China’s largest electric car manufacturers have released their December 2020 sales figures, taking stock of the year as a whole. Towards the end of 2020, BYD and WM Motor both made gains, as did Nio and Xpeng Motors. The latter duo posted new sales records for December.
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Turning first to the overall market, while the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) has not yet released NEV registration figures (under NEV, China includes electric cars and plug-in hybrids) for all of 2020, it has for the first eleven months of the year. Severely cut government subsidies and the Corona crisis with temporary plant and dealer closures left their mark, especially in the first quarter of 2020: registrations shrank by 56.4 per cent to 114,000 vehicles during this period. As the year progressed, however, the industry slowly recovered, so that including November, 1.1 million NEV vehicles were still registered, an increase of 3.9 per cent compared to the same period in 2019. November in particular boasted high sales figures. However, this is likely to be topped by December. At least that is what the sales figures of four Chinese OEMs indicate.
Taking a look at the electric vehicle giant BYD: The group sold 28,841 electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids in December, which corresponds to an increase of 120 per cent compared to December 2019 and an increase of 8 per cent compared to the previous month. For the year as a whole, however, BYD posted losses: the group was unable to make up for the weak first half of the year, when sales slumped 45 per cent, in the second half. The bottom line is a minus of 17 per cent compared to 2019, with 189,689 units sold in 2020.
The manufacturer’s most successful NEV model is the BYD Han. In November, sales of the flagship vehicle surpassed 10,000 units for the first time. In addition, BYD announced it had built the 20,000th Han EV at its Shenzhen plant, also in November.
Nio has also provided insights into its sales performance: The startup delivered 7,007 vehicles in December, setting a new record for the company. That included 2,009 units of the ES8, 2,493 ES6s and 2,505 EC6s. In total, this was 121 per cent more than in December 2019. For the year as a whole, Nio had 43,728 vehicles, including 17,353 units in the fourth quarter. Meanwhile, the trio of vehicles is soon to become a quartet: In a few days, the startup plans to unveil another sedan model.
Xpeng Motors announced a delivery record of 5,700 vehicles for December 2020. The figure is made up of sales of 3,691 units of the P7 and 2,009 units of the G3, representing a 326 per cent increase over December 2019 and a 35 per cent increase over the previous month. In the balance for the full year, Xpeng comes to 27,041 units delivered, of which 12,964 vehicles are accounted for in the fourth quarter.
Moving on to WM Motor, the electric carmaker claims to have sold a total of 22,495 vehicles in 2020, representing 33 per cent year-on-year growth. Sales reached a new high of 8,609 units in the fourth quarter of last year. The startup’s debut model, the WM EX5, has now sold 40,000 units since its 2018 launch. In the still-young year, WM Motor is aiming for the market launch of what is now its third production model. This will be an all-electric SUV equipped with a cloud-based parking system developed by Baidu, among other features.
Tesla’s figures were not yet available when this text was published. We will be sure to report these as soon as we get them. Meanwhile, the Chinese government further reduced the government purchase premium for electric cars at the turn of the year as announced: by as much as 20 per cent for private buyers.
Update 07 January 2020: NEV sales figures are also available from General Motors Chinese joint venture with SAIC and Wuling. According to the figures, the company recorded an increase of 190 per cent to 175,005 vehicles compared to 2019. SAIC-GM-Wuling’s biggest seller by far was the Hongguang MINI EV, which sold 127,651 units alone and was the top-selling electric vehicle model in China for three consecutive months, among other sales.
Update 12 January 2020: According to figures from the Chinese Automobile Association, Tesla is selling well in China: 23,804 MIC Model 3s were sold in December alone. That’s another ten per cent more than in November 2020, compared with just 12,143 in October. It is unclear, however, how the 23,804 Model 3s in December are distributed among the different powertrains: The Model 3 SR+ with LFP batteries has only been sold since October.