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The cars of Beijing, China

For the first time in 5 years, I had the opportunity to visit China for the Beijing Auto Show. It was also the chance to check out the car landscape in the streets of Beijing. Needless to say that in five years, the cars in the streets have completely changed and reflect the growing share of new energy vehicles (EVs and PHEVs).

Beijing EU5Nissan Sylphy

As soon as I step out of the airport, one thing is clear: almost all taxis are recent Beijing EU5, indicating a rapid and and radical renewal of the fleet. There is a surprising amount of sedans around, meaning the SUV craze hasn’t reached Beijing (yet). Notably there are not many Haval SUVs around. Reassuringly as it reflects the national rankings, the Nissan Sylphy is omnipresent alongside the Toyota Corolla/Levin.

A Beijing specialty, premium MPVs are common, such a the Buick GL8 and Denza D9 (pictured).

One brands that has clearly resonated with Beijing car buyers is Li Auto. All models of the carmaker are seen very often on the street, including the brand new Li Mega MPV seen multiple times during my 1 week stay.

Hongqi has also established itself as a common brand in Beijing, with the EQM-5 frequent as well as the H9.

The most frequent private car as a whole in Beijing  is the BYD Qin Plus, logical as it is the best-selling vehicle in China so far this year. This is notably true for DiDi vehicles (the Chinese equivalent of Uber). In fact BYD completely dominates the Beijing streets, with Volkswagen spectacularly left in the dust. The Tesla Model Y is seen often but it’s not the flood I had expected.

AITO M9Arcfox Alpha SNIO ES8

Other cars seen often here include the AITO M5 and M9 (already), Arcfox Alpha S, Xpeng P7 and NIO ES8. Note I didn’t see a single Wuling Hongguang Mini EV, indicating it was successful in smaller cities or even in rural areas, or any MG cars.

I saw my first (and only) Xiaomi SU7 in front of my hotel.

A visit to a flagship Huawei store confirms cars are displayed alongside phones, including the Luxeed S7 and AITO M5.

GAC Trumpchi GS8LEVC L380NIO ET5 and Tank 300A rare Peugeot 408Xpeng P7

This Post Has 4 Comments
      1. China is an incredible country for anyone who loves cars and technology. Such an unreal place!

        Keep up the good work Matt!

  1. Last year when I went to China, I also found that EV taxis (or Didi) have become widespread across China.
    This actually makes a lot of sense.​ Because in China, EVs are very cheap, not much more expensive than ICE cars. But the operating costs are much lower than ICE cars. After everyone started using EVs, the fares of Didi dropped a lot. Using ICE cars, or even HEVs, can no longer make a profit.​

    The extra fuel cost of HEVs compared to EVs, which is around US$400-500 a month, is a big deal when you think about the fact that Didi drivers make on average about US$500-800 a month.

    The sales of GWM vehicles in China have been very poor in recent years, especially users in big cities being quite indifferent to this brand, which is probably why you rarely see GWMs in Beijing.

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