Lavida (VW)

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)

Sep 21, 2023

On September 15, SAIC VW officially launched the 2024 Lavida compact sedan, which is available in nine variants with 1.5L and 1.5T engines. Prices range from CNY 120,900 to CNY 151,900.
The 1.5L variants are equipped with an EA211 1.5L lightweight all-aluminum engine (rated power 81kW and peak torque 141Nm) and a 6-speed automatic manual transmission. The 1.5T variants are equipped with a new EA211 1.5T EVO II engine (rated power 118kW and peak torque 250Nm) and a DSG 7-speed dual-clutch transmission, with a WLTC combined fuel consumption of 5.4L/100km, reduced 6.6%.
The new Lavida adopts an 8- or 10.25-inch digital LCD instrument panel and comes standard with such features as AEB (Automatic Emergency Braking), EPB (Electronic Parking Brake), and an intelligent in-vehicle system. Some variants are available with such features as LCA (Lane Change Assist) and front and rear back-up radars with eight cameras.
Some variants of the new Lavida feature a dot-matrix front grille and a dynamic black rear wing. The vehicle measures 4,678mm long, 1,806mm wide, and 1,474mm high, with a wheelbase of 2,688mm.
From SAIC VW press releases 1/2 and information on the SAIC VW website

Aug 10, 2023

The China Passenger Car Association (CPCA) announced the production and sales volumes of passenger cars (including sedans, SUVs, and MPVs, excluding minivans) for July 2023.
China passenger car production and sales volumes in July 2023
July retail sales volumes of passenger cars totaled 1.775 million units, reflecting a year-over-year (y/y) decrease of 2.3%. Year-to-date (YTD) retail sales volume totaled 11.299 million units, up 1.9% y/y.
In July, luxury car retail sales volume was 240,000 units, down 22% y/y. YTD retail sales volume increased 11% y/y.
Retail sales volumes of local brands totaled 940,000 units, up 15% y/y. Local brands had a market share of 53.2% of the total, up 5.8% y/y. In terms of wholesale sales, local brands occupied a market share of 58.1%, up 8.3% y/y.
Retail sales volumes of mainstream joint venture brands totaled 590,000 units in July, down 28% y/y. Specifically, German brands had a retail share of 20.8%, down 0.8% y/y; Japanese brands had a share of 15.8%, down 5% y/y; American brands had a share of 7.7%, up 0.7% y/y.
In July, wholesale volumes totaled 2.065 million units, down 3.2% y/y. Specifically, wholesale volumes of local OEMs totaled 1.19 million units, up 22% y/y; wholesale volumes of mainstream joint venture OEMs totaled 590,000 units, down 34% y/y; wholesale volumes of luxury vehicles totaled 280,000 units, down 13% y/y.
Passenger car production totaled 2.101 million units in July, reflecting a y/y decrease of 2.6%. Specifically, production of luxury brands fell 5% y/y; production of joint venture brands fell 36% y/y; and production of local brands rose 24% y/y.
New Energy Vehicles (NEVs)
In July, wholesale volumes of new energy passenger cars totaled 737,000 units, up 30.7% y/y. Specifically, battery electric vehicle (BEV) volumes totaled 496,000 units, up 15.3% y/y; plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) volumes totaled 242,000 units, up 80.0% y/y; ICE-powered (ICE: internal combustion engine) hybrid passenger vehicle volumes totaled 64,000 units, down 22% y/y.
In the BEV market, wholesale volumes of A00-class electric vehicles (micro, wheelbase 2-2.2 meters) totaled 85,000 units, down 35% y/y and accounting for 17% (down 13% y/y) of the total BEV volume; wholesale volumes of A0-class small vehicles (wheelbase 2.2-2.3 meters) totaled 156,000 units, accounting for 32% (up 10% y/y) of the total BEV volume; wholesale volumes of A-class compact vehicles (wheelbase 2.3-2.45 meters) totaled 95,000 units, accounting for 19% of the total BEV volume; wholesale volumes of B-class midsize vehicles (wheelbase 2.45-2.6 meters) totaled 145,000 units, up 69% y/y and accounting for 29% of the total BEV volume. Wholesale volumes of all classes of electric vehicles were relatively differentiated.
In July, there were 16 passenger models (19 in the same period last year) with a wholesale volume exceeding 20,000 units. These models are: BYD’s Song (
51,258 units), BYD’s Qin (44,695 units), Tesla’s Model Y (43,961 units), SAIC VW’s Lavida (33,027 units), BYD’s Dolphin (31,950 units), BYD’s Yuan (31,456 units), BYD’s Seagull (28,001 units), Dongfeng Nissan’s Sylphy (27,562 units), Changan Auto’s CS75 (25,345 units), BYD’s Han (25,237 units), FAW VW’s Sagitar (24,394 units), GAC Aion’s Aion S (22,437 units), FAW Toyota’s Corolla (21,286 units), Haval’s H6 (21,265 units), Chery’s Tiggo 8 (20,440 units), and Tesla’s Model 3 (20,324 units), among which NEVs occupy the top three in terms of wholesale volume, with a clear dominance.
As for exports, 88,000 New Energy passenger cars were exported in July, up 80% y/y, among which 92% were BEVs and 50% were A0- and A00-class BEVs. Specifically, the export volumes were
32,862 units for Tesla China, 18,169 units for BYD, 17,724 units for SAIC Motor Passenger Vehicle, 6,674 units for SAIC-GM-Wuling, 6,119 units for Dongfeng eGT, 2,391 units for Great Wall Motor, 2,280 units for Geely, 974 units for Skyworth Auto, 285 units for Chery, 282 units for Dongfeng Yu-An, 171 units for SAIC Maxus, 146 units for Changan Ford, and 127 units for Dongfeng Peugeot Citroen Automobile. Local brands such as SAIC Motor had a high export volume to Europe, and BYD’s export volume to Southeast Asia surged.
For emerging EV makers, retail shares totaled 13.1% in July, down 1.6% y/y. NIO, Li Auto, and Leapmotor maintained strong m/m (month-over-month) and y/y performance.
In terms of NEV wholesale volumes, Volkswagen sold
21,920 units this month, holding a large share of 59% in mainstream joint venture brands.

Market analysis and outlook
In July 2023, China’s auto market weakened slightly after enjoying peak performance in June, yet remaining relatively bullish. With China-6b emission standards coming into effect in the month, promotions in the market decreased a little, and their driving effect on the market diminished. On the other hand, national guiding policies for the auto industry were frequently introduced and had a good effect on boosting consumer confidence.
In August 2023, there will be 23 working days, flat from the same period last year. As some automakers have an ample capacity for conventional ICE vehicles and a long high-temperature vacation, the auto market will enter a rest period. The current high oil prices will contribute to increasing the number of NEVs. The previous overexuberance of the property market led to great debt pressure on residents, while the recent cooling of the market benefited the auto market by promoting the recovery of the purchasing power of the latter.
According to the CPCA, the robust demand in the off season of July is in line with expectations, but uncertainties remain about the demand in the year-end peak season. Its estimates for the 2023 passenger car retail sales and NEV wholesale volumes remain unchanged at 21 million units and 8.5 million units, respectively.
The recent issuance of an amendment to the “Parallel Management Measures for Average Fuel Consumption of Passenger Vehicle Enterprises and Points for NEVs” by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of China has empowered the NEV market with a sustainable strong development momentum in the next two years. As nationwide promotional subsidies for ICE vehicles have been stepped up since March and China-6b emission standards came into effect in the second half of the year, the prices of ICE vehicles are bound to return to normal. Also, trade-in demand has become the key to supporting the growth of ICE vehicles. The ratio of trade-ins to sales volumes was 45% in 2022 and is expected to reach 48% this year.

Top 10 Chinese Passenger Car Makers by Retail Sales

- Maker July 2023
1,000 units
1 BYD 231 45.2%
2 FAW-VW 152 -1.0%
3 Changan Auto 118 1.5%
4 Geely 118 7.5%
5 SAIC-VW 100 -16.7%
6 SAIC-GM 83 -9.8%
7 GAC Toyota 71 -13.1%
8 Great Wall Motor 71 -6.4%
9 SAIC-GM-Wuling 68 -19.9%
10 Chery 65 -2.5%

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

 Parts Procurement Status