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China wholesales February 2023: BYD (+87.4%), GAC (+64.3%) shine in market bouncing back up 13.5%

GAC Aion S sales are up 5-fold year-on-year in February.

The Lunar New Year break has affected the Chinese market these past two months as it occurred from January 21 through to January 27 this year vs. a start on January 31 in 2022. As a result, but also because of the end of incentives for NEVs and small cars, sales were off -35% in January. In February, now with more selling days than February 2022, wholesales bounce back up 13.5% year-on-year to 1,976,000 units according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM). This includes 1,653,000 Passenger Vehicles (+10.9%) and 324,000  Commercial Vehicles (+29.1%), the latter finally in positive after a year of atrocious losses. However the year-to-date tally remains frankly in negative at -15.2% year-on-year to 3,625,000, including 3,121,000 PV (-15.2%) and 504,000 CV (-15.4%).

Vehicle production is up 11.9% for the month to 2,032,000 and down -14.5% year-to-date to 3,626,000. Despite the end of the national NEV purchase subsidies, a slew of regional policies favouring NEV has triggered very strong NEV sales in February at +59.9% year-on-year to 525,000 units. This represents 26.6% of the PV market, up from 24.7% in January. In contrast, ICE PV sales drop -9.8% to 964,000. NEV production is up 48.8% to 552,000. Sales of Chinese-brands PV soar 37.3% year-on-year to 873,000 and 52.8% share, an exceptional improvement on the 42.6% of February 2022. Exports surge 82.2% year-on-year to 329,000 units including 271,000 Passenger Vehicles (+85.8%). 87,000 NEV were exported (+79.5%). Year-to-date exports are up 52.9% to 630,000. 

BYD is the best-selling manufacturer in China for the 4th time ever.

This month BYD (+87.4%) is the most popular carmaker for the 4th time in history after April, Octover and November 2022. BYD also snaps the year-to-date spot thanks to sales up 63.1%. The carmaker’s best performing models are the Dolphin (+164.8%), Yuan Plus (+348.9%) and the new Corvette 07 (record 6,249) and Song Pro (14,439). Traditional leader Volkswagen is relegated to 2nd place with sales down a harsh -15.7% year-on-year. This despite strong scores by the Lamando (+185.9%), CC (+118.7%), ID.6 X (+51.8%), Tharu (+27.4%), Polo (+25.9%) and Sagitar (+15.2%). In third place, Toyota (-7%) is also in difficulty but has the Front Lander (+124.9%), Yaris L (+72.9%), Wildlander (+53.8%), Sienna (+40.6%), Levin (+28.3%) and Corolla Cross (+28%) all performing strongly.

Changan (+35%) posts a fantastic gain to remain in 4th place just above Honda (-36.5%) in freefall again but back up one spot on January to #5. Geely (+15.4%) outpaces the market slightly at #6 above two surging carmakers: Wuling (+47.8%) and GAC (+64.3%), the latter hitting its highest ever ranking at #8. Mercedes (+16.5%) is solid at #9 while Nissan (-35.4%) closes out the Top 10 in paltry fashion. Below, Hongqi (+22.3%) and LI (+97.5%) are the only remaining Top 20 carmakers in positive, indicating a further concentration of sales on the top brands. NIO (+98.3%), Jetour (+67.2%), Volvo (+48.7%), Neta (+41.5%), Beijing (+109.5%), Zeekr (+87.1%), Bestune (+490.2%) and AITO (+231.9%) shine further down.

Looking at the models ranking in isolation, the BYD Song Plus (+51.4%) lodges a 5th consecutive win and cements its YTD domination with almost 73,000 wholesales. The Wuling Hongguang Mini EV (+36.9%) climbs back up six spots on last month to #2 while the BYD Qin Plus (+21.9%) rallies back up 24 ranks to a best-ever #3. The Nissan Sylphy (-24.8%) struggles at #4 but ranks #2 year-to-date. The Tesla Model Y (-21.2%) is also in trouble year-on-year but up 10 spots on January to #5. The BYD Dolphin (+164.8%), Yuan Plus (+348.9%) and GAC Aion S (+397.9%) all score tremendous lifts, the Aion S breaking its volume and ranking records at 16,827 and #9, its first incursion in the Chinese Top 10. The VW Lavida (-33.6%) implodes to #7, making it the lowest ever ranked best-selling Volkswagen.

Previous month: China wholesales January 2023: Market sinks -35% on Covid surge, end of incentives and calendar quirk

One year ago: China wholesales February 2022: BYD (+336.2%) highlights market up 18.7%

Full February 2023 Top 90 all brands and Top 495 all models below.

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