China EV Sales Defy Subsidy Cuts, Maintain Strong Growth in Q1 2023

  • BYD continued to lead China’s increasingly competitive EV market.
  • The market share of foreign brands declined by 4% points.
  • EV sales are expected to exceed 8 million units in 2023.

Beijing, New Delhi, London, San Diego, Buenos Aires, Hong Kong, Seoul – June 27, 2023

China’s passenger electric vehicle* (EV) sales grew 29% YoY in Q1 2023, according to the latest research from Counterpoint’s China Passenger Electric Vehicle Model Sales Tracker. Battery EVs (BEVs) made up nearly 70% of the sales. There was a remarkable 88% YoY surge in plug-in hybrid EV (PHEV) sales as well. Recently, PHEVs have been experiencing increased popularity in China. BYD secured its leading position with 79% sales growth and 9.8% points increase in market share YoY. The top 10 automotive groups, encompassing 28 brands, collectively accounted for over 80% of the total passenger EV sales.

Commenting on the market dynamics, Senior Research Analyst Soumen Mandal said, “The discontinuation of the 13-year-old New Energy Vehicle (NEV) purchase subsidy, paired with the Tesla-triggered price war, had an adverse impact on domestic EV start-ups. Especially, smart EV brands such as NIO, Xpeng and Neta reported disappointing sales figures compared to the previous quarter. Foreign brands, like Volkswagen, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Tesla, Hyundai and Nissan, experienced a combined 4% points decrease in market share compared to a year ago. However, Tesla stands out as an exception. Other foreign brands have struggled to offer strong competition to domestic brands. Furthermore, Chinese brands such as BYD Auto, Dongfeng Motors, FAW, Great Wall Motors and Geely Auto are venturing beyond domestic borders to establish their presence across Europe, Latin America and Asia-Pacific.”

China EV sales share Q1 2023 - China EV Sales Q1 2023

Eight of the top 10 best-selling EV models were of Chinese origin in Q1 2023. Except Tesla, no foreign models were able to secure a position in the top 10. The top 10 best-selling models collectively accounted for 46% of China’s passenger EV sales. Moreover, all the top 5 best-selling PHEV models in Q1 2023 were manufactured by BYD Auto.

China Top 5 models - China EV Sales Q1 2023

Discussing the market outlook, Associate Director Brady Wang said, “The growth trajectory of China’s passenger EV market is expected to continue throughout 2023. Other supportive policies have been implemented to boost the market’s growth after the elimination of NEV purchase subsidies. In May, China’s Development and Reform Commission released a strategic document aimed at promoting EV adoption in rural areas. This will encourage auto manufacturers to introduce more affordable models, enhance sales systems, and facilitate trade-in services for rural consumers. We expect China’s EV sales to exceed 8 million units by the end of 2023.”

*Sales refer to wholesale figures, i.e. deliveries from factories by the respective brand/company.

*For EVs, we consider only BEVs and PHEVs. Hybrid EVs and fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) are not included in this study.

The comprehensive and in-depth ‘China Passenger Electric Vehicle Sales Tracker, Q1 2018-Q1 2023’ is now available for purchase at

Feel free to reach us at for questions regarding our latest research and insights.


Counterpoint Technology Market Research is a global research firm specializing in products in the TMT (technology, media and telecom) industry. It services major technology and financial firms with a mix of monthly reports, customized projects and detailed analyses of the mobile and technology markets. Its key analysts are seasoned experts in the high-tech industry.

Analyst Contacts

Soumen Mandal


 Neil Shah


Brady Wang


Counterpoint Research

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