China’s market grows by 9.5 million electric cars and plug-in hybrids in 2023

Sales of electric cars and plug-in hybrids in China rose significantly again at the end of 2023. 1.19 million new units in December's statistics pushed total annual sales in China to around 9.5 million plug-in cars.

Image: BYD

After the monthly mark of one million newly registered new energy vehicles (NEVs) was exceeded for the first time in November, NEV sales climbed to around 1.19 million units in December, according to figures from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) – an increase of 46 per cent compared to December 2022 and 16.1 per cent compared to the previous month. Of these, around 825,000 were battery electric cars (+32% YoY, +18% compared to November) and 364,000 plug-in hybrids (+93% YoY, +13% compared to November). CAAM registered 2,000 sales of fuel cell vehicles in December.

Across all powertrains, 3.16 million cars were sold in China in December, an increase of 23.5 per cent compared to December 2022 and 6.3 per cent compared to November. This results in a NEV share of 37.7 per cent of the total market (+34.5% compared to November).

In 2023, as a whole, almost 6.7 million BEVs and around 2.8 million PHEVs were sold in China, i.e. a total of nearly 9.5 million cars with plugs. That represents an increase of 38 per cent compared to 2022. Total vehicle sales in China in 2023 were 30.1 million units, exceeding the 30 million mark for the first time. Just under one in three vehicles sold in 2023 (31.6 per cent) was thus a NEV.

BYD remains the market leader in electric cars and plug-in hybrids, with new record sales in December. BYD sold 340,178 plug-in cars that month alone, 190,754 of which were BEVs and 149,424 PHEVs. In 2023, as a whole, BYD surpassed the 3 million mark it had set itself. It sold 1,574,822 BEVs and 1,438,084 PHEVs – or 3,012,906 cars with charging connections.

Tesla sold 94,139 electric cars produced in China in December, including 62,158 Model Ys and 31,981 Model 3s. Exactly 75,805 Tesla electric cars were sold in China, and 18,334 were exported. In 2023, Tesla sold 603,664 electric vehicles in China and exported 344,078.

Geely‘s various brands sold 487,461 NEVs in 2023, an increase of 48 per cent compared to the previous year. New Energy Vehicles thus account for almost a third of Geely’s annual sales. Great Wall Motor, which also combines several brands (including Ora and Wey), achieved yearly NEV sales of 261,546 units (+98% YoY).

Volkswagen also does not provide December figures but states that it delivered 191,800 pure electric cars in China in 2023 – 23.2 per cent more than in 2022. The ID.3 accounted for more than 75,700 units, the ID.4 for about 61,700, and the Audi e-tron family for 31,025 units. The Group sold 3.236 million vehicles in China across all drive systems in the year, so the BEV share is just under 6 per cent. Volkswagen does not comment on the share of PHEVs sold.

Volkswagen’s new partner Xpeng sold 20,115 BEVs in December, a 78 per cent jump compared to December 2022. For the full year, Xpeng recorded sales of 141,600 cars (+17% YoY). Nio recorded slightly lower sales in December with 18,012 BEVs (+14% YoY), but finished ahead of Xpeng for the entire year with 160,038 BEVs sold (+31% YoY). Zeekr ended December with 13,476 BEVs delivered and the year with 118,685 sold (+65% YoY). As a Geely subsidiary, the Zeekr figures are also included in the Geely statistics mentioned above.

Leapmotor and Aito are companies that market purely electric cars, plug-in hybrids, and range extender models. Leapmotor achieved a record 18,618 deliveries in December (+119% YoY) and 144,155 vehicles in 2023 (+30% YoY). The Huawei-backed Aito brand recorded 24,468 December sales and 94,380 vehicles sold for the year. Figures are also available from BAIC BJEV, the NEV division of the BAIC Group. It sold 20,815 units in December and around 92,000 units in all of 2023 (+84% YoY).

The still-young Avatr brand from Changan, Huawei and CATL set a new record in December with 6,106 sales. It sold 27,589 BEVs for the year as a whole. (CAAM), (BYD), (Tesla), (Volkswagen), (Xpeng), (Nio), (Zeekr), (Leapmotor), (Aito), (Great Wall), (Geely), (Avatr), (BAIC BJEV)


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