Chinese EV Industry Concludes Challenging January

Many Chinese electric vehicle manufacturers published their first performance reports of the new year on February 1. Affected by the recent Spring Festival holiday, delivery figures in January were generally unsatisfactory.

In the first month of the year, BYD sold 151,300 new energy vehicles, up 62.4% year-on-year. Among them, the sales volume of pure electric passenger cars reached 71,338 units, a year-on-year increase of 53.79%, while the sales volume of plug-in hybrid passenger cars reached 78,826 units, up 69.37% year-on-year.

Li Auto delivered 15,141 new cars in January, up 23.4% year-on-year. However, compared with the delivery volume in December last year, January still showed a month-on-month decline. “Since September last year, the L9 has continued to rank first in China’s full-size SUV sales,” said Li Xiang, the chairman of Li Auto. “The L8 became the sales champion of medium and large SUVs in China in December 2022. Next, the L7 will be officially released on February 8.”

GAC Aion, which was newly selected in Forbes’ global unicorn list in 2022, delivered 10,206 vehicles in January, marking a yearly and monthly decline. On February 1, GAC Aion introduced a limited-time delivery incentive of 5,000 yuan per vehicle, as well as a limited-time financial subsidy and zero interest rate for three years. It launched the AION S Plus 70 Joy Version on the same day, with a price of 149,800 yuan ($22,296).

NIO delivered 8,506 new cars in January, down 11.87% year-on-year and 46.22% quarter-on-quarter. NIO emphasized that January coincides with the 2023 Spring Festival, meaning it has one less working week than last year. This brought the record of NIO‘s delivery volume exceeding 10,000 units for seven consecutive months since June last year to an abrupt end.

A total of 6,016 cars were delivered by NETA Auto in January, including 3,487 NETA Vs, 1,012 NETA Us and 1,517 NETA S’s. It should be noted that the deliveries of the firm, which is regarded as a “dark horse” in 2022, have gradually slowed down since December last year, and the NETA S, which was given high hopes by the company, has not yet received positive market feedback. At present, NETA has delivered a total of 254,000 vehicles.

XPeng Motors delivered 5,218 vehicles in January, including 2,249 Flagship G9 SUVs. The brand-new upgraded version of the P7 will be unveiled soon, and the former popular model will become the key to XPeng‘s goal to boost sales.

AITO delivered 4,475 vehicles in January, down 55.88% from the previous month. Since the beginning of this year, when the Chinese purchase subsidies for new energy vehicles officially ended, Tesla China initiated price reductions, and AITO was the first domestic car manufacturer to follow up.

In the past month, Geely’s Zeekr, which exceeded the annual sales target of 70,000 vehicles last year, delivered 3,116 vehicles, down 11.73% year-on-year and 72.51% quarter-on-quarter. On January 10, Zeekr said that its smart factory will use the Spring Festival holiday to upgrade its production line.

In January, the delivery volume of 1,139 from Leapmotor almost retreated to its lowest level, dropping by 86.6% month-on-month and 85.9% year-on-year. “Due to the impact of pandemic and the advance of the Spring Festival, the sales rhythm of dealers in January was disturbed, and the follow-up will gradually return to normal rhythm,” Leapmotor said.

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In addition to the impact of the Spring Festival holiday and enterprises’ own problems, policy adjustment is the reason for the decline in sales volume of new energy vehicle makers in January. According to data from the China Passenger Car Association, from January 1 to 27, the retail sales of new energy passenger cars were 304,000 units, down 1% from last year and 43% from the same period of last month.

China EV100 has predicted that the production and sales of new energy vehicles are expected to increase by about 40% in 2023, the penetration rate of new vehicles will be about 40%, and the overall sales volume is expected to reach 10 million vehicles. The incremental space mainly comes from three aspects: the third-line market and below, the global market, and the retreat of fuel-powered vehicles.