BYD Gains On World EV Sales Leaders, July Results Equal Tesla & BMW Combined

SEP 4 2017 BY MARK KANE 38

World’s Top 10 Selling Plug-In Cars – 2017 July (data source: EV Sales Blog)

In July, some 88,000+ plug-in electric cars were sold globally, which was 40% more than year ago. YTD sales total stands at roughly 545,000.


The best plug-in electric model in July was the BYD Song PHEV, which after just four months on the market hasn’t yet broken the Top 10 for 2017, but will crack the list soon.

In total, BYD delivered 5,069 of Song plug-in hybrids, as well as 1,547 all-electric versions.

The only other offering that came close (and indeed it was close) was Toyota with the Prius Prime / Plug-In Hybrid with 4,989 sales.

The plug-in hybrid Prius is the best selling plug-in overall so far this year, followed by the Nissan LEAF – with a surprisingly strong showing in July thanks to generous discounts – 3,812 were sold.

The most interesting data point however, was the pace at which BYD is catching up to the #1 and #2 manufacturers heading into the month. (Tesla and BMW).

With a huge 11,217 sales in July, this bested both Tesla and BMW combined (4,884 and 6,600 respectively).

BMW’s advantage has now shrunk to less than 3,000, while Tesla’s is only ~6,000 higher.  With that said, Tesla always puts up a big number in the third month of a quarter, so we expect to see BYD take over the #2 spot in August, then making a play for #1 overall in September.

World’s Top 10 Plug-In Car Manufacturers – 2017 July (data source: EV Sales Blog)

Our thanks to EV Sales Blog for tallying up and estimating the individual sales by OEM.

Categories: BMW, BYD, Sales, Tesla

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38 Comments on "BYD Gains On World EV Sales Leaders, July Results Equal Tesla & BMW Combined"

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With approximately 3000 Teslas sold in the states in July.

Are we saying only 1800 model S&X were sold elsewhere in the world?

Go BYD by the way.

None of the cars in the US top 5 (Both Teslas, both Chevys, and the Prius) show up in Europe’s top 5.
Then, you also have to remember that the Chinese markets dwarf anything in the US or Europe by a huge margin.

Not only is China a huge market, but to penetrate that market in any meaningful way, it is required to have some kind of joint production there. That is why Third rate Chinese brands outsell top notch worldwide manufacturers regularly. The money flows and funding mechanisms (cheap govt money), regulations/incentives, cheap labor, etc all create a monetary environment where local production is necessary for serious market penetration.

It goes both ways. If global engineering prowess were the only consideration, nobody would be buying Teslas or Chevys in the US.

What would they be buying?


Chevy’s engineering prowess far surpass that of BYD. BYD never made anything remotely close to bang for buck (aka, engineering prowess) like SparkEV or Bolt.

I think there’s a video of Musk laughing at BYD when the reporter suggested them as Tesla competition. I laugh, too. BYD just isn’t there in terms of engineering.

Toyotas were once laughed at too…
That said BYD needs much better effiencies in their electronic chargers and inverters…
Certianly they are not as good but you never need to be as good only good enough and priced right…
That is where BYD faulters the most as they are trying to be performace oriented and upscale when they should just be average performance and durable with a lower price…
That is ultimately why I think BYD will get passed in China in a couple of years when everyone starts making and selling BEVs…

BYD has also tried to keep the non-drivetrain parts of its cars as conservative as possible instead of challenging the still-malleable tastes of the young Chinese auto market. As we know, to really optimize an EV’s performance you need to design around a flat battery pack, the space opened by the lack of an engine, and the best aerodynamics to offset heavy highway energy consumption.

AFAIK, BYD has nothing like SparkEV that gets 119 MPGe (or 4.4 mi/kWh at 70 MPH), 0-60 in 7.2 sec, cost about $26K. Tesla 3 and Bolt cost more, but they’re quicker and seems to come within 90% of SparkEV in efficiency, which isn’t bad for 20% heavier cars. BYD has nothing like them.

It’s always problematic to look at just one month of Tesla’s production and sales. Tesla does batch production and shipping, on a quarterly basis, with the intention of maximizing the number of produced cars to be sold (paid for) by the end of the quarter. If you look at July only, a disproportionate number will be on ships headed for China and other far overseas markets (such as Australia). Look at an entire quarter’s production vs. sales, or better yet an entire year’s worth, and you’ll get a much better idea of the ratio between Tesla’s domestic and foreign sales.

Tesla’s total global deliveries/sales for 2016: 76,230

Tesla’s U.S.-only deliveries/sales for 2016: 47,119 (InsideEVs’ estimate)

That indicates 61.8% of 2016 sales were domestic.

Fascinating how different worldwide sales are compared to the U.S. sales numbers. The Volt is one of the top sellers here in the States, yet barely sold more than the Outlander worldwide. Who would have guessed the i3 was outselling the Volt worldwide? Or for that matter that BMW worldwide, was ahead of GM, Toyota, and even Nissan! So different than the U.S. numbers.

thats because you can not buy the Volt anywhere outside US. I would take one asap if i could…

It’s strange isn’t it? Every reviewer that has any technical cred at all says that power train is amazing, the battery packs are bullet proof quality, and the vehicle is a steal at that price. In the US we can blame crappy dealers (which they are) and the Chevy badge itself. But Europe? I get that GM sold Opel but they have a marketing deal for the Bolt, why terminate the Volt?

If I have been following correctly, GM is going to introduce it in China as a Buick and build it all or in part there. That is a very wise financial move. Perhaps in the US they could get the Chevy stink off it by reviving the Saturn brand and put the Bolt/Volt there.

Dealers are crappy but that’s only a drop in the bucket to why it’s not selling…

We’ve all heard it before, you show up to a dealership to try to buy a Volt/Bolt and the salesman tries to “steer” you to an ICE model…”Steering” is common for ICE models, say you want a Colorado and don’t be outraged if the dealer tries to steer you to the more expensive Silverado…

Reviving other brands is a waste…We’re apparently going to have a Bolt platformed Buick Encore for around $40K…While an incremental improvement, there are three fundamental problems, AWD not offered, it’s still a short/narrow/TINY subcompact despite being a “CUV” and the styling (according to someone who went to the focus group who stated it looks similar to an Encore) why better than the Bolt still isn’t anything to write home about…Solution would be to make a Caddy XT4 EV or Voltec along with an Equinox…

Regarding the Buick, I’m referring to a Volt badged as a Buick in China. I couldn’t remember the name but a quick search yields Buick Velite and it’s already on sale as of a couple months ago.

Regarding ‘steerage’? Well that’s just sales guys trying to get a higher commission. The only way to counteract that is for GM to make the dealers more vested in the outcome.

Could be that is bogus anecdotes. My local Chevy dealer was excited about the Bolt/Volt and didn’t try to steer me toward an ICE. They had a used Spark EV on the lot (was not sold in my state as a new car), and the deal was too good to pass up, so that’s what I ended up with.

Auto dealerships are not all alike… fortunately! Some actually do want to sell EVs. But from a great number of reports from customers and would-be customers, the majority do not.

We wouldn’t have the cars we have today if a few daring entrepreneurs (really car nuts segueing from a hobby) hadn’t started importing European sports cars after WW2, or if later a few more hadn’t gambled on the Japanese brands getting their act together. But those guys were going up against the dominant culture of American dealerships, and as their brands moved into the mainstream, it’s gotten harder to tell them apart. I’ve heard of the old Big Three dealers carrying out smear campaigns against Tucker and other small US car companies, which succeeded, and then again against the imports, which failed. Now all the dealers of all the brands have an interest in engaging in this kind of behavior against EVs, but some of them might not, for the same reason as those pioneers 60 years ago; they and their clientele (historically on the US coasts) genuinely dig cars.

The immediate cause of why the Chevy Volt (or Opel Ampera) didn’t sell in Europe is because it had a price tag roughly twice as much as it did here in the USA.

Now, just why GM priced it out of the market… that I do not understand.

There is Ampera. But in general, you are right. GM engineering makes the best bang for the buck in the EV world, yet the clueless management fail to translate that to sales. Volt / Bolt / SparkEV selling less than Leaf is THE proof that GM management is composed of brain-dead zombie morons.

The reason it’s the best bang for the buck is that it has a low profit margin, this is why management doesn’t want to sell it. They are not clueless, just shortsighted, by design of their incentives.

“just shortsighted”, aka brain-dead zombie morons.

There is no inherent mechanism in free-market capitalism to reward a businessman for being farsighted rather than going for the quick kill. The mechanism is rooted in tax policy and culture; America had extremely high tax rates 60 years ago but the primary form of tax avoidance was to simply reinvest in one’s own factory, thus investing in your own expertise. The Reagan era completed the transition to a new doctrine that money should be free to flow to the quickest kill, whether speculation on other rich people’s activities, or foreign business, or real estate, etc. Once you drop top tax rates enough, it becomes conceivable that a single speculative success will set you up for life. Screw the damage left behind, I’m buying a private island. As for culture, America has always been impatient. But cultural differences exist everywhere; you can contrast the awful behavior of the pre-Mao Chinese wealthy, who buried their gold rather than develop institutions to make it useful, and engaged in absurd displays of wealth while treating their fellow humans like dirt, with the Japanese elites of the same era who sacrificed to speed industrialization and put the country first, reciprocated by ordinary Japanese who… Read more »

That’s rather deep for a Tuesday – and also slightly misguided in my opinion. Tesla is very successful and has grown rapidly due to the foresighted nature of what it is doing. It is rewarded by an incredibly high share price for a company that is yet to make any significant profit. Nissan/Renault/Mitsubishi are similar success stories – yes I know Mitsubishi have just been bought out but what would have happened to them if they hadn’t had the outhlander PHEV in their stable when the emissions cheating came to light?

GM are heading one way because they continue to fail to capitalise on what they are doing in the EV space. The have pulled out of the EU, Australia and a number of other nations they are in full blown recession while those around them grow. Fiat and Chrysler are another group that thumbed their noses at low emission technologies, where are they headed? Not to meet BYD that’s for sure. The top executives might benefit from short term thinking but the companies and employee’s of those companies pay dearly for their CEO’s misguided actions.

“The Reagan era completed the transition to a new doctrine that money should be free to flow to the quickest kill”

You do realize that income tax before 1913 was 0% (no income tax), yet the US thrived in 19th century. You should study history instead of regurgitating propaganda.

All your other class struggle nonsense is just more BS in portraying a group of people as rats. If you’re going down the road of rich treating others badly, consider that most crime is committed by the poor. That doesn’t make the poor any more evil than the rich. But if you follow your logic, those evil poor! Off to the concentration camps! Joseph Goebbels would be proud of you.

How come the Sales Scorecard lists the July sales as ~92,000 sales when this article says 88,000+? Is there a difference between how the numbers are calculated?

Yes and no…its mostly just the timing. The data in this story is via EV Sales blog because they go to great lengths to split out all the data by model, something we really appreciate (no one else will go to that effort for sure). The number we have tallied on our US scorecard (with worldwide net tota below) is the estimated worldwide number from all regions today at time of press, including those who don’t have specific model splits as of press – or not at all (ie-Japan). Without speaking for Jose, if you look at EV sales’s monthly totals for each month when they go to press and add them all up, the cumulative total would fall short…because more data comes in later (it can take 2-3 months+ to get all the trailing data). But at some point, you have to make a decision to put out the report on the models…or be months and months behind. For example, in June EV sales totaled 452,000 sales. Now if you add in the 88,000 reported so far for July, that only would net 540,000…but they list 545,000. So ~5,000 EVs sales (by model) have been added after the June… Read more »

Thanks for giving us a peek behind the curtain, Jay.

I really appreciate the results of all the ongoing efforts that y’all and EV Sales blog put into this… while realizing that I’ll never fully appreciate (in that other sense of the word) all the work that went into getting those results! 🙂

In the last 3 months, BYD sold at an average of 10.000 and they are accelerating at a rapid pace. It’s another company that started with batteries and moved into vehicles.

They just found the right product with Song Crossover which belongs to a fast growing segment. It’s 70 km range is good enough for many trips and the ev range of 300 km can cover many trips.

Another company? Which is the other one besides BYD?

Don, did you get these two numbers flipped, or did you mean to say 300 on gas?

“It’s 70 km range is good enough for many trips and the ev range of 300 km can cover many trips.”

Not even knowing the car, I would guess that line should probably say: “It’s 70 km EV range is good enough for many trips, and the ICE range of 300 km can cover many more trips, easily.”

The BYD Song (like a number of BYD models) comes in both PHEV (70 km EV range) and a BEV (300 km range) version.

So he is referring to two different vehicles.

Can you update this to show what it would look like if you took out the PHEVs and just listed the top ten BEVs?

Why list Chevy which is just a brand and not GM to capture their other EV offerings?

Their other EV sales are so close to nonexistent that it likely makes little difference.

Worldwide rolling 12months has plug in market at 950,000!

For YTD August plugins in the US have already exceeded 2016 calendar year 116k with the top selling months to come.