China’s New Energy Vehicle Sales in 2023

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Competition in China’s new energy vehicle market will come to an end in 2023.

On the first day of 2024, various new energy vehicle companies will announce sales or delivery data for December 2023, and last year’s full-year results will also be announced. Among them, BYD achieved sales of 3.0244 million vehicles, successfully completing its full-year target. Li Auto exceeded the monthly delivery mark of 50,000 in the last month.

China’s new energy vehicle sales in 2023

Behind the high-profile performance of the above-mentioned car companies, although the delivery volume of many new energy car companies, including Aion, NIO and Zeekr, also achieved substantial growth, they failed to achieve the goals set at the beginning of the year as expected, and Neta Cars even showed signs of falling behind.

For 2024, the industry expects the wholesale volume of new energy vehicles to reach 11 million units, with a net increase of 2.3 million units, and a penetration rate of 40%.

BYD takes the lead

BYD has been almost unbeatable throughout 2023, and its results are “several blocks” ahead of its opponents.

Data released by BYD on January 1 showed that in December 2023, BYD’s new energy vehicle sales reached 341,000 vehicles, continuing to set its single-month sales record, while its sales in the same period in 2022 were 235,000 vehicles. This new energy vehicle leader achieved cumulative sales of 3.0244 million vehicles in 2023, a year-on-year increase of 62.3%, successfully achieving the sales target of 3 million vehicles set at the beginning of the year.

In BYD’s sales model structure, the proportion of pure electric vehicles is gradually increasing. Among the models sold in December, 190,800 pure electric models were sold, and 149,400 hybrid models were sold. The sales of pure electric models were about 40,000 more than the hybrid versions.

It should be noted that BYD’s domestic sales have not only remained stable, but overseas sales have also increased month by month. Data shows that BYD sold a total of 36,100 new energy passenger vehicles overseas in December 2023. This is also the third consecutive month that BYD’s overseas sales have exceeded 30,000 vehicles.

In October and November 2023, its overseas sales were 30,500 and 30,600 vehicles respectively. For the whole of 2023, BYD’s overseas sales reached 242,800 vehicles.

Aion’s bottleneck is obvious

Behind BYD, Aion and Ideal have formed the second echelon. According to the latest announcement from Aion, it achieved sales of 45,900 vehicles in the last month, and its cumulative sales in 2023 were just over 480,000 vehicles, a year-on-year increase of 77%.

As early as the beginning of 2023, Aion set a sales target-“strive to reach 500,000 vehicles and sprint towards 600,000 vehicles.” It now appears that actual sales have not reached the target set at the beginning of the year.

In fact, Aion’s sales have stagnated since May last year, with monthly sales basically hovering between 40,000 and 50,000 vehicles. From October to November, monthly sales dropped to 41,500 and 41,600 vehicles. In order to open up new markets, Aion is targeting the Southeast Asian market. However, it still needs time to test whether overseas expansion can go as smoothly as planned and whether it can help break through sales bottlenecks.

The most eye-catching new car company last year was undoubtedly Li Auto. The December delivery data it released showed that in December 2023, Li Auto delivered 50,400 new cars, a year-on-year increase of 137.1%. This is also the first time that Li Auto’s monthly delivery has exceeded the 50,000 mark, fulfilling CEO Li Xiang’s previous promise.

Prior to this, Li Auto had once fallen into a “bottleneck”, with its delivery volume hovering around 40,000 vehicles for several consecutive months. Its delivery target of exceeding 45,000 vehicles was not achieved in November. According to official statements, production capacity constraints are the main reason why deliveries are difficult to break through.

Overall, Ideal will deliver a total of 376,000 vehicles in 2023, a year-on-year increase of 182.2%. And as of December 31, 2023, Li Auto has delivered more than 600,000 vehicles in total, making it the new car company with the highest delivery volume.

It is reported that Ideal MEGA will be officially released on March 1 this year and will be delivered upon release. Li Xiang publicly issued a document on January 1, saying, “Challenge higher goals in 2024: 800,000 (annual delivery volume), 100,000 (single-month delivery volume), 30,000 (monthly delivery volume of single models), 2,000 (high-speed + urban area overcharging) stand).”

Third echelon fight

Behind Aion and Li Auto, new energy car companies including , Leapmotor, Xpeng and Zeekr formed the third echelon, and their sales volumes were relatively close to each other.

Among them, NIO Motor released data showing that 18,000 new cars were delivered in December 2023, a year-on-year increase of 13.9%. Throughout the fourth quarter, NIO delivered a total of 50,000 vehicles, which was higher than the previously announced delivery guidance. NIO’s full-year delivery volume in 2023 will reach 160,000 vehicles, a year-on-year increase of 30.7%, but it is still far from the 250,000 vehicle sales target set at the beginning of the year.

After NIO experienced the “pains” of replacement in the first half of the year, its sales have gradually stabilized. At the same time, NIO also received “blood transfusions” from Middle Eastern capital twice in the second half of the year, preparing “ammunition” for the next market competition. NIO Chairman Li Bin recently revealed to reporters that the mass market that NIO’s second brand is going to enter is very competitive.

According to him, the second brand will be based on the family market, be efficiency-oriented, and will not promote too many models. “In the household market worth more than 200,000 yuan, there is an opportunity to produce a single pure electric model with monthly sales of 50,000 to 60,000 units.” He predicted.

Behind NIO in terms of delivery volume is Leapmotor. Its delivery data shows that Leapmotor delivered a total of 18,600 vehicles in December 2023, a year-on-year increase of 119%. The price reduction activities since the fourth quarter have obviously boosted the sales of Leapmotor . In October and November, Leapmotor’s monthly delivery has remained at more than 18,000 vehicles, setting new monthly delivery records month after month. Overall, Leapmotor will deliver a total of 144,200 vehicles in 2023, a year-on-year increase of more than 29%.

Xpeng Motors, whose sales have rebounded in recent months, delivered a total of 20,100 vehicles in December, a year-on-year increase of 78%. In the fourth quarter, cumulative deliveries exceeded 60,000, a year-on-year increase of 171%. For the whole year of 2023, Xpeng Motors will deliver a total of 141,600 vehicles, which is far from the 200,000 vehicle delivery target proposed at the beginning of the year.

Zeekr’s December delivery data shows that its delivery volume in that month was 13,500 vehicles, a year-on-year increase of 18.9%, and a slight increase of 2.84% from the previous month. For the whole year, Ji Krypton’s cumulative delivery volume reached 118,700 vehicles, a year-on-year increase of 65%. However, this new energy vehicle company owned by Geely also failed to achieve its full-year sales target of 140,000 vehicles.

The most embarrassing thing is Neta Automobile, whose delivery volume fell off a cliff in December 2023, with only 5,135 vehicles delivered, and the situation is precarious. This new power car company, which is regarded as a “dark horse” in 2022, has gradually slowed down its deliveries since the beginning of last year.

Throughout 2023, Neta Automobile delivered a total of 127,500 vehicles, which is almost half of the 250,000 sales target set at the beginning of the year. Among the new power car companies, Neta Automobile has obviously fallen behind.

AITO volume continues to climb

As the above-mentioned car companies compete fiercely with each other, AITO clearly stands out, and its delivery volume continues to increase as expected. After the delivery volume reached 18,800 vehicles in November 2023, it exceeded the 20,000 mark for the first time in December, reaching 24,500 vehicles, a month-on-month increase of 29.96%. Among them, 20,600 AITO M7 units were delivered in December.

Previously, the new M7 accumulated a large number of orders. According to previous official disclosures, the cumulative number of large-scale orders of this model exceeded 100,000 units in the two and a half months after its launch. It is foreseeable that AITO’s delivery volume will remain high.” AITO has been improving its delivery capabilities, and its monthly delivery capacity is expected to reach 30,000 vehicles starting in 2024.” said Yu Chengdong, Huawei’s Managing Director and Chairman of Smart Car Solutions BU. 

It is worth noting that AITO’s cumulative delivery volume in 2023 will reach 94,400 vehicles, which also significantly exceeds its sales volume of 75,000 vehicles in 2022.

On December 28, 2023, the AITO M9, known as the “best SUV under 10 million”, was unveiled. The cumulative number of orders for this model in seven days has exceeded 30,000. Moreover, in 2024, AITO also plans to release and mass-produce the M8 model. By then, AITO will have at least 4 models on sale. According to industry sources, AITO AITO’s full-year sales target for 2024 is set at 600,000 vehicles.

The delivery volume of Voyah Automobile, which Dongfeng Motor Group is betting on, is also continuing to increase. According to its published data, deliveries in December 2023 exceeded 10,000 for the first time, a year-on-year increase of 479%. Before July last year, its monthly delivery volume was still hovering below 3,500 vehicles. After entering August, its delivery volume increased month by month. For the whole of 2023, Voyah sold 50,600 vehicles, a year-on-year increase of 160%.

In addition to Voyah, BAIC’s ARCFOX sold 30,000 vehicles throughout the year, while SAIC’s IM sold 38,300 vehicles throughout the year, both of which were relatively low in sales.

The penetration rate may reach 40% in 2024

Looking back, under the background of the withdrawal of the halving policy of fuel vehicle purchase tax at the end of 2022 and the end of subsidies for new energy vehicles, China’s auto market started weak in 2023 and then continued to strengthen. Driven by the joint promotion of exports and new energy, 2023 Annual sales will hit a record high.

The market growth of new energy vehicles is expected to be relatively optimistic in 2024. The wholesale of new energy passenger vehicles is expected to reach 11 million units, with a net increase of 2.3 million units, a year-on-year increase of 22%, and a penetration rate of 40%. New energy passenger vehicles will remain strong. Growth momentum.

However, he also mentioned that the new energy vehicle market in 2024 will face certain pressure from the demand group structure. Judging from the three major purchase groups classified by national insurance data: rental, unit, and private, the current scale of the online rental rental market is close to temporary saturation. The congestion pressure caused by online taxis has increased, and income has dropped significantly.

Moreover, according to the incremental changes in technical lines analyzed by the China Passenger Car Association, the growth rate of pure electric vehicles has slowed down significantly recently, and the year-on-year growth rate of plug-in hybrid vehicles has been higher. However, the month-on-month trend of plug-in hybrid vehicles has slowed down significantly in recent months. Therefore, in 2024 The growth of plug-in hybrids may decelerate significantly; the growth of extended-range electric vehicles has accelerated significantly this year, but the scale is limited; therefore, there is insufficient new momentum for the growth of new energy.

From the perspective of industry efficiency, companies that lack stable cash flow are difficult to sustain growth. At present, the development of new energy vehicles by traditional independent brand car companies is increasingly strong. In addition to leading companies, new energy vehicles still face certain pressure of losses, and the scale of loss-making vehicles is difficult to continue to expand.

At the same time, many departments have recently issued documents such as the “Notice on Carrying out Pilot Access and Road Access of Intelligent Connected Vehicles” and “Autonomous Vehicle Transportation Safety Service Guidelines (Trial)”, proposing access standards for L3/L4 autonomous driving. Specific requirements will be clarified about the responsibility for high-end smart driving accidents, and the selection of the first batch of companies will be started simultaneously. Moreover, many car companies have also issued domestic L3 test licenses one after another.

Under the leadership of leading car companies such as Tesla and Huawei, intelligent driving is in the process of rapid iteration. Many institutions believe that autonomous driving functions may become a new demand for consumers to purchase cars, and that smart driving functions may become the winner of vehicle sales in the future.

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