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China retail Full Year 2023: BYD and Tesla Model Y on top

The BYD Qin Plus ends the year in 2nd place.

Discover 40 years worth of Chinese Historical Data here.

Chinese retail sales of the selection of vehicles included in this update are up a modest 4.5% in 2023 to 20,742,652 units. That’s much more discreet than the 12% increase of wholesales. 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 vehicle 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 by manufacturers with exports which can sometimes be the case for wholesales data. Note pickups and medium to heavy commercial vehicles are not included in this dataset, but it includes a more detailed split by model variant (Jetour X70, X70 Coupe, X70 Plus, X70M and X70S for example).

Like in the wholesales charts, the big event this year is the first place of BYD in the brands ranking. The Chinese superstar brand is up a whopping 47.9% year-on-year and broke its all-time volume record three times this year to lift it to 247,021 in December. It reached the #1 spot during 9 months. The brand is helped by fantastic scores by the Destroyer 05 (+11812.3% for its first full year of sales), the e6 (+126.7%), Song Pro (+88.6%), Yuan Plus (+88.4%), Destroyer 05 (+60.6%), Dolphin (+56.7%), Seal (+53.6%), Qin Plus (+44.1%) and Qin (+40.2%). After 37 years of domination, Volkswagen (-1.2%) is relegated to 2nd place, but the German manufacturer didn’t completely give up, ranking #1 in January, April and December. The brand is down year-on-year despite strong scores by the Tavendor (+717.2% for its first full year in market), the ID.3 (+207.7%), Talagon (+75.3%), Polo (+60%), Tayron (+31.9%), Sagitar (+27.5%), Magotan (+20%) and Tiguan (+9.8%).

Toyota (-8.5%) and Honda (-12.1%) are in great difficulty below, confirming the shift towards domestic manufacturers. Geely (+17.6%) vastly beats the market and is up two spots on last year to #5, distancing Changan (+2.5%) and Wuling (-10.5%) both down one rank to #6 and #7 respectively. In the remainder of the Top 10, BMW (+7%) and Audi (+6.7%) are up but Nissan (-18.1%) endures the harshest fall in the Top 20. Tesla (+36.8%) secures an excellent result at #12, up three spots on last year. It sold over 600,000 units in China this year. Below, Aion (+105.3%) peaked at over 50,000 units in August and Li Auto (+174.7%) did the same in December after breaking its monthly volume record for 9 consecutive months. Jetour (+69.8%), NIO (+33.1%), Deepal (+369.3%) and Denza (+1416.5%) also make themselves noticed.

Looking at the models ranking in isolation, like it does in Europe the Tesla Model Y (+44.4%) spectacularly wins the Chinese race with over 450,000 units sold. It ranked #5 in 2022. The BYD Qin Plus (+44.1%) sports a similar uptick and goes from #6 to #2. #1 in 2022, the Nissan Sylphy (-9.9%) falls to third place while the BYD Song Plus (+5.5%) stays at #4. The VW Lavida (-11.8%) suffers and is down to #5 above the BYD Dolphin (+56.7%) up 10 ranks to #6. BYD places a total of four models in the Top 8, with the Yuan Plus (+88.4%) up 17 ranks to #8. Notice also the VW Sagitar (+27.5%) breaking into the Top 10 at #7 and the Wuling Hongguang Mini EV (-42.2%) imploding from #2 to #9. The best-selling 2023 launch is the BYD Seagull at #13 and leading the charts outright in October. It is followed by the Wuling Bingo at #27 and breaking into the Top 10 in October, then it’s the Li Auto L7 (#46), Geely Panda mini (#65) and Aion S Plus (#108).

Previous year: China retail 2022: BYD surges 123.3%, Nissan Sylphy #1, market down -2.1%

Two years ago: China retail 2021: Wuling (+52.3%), BYD (+98.7%) show explosive growth in market up 6.4%

Full December 2023 Top 118 All brands and Top 713 All models below.

Full Year 2023 Top 140 All brands and Top 850 All models vs. Full Year 2022 figures.

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