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China Full Year 2018 New Energy: BYD and BAIC EC-Series best-sellers, market eclipses 1 million annual sales for the first time

The BAIC EC-Series is the best-selling New Energy vehicle in China in 2018 thanks to a record 37.859 sales in December.

The Chinese government has clearly stated it wants to drastically reduce car-related air pollution in the country by progressively yet aggressively switching the automotive industry into the world leader in green cars, aiming at 2 million annual sales in 2020 and a whopping 7 million in 2025. By then, all worldwide car manufacturers present in China will have electrified their lineup. At BSCB we always strive to be ahead of the wave so we have added a new monthly update this year dedicated to New Energy vehicles, and this is the first Full Year report of this kind, and the market is about to become truly fascinating as brands such as Volkswagen will soon make their true mass-produced entrance in the New Energy segment just as government subsidies are scheduled to be phased out throughout 2019.

The Toyota Corolla Hybrid is #2.

In 2018, while the Chinese market stepped on the brakes (-2.8%) for the first time in 28 years, New Energy vehicle sales logically became the last bastion of growth. They soar 61.7% in 2018 to surpass the million annual units for the first time in history (in China and any market or region in the world) at 1.256.000 wholesales, including 1.054.000 passenger cars (+82.2%) and 202.000 commercials (+1.7%). This includes 984.000 battery EVs (+50.8%) – 788.000 passenger cars (+68.4%) and 196.000 commercials (+6.3%), 271.000 PHEVs (+117%) – 265.000 passenger cars (+139.6%) and 6.000 commercials (-58%) and 1.526 fuel cell vehicles. All the above data is sourced by the CAAM. Our selection of New Energy vehicles is slightly different as it also includes non-rechargeable hybrids but is restricted to passenger cars and retail sales, not wholesales as these offer a broader list of models. Our set of models add up to 1.085.820 over the Full Year 2018, including 250.247 (+27%) in December alone, traditionally and by far the highest month for New Energy vehicles as all manufacturers rush registrations to benefit from annual government subsidies dependent on their sales volume.

BYD is the best-selling New Energy brand in China in 2018.

In this context, the victorious New Energy brand for 2018 is BYD with over 180.000 sales, well ahead of Toyota at just under 155.000 and BAIC BJEV at a little above 140.000 deliveries. Roewe (85.000) follows in 4th place, then there is a sizeable gap and five carmakers within just 6.000 sales (from 42.500 to 48.600): Geely, Lexus, JMC, Honda and JAC. Zotye rounds up the Top 10 with roughly 30.000 units. Changan (#11) means there are 8 Chinese brands in the Top 11, and 15 in the Top 20. Tesla ranks #17, much-advertised newcomer NIO is just below at #18 with roughly 11.500 deliveries of its luxury SUV ES8, while Link Tour (#22), Yudo (#23) and Weltmeister (#26) also lodge encouraging debuts but Dearcc (#42), Sinogold (#45), Arcfox (#51) and Xpeng (#54) are a notch below.

NIO sold 11.500 ES8 at home in 2018.

Model-wise, thanks to a record 37.859 deliveries in December, the largest single-month volume ever recorded by an EV in any market worldwide, the BAIC BJEV EC-Series edges past the Toyota Corolla Hybrid to snap the title of best-selling New Energy vehicle in China for 2018 at roughly 87.000 units, only 26 sales above the Corolla. The BYD Qin rounds up the podium, distancing the Toyota Levin Hybrid, Geely Emgrand EC7 PHEV and JAC iEV6e. BYD then holds the next three spots with the e5, Yuan EV and Song EV while the Roewe ei6 closes the Top 10. A very strong seller towards the end of the year, the BYD Tang PHEV ends 2018 less than 200 sales from a Top 10 finish. Among 2018 newcomers, notice the Roewe Ei5 at #18, the Nio ES8 at #25 and the Chery Tiggo 3xe at #26.

Previous month: China New Energy November 2018: BYD overtakes Toyota to #1 brands YTD

Full Year 2018 Top 68 All-brands and Top 158 All-models below.

Full December 2018 Top 65 All-brands and Top 135 All-models below.

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