According to Researcher and Research LLC, China’s electric vehicle (EV) market reached 1.131 million units in the first quarter of 2022, with an annual growth rate of 145.0%. Its share of the global EV market grew to 56.5% from 39.4% in the same period last year. Except for maintaining its position as the world’s largest EV sales market, China also had the highest year on year (YoY) growth rate among the global top 10 EV countries.

The sales proportions of battery electric vehicle (BEV) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) were 79.4% and 20.6%, respectively, and compared with 84.2% and 15.8% in the same period of 2021, PHEV showed significant growth. EV and BEV penetration rates reached 21.9% and 17.4%, respectively, over doubling from 9.1% and 7.7% in the same period last year.

In terms of best-selling models, the top 20 sold a total of 662,129 units, with a market share of 58.5%, a slight decrease from 59.0% a year ago. Regarding the market share of each model, Wuling HongGuang Mini and Tesla Model 3 both experienced significant declines compared with the same period last year, while BYD Song Pro DM/DM-i, Qin Plus DM-i and Tesla Model Y were the models with higher growth, as shown in figure 1.

 

Sales of the top 20 best-selling models in China in Q1 2022

Figure 1  Sales of the top 20 best-selling models in China in Q1 2022

 

Among the top 20 models, the mini car segment declined significantly, from 23.8% in the same period last year to 13.8%, a decrease of 10.0%; in contrast, the mid SUV segment grew the most, up 7.8% to 11.7% from 3.9% a year ago.

With regards to the sales performance of the top 15 EV OEMs, the growth rate and share of each EV OEM in Q1 this year, as shown in figure 2, can be divided into seven groups:

First of all, BYD, which had the best performance among the top 15 EV OEMs, led other automakers with a market share of 25.2% and had an annual growth rate of 513.9%, continuing to dominate the Chinese market.

Secondly, the common feature of GM (including Wuling HongGuang Mini sales) and Tesla, which ranked second and third place, respectively, was that they led other automakers with higher market shares (11.1% and 9.6%, respectively), but their growth rates were relatively low (22.0% and 48.9%, respectively).

Third, Dongfeng, which had the highest growth rate in the first quarter, saw a strong sales increase YoY, with a market share of 2.0%.

Fourth, Chery and Geely widened the gap with other automakers in both market share and growth rate.

Fifth, Hozon’s market share was already comparable to that of Li Auto and Changan, but it enjoyed a higher annual growth rate.

Sixth, GAC, VW Group, XPeng, Li Auto, and Changan had similar market shares and growth rates. GAC had the largest market share, while Changan had the highest growth rate among this group.

Lastly, SAIC, Great Wall and Nio had relatively low growth among the top 15.

 

Annual growth rate and market share of the top 15 EV OEMs in China in Q1 2022

Figure 2  Annual growth rate and market share of the top 15 EV OEMs in China in Q1 2022

 

In terms of sales performance between Chinese and non-Chinese automakers, the market share of non-Chinese automakers fell sharply to 28.1% in the first quarter of this year, from 45.9% in the same period last year. This means that Chinese automakers were the biggest gainers in the growing Chinese EV market. Non-Chinese automakers active in China were still dominated by American automakers, including GM and Tesla (Ford sales were very small), with a market share of 20.7%, followed by European automakers with a market share of 5.5%, Japanese automakers with 1.8%, and others with 0.1%.

The Chinese EV market sales in the first quarter far outperformed expectations. However, many EV automakers have increased the prices of their models in response to the changes in China’s subsidy policies and rising raw material costs. This, coupled with lockdowns in some regions due to the Zero-Covid policy, exacerbated supply chain constraints and weakened April’s sales prospects. These factors have made the Chinese EV market in the second quarter even more uncertain.

 

 

Note:

Researcher and Research here defines EV as battery electric vehicle (BEV) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV), with passenger car as the primary purpose.