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China wholesales March 2023: BYD places 4 models in Top 5, market up 9.7%

BYD dominates the Chinese sales charts once again.

The price war initiated by Tesla at the start of the year has intensified in China, reaching most carmakers. Add to this a vast promotion spree in March and new car wholesales are up by a solid 9.7% year-on-year in March to 2,451,000 units, according to data by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM). This includes 2,017,000 Passenger Vehicles (+8.2%) and 434,000 Commercial Vehicles, finally recovering at +17.4% year-on-year. Over the First Quarter of 2023, due to a poor January the market remains in negative for now at -6.7% to 6,076,000 wholesales including 5,138,000 Passenger Vehicles (-7.3%) and 938,000 Commercial Vehicles (-2.9%). Production output is up 15.3% in March to 2,584,000 units including 2,149,000 Passenger Vehicles (+14.3%) and 434,000 Commercial Vehicles (+20.4%). Year-to-date, output is off -4.3% to 6,210,000 including 5,262,000 PV (-4.3%) and 948,000 CV (-3.9%).

Despite subsidies having ended at the end of last year, New Energy Vehicles (NEVs) continue to improve strongly, at +34.8% over the year-ago period in March to 653,000 units, accounting for 26.6% of the overall market. Of this total, 490,000 are BEVs (+31.4%). Over Q1, NEV wholesales gain 26.2% year-on-year to 1,586,000 units and 26.1% share.Exports soar 110% over March 2022 to 364,000 vehicles, including 78,000 NEVs (+390%). In the First Quarter of the year, vehicles exported from China add up to 994,000, up 70.6% year-on-year and including 248,000 NEVs (+110%). Wholesales of Chinese-branded Passenger Vehicles continue to climb at +16.4% year-on-year, reaching 1,052,000 units and 52.1% share of the market vs. 48.5% in March 2022 and 39.7% two years ago.

New monthly volume record for the BYD Dolphin.

BYD (+74%) keeps on impressing and repeats in pole position this month with an almost 20,000 sales advantage over Volkswagen (-10.4%). BYD’s Q1 advances now add up to 42,000 units. Most BYD nameplates post stellar gains, such as the Destroyer 05 (+180.2%), Yuan Plus (+178.4%), Dolphin (+163.7%), Qin PLUS (+75.3%), Qin (+62.5%) and Tang (+24.2%) while the new Corvette 07 breaks its volume record at 6,455. As expected the VW lineup is a lot more muted, with only 9 of its 28 nameplates in positive, notably the Tacqua (+756.8%), Talagon (+290.2%), ID.3 (+156.1%), Phideon (+134.1%), Magotan (+55.3%) and Tayron (+17.8%).

Toyota (-26.4%) remains in third place but is hit hard as is Honda (-44.6%). Tesla (+16.5%) soars 8 spots on last month to #5, a new all time high ranking for the American brand. GAC (+38.4%) continues to be boosted by its Aion EV range and gains two spots on February to #6, breaking its ranking record for the second month running at #6. Changan (-39.1%) and Geely (-17.6%) suffer whereas BMW (+63.3%) and Audi (+66.5%) both post excellent scores to round out the Top 10. Further down in the charts and in order of sales, notice Hongqi (+130.5%), LI (+88.7%), Beijing (+69.4%), Cadillac (+36.8%), Jetour (+14.9%), TANK (+27.5%), Venucia (+66.4%) and Zeekr (+271.2%) all outstanding. Denza (10,398), AvatR (2,211) and IM (2,007) all reach their best ever monthly total.

The Tesla Model Y is the best-selling vehicle in China in March.

Over in the models ranking, the Tesla Model Y (+38.1%) scores its third ever win after June and September 2022, reaching an all time high 54,937 wholesales (previous best 52,424 last November). It now ranks #2 in the year-to-date chars vs. #5 over the Full Year 2022. BYD then places four models in the Top 5 in a real show of force, three of them reaching record monthly volumes. The Qin Plus (+75.3%) advances to #2 and a new record 40,215 wholesales (previous best 33,958 last September). The Song Plus (+12.6%) drops two ranks on February to #3 but remains #1 year-to-date. The Yuan Plus (+178.4%) is at a record 27,907 units (previous best 20,418 in October 2022) and the Dolphin (+163.7%) at a record 27,687, beating the 26,048 it reached last December. At #6, the GAC Aion S (+288.2%) is also at a record high 26,392 sales. Once leaders of the market, the VW Lavida (-6.2%) and Nissan Sylphy (-18.9%) are overwhelmed just as the Wuling Hongguang Mini EV (-51.3%) endures a surprisingly weak month.

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

One year ago: China wholesales March 2022: Commercial vehicles pull market down -11.7%, Toyota up 10.1%

Full March 2023 Top 92 All brands and Top XXX All models below.

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