TrendForce’s latest investigations reveal groundbreaking developments in the NEV sector for 3Q23. Total sales of NEVs, including BEVs, PHEVs, and FCEVs, soared to 3.455 million units and registered a substantial 28.1% YoY growth. While BEVs accounted for about 70% of these sales, the standout performers this quarter were PHEVs, which saw a staggering YoY growth of 47.8%—contributing significantly to the momentum of the NEV market.
In a close race among the top 10 BEV brands for Q3, Tesla and BYD were neck-and-neck as BYD trailed behind by less than a thousand units. When sales of BYD group’s subsidiary brand Denza are included, BYD actually surpassed Tesla. BYD’s diverse and extensive product line—ranging from its affordably priced Seagull model (CNY 70,000) to models catering to the CNY 150,000 to 200,000 price range—has enabled the brand to expand its market reach beyond first and second-tier cities.
Despite Tesla’s continuous price cuts, its focus on the CNY 260,000 to 300,000 price range primarily targets consumers in first and second-tier cities. This strategic difference between BYD and Tesla has led to a narrowing sales volume gap. GAC Aion, Volkswagen, and SAIC-GM-Wuling maintained their 3rd, 4th, and 5th positions in the third quarter. NIO, returning to the list after a hiatus, ranked 9th but continues to grapple with significant losses and layoffs. For NIO and other emerging EV manufacturers, leveraging advanced technology for financial backing is a key strategy for survival.
PHEVs, offering the convenience of two kinds of energy and resolving BEV charging challenges, continue to enjoy strong sales in China and the US, despite being excluded from the NEV category in some European countries. BYD remains firmly in the lead in the PHEV market, actively expanding its brand and portfolio. In addition to Denza, the group also includes its luxury EV car brand Yangwang and the rugged, off-road-focused Fangchengbao. Snagging second place (10%), Li Auto achieved its first quarterly sales milestone of over 100,000 units as it benefitted from rising demand for large SUVs in China. BMW and Mercedes-Benz, though steady and growing, face the risk of being overtaken if they do not expand rapidly enough.
TrendForce notes that the NEV market, transitioning to a moderate growth phase due to a higher base and policy changes, remains a vital growth driver for the overall automotive market. A 32% growth rate is projected for 2024, with total sales expected to reach 17 million units. However, amid this optimistic growth, caution must be heeded due to signals that indicate the market is shifting, such as the delayed electrification of major American automakers, layoffs, and scaled-back investments in battery production.
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