Global plugin vehicle registrations were up 60% in August 2022 compared to August 2021, reaching 847,000 units. This is the best result ever for an off-peak month (as in, not the final month of a quarter). So, expect not only that Q3 will be the best quarter ever for plugins, but also that September will provide the mother of all record months! I expect September will be the first time the world reaches one million plugin vehicle registrations in a month. With China (surely), the USA (likely), and Europe (maybe?) posting record months in September, expect the end of Q3 to be another time of celebration.
With a strong month in August, plugins represented 15% share of the overall auto market. Full electrics (BEVs) themselves reached 11% share of the market! And these numbers could have been even larger of the overall market had not started to recover last month. That, added to the fact that plugless hybrids (HEVs) posted their highest growth rate since last March (+6% YoY), confirms once again the significant correlation between the HEV and pure ICE (internal combustion engine) markets.
In August, BEVs (+66% YoY) grew faster than plugin hybrids (+47%), but if we exclude China from the plugin hybrid vehicle (PHEV) tally, we discover that PHEVs would be down 9% YoY. August would have been the sixth consecutive month of sales drops for the powertrain. So, excluding China, where PHEVs have evolved to 30–40+ kWh battery systems (working more as extended-range electric vehicles than classic PHEVs), we might also be passing the peak year for PHEVs.
Year to date, the plugin share grew to 13% (9.2% BEV). That’s all great, but the internet loves lists, so here you go: The top 20 electric car sales leaders!
Looking at the monthly best seller table, the Tesla Model Y is back in the leadership position, with its best off-peak result ever. It landed 64,780 deliveries. Expect the Model Y to reach a new record in September. But the questions we all want answered are:
1) Will the crossover reach 100,000 units in September?
2) Will this allow it to be September’s Best Selling Car in the World, all powertrains counted?
In the #2 spot, we have the BYD Song, followed by its lower riding sibling, the BYD Qin Plus, which profited from record performances in both powertrain versions (BEV and PHEV). They also benefited from a slower than usual month from the little Wuling Mini EV (4th place, 33,877 registrations).
Off the podium, the Tesla Model 3 ended the month in 5th, with 31,529 units, followed by the BYD armada, with three models from the Shenzhen automaker showing up from 6th to 8th. The #6 Han (BEV + PHEV) had a record 25,994 registrations (with both powertrains scoring record months). The #7 Dolphin also scored a new record, 23,486 registrations. And the Yuan Plus ended the month in 8th, with 18,518 units.
Add in the #12 BYD Tang (BEV + PHEV = 10,395 registrations) and the #15 BYD Destroyer 05 PHEV, which is still in ramp-up mode (a record 8,725 registrations) and we have 7 BYDs in the global top 15! Almost half of the 15 best selling plugins in the world are BYDs!
But there were other record performers in the table as well. The #10 GAC Aion S sedan scored a record 11,683 registrations. Hozon’s Neta V small crossover scored its first five-digit result, 10,236 units. And highlighting another great month for the startup make, its other model, the Neta U compact crossover, also hit a record score, 5,781 registrations. Also on a record streak we have the Dongfeng Fengshen E-Series, with the taxi-friendly sedan scoring its third consecutive record month, this time with 8,602 registrations.
One of the Surprises of the Month was the Changan Lumin joining the table, in #18, thanks to the production ramp-up of its recent small EV. With this cutesy design, Changan is looking to at least replicate the success its older sibling Benni EV once had. Another Surprise of the Month was in #20, where we had the AITO M5, a sporty midsize SUV and a strong candidate to become a regular here.
The #9 VW ID.4 scored 17,246 sales, which was not a record month but allowed it to be the only legacy OEM model to reach the top 20 in August. As someone said previously in the China EV sales report comments section, looking at the top 20 models in China is basically the same as looking at the global top 20. And that’s not far from the truth, as all models in this top 20 are being made in China and almost all of them depend on that market to be here. Currently, the two major differences between this top 20 models list and China’s top 20 models list is that we have to add Tesla’s and Volkswagen’s overseas deliveries (as in, registrations outside of China). That allows them to jump a couple of positions.
Outside the top 20, it is basically the same story, the models deserving a mention are the same as in the China article. That includes Geely’s rising squad (Geometry A, C, and E; Emgrand L PHEV), its affiliated Zeekr 001, as well as the good results of the Leap Motor models (T03 and C11).
If we search for models coming from legacy OEMs that came close to the top 20, then we should mention the Korean cousins (Kia EV6 — 6,823 units; Hyundai Ioniq 5 — 6,736 units), Ford’s Mustang Mach-E (5,974 units), and the VW ID.3 (5,618). The latter two also received a significant pull from their Chinese operations.
January–August Top Selling Models
In the year-to-date (YTD) table, the top positions remained the same in August, but expect the Tesla Model 3 to recover the runner-up position from the little Wuling Mini EV in September, thanks to the expected quarter-end push. Despite this, the sign to the market has been given: the Model 3 is no longer unbeatable and Tesla’s #1 and #2 rankings could be in danger next year.
The first change came at #7 — the BYD Dolphin was up one spot, having surpassed the VW ID.4. In #9, we have the BYD Yuan Plus, which is looking to surpass the German crossover in order become the world’s best selling compact EV.
Let’s keep in mind that the Shenzhen automaker already has the subcompact/B-segment (Dolphin) and full size/E-segment (Han) titles in the bag, so its next trophy to focus on is in the compact/C-segment, where the Yuan Plus will try to surpass the VW ID.4 by year end.
As for the midsize category, while the Tesla Model Y is simply in another galaxy, I could see the just landed BYD Seal (1,700 units in August) give the Tesla Model 3 a run for its money in 2023….
Regardless of the Volkswagen ID.4 being surpassed by the BYD Yuan Plus, it is important to highlight that the German crossover is the only legacy OEM model in the first 14 positions!
Still in the first half of the table, the BYD Tang profited from the career-end slowdown of the Li Xiang One (yep, the big SUV is yet to complete three years of age and Li Auto is already phasing out its first model to give way to another big SUV, the L8 — that’s how fast things go in China, I guess). That allowed BYD to step ahead in the full size SUV race.
In the lower half of the table, there were also position changes, with the little Chery eQ1 and the GAC Aion Y MPV jumping two positions each, to #13 and #14 (respectively). This also underlined GAC as one of the hottest EV makes right now. The Aion S was also up, in this case to #18.
We should highlight that the Ford Mustang Mach-E is hanging on at #20, but can’t allow itself to relax, as the #21 Great Wall Ora Good Cat is fewer than 2,000 units behind. Ford’s electric pony cannot stop long to relax, or else Ora’s funky cat will surely surpass it.
A final note on the less visible vehicle categories: while the A-segment (Wuling Mini EV), B-segment (BYD Dolphin), C-segment (VW ID.4), D-segment (Tesla Model Y), E-segment (BYD Han), and MPV (GAC Aion Y) category leaders are easy to see on the table, below you will find the market leaders in market categories not usually mentioned here:
F-segment/Luxury vehicles — Mercedes EQS (12,118 units). This is the undisputed category leader, with double the sales of the #2 Porsche Panamera PHEV. Job done, Mercedes. Now, about that Mercedes EQE….
Sports cars/Coupés/Convertibles — Ferrari SF90 (854 units). In an incipient market, the Ferrari model is the only model selling in some (limited) volume. Maybe the recent Ferrari 296 can add a bit more volume to its flagship sibling?
Pickup trucks — Ford F-150 Lightning (8,831 units). Suffering from neglect for years, with only a couple of Chinese automakers (JAC, Dongfeng) making pickup trucks in small volumes, in 2021 this category started to pick up (pun intended). That 2021 rise was thanks to Rivian, but this year Ford jumped into the leadership position, pushing volumes into four digits per month. Rivian is also ramping up now, and its R1T model is only some 2,000 units behind the Big Ford Ute.
LCV/Vans — Ruichi EC-Series (16,990 units). Now, this is an interesting category. While Chinese EVs are a little known entity outside the country’s borders, electric LCVs are even lesser known. But the truth is that the best selling van also comes from China, in the form of this small van. Looking below, though, the Chinese domination doesn’t look as fierce as in passenger cars, because the runner-up model comes from Korea (Hyundai Porter EV — 14,394 units), and if we were to add all of the Stellantis midsize vans together (the Peugeot Expert, Citroen Jumpy, etc.), the total tally would end up at 14,708 units. (And they are all basically the same model but with different badges.)
Top Selling Auto Brands
The Rise and Rise of BYD
In August, BYD’s current record streak continued, scoring over 170,000 registrations, its sixth record score in a row. It beat Tesla by a wide margin, but with the US automaker scoring its best off-peak performance in August, expect it to score a record month in September and beat BYD in the last month of Q3.
Volkswagen confirmed its return to form by scoring 40,387 registrations, once again beating SMGW and ending the month in the last place on the podium.
Records Shattering in China
Off the podium, we had six record performances, all of which came from Chinese OEMs. In #5, we have surging Geely, benefitting from the fast ramp-up of its Geometry lineup. Geely had a record 28,911 registrations and should go above 30,000 units soon. (September?) In #6, peak-form GAC scored 27,064 registrations, this being its third record score in a row. In #7, there’s Chery taking profit from its eQ1/QQ Ice Cream dynamic duo, also currently in a three-month record streak. In #10, it’s Dongfeng, which thanks to the Fengshen E-Series and the rest of its looong lineup has seen its sales jump. Yet again, it’s now on its third consecutive record month. In #13, we have Hozon, which is pushing forward its lineup (Neta V and U) to consecutive records while it awaits the landing of its upcoming Neta S sedan. This little-known startup is now the best selling company among the Chinese automotive startups!
Leap Motor is another impressive Chinese startup. Thanks to strong performances across its lineup, it achieved 12,525 registrations last month, its sixth record month in a row. That allowed it to be #17 in the table. Expect the EV startup to become a familiar face in this top 20.
But possibly the most impressive EV startup here is in #21. AITO, Huawei’s unofficial Scuderia in the EV field, had 10,040 deliveries last month. The young company has grown its delivery output every month since it landed in December 2021. Now that’s some serious production ramp-up!
As a side note, out of this top 20 list, 12 companies come from China. Among the others, only Hyundai and Kia do not have significant Chinese operations.
In the year-to-date (YTD) table, the top two position holders are in a different galaxy. Both are competing for #1, but BYD is now the clear favorite.
Below these two, the SGMW joint venture is comfortable in 3rd, despite #4 Volkswagen gaining ground on it. The stage is set, though, for the Wolfsburg brand to surpass SGMW in 2023 and recover the last place on the podium (unless Geely steals it, but that’s something for later…).
Interestingly, comparing the best selling makes to what was happening 12 months ago, we see that the current Top 6 brands were the same as in August 2021, with the only differences being that BYD was 3rd then and now leads the table, while Tesla and SGMW are now down one position each.
But this could soon change, because #7 Chery is closing in on #6 Mercedes, and while the German brand seems to be returning to form (August’s 23,344 units were its best score since March), it shouldn’t be enough to resist Chery’s unstoppable records streak.
The first position change took place in #8, where GAC jumped two positions, while a few positions below, surging Geely was up three spots, to #12, and should join the top 10 soon.
Looking at the remaining top 20, the highlights were #17 Hozon surpassing XPeng, thus becoming the highest ranked among the Chinese new blood companies, and Great Wall climbing one position, to #19.
Still on the topic of the top 20, we have Ford rejoining the table, in #20, at the expense of Peugeot, which is now in #21.
Top Selling Auto Groups
Let’s look at registrations by OEM. BYD reinforced its lead by gaining 0.7% share, going up to 16.9%, while Tesla lost 0.1% share, dropping to 12.4%. Expect the US company to recover in September, maybe to some 13.5%.
Volkswagen Group (8.3%) gained ground on #4 SAIC (7.9%, down 0.2%). The Shanghai automaker needs desperately to have other high-volume models, besides the little Wuling Mini EV. The MG4/Mulan should certainly help, but SAIC needs a more productive lineup, especially in its domestic market, if it wants to remain relevant.
This is especially true when you consider rising #5 Geely–Volvo (5.7%, up 0.1%), which has now left the competition behind (Hyundai–Kia is at 5.2%; Stellantis is at 5.1%) and is now going after SAIC.
It will be a tall order to get there in 2022. After all, outperforming by 130,000 units in just four months is something almost impossible to achieve. But, next year, expect the Chinese conglomerate to go after not only SAIC, but also Volkswagen Group. The German group needs to get its act together and step up as fast as the Chinese if it wants to remain among the top 3 by the end of 2023.
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