i3 (BMW)

Jan 31, 2024

At the beginning of the development of the NEV (New Energy Vehicle) market, most car makers built their NEVs on combustion engine vehicle underpinnings, modifying traditional platforms to enable them to support BEV and PHEV powertrains.

However, during the research and development period, a lot of problems were encountered, and products were often sub-optimal in terms of performance and electric driving range. As technology has moved on, this transition concept has been gradually replaced by dedicated platforms designed exclusively for battery electric cars. Examples of this transition are provided by Volkswagen which developed BEV versions of Lavida, Bora, and Golf models, only to withdraw them from their portfolio with the arrival of pure electric vehicles based on BEV-only platforms. Today, most cars have completed or are in the process of switching to exclusive BEV platforms.

However, BMW remains almost unique in continuing to release BEVs on flexible platforms which can also support combustion powertrains. Even more surprising is that BMW’s sales are doing very well. How does BMW manage it?

BMW pitches its offerings as the “Ultimate Driving Experience” and a high-end brand. Its main advantages revolve around the driving experience, the so-called “Pure Driving Pleasure.” These long-standing genes have been brought into full play with the advent of the NEV era. Owning a BMW is a dream of most Chinese male car consumers, attracted by the claims mentioned above.

A smart pricing strategy. When NEVs launch in the market, the price points are often higher than those of equivalent traditional combustion vehicles. Mercedes-Benz is a good example of this. Its EQC model can be seen as a BEV version of the GLC, and when it launched in the market, the starting price was close to CNY500k, and no discounts were on offer. Though the GLC’s price was also as high as CNY500k, it offered several additional features over the EQC as standard as well as discounts and the value imbalance with the GLC became obvious. The EQC is not alone in this situation, but the disparity is the biggest. In contrast, BMW’s BEVs are much cheaper than comparable ICE models, and benefitting from purchase tax exemption (as BEVs do in China), they have attracted a lot of consumers. At the same time, its BEV products have managed to maintain the “Ultimate Driving Experience.”

BMW has a strong track record of vertical integration of key NEV component development, in particular e-motors and batteries which are critical to NEV performance and durability. BMW accumulated rich experience when developing the i3 and i8 models while its 5th generation eDrive system offers a comprehensive evolution in batteries, motors, and electronic control systems. It achieves multi-dimensional technological innovations in power density, range, lightweighting, miniaturization and modularization. Its motor is a type of excitation motor, which is based on the permanent magnet motor but replaces the permanent magnets with a set of excitation coils. The benefit is that it can more efficiently adjust the current and power factor. There is a saying that this motor is the equal of two motors for some other brands. In other words, it provides a way for simultaneous cost reduction and power optimization.

At the same time, to control costs, BMW is making China an export hub, delivering vehicles produced there all over the world. Using these global sales channels has helped the brand create a new image in the NEV era. We believe that this smart strategy will enable BMW to be the first among foreign brands to reach its China e-mobility targets.

(GlobalData blog on January 24, 2024)

Nov 24, 2023

On November 17, at the Auto Guangzhou 2023, BMW Group exhibited a number of new models, including the next-generation 5 Series luxury mid-to-large-size long-wheelbase sedan that made its global debut, the i5 long-wheelbase battery electric sedan, and the i5 M60 battery electric sedan.

The next-generation 5 Series features a coupe-styled body design exclusively for the Chinese market. The interior is equipped with a one-piece suspended curved display screen, wrap-around interaction light bands, the 8.5th-generation BMW operating system, and a giant suspended display screen enabling IMAX-level audio-visual enjoyment.

The next-generation 5 Series delivers a maximum CLTC range of over 700km and comes standard with a Level 2 intelligent driver assistance system. The world’s first automatic lane change system with sight confirmation is featured as well.

The new X2 made its Chinese debut and became available for pre-order, with pre-order prices ranging from CNY 320,000 to CNY 420,000. Adopting the SAC (Sports Activity Coupe) design concept, the vehicle comes with a one-piece suspended curved display screen and the 9th-generation BMW operating system and is powered by a 2.0L turbocharged engine.

From a BMW Group press release, BMW China press releases 1/2, and information on the BMW China website

Oct 12, 2023

The China Passenger Car Association (CPCA) announced the production and sales volumes of passenger cars (including sedans, SUVs, and MPVs, excluding minivans) for September 2023.

China passenger car production and sales volumes in September 2023


September retail sales volumes of passenger cars totaled 2.018 million units, reflecting a year-over-year (y/y) increase of 5%. Year-to-date (YTD) retail sales volume totaled 15.233 million units, up 2.4% y/y.

In September, luxury car retail sales volumes totaled 270,000 units, down 7% y/y.

Retail sales volumes of local brands totaled 1.07 million units, up 20% y/y. Local brands had a market share of 53.4% of the total, up 6.4% y/y. In terms of wholesale sales, local brands occupied a market share of 56.6%, up 6.3% y/y.

Retail sales volumes of mainstream joint venture brands totaled 670,000 units in September, down 12% y/y. Specifically, German brands had a retail share of 20.2%, down 0.9% y/y; Japanese brands had a share of 16.6%, down 1.1% y/y; American brands had a share of 7.3%, down 3.3% y/y.


In September, wholesale volumes totaled 2.449 million units, up 6.6% y/y. Specifically, wholesale volumes of local OEMs totaled 1.38 million units, up 21% y/y; wholesale volumes of mainstream joint venture OEMs totaled 758,000 units, down 8% y/y; wholesale volumes of luxury vehicles totaled 308,000 units, down 6% y/y.


Passenger car production totaled 2.431 million units in September, reflecting a y/y increase of 2.8%. Specifically, production of luxury brands fell 17% y/y; production of joint venture brands fell 10% y/y; and production of local brands rose 17% y/y.

New Energy Vehicles (NEVs)

In September, wholesale volumes of New Energy passenger cars totaled 829,000 units, up 23% y/y. Specifically, battery electric vehicle (BEV) volumes totaled 563,000 units, up 11.2% y/y; plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) volumes totaled 266,000 units, up 58.7% y/y; ICE-powered (ICE: internal combustion engine) hybrid passenger vehicle volumes totaled 91,481 units, up 12% y/y.

In the BEV market, wholesale volumes of A00-class electric vehicles (micro, wheelbase 2-2.2 meters) totaled 94,000 units, down 23% y/y and accounting for 17% (down 7% y/y) of the total BEV volume; wholesale volumes of A0-class small vehicles (wheelbase 2.2-2.3 meters) totaled 172,000 units, accounting for 31% (up 10% y/y) of the total BEV volume; wholesale volumes of A-class compact vehicles (wheelbase 2.3-2.45 meters) totaled 114,000 units, accounting for 20% of the total BEV volume; wholesale volumes of B-class midsize vehicles (wheelbase 2.45-2.6 meters) totaled 166,000 units, up 17% y/y and accounting for 29% of the total BEV volume.

There were 17 manufacturers with a New Energy passenger car wholesale volume exceeding 10,000 units in September, up two y/y and accounting for 88.4% of the total. These manufacturers are: BYD (286,903 units), Tesla China (74,073 units), Geely (53,692 units), GAC Aion (51,596 units), Changan Auto (42,812 units), Li Auto (36,060 units), SAIC-GM-Wuling (29,129 units), SAIC Motor Passenger Vehicle (27,057 units), Great Wall Motor (21,868 units), XPeng (16,076 units), Leapmotor (15,800 units), NIO (15,641 units), SAIC VW (15,014 units), Chery (13,385 units), Neta Auto (13,211 units), BMW Brilliance (10,038 units), and SAIC GM (10,005 units).

In September, New Energy passenger car retail sales volumes totaled 746,000 units, up 22.1% y/y.

As for exports, 91,000 New Energy passenger cars were exported in September, up 107% y/y, among which 94.7% were BEVs and 48% were A0- and A00-class BEVs. Specifically, the export volumes were 30,566 units for Tesla China, 28,039 units for BYD, 12,678 units for SAIC Motor Passenger Vehicle, 5,026 units for Geely, 4,028 units for Dongfeng Passenger Vehicle, 2,146 units for smart, 1,473 units for Neta Auto, 1,420 units for Skyworth Auto, 791 units for Great Wall Motor, 766 units for XPeng, 597 units for SAIC-GM-Wuling, and 536 units for GAC Trumpchi, and 527 units for GAC Aion, among which 60% were A0-class BEVs, accounting for the vast majority.

For emerging EV makers, retail shares totaled 14% in September, down 1.3% y/y. Li Auto and Leapmotor maintained strong performance.

In terms of NEV wholesale volumes, Volkswagen sold 24,189 units this month, holding a large share of 51% among mainstream joint venture brands.

Market analysis and outlook

In September 2023, total retail sales volume in China’s auto market was stable on a month-over-month (m/m) basis, about 9% lower than the record high of 2.19 million units in the same month in 2017. To hit quarterly sales targets, automakers notably stepped up promotions, with discounts for ICE vehicles and NEVs both increased y/y and demand for auto consumption somewhat released. Automobile festivals and NEV consumption activities proposed by the Ministry of Commerce of China and consumption promotion measures such as holding local motor shows and issuing consumption coupons considerably boosted consumer confidence.

In October 2023, there will be 19 working days, one day more than the same month last year. A year-end market acceleration period from mid-October will provide China’s auto market with a decent environment for growth. Recently, regional consumption promotion policies and various offline activities such as motor shows have been stimulating auto consumption. As returning migrant workers are increasing with the weather turning cold and the Autumn harvest completed, enthusiasm for vehicle purchase in rural areas will be gradually released, and the NEV and mid-to-low-end ICE vehicle markets will gradually heat up.

According to the CPCA, the boosting effect of auto consumption on domestic demand in China is becoming increasingly prominent, and the MPV market is developing well. For the current EU anti-subsidy investigation, the CPCA is firmly opposed to the EU’s evaluation of China’s NEV exports.

Top 10 Chinese Passenger Car Makers by Retail Sales

- Maker September 2023
1,000 units
1 BYD 258 34.8%
2 FAW-VW 170 3.2%
3 Geely 143 31.0%
4 Changan Auto 125 17.7%
5 SAIC-VW 115 -6.1%
6 Chery 85 17.9%
7 GAC Toyota 83 -1.3%
8 SAIC-GM 81 -19.4%
9 FAW Toyota 78 8.6%
10 Great Wall Motor 78 24.1%

Note: Data in the table refer to sales volumes of passenger cars including sedans, SUVs, MPVs, and minivans.

From a CPCA press release

 Vehicle Sales Data
 Vehicle Production Data
 Parts Procurement Status