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China retail February 2023: BYD, GAC Aion stand out in market up 11.1%

Aion EV models push GAC sales up in February.

BSCB is the only non-Chinese medium to cover both wholesales (ex-factory shipments) and retail sales data for China so you can get the most complete picture of the largest new car market in the world. Retail sales tend to give a more authentic picture of the market as they roughly correspond to registrations by end-customers and are more difficult to artificially boost with exports which can sometimes be the case for wholesales data. The selection of vehicles included in this update is up a solid 11.1% year-on-year in February to 1,256,513 units, but after a disastrous score in January (-43.2%), year-to-date volumes remain frankly down at -24.6% to 2,496,453. The earlier Lunar New Year holiday, in late January this year vs. early February in 2022, is enough to justify the market growth this month. 

For the second time in history after last November, BYD (+99.6%) takes the lead of the brands ranking, edging past Volkswagen (+7.7%) for a mere 2,000 sales. Most BYD nameplates are up by a large margin, with the Yuan Plus (+884.5%), Qin (+296.3%), Dolphin (+216.1%) and Song Pro (+110.4%) among the best performers. As far as Volkswagen is concerned, its lineup shows a varied mix of results, with the Lamando (+88.2%), Polo (+53.5%), Magotan (+49.5%), Talagon (+41.9%), Passat (+26.3%), Tacqua (+25.1%) and Bora (+19.4%) in excellent shape but its entire EV range in total disarray: the ID.3 is off -50.3% year-on-year, the ID.4 Crozz at -58.3%, the ID.4 X at -77.4%, ID.6 Crozz at -56.5% and ID.6 X at -65.7%. These are paltry results in a EV-hungry market.

BYD is the most popular carmaker in China in February.

In third place, Toyota jumps 12.9% mainly thanks to the Sienna (+33.5%), Levin (+29.8%) and Wildlander (+25.5%) as well as the new Corolla Cross (+115.1%) and its twin the Front Lander (+183.8%). Wuling (-2%) limits its fall to advance to #4 overall, its highest ranking in a year (#4 in February 2022). Honda (-22.3%) is hampered by stock availability and falls heavily again. Changan (+33%) on the other hand is very strong but not as much as GAC (+96.3%) lifted by its Aion EV range: the Aion S is up 338.8% and the Aion Y up 327.5%. As a result GAC climbs up from #13 in January to #8 this month. Geely (-2.6%) drops to #7 while BMW (+42.1%) and Mercedes (+40%) both vastly outpace the market to round out the Top 10. Below, Tesla (+40.9%) continues to impress, LI (+96.9%) breaks into the Top 20 for the first time at #18 and NIO (+110.7%) reaches a record #24.

Looking at the models ranking in isolation, the Wuling Hongguang Mini EV (+8.6%) reclaims the top spot off the BYD Song Plus (+56%) down to #4 for the month. The VW Lavida (+5.9%) advances to #2 while the Tesla Model Y (+35.3%) is up 10 spots on January to #3. The BYD Qin Plus (+30.2%) flies off 26 ranks to #5 ahead of the Nissan Sylphy (-12.4%). The BYD Yuan Plus (+884.5%), Dolphin (+216.1%) and GAC Aion S (+338.8%) follow with extraordinary gains. The Changan Lumin (#23) is the most popular recent launch above the LI L8 (#36), LI L9 (#48) and Geely Panda mini (#51) which just launched this month.

Previous month: China retail January 2023: Sales freefall -43.2%, BYD (+37.8%), Tesla (+38.8%) islands of growth

One year ago: China retail February 2022: Wuling (+25.8%), BYD (+192.9%) can’t prevent market down -9%

Full February 2023 Top 120 All brands and Top 675 All models below.

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