About EVs in China

“In 2020, 48% of all EVs on the road could be found in China — more than the combined figure for the US and Europe. China’s EV fleet will be 60% of the world’s total by 2030. Xi Jinping has extended both the sales tax exemption on EVs and subsidies for domestically built EVs to the end of 2022.

“China’s large domestic market, raw materials access, and favorable government policies mean it will continue to dominate the EV landscape and won’t be as disadvantaged by the lithium shortage. Xi Jinping has facilitated the growth of the domestic EV market, causing Tesla to lose market share in China to BYD. This is not only to cement China’s dominance in EVs but also to help meet the net zero target year of 2060.”– Amrit Dhami, Thematic Analyst at GlobalData

Interesting XPeng 2021 EV Sales Numbers

By Gary S. Vasilash

The numbers for Chinese electric vehicle manufacturer XPeng—not merely EVs, but “Smart EVs”—for 2021 are rather impressive, especially when looked at as a percentage basis compared to 2020.

As in:

  • 181% increase in the number of vehicles delivered in December 2021 vs. December 2020
  • 222% increase in deliveries in Q4 2021 vs. Q4 2020
  • 263% increase in total vehicles delivered in 2021 vs. 2020

But then when you drill down the numbers are somewhat less impressive.

  • 16,000 vehicles delivered in December 2021
  • 41,751 vehicles delivered in Q4 2021
  • 98,155 vehicles delivered in 2021

Still, directionally things are going well for the company.

XPeng P7 sport sedan. (Image: Business Wire)

The company offers both sedans and SUVs in the China market.  It is notable, as the interest in sedans in the U.S. is waning, that of its December deliveries of 16,000 vehicles, only 3,511 were SUVs—the largest share was taken by the sport and family sedans.

Another interesting thing about XPeng is that the company is building out a supercharging network—661 stations in all, located in 228 cities.

But even more notable is this: it has 311 retail outlets across 121 cities.

For a nascent company in the EV space, 311 is a lot of dealerships.

Tesla, for comparison, has about 170 galleries and showrooms in the U.S.

China Lifting Non-Domestic Ownership Rule

Right now (i.e., 12/28/21) a non-Chinese OEM that has an operation in China that isn’t building EVs can only operate through a 50-50 joint venture with a Chinese company.

In a few days (i.e., 1/1/22) that will change. Nikkei Asia reports that yesterday (i.e., 12/27/21) the Chinese Ministry of Commerce and the National Development and Reform Commission lifted the requirement as of the first of January.

Right now, there is an array of OEMs that have 50-50 joint ventures with Chinese partners.

Does this mean that they’ll suddenly buy out their partners and go for the whole thing?

Probably not.


It is undoubtedly a good thing to have a Chinese partner who can help with indigenous issues that may not be recognized by someone who is not absolutely embedded in the country and its culture. Even though a company may have people who have been in a given country for a number of years (be it China, the U.S. or anywhere else), not everything that someone who has lived there all of their lives simply knows can be understood by someone who hasn’t had that experience.

While there may be increases in the level of ownership of the various OEMs for financial reasons, odds are things aren’t going to change on a wholesale basis.

Presumably the non-Chinese OEMs have worked to develop good relationships with their partners. So there isn’t a whole lot of upside to throwing a wrench in those works.

The global auto industry is simply getting a bit more global.

China Sales Compared to U.S.—and They’re Not Done Yet

According to Automotive News, for 2020 there were 14,645,049 light vehicles sold. This is down 14.4% compared with the total number for 2019, 17,104,792. Which is to say that while COVID-19 had an impact on overall sales, it wasn’t as substantial as it had been feared to be.

China, too, was affected by the pandemic. And its sales were affected, as well.

That said, numbers for the first 11 months of 2020 have it, according to LMC Automotive, that there were 21.64 million light vehicles sold in China. About a third more than U.S. sales.

And there is still an additional month to go in the Chinese market.

In November there were 2,710,957 vehicles delivered in China. So if that number was repeated in December, that would be a total of 24.35 million units, or nearly 10 million more than were sold in the U.S.

One thing that is interesting about the China market is that the top-selling brands are probably not what you’d expect.

Volkswagen Lavida–number-one in China. (Image: Volkswagen)

The number-one brand in terms of sales and production is Volkswagen. What’s more, the top-selling vehicle is the Volkswagen Lavida, a Passat-like sedan that is available only in China. The car was the best-selling model in China in 2019, and even the folks at Volkswagen acknowledge, “but hardly anyone in Germany has ever heard of it.”–gsv