Chinese Auto Brands Are Surpassing Global Firms Like BMW, Mercedes and Audi
According to data released on October 11 by the China Passenger Car Association (CPCA), the cumulative retail share of Chinese car brands in the first three quarters of this year was 47.0%, up 7.5% year-on-year. They have also achieved significant growth within China’s new energy vehicle market. From January to September, the retail sales volume of new energy passenger cars was 3.877 million units, up 113.2% year-on-year. Chinese brands accounted for 83.2% of the total, exhibiting positive development trends. Meanwhile, according to Jiemian News, international luxury brands and joint ventures are now showing downward trends in China.
In terms of non-Chinese luxury automobile brands, the sales of Mercedes-Benz and BMW in the country fell by 5% and 11.46% respectively in the first three quarters. Audi did not release sales data, but the sales volume of the Audi A6, typically a hot-selling model in China, totaled 92,000 vehicles so far this year, down 29% year-on-year.
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The losses of Benz, BMW and Audi in terms of market share are partly due to the unfavorable development of the external environment. Affected by the pandemic, consumption in the luxury car sector is insufficient, and the chip shortage problem has caused delays. Data show that the imported car market in China declined from 2020 to 2022. From January to August this year, 517,000 imported cars were sold, down 21.8% year-on-year, among which 465,700 imported luxury goods were sold, down 21.97% year-on-year.
The more critical reason is that under the trend of new energy transformation, foreign luxury brands have not yet launched products that can gain a firm foothold in the market, while a host of new Chinese car-making players have mounted a challenge. A number of Chinese entrants have announced that they will compete with luxury brands, and have begun fighting to grab the market share of traditional luxury brands.
Qin Lihong, the co-founder and president of NIO, said that the NIO ET5 should sell more than the BMW 3 Series fuel-based vehicles within one year. He Xiaopeng, the founder of XPeng Motors, said that next year, the XPeng G9 aims to surpass the Audi Q5 and reach consecutive monthly sales of 10,000 vehicles. Li Xiang, the founder of Li Auto, said boldly that its L9 SUV could even be compared with the Rolls-Royce Cullinan, and compared the Li L9 with the BMW X7 and Mercedes-Benz GLS many times at the brand’s launch conference.
In the high-end sedan sales list from January to September this year, NIO ET7 ranked ninth with 15,439 vehicles. In the sales list of high-end SUVs from January to September, Li ONE and NIO ES6 also appeared, among which Li ONE ranked fifth with 76,800 vehicles.
However, the sales volume of new energy products launched by foreign brands in China has been lagging for some time. BMW’s best-selling new energy vehicle is the BMW iX3, and its latest sales volume in September was 1,723 units. Mercedes-Benz’s pure EV model EQE was just launched in August, with a monthly sales volume of only 675 vehicles, which is already its highest-selling pure EV model. Audi Q4 e-tron’s sales are not good either, with a sales volume of only 781 vehicles in September.
In addition, joint ventures between foreign carmakers and Chinese companies have been greatly affected. In the first three quarters of this year, sales of many joint ventures declined year-on-year. Specifically, GAC Mitsubishi Motors sold only 26,800 vehicles in the first three quarters, down nearly 40% year-on-year, while sales of SAIC General Motors (SAIC-GM) and SAIC Volkswagen decreased by 21.4% and 17.6% year-on-year.