January 2023 was quite a challenging month for car sales in China, as the total number of registrations decreased by more than 30 percent to around 1.3 million units (partially because the holidays were in January, instead of February).

According to EV Volumes' data, shared by Jose Pontes, some 343,691 new passenger plug-in electric cars were registered in China in January, which also is a negative result (down 8 percent year-over-year). However, plug-ins increased their market share to 26 percent. That's not a bad result, considering that EV subsidies ended.

Only time will tell whether the Chinese plug-in market will continue to weaken or if price reductions, applied by many manufacturers, will attract more customers.

Results for the month:

  • BEVs: *225,000 (down 24%) and 17% share
  • PHEVs: *119,000 and 9% share
  • Total: 343,691 (down 8%) and 26% share

* estimated from the market share

Plug-in electric car sales in China – January 2023

For reference, in 2022, over 5.92 million new passenger plug-in electric cars were registered in China (83 percent more than in 2021).

  • BEVs: about *4.35 million and 22% share
  • PHEVs: about *1.58 million and 8% share
  • Total: 5,924,421 (up 83%) and 30% share

* estimated from the market share

Model rank

BYD noted a very strong start to the year in China, with three models at the top of the plug-in car list and a total of six in the top 10.

The number one in China is the BYD Song Plus (mostly PHEV with a fair share of BEV version). Then, there are the all-electric BYD Yuan Plus (aka Atto 3) and BYD Dolphin.

The Tesla Model Y and Tesla Model 3 were respectively #5 and #6, with some distance to the tiny Wuling Hong Guang MINI EV. The two Teslas were the only non-Chinese models in the top 20, as even the Volkswagen ID.4 failed to compete with the tsunami of local EVs.

Top 10 for the month:

  1. BYD Song Plus (42,684 BEVs + 42,684 PHEVs): 49,865
  2. BYD Yuan Plus (aka Atto 3) BEV: 18,142
  3. BYD Dolphin: 17,289
  4. Wuling Hong Guang MINI EV: 16,416
  5. Tesla Model Y: 14,184
  6. Tesla Model 3: 12,569
  7. BYD Han (BEV + PHEV): 12,215
  8. BYD Qin Plus (BEV + PHEV): 11,590
  9. BYD Tang (BEV + PHEV): 8,890
  10. Li Xiand L9 (PHEV): 7,996

* BEV and PHEV versions of the same models were counted together in the source.


BYD's advantage over other brands and manufacturers is staggering in China. The company exceeded 40 percent market share. Tesla is the best of the rest with a 7.8 percent share.

Top brands by share in the plug-in segment year-to-date:

  • BYD: 40.2%
  • Tesla: 7.8%
  • Changan: 5.5%
  • SAIC-GM-Wuling: 5.1%
  • Li Auto: 4.5%
  • ...
  • BMW: 2.2% (the top legacy European brand)
  • Volkswagen: N/A (below BMW)

Top automotive groups by share in the plug-in segment year-to-date:

  • BYD: 42.1%
  • Tesla: 7.8%
  • SAIC: 7.1%
    including SAIC-GM-Wuling joint venture (between SAIC, GM and Liuzhou Wuling Motors)
  • Changan: 5.9%
  • Li Auto: 4.5%
  • Geely-Volvo: 4.2%
  • GAC: N/A
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