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China September 2018 New Energy: BYD leads, Weltmeister lands

Weltmeister EX5

* See the Top 60 brands and Top 105 models by clicking on the title *

Just as the rest of the Chinese market seems to be caught in a downward spiral – wholesales down 11.5%, imports down 7% and retail sales down 16%, the last refuge of growth remains New Energy vehicles, that include electric, hydrogen, PHEV and hybrid models. We are referring to retail sales here including imports here as these offer a much more complete picture of New Energy sales than wholesales data. Thanks to generous government subsidies, the green car fleet in China has quickly become the largest in the world, topping 2.21 million EVs and plug-in hybrids by the end of September according to China’s Ministry of Public Security, with 1.78 million being EVs. China Association of Automobile Manufacturers figures have the 2018 EVs and plug-in hybrid sales at 721.000 at end-September, up 81% on the same period a year ago and including 541.000 EVs and 181.000 plug-in hybrids. Our dataset is slightly different as it includes standard, non rechargeable hybrids, and also only carmakers reporting official figures. As such. New Energy models included in this study see their sales soar 48% year-on-year in September to 84.322, leading to a year-to-date total of 596.218.

Red Star Shining X2

Brand-wise, BYD (+129%) confirms it is back at the helm of China’s New Energy assault with over 18.000 sales, snapping the #1 spot for the 3rd time in the past 4 months. Toyota (+29%) remains in 2nd place while Geely (+377%) overtakes Roewe (+92%) to climb on the podium thanks to strong sales of the Emgrand PHEV and a good start by the Emgrand GE. Once-dominant, BAIC BJEV (+8%) and JAC (+10%) are now panting, whereas they have spent all their energy and budget into electrifying their lineup at the YTD at the detriment of their traditional models, in freefall.  It however also means there is only one foreigner (Toyota) in the Top 6. BMW (+467%) gallops ahead, even outselling hybrid-specialist Lexus. Note Tesla (-38%) in difficulty due to the new 40% tariffs on U.S imports. We welcome Chrysler, Nissan, but also Red Star with the Shining X2 (more on this brand in our Exclusive Guide to all 176 Chinese Brands) and Weltmeister (German for World Master, no less) and its EX5, a marque I selected as one of the “Top 5 brands you should know about” during the latest Beijing Auto Show in April this year.

Nio ES8

Over in the models ranking, the Toyota Corolla Hybrid (+25%) remains on top but trails the market, with the Geely Emgrand PHEV (+289%) and BYD Tang EV (+329%) catching up fast while the BYD Yuan EV is the best-selling recent launch (<12 months) at #4 with just under 4.500 sales for the month. Leader over the last 9 months of 2017 and #2 so far in 2018, the BAIC BJEV EC-Series (-97%) is annihilated at #64 but a strong push by the EU-Series (+330%) and EX-Series (+4963%) somehow compensates. Hybrid variants for the Honda CR-V (+305%) and Toyota Camry (+415%) also evolve at markedly higher levels than a year ago. Finally, one notable entry inside the 20 most popular New Energy models this month is the Nio ES8 up 55% on August to a new all-time high 1.758 sales, doubling its YTD tally to 3.414 and single-handedly lifting the Nio brand at the Top 10’s doorstep (#11).

Previous month: China August 2018 New Energy: BYD up 169% to #1 brand

Full September 2018 Top 60 brands and Top 105 models below.

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