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China wholesales Full Year 2023: BYD ends 37 years of Volkswagen domination

Sales for the BYD Yuan Plus (Atto 3 in export markets) are up 84.7% in 2023.

According to data by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, shipments of new vehicles in China climb 12% year-on-year in 2023 to 30,094,000 units, marking the first time above 30 million annual sales. This includes 26,063,000 Passenger Vehicles (+10.6%) and 4,031,000 Commercial Vehicles (+22.1%). In December, shipments amounted to 3,156,000 units, up a whopping 23.5% year-on-year, including 2,792,000 Passenger Vehicles (+23.3%) and 364,000 Commercial Vehicles (+25.1%). In 2023 vehicle production is up 11.6% to 30,161,000 units including 26,124,000 Passenger Vehicles (+9.6%) and 4,037,000 Commercial Vehicles (+26.8%). New Energy Vehicles (NEVs) have flourished in 2023 with sales up 37.9% to 9,495,000 units and accounting for 31.6% of the total market, up from 25.7% in 2022. Among Passenger Vehicles, NEVs hold a 34.7% market share.

Exports have boomed in 2023 at +57.9% to 4,910,000 units, making China the largest exporting nation in the world, bypassing Japan and Germany. NEVs account for 14.5% of the 2023 export volume at 1,203,000 units, up 77.6% on 2022. Data by the China Passenger Car Association (CPCA) is slightly different, putting Passenger Vehicle wholesales at 25,531,000 units, up 10.2% on the 23,173,000 of 2022. Cars are up 1.8% to 11,262,000, SUVs up 18.1% to 13,153,000 and MPVs up 15% to 1,116,000. Additional data from CPCA shows domestic brands at 52% share of PV vs. 47.4% in 2022.

Volkswagen is #2 in China for the first time since it launched in the country in 1986.

We have a historic event in the brands ranking: for the first time since 1986 when the VW Santana launched, Volkswagen is not the most popular carmaker in the country. BYD (+43.3%) surges ahead to snap the annual pole position with just under 2.6 million sales. BYD was #1 each month bar January and broke its all-time monthly volume record during 6 of the last 7 months of the year, lifting it from 220,600 to 281,607. The carmaker places 5 models in the year-end Top 10 and is helped by the new Seagull, peaking at #2 overall in October and November, the Corvette 07 (+3561.1%) and Song Pro (+931.8%) both ending their first full year of sales, the Yuan Plus (+84.7%), Seal (+84.5%), Dolphin (+46.3%), Qin Plus (+40.8%) and Destroyer 05 (+38.2%). 

Volkswagen (-2.8%) pays for its outdated models and is part of a Chinese trend away from foreign manufacturers. Toyota (-7.3%) and Honda (-13.6%) are even hit harder. It’s not all doom and gloom for Volkswagen, with the ID.3 (+209.7%) breaking its volume record for 6 consecutive months, the Tavendor (+713.2%) delivering its first full year of sales and the Polo (+64.5%), Tayron (+34%), Talagon (+32.9%), Sagitar (+26.4%), Magotan (+24.3%), T-Cross (+11.8%) and Tiguan L (+11%) all solid. Toyota avoids a worse result thanks to the twins Corolla Cross (+71.6%) and Front Lander (+89.8%) adding up to 326,000 sales. The Venza (+19.2%), RAV4 (+8.7%) and Wildlander (+7.6%) are also in positive. Honda skids violently despite good performances by the Integra (+46.2%), ZR-V (+354.2%), e:NS1 (+80.4%) and e:NP1 (+25.8%) as well as a positive result by the Civic (+5%).

Li Auto sold over 50,000 units in December alone.

Geely (+13.1%) overtakes Changan (-8.3%) for 5th place overall while BMW (+8.8%) soars four spots on last year to #7. Wuling (-5.4%) and Nissan (-17.8%) struggle but Audi (+13.6%) shines and returns inside the Top 10 at #10. Tesla (+37.2%) advances three spots to #12, with Buick (-21.4%) and Chery (-22.2%) exiting the Top 10 at #13 and #14 respectively, and Haval (-6.5%) down one spot to #15. Aion (+78.4%) has an amazing year and gains four ranks to #16 but the success story of the year (apart from BYD) is Li Auto (+182.2%), soaring up 15 spots on last year to #17 and breaking its all-time volume record 9 consecutive times all the way up to December. It lifts the record from 25,681 to 50,354. Hongqi (+25.3%) is also in great shape at #18, beating its volume record in December at over 45,000 sales. Lynk & Co (+22%) and Jetour (+39.5%) impress below, with the latter hitting a record volume in December just under 30,000 sales.

Looking at the models ranking in isolation, the Tesla Model Y (+44.7%) secures the top spot, up four ranks on last year. It ranked #1 five times this year, passing the 60,000 monthly unit mark for the first time in December. The BYD Qin Plus (+40.8%) is also up four spots to #2, taking the lead of the BYD armada. The Song Plus (-15.1%) and Nissan Sylphy (-15.3%) both notch down two ranks to #3 and #4 respectively. The BYD Yuan Plus (+84.7%) is up 15 spots to #6, the BYD Dolphin up 9 to #7 and the VW Sagitar (+26.4%) up six to #8. The BYD Seagull (#10) is by far the most successful 2023 launch, landing directly inside the annual Top 10 despite only launching in May. The hype has gone for the Wuling Hongguang Mini EV (-46.4%) down 8 ranks to #11. In contrast the Aion Y (+96.9%) is up 38 spots to #12. 

Previous year: China wholesales 2022: BYD challenges Volkswagen, places Song Plus at #1 in market up 2.1%

Two years ago: China wholesales 2021: Nissan Sylphy resists Wuling Hongguang MINI EV assault in market up 3.8%

Full December 2023 Top 94 All brands and Top 541 All models below.

Full Year 2023 Top 116 All brands and Top 633 All models vs. Full Year 2022 figures below.

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