Companion vehicles are all the rage in the Chinese car market. Even in the slowest month of the year, plugins got 291,000 registrations, an increase 176% year over year (YoY).
This brings the year-to-date (YTD) tally to over 665,000 units, and with March forecast to be another strong month (400,000 units?), we should have over 1 million registrations by the end of Q1 .
In terms of participation, February showed another great performance, with add-on vehicles reaching 20% market share! Fully electric vehicles (BEVs) alone accounted for 15% of the country’s car sales. This brought the 2022 share to 18% (14% BEV), and considering that the last month of the quarter is usually a strong month, we can assume that the country’s plug-in vehicle market share will end the first quarter. on the 19% mark, and the first half of the year should see it already above 20%.
Another measure of the importance of this market is the fact that China alone accounted for more than half of global add-on registrations last month!
As for the February best sellers, we should first celebrate the fact that we had four accessory models in the top 10 overall, such as Wuling Mini EV (4th), BYD Song (5th — BEV+PHEV), BYD Qin Plus (6th — BEV +PHEV), and Tesla Model Y (8th) all had top 10 appearances. The Tesla Model 3 will most likely make the March top 10 list as well, so we should have 5 add-ons in the top 10 overall next month!
Here’s more info and commentary on February’s best-selling models, this time stretching to the 7th so we can get a better look at BYD’s star players:
No.1: Wuling HongGuang Mini Electric Vehicle
With 26,116 records Last month, the diminutive four-seater won another best-selling title, but considering its past performances, it’s kind of well score. It looks like new direct competition, like the Chery QQ Ice Cream, has started to make a dent in the little EV. Still, with this kind of scale, it’s only natural that the joint venture is making a profit on its flagship EV (probably a small one, to be sure). Perhaps that is why they are preparing to expand the small EV to overseas markets, such as Indonesia and India. (And then the world?) The foreign model is said to be slightly longer, have a 26 kWh battery, a more powerful electric motor, updated features and… the convertible version could also be exported. The Wuling EV has become a trendsetter and disruptive force in urban mobility. The added bonus is that the people who buy it (mostly women under 35) are often a difficult audience to reach. It marks a new chapter in EV mobility.
#2: BYD Song Pro/Plus PHEV
BYD’s midsize SUV seeks to replicate the Qin’s success in its category, and its rise and rise is proof of that, having earned a record result (19,057 registrations) in the slowest month of the year! So it looks like Song PHEV is set for a performance of over 20,000 people in March. In addition to the record performance of the PHEV version, the BEV version had 3,669 registrations, bringing the total to 22,756 units, moving it up to #5 in the overall market, staying significantly above the average for the last quarter of 18,261 units. And the climb continues…
#3 – Tesla Model Y
Tesla’s most recent addition to the lineup got 18,593 records, which allowed him to land at #8 in the general ranking. Looking at the quarterly average, which is the most accurate way to look at Tesla’s performance, Model Y needs 42,000 units in March to maintain the fourth quarter 2021 average (25,500 units). With the latest peak result set in December, consisting of 40,194 units, it shouldn’t be too hard for the midsize crossover to get there.
#4: BYD Qin plus PHEV
The BYD Qin has been the bread and butter model for the Chinese automaker for a long time, with the PHEV version reaching 14,243 records in February, a somewhat disappointing performance. Combined with the BEV version, which had 8,264 records, the Qin Plus had 22,507 registrations, placing it sixth in the overall market. That’s a bit below his Q4’21 average of 26,115 units. Why this drop, especially considering that its SUV sibling (the BYD Song) continues to grow? I think it is the future internal competition: the BYD seal for the BEV version and the Destroyer for the PHEV version. These two new mid-size sedans, due to land soon, are part of the new Ocean generation of BYD add-ons: BEVs were given names of sea animals (Dolphin, Seal, etc.) using the dedicated electronic platform 3.0 and names of military vessels. for PHEVs (Destroyer, Frigate, etc.). Aside from competitive specs, the main selling point for BYD’s Ocean lineup is price, with the base stamp set to start at $35,000 USD. That’s significantly lower than the base version of the Chinese-made Tesla Model 3 ($44,000 USD)!
#5 – BYD Tang PHEV
Thanks to an update last year, the big 7-seat SUV is back in the game, scoring a record. 10,026 records. That outperformed its direct competition in the full-size category (BYD Han and Li Xiang One), thanks to competitive specs such as a 22 kWh LFP “leaf battery.” BYD’s flagship SUV also has a BEV version, mostly aimed at export markets, but which nonetheless allowed it to add an extra 400 units to the tally, bringing the total to 10,426 units. That’s a step above Q4 2021’s average of 7,996 units, meaning Tang still has room to grow.
#6 — BYD Han EV
The big sedan seems to see no end to its success, scoring 8,942 records. It was only beaten in the full-size category by its BYD Tang PHEV sibling. With the PHEV version doing little to help the BEV version (just 349 deliveries last month), BYD’s flagship sedan ended the month with 9,291 registrations, well below the fourth-quarter average of 12,543. But help is on the way, with new PHEV versions coming soon, specifically one with a 38 kWh battery, focused on minimum consumption, and another that can do 0-100 km/h in 3.7 seconds, using the same battery.
#7 – BYD Dolphin
From the top of the BYD range, we now move on to the other end of the range, without stopping at the compact Yuan Plus, a model that we will surely have many opportunities to delve into. Nope, this time we’re looking at the small-to-compact BYD Dolphin, which scored 8,565 records. Its most direct competitor in this category is Great Wall’s Ora Good Cat, with less than half of sales (4,066 registrations). The reason for this success? With a space-saving interior and competitive specifications, not unlike a certain Chevrolet Bolt, Dolphin adds the cost-saving features of its new dedicated platform 3.0. This allows it to offer unbeatable prices, from €13,000 for the 31 kWh battery. Of course, do not expect these types of prices when the Dolphin lands on European shores (rates, VAT, etc.), but I would not be surprised if it began to be sold here at €19,999… which would still be a killer price taking into account direct competition which is still north of €30,000 (Renault Zoe, Peugeot e-208, etc). Once the Dolphin lands, expect drastic price reductions from legacy OEMs…
Looking at the remaining table of best sellers, the two highlights are the BYD Yuan Plus, jumping to 13th place, with 4,517 registrations in just its second month on the market, and the Tesla Model 3 up to 12th place, with 4,607 registrations. . The medium needs 32,000 registrations in March to repeat in the first quarter of 2022 its average of 13,000 registrations per month in the fourth quarter of 2021. Considering that the Model 3 had 30,000 deliveries at its last peak, in December, no it should be tough for him to get there and maintain the average from the last quarter of 2021.
“But you only write about BYD and Tesla?!?!?! How much are they paying you?!?!” You might think so, but no, they don’t pay me anything.
Though on second thought, having a Tesla Model S and a BYD Dolphin would be a great combination in my garage. . It’s just that in early 2022, they’re a step ahead of the competition and it’s hard not to look at their performances in detail.
But enough of BYD and Tesla. Outside the top 20, Geely’s Zeekr brand stands out, with the top-of-the-range model 001 with 2,916 registrations. That is the prelude to a probably bright future for the newborn brand. (Now all you need to do is make a sports car called 007. Hey, it’s not that much of a stretch, you could ask your fellow Lotus to do it! You are welcome!)
Also on the rise is Baojun’s new Kiwi model, the facelifted version of the E300 city EV, with the sleek division of the SGMW joint venture delivering a record 3,262 Kiwis in February.
As for the 2022 ranking, the Tesla Model Y overtook the BYD Qin Plus PHEV and is now the bronze medalist.
Below the podium, the BYD Tang PHEV has jumped four positions, to eighth, making it five BYDs in the top 8 positions. Hozon’s Neta V moved up one position, to #15, and the Volkswagen ID.4 also moved up one position, to #19.
At the bottom of the table, we now have the NIO ES6, which makes four Chinese starter models (#5 Li Xiang One, #15 Hozon Neta V, #17 XPeng P7, and # 20 Nio ES6) among the top 20.
BYD tops the list of automakers
Looking at the ranking of car brands, there are no important news. BYD (27.1%) has reinforced its leadership position, increasing its share by 2.2%. The Shenzhen automaker looks to win its 9the automaker title this year, while the joint venture SGMW (9.4%) is holding steady in second place.
Tesla (6.4%, an increase of 1.2 percentage points) switched positions with Chery (4.6%, up from 5.3%) and is the third-place new automaker.
Finally, we have a new face in fifth place, with Geely (4.3%) moving up to that position, thus knocking SAIC (also 4.3%) out of the top 5.
Looking at OEMs/car groups/alliancesBYD comfortably leads, while SAIC (13.7%) remains stable in second place.
The same cannot be said for the last place on the podium, where a lot can happen in the near future.
Tesla is the new bronze medalist, having overtaken Chery. The Chinese OEM lost two positions in a month, as Geely-Volvo (5.1%) also took the opportunity to overtake it, ending the month in fourth place.
And with the #6 Volkswagen Group (4.3%) rising slowly (gaining 0.2% share last month), Chery could be out of the top 5 soon.
It will be interesting to watch how Geely-Volvo and Volkswagen Group behave this year, as before the EV revolution, they were the leading domestic and foreign automakers in China. And having seen their thrones now threatened by BYD and Tesla, respectively, it will be interesting to see how they respond. For context, BYD was the fourth best-selling brand in China’s overall market last month and No. 1 among Chinese OEMs. How they will deal with the current disruption will speak volumes about their future in the world’s largest auto market.
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