China Electric Car Sales September 2016 — BAIC On Top!

This article is also being published on CleanTechnica, the EV Sales blogspot, and our Electric Car Sales page.

BAIC Shines

The Chinese market had more than 31,000 new EVs zooming the streets in September, with the market remaining flat regarding the previous month, but it was still a 53% increase over the same month last year, below the annual growth rate of 84%.

It is a bit like saying that Lionel Messi only scored the same two goals as in the previous game. … Two consecutive doubles are a great performance for any regular player, but somehow we always expect more from Messi. Same with the Chinese EV market — over 50% growth is great anywhere else, but somehow we always expect 3-digit growth when we mention this market.

With EV market share firmly above the 1% barrier, at around 1.3%, the Chinese EV market is headed for some 400,000–450,000 units and 1.5% market share by December 31st, which will not only beat North America and Europe as the top EV market, both in volume and market share, but would also mean that China will absorb around half of the EVs delivered in 2016.

BYD is the usual gobbler of trophies here, but this time Beijing Auto, also known as BAIC, managed to steal September’s best-selling model title. Is BAIC now leaving the shadow of Build Your Dreams (BYD) and becoming this market’s dark horse?  

Here were the top 5 best-selling models in September:


#1 — BAIC EU260: On paper, it sits somewhere between the utilitarian BYD e5 and the posh BYD Qin EV300, but with a bit less range (the “260” in the name is the measure of how much it can go in one charge) and also without the Qin sports-sedan pretensions — meaning, only 133 hp. Despite this, it looks nice inside and out and BAIC expects to make it the best-selling EV model in China. Last month, it scored 3,800 registrations, a new monthly record for any BAIC model, so it seems the Qin brothers will have a valuable competitor to deal with in the future.


#2 — BYD Qin: Speaking of Qin, the 300 hp PHEV sedan shows up immediately in 2nd place, having registered 3,125 units, its best performance in a year, continuing its growing sales trend for the 8th time in a row. China’s most popular plug-in, with over 65,000 units zooming around, is still far from its all-time record (4,030 units in July 2015), but it will probably beat it by the end of the year — if, of course, the Tang demand remains soft.

BAIC E-Series

#3 — BAIC E-Series EV: This Mercedes B-Class inspired BAIC hatchback has been the brand bread-and-butter model over the years, and it hasn’t let the manufacturer down, collecting a number of podium positions over time (#3 in 2013 and 2015). With 2,659 units recorded in September, it seems that BAIC has enough production space to significantly increase the production of the more profitable models (EU260, EX200) without starving its workhorse sales. On the contrary, last month, the E-Series broke its two-year-old sales record, underlining a month of brilliant performances by the Beijing Auto models, something that must have sounded alarms at BYD HQ.

Zhidou EV

#4 — Zhidou D1 EV: This tiny two-seater reached the top 5 ranking in September, this time with the D1 version securing the best-seller status in its class, with 2,193 units, a 119% increase YoY.


#5 – BYD Tang: The 500 hp “Chinese Cayenne” continues its success story in the EV market, but deliveries dropped for the third consecutive time, to 2,120 units. Is the BYD flagship product running out of customers? If so, the Qin siblings will probably cut the slack and make sure BYD will continue producing EVs at full pace.

Year-to-Date Ranking

For the year to date, the top 5 didn’t have any change, but below it we see the BAIC EU260 jumping six positions to #6, with its eyes lights now turning to the #4 and #5 positions, which seem attainable as long as it sustains the current momentum.

Two models also climbing in the ranking were the BYD Qin EV300 and Zhidou D1 EV, both rising two positions, to #13 and #14, respectively.

The Tesla Model S delivered a record 1,190 units, while at the same time rising to #17 and beating in 9 months its 5,000 sales goal for the entire year.

Final mention for two new personal bests: the BYD e5 registering 2,094 units, while the SAIC Roewe e950 barge sedan reached 1,205 sales, coming closer to a top 20 seat.

Looking at the manufacturer ranking, BYD is the perennial leader, with 33% market share, followed by BAIC (13%, up 1%), which is cementing its dark horse status among the Chinese EV makers, leaving the 3rd placed SAIC Roewe (8%) behind by a sizeable distance.

Finally, looking at the breakdown between BEVs and PHEVs, unlike many other markets where plug-in hybrids are winning the upper hand, all-electric cars just continue improving their share, now at 70%, up 1% compared to last month.

China September YTD
1 BAIC E-Series EV 2,659 15,457
2 BAIC EU260 / D50 EV 3,800 10,147
3 BAIC EX200 603 3,905
4 BYD e5 2,094 9,163
5 BYD e6 1,241 12,890
6 BYD Qin 3,125 18,391
7 BYD Qin EV300 1,534 6,798
8 BYD Tang 2,120 26,788
9 Changan Eado EV 234 3,968
10 Chery eQ 500 8,727
11 Geely Emgrand / Dorsett EV 923 7,359
12 JAC i EV 4 1,055 7,656
13 JMC E100 748 7,351
14 Kandi K17 Cyclone 136 6,104
15 SAIC Roewe 550 PHEV / e550 851 13,073
16 Tesla Model S 1,190 5,879
17 Zhidou D1 EV 2,193 6,479
18 Zhidou D2 EV 898 6,139
19 Zotye Cloud EV 1,076 7,725
20 Zotye E200 326 5,786
TOTAL 31,437 224,535

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