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China retail March 2023: BYD (+70.9%) widens gap with Volkswagen (+11.7%), market up 9.7%

The BYD Qin Plus sells over 40,000 units in March alone.

With a bit of delay we can share with you today All brands and All models retail sales data for China. 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 report are up 9.7% year-on-year to 1,428,040 sales, leading to a Q1 2023 volume  tally off -14.4% to 4,058,053 after a tough start of the year.

For the second month in a row and the third time ever (add last November), BYD (+70.9%) topples Volkswagen (+11.7%) to remain the most popular brand in the country. At almost 183,000 units this month, BYD widens the gap with the German manufacturer to a whopping 26,500 sales, the largest it has ever been. As expected, most BYD models post fantastic gains, with the Destroyer 05 (+1415.2%), Qin (+242.3%), Yuan Plus (+238.4%) and Qin Plus (+75.1%) among the most dynamic. The brand also benefits from the successful launches of the Corvette 05 (6,025 sales) and Seal (5,285). One of BYD’s most promising models, the Seagull, is about to hit the market and should give the brand a further kick. As for Volkswagen, it’s not a dreadful month per se as the brand is able to outpace the market, but not enough to threaten BYD for its newfound supremacy. Good news come from the Talagon (+99.1%), Tacqua (+91.8%), Phideon (+90.9%), ID.3 (+69.6%), Tayron (+46.1%), Polo (+26.4%), Lamando (+23.7%) and Magotan (+22.6%).

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

Toyota (-5.2%) goes against the positive market in third place above Honda (-13.1%) also hit full frontal. Changan (+64.4%) manages a splendid year-on-year uptick to end the month at #5 ahead of Tesla (+16.4%). GAC (+73.9%) is lifted by the exceptional performance of its Aion EV division and advances to 7th place. BMW (+52.5%) and Geely (+21.6%) also outpace the market in the remainder of the Top 10. Below, great performances are rarer, with Hongqi (+41.1%), Hyundai (+34.7%), Cadillac (+28.3%), Audi (+24.5%), COS (+24.2%) and LI (+22.9%) stand out. Then we have Citroen up 629.8% to #23 which is unrealistic and could be an error, unless the drastic price cuts the brand is offering have finally managed to kick it into gear. We have contacted our data provider for more info. Denza (+3286.8%) skyrockets once again thanks to the D9 MPV. Among EV brands, NIO is up 5.7%, Neta is down -21.8%, Xpeng off -53.8%, Zeekr up 178.4%, Ora down -55.7%, Geometry down -13.3%, AITO up 23.9% and Hycan up 115%. Newcomers Smart (5,833), AvatR (2,024) and IM (2,013) all break their volume record.

Looking at the models charts, the Tesla Model Y (+37.9%) enjoys a fourth ever month at the top and posts an all-time high monthly volume. It also snaps the YTD pole position in the process after ranking #5 over the Full Year 2022. The BYD Qin Plus (+75.1%) is one of four BYDs in the Top 6 and smashes its volume record from 28,698 (August 2022) to just below 40,700 units. The Song Plus (+29.2%) is up one spot on February to #4, it is followed by the Yuan Plus (+238.4%) while the Dolphin (+143.1%) points its bonnet in 6th place. The VW Lavida (+14.1%) survives in this BYD assault and ranks 5th. The Honda Accord (+59.3%) manages a stellar year-on-year lift and climbs to #7 overall, its highest ranking this year. #1 over the Full Year 2022 but #5 so far this year, the Nissan Sylphy (-9.1%) falls to #8 while last month’s leader the Wuling Hongguang Mini EV (-45.3%) freefalls to #9. The GAC Aion S (+145%) and Aion Y (+129.4%) both smash their volume records. The Changan Lumin (#44) tops recent launches above the Denza D9 (#51) and Geely Panda mini (#56).

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

One year ago: China retail March 2022: BYD (+232.3%) on podium for first time, Tesla (+87.9%) shines in market off -15.2%

Full March 2023 Top 120 All brands and Top 665 All models below.

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