Chinese new energy vehicle maker BYD has recently replaced Germany's Volkswagen as the world’s third most valuable vehicle maker with a market cap of USD142.7 billion. BYD is the only Chinese automaker among the top 10 most valuable peers globally, but it still trails Elon Musk’s Tesla and Japan’s Toyota. Tesla is worth USD742.5 billion, more than three times the value of Toyota, although the latter’s shipments last year were over 10 times Tesla’s corresponding total. BYD’s growth shows the potential of the global NEV sector, said analysts, and the trend is even more obvious in China, the world’s largest market for such vehicles since 2015. Even in April, when China’s car market slumped to its lowest in a decade, NEV sales rose 44.6% to total almost 300,000 units, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM).
In the first four months, NEV deliveries in the country totaled 1.56 million, up 110% from the same period a year earlier, accounting for 20% of total vehicle sales in China, said the CAAM. BYD, the largest NEV maker in China, ceased production of conventional gasoline-powered vehicles in March to focus on fully electric and hybrid cars. It sold over 100,000 vehicles in April, up 136% year-on-year, becoming the only major carmaker in China to see sales growth for the month. The momentum continued in May, with 114,183 units delivered, up 152.8% from the same month last year.
Chinese NEV startups also performed well, with four firms delivering over 10,000 units in May. Among them, three saw sales double during the month on a year-on-year basis. They expect the trend to continue, as they are coming out with new models. Li Auto plans to unveil its second model, a full-sized sport utility vehicle (SUV), later this month, and Nio is delivering three new models this year, including the ET7 sedan that is to take on BMW’s 7 Series. Toyota launched pre-sales of its first electric SUVs in China in late April, becoming the latest major international brand to enter the country’s heated NEV race. Huaxi Securities said vehicles sold in third-tier or smaller cities accounted for 44% of China’s total vehicle sales in 2021, yet the figure was 32% in the NEV segment, the China Daily reports.