Traditional Chinese automakers GAC and Geely, along with market leader BYD, have reported impressive electric vehicle delivery figures in April, taking market share away from young competitors such as Nio and Xpeng.
Why it matters: April deliveries show the growing importance of traditional auto manufacturers in the Chinese EV market, putting additional pressure on EV upstarts, especially Nio and Xpeng.
Details: BYD has maintained its dominant position as sales nearly doubled to 210,295 vehicles in April from a year earlier. In particular, it sold 10,526 units of the Denza D9, a multi-purpose vehicle under its premium brand Denza, surpassing the threshold of 10,000 units for a second month.
- GAC’s EV unit Aion has also enjoyed strong growth momentum with sales of 41,012 units, representing a year-on-year increase of 302%. Li Auto also saw impressive growth, becoming the top-performing brand among EV startups with reported deliveries of more than 20,000 vehicles for a second consecutive month in April.
- More traditional Chinese manufacturers, namely Geely and Dongfeng, showed small but gradual rises. Geely reported deliveries of 8,101 of its Zeekr-branded vehicles, up 22% from the previous month. Dongfeng’s Voyah family cars reported 3,339 deliveries, a 10% growth from the previous month.
- Meanwhile, deliveries of Changan’s EV arm Deepal declined by 9.5% to 7,756 units from a month ago. Yet, that number surpassed those of Nio and Xpeng for the first time following the launch of the brand by Ford’s manufacturing partner last April.
- Nio and Xpeng now face serious pressure. Xpeng saw relatively flat deliveries of 7,079 units for the month, although the automaker has managed to stall the delivery declines that began late last year, thanks to the launch of its revamped P7 sedan in late March, which began to offset the slump in sales of its G9 crossovers.
- Nio’s April deliveries plunged by 36% month-on-month to 6,685 units. Speaking on the sidelines at the Auto Shanghai show last month, president Qin Lihong said the company is in a period of model transition, clearing out most of its older models and still racing to introduce redesigned and new models.
- Seres did not reveal the numbers for its Aito brand. However, a total of 4,585 units were handed over to customers last month, according to data obtained by Chinese financial media outlet Caijing. The Huawei-backed car brand delivered 16,244 units from January to April.
- Hozon and Leapmotor have settled into a period of steady growth, with deliveries of 11,080 and 8,726 vehicles, respectively. Both companies are increasingly focusing on higher-price segments rather than the budget offerings they are known for. Leapmotor said its pricier C series accounted for 83% of April’s sales.
Context: Established Chinese automakers commanded 67% of the country’s passenger EV market in March, a 6% increase from a year ago, according to figures published by the China Passenger Car Association. For “new forces,” which refers to younger EV startups, market share declined by 6.7% annually to 10.4%. In addition, Tesla took a 14.1% market share in China.
- The CPCA has yet to reveal detailed April figures but estimated on April 25 that passenger EV sales would decline by 8.4% month-on-month to roughly 500,000 units, as the market faced disruption from the recent price war and continued to slowly recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.