While the market is falling, foreign models led by the Tesla Model 3 are shining.

The Chinese plug-in electric car market brings a lot of changes this year. Foreign models are now breaking into top sales spots.

Let's start with the general outlook - the overall market went down by 22% year-over-year, while the plug-in segment dropped by 50% year-over-year to 51,217, according to the EV Sales Blog.

That's not bad, but there are many factors (including Chinese New Year in January compared to February in 2019) behind it. As a result, the plug-in market share decreased to 3.2% (from 5.5% year ago).

Plug-in electric car sales in China – January 2020

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Model rank

The big news is that Chinese customers are now more interested in foreign brands than ever before. The share of Chinese plug-in cars fell from 85% a year ago to 64%.

One of the biggest surprises is that the Tesla Model 3 managed to reach #1 place in the model rank in January with 3,183 registrations (including 578 imported). It's the first time for Tesla to take the first spot and the first time for a foreign model.

The second best was the new all-electric station wagon SAIC Roewe Ei5 (3,068), while the third was a plug-in hybrid BMW 530Le (3,000) - for the first time we see two foreign models on the podium.

Fourth was GAC Aion S (2,648), while fifth was Volkswagen Passat PHEV (2,217) - the third foreign model in the top five.

The Toyota iA5 (1,236) at #13 is a re-badged GAC Aion S, sold by Toyota, which means that the total Aion S sales was 3,884 (slightly above Model 3).

Chinese manufacturers seem to be in really deep trouble if foreign brands are grabbing the market so fast - even before they really started (just imagine all those big global OEMs and their upcoming lineups).

 

Top 20 for the month:

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Source: EV Sales Blog