BYD became the world’s best-selling electric vehicle brand in 2022, managing to sell a record 1.8 million units, more than triple its numbers from a year earlier. Other major automakers also reported improvement in December, according to the latest sales figures. 

Why it matters: The figures show that BYD has had an iron grip on the market in the last year while smaller EV makers faced ups and downs. China’s EV sales in 2022 are set to finish lower than expected as the industry enters a slower period after authorities phased out EV purchase subsidies at the end of 2022.

  • China’s wholesale sales of electric passenger vehicles in December will increase by 17% from a month earlier to around 700,000 units, according to estimates by the China Passenger Car Association (CPCA).
  • This means China’s new energy vehicle sales for last year could be below the previous estimate of 6.5 million units by CPCA. Passenger EV sales from January to November grew 100% year-on-year to 5.7 million units.

Details: BYD said on Monday that it delivered around 235,200 vehicles in December, an increase of 150.5% from the same period a year earlier. That figure also brings BYD’s total sales for 2022 to more than 1.86 million units, up 208.6% compared to 2021 figures.

  • Aion, the electric vehicle unit of Chinese automaker GAC, maintained strong growth momentum with sales of 30,007 units last month. Overall sales surged 126% year-on-year to around 271,000 units in 2022. The company has set a target of selling 600,000 EVs in 2023, according to general manager Gu Huinan.  
  • Hozon, a budget carmaker backed by CATL, was another bright spot with deliveries of 152,073 vehicles, an 118% jump compared with 2021. The company exported a significant number of 3,456 EVs and is looking to accelerate overseas expansion in regions such as Southeast Asia and the Middle East in 2023.
  • Li Auto also ended the year with a record delivery count, handing over 21,333 crossovers to customers in December and becoming the first Chinese EV startup to reach the 20,000-unit milestone in monthly delivery. The total delivery count in 2022 for the brand was 133,246 vehicles, up 47.2% from a year ago.
  • After a difficult third quarter, Xpeng Motors’ deliveries bounced back in December to a normalized level but still fell short of its US-listed peers Nio and Li Auto. The company delivered 11,292 units last month, including 4,020 units of the G9, its first premium crossover, which it launched in September. The final tally was 120,757 EVs, a mild 23% annual increase.
  • Huawei-backed EV maker Aito also reported strong deliveries of 10,143 units in December, with total 2022 deliveries topping 75,000 units. 
  • Monthly deliveries of Geely-backed EV brand Zeekr also surged 199% year-on-year to 11,337 units, bringing the maker’s total delivery count to 71,941 units.
  • Nio delivered 15,815 cars last month, a monthly record high following November’s 14,178 units. Annual deliveries totaled 122,486 vehicles, representing a 34% growth from the previous year.
  • Tesla’s deliveries increased 40% to 1.3 million EVs in 2022 from the prior year. The CPCA, which has tracked monthly sales for the company’s China operations since 2020, has not revealed its December sales figure for the Chinese market.

Context: Analysts expect industry sales to hit a plateau in 2023 after several years of strong growth as the Chinese government scraps subsidies for EV purchases.

  • Citic Securities forecast sales of new energy vehicles, which mainly include battery-powered EVs and plug-in petrol-electric hybrids, to rise by 31% annually to 9 million units in China in 2023.
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Jill Shen

Jill Shen is Shanghai-based technology reporter. She covers Chinese mobility, autonomous vehicles, and electric cars. Connect with her via e-mail: or Twitter: @yushan_shen