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China wholesales July 2023: Market edges down, BYD Seagull up to #6, LI Auto, NIO, Zeekr break records

As expected, the BYD Seagull is an instant blockbuster in China.

According to data by the CAAM (China Association of Automobile Manufacturers), wholesales in China endure their first year-on-year drop since January, edging down -1.4% to 2,387,000 units. As this shows a slumping market, it is worth remembering that July 2022 was up 29.7% on the year prior and a record for the month. In the detail, Passenger Vehicles are down -3.4% to 2,100,000 and Commercial Vehicles up 16.8% to 287,000 on a low year-ago base. Year-to-date, the market remains in positive at +7.9% to 15,626,000 units including 13,368,000 Passenger Vehicles (+6.7%) and 2,258,000 Commercial Vehicles (+15.9%). Production is down -2.2% for the month at 2,401,000 units including 2,115,000 PV (-4.3%) and 286,000 CV (+17%). Production so far this year is up 7.4% to 15,650,000 including 13,397,000 PV (+6%) and 2,253,000 CV (+16.9%).

NIO crosses the 20,000 monthly unit milestone for the first time

Despite the market’s lukewarm performance, wholesales of New Energy Vehicles (NEV) continue to show very solid momentum at +31.6% year-on-year to 780,000 units for a 32.7% market share. Production is up 30.6% to 805,000. Year-to-date, NEV wholesales soar 41.7% to 4,526,000 units and 29% share while production gains 40%  to 4,591,000. Exports are also on fire at +35.1% year-on-year to 392,000 units including 101,000 NEVs (+87%). So far this year, 2,533,000 vehicles have been exported from China, a 67.9% year-on-year surge. Of this total, NEVs account for 636,000 units.

Looking at the brands ranking, BYD (+38.9%) defies the market drop to further its lead over struggling Volkswagen (-19.9%). The gap between the two manufacturers increases to almost 41,000 units for the month and just under 157,000 year-to-date. Suffice to say Volkswagen can wave goodbye to the Full Year 2023 leadership, which would be a first since it entered the country in the eighties. The e2 (+432.4%), Qin Plus (+23.4%), Yuan Plus (+19.7%) and Destroyer E5 (+19.2%) are BYD’s best performers in July, as the brand mostly relied on successful launches by the Seagull, Song Pro, Seal and Corvette 07. As for Volkswagen, the ID.3 (+60%) is the only EV in positive: the ID.4 Crozz (-49.1%), ID.4 X (-83.7%), ID.6 Crozz (-53.9%) ad ID.6 X (-91.6%) all implode. The Polo (+40137.5%), Tayron (+522.2%), Touran (+88.9%), Sagitar (+65.3%) and Passat (+3.8%) still manage year-on-year lifts.

LI Auto also breaks its volume record this month.

Toyota (-9.8%) also falls faster than the market in third place ahead of Honda (-41.7%) and Changan (-20.4%) faring even worse. Geely (+5.9%) manages an uptick while GAC (+56.5%) and BMW (+34.4%) both show great health. Audi (-8.2%) and Mercedes (-18%) round out the Top 10 in bleak fashion. The next five carmakers all suffer double-digit falls: Wuling (-38.2%), Nissan (-37.6%), Buick (-24%), Haval (-26.7%) and Chery (-52.4%) all would rather forget this month. In complete contrast, LI Auto (+227.5%) more than triple its sales year-on-year to score a 4th consecutive all time monthly record at 34,134. The carmaker is also up to a record 16th place. Tesla (+11.4%) disappoints somewhat but is back in positive after losing -4.8% in June. Below a sturdy Hongqi (+32.9%), NIO (+103.6%) smashes its monthly volume record at 20,462, its previous best being 15,815 in December 2022. It also breaks into the Top 20 for the first time at #19 and is 10,961 sales below Tesla. Zeekr (+139.7%) also posts an all-time high volume at 12,039 as does Shenlan at 11,429, its first five-digit sales figure.

Zeekr is also at an all-time high in July.

In the models ranking, the BYD Qin Plus (+23.4%) is up one spot on June to lead the charts, a ranking it now also holds year-to-date. The BYD Song Plus (-22.5%) ends the month in 2nd place ahead of the Nissan Sylphy (-31.6%) and VW Lavida (-26%) all in freefall. The BYD Han (-2.6%) rounds out the Top 5. The event of the month is the arrival inside the Top 10 of the BYD Seagull with just under 25,000 wholesales. The mini EV hatch, the cheapest vehicle in the BYD lineup, has already surpassed the bar for success we gave it at launch, and should climb further up in the coming months. The VW Sagitar follows above the Tesla Model Y (+50.1%) while the Yuan Plus (+19.7%) makes it five BYDs in the Top 9. Notice also the BYD Dolphin (+3.8%) fall outside the Top 10 at #11, possibly hurt by the Seagull, and the Wuling Hongguang Mini EV (-72.6%) completely imploding at #23. The new Wuling Bingo has stabilised around 15,000 units and among other recent launches the LI Auto L7 and Denza D9 both break their monthly volume record.

Previous post: China wholesales First Half 2023: BYD (+72%) now firm leader above VW (-5.1%)

Previous month: China wholesales June 2023: BYD posts 5th consecutive win, market up 4.8%

One year ago: China wholesales July 2022: Market up 29.7%, BYD (+177.7%) and Wuling Hongguang Mini EV break records

Full July 2023 Top 90 All brands and Top XXX All models below.

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