Established brands selling more NEVs than startups
Chinese traditional carmakers have shown a better performance in the new energy vehicle sector compared with NEV startups because of broader product ranges, industry experts said.
The sector includes pure electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicles.
According to the China Passenger Car Association, there were 16 manufacturers who posted NEV wholesales of more than 10,000 units in August. Seven places on the top 10 were occupied by traditional carmakers.
China's largest NEV maker, BYD, ranked first with 174,000 units in August, up 186 percent year-onyear. Its sales for the first eight months totaled 974,500 units.
Sales of BYD's pure electric Dolphin hatchback, plug-in hybrid Song crossover and Qin compact sedan exceeded 20,000 units in August.
The carmaker stopped production and sales of internal combustion vehicles in March.
United States NEV maker Tesla ranked second with 77,000 units in August. More than 40,000 Teslas were exported to Europe, the Middle East and other regions. Its year-on-year increase was 74 percent, far less than BYD, Geely and other domestic automakers.
SAIC-GM-Wuling sold 52,600 NEVs in August largely thanks to its popular Hongguang Mini EVs, whose sales reached 49,120 units.
Geely sold 37,500 NEVs last month. Its growth reached 410 percent year-on-year, ranking first among NEV makers. GAC Motor's electric car subsidiary, Aion, sold 27,000 NEVs in August, growing 133 percent year-on-year. Meanwhile, Chery sold 26,600 NEVs in the month, soaring 280 percent compared with same period of 2021.
In contrast to traditional carmakers, the most-watched Chinese NEV startups－Nio, Xpeng and Li Auto－failed to appear on August's top 10 NEV maker list.
The startups Hozon and Leapmotor ranked ninth and 10th with 16,000 and 12,500 units sold in August respectively. Both of them posted growth of more than 100 percent.
Yale Zhang, managing director of consultancy Automotive Foresight, said that traditional brands have launched broader product lineups in both pure electric and plug-in hybrid versions, which span a range of prices.
Meanwhile, most NEV startups can only focus on pure electric models and position themselves as mid-to-high-end brands with a small scale. This makes it hard for them to control costs and launch cost-effective products, Zhang said.
Cui Dongshu, secretary-general of the CPCA, said that small electric vehicles launched by traditional carmakers are more sought-after, such as the BYD Dolphin and SAIC-GM-Wuling Hongguang Mini EV.
"The market's consumption is changing. Customers prefer to purchase one more small or medium-sized NEV instead of replacing their fuel-powered cars with (high-end) NEVs," Cui said.
"It is a dynamic development process. Over the mid and long term, as the battery cost have come down, the startups with the advantages of intelligent software and IT companies who have forayed into the car-making business, such as Xiaomi and Huawei, will stand out," Zhang added.
Overall NEV wholesales hit a record of 63,200 units in August, double the figure in the same period of 2021. The sector accounted for 30.1 percent of the overall auto industry, according to the CPCA.
Wholesales of the first eight months stood at 3.66 million units, up 119.4 percent year-on-year.
The improvement in NEV supply, rising oil prices and local government efforts to encourage consumption have created a market boom, said the association.
The CPCA forecast that sales will remain at high growth during "golden September and silver October", which refers to the annual peak season for auto sales. Whole-year NEV sales are predicted to be around 6 million units.