Tesla and GM dominate electric car sales in China

Business & Technology

Despite tensions with the U.S., American car companies continue to do well in China, and are dominating sales of new energy vehicles.

gm electric vehicle in china
The Hongguang Mini, produced by a GM joint venture in China, costs less than $5,000. Image source: SAIC-GM-Wuling.

Tesla’s Model 3 remained the top-selling electric car in China in August, a position it has occupied since March this year.

Elon Musk’s company sold 11,811 cars last month, beating GM’s joint-venture-produced Hongguang Mini, the China Passenger Car Association (CPCA) reports (in Chinese).

  • The Hongguang Mini is produced by SAIC-GM-Wuling, of which GM China owns 44%, together with Chinese partners SAIC (50.1%), and Guangxi Automobile Group, formerly Wuling Motors (5.9%).
  • August was the first month the Hongguang Mini has appeared on CPCA’s rankings, with a sales volume of 9,150. Tesla began selling its Shanghai-assembled Model 3 in China in January this year, after breaking ground on its factory in 2018.
  • The Hongguang Mini is a tiny car, and very cheap, with a starting price of 28,800 yuan ($4,200). The Tesla Model 3 has a starting price of 291,800 yuan ($42,700).
  • However, Reuters says that 15,000 Hongguang Minis and 11,800 Tesla Model 3s were sold in China in August. It’s not clear where Reuters’ numbers come from.

What is clear is that China still likes American car brands, despite the many tensions between the two countries.

  • Number three in sales volume in August, according to CPCA, is the Chinese Aion S at 4,071 units. BYD, the long-established, Warren Buffett–invested electric car company, is ninth on the list with only 2,400 units. However, BYD itself claims it sold 15,283 electric cars.

Other new energy vehicle news:

  • “A meteoric rise in China’s U.S.-listed electric-vehicle stocks that disrupted market-value rankings and left some industry observers scratching their heads is showing signs of fizzling,” according to Bloomberg. The companies in question are NIO, Xpeng, and Li Auto.
  • “Beijing on Tuesday rolled out a plan [in Chinese] to promote hydrogen-powered vehicles and supporting infrastructure and development in the city,” reports Sixth Tone.