance. At least for now.
In third place we (still) have Zhidou, with 9% share, with Roewe (9%, up 1%) closing in. The Shanghai-based manufacturer is trying hard to reach the podium in its bid to become the third of China’s “Big 3 PEV” club.