A Model Y vehicle on display at a Tesla flagship store in Shanghai, China on Jan. 4, 2021.
Gao Yuwen | Visual China Group | Getty Images
BEIJING – Tesla’s Model Y has got off to a solid start in China, less than three months since shipments began.
The midsize SUV was the third best electric car in February with 4,630 vehicles. That is according to data released by the China Passenger Car Association on Wednesday. Taking January into account, the data showed the car was the ninth best seller among new energy vehicles, a category that includes electric cars.
Tesla announced on New Years Day that the China-made Model Y would begin deliveries at a price that, according to Chinese media, is 30% cheaper than previously announced.
The Model Y was popular, although auto sales tended to decline during the weeklong New Year holidays in February of that year.
According to the association, nationwide car sales fell by 45.5% in February compared to January. Nearly 3.34 million passenger cars were sold in China in the first two months of the year, with new energy vehicles accounting for 7.5%.
The Chinese electric car start-ups Xpeng and Li Auto announced a sharp drop in deliveries to just over 2,000 vehicles each and low forecasts for the first quarter in February. Rival Nio led the group with roughly double shipments in February and a much higher forecast for the quarter.
According to the Passenger Car Association, the vehicles of the three Chinese start-ups are among the 15 best new energy vehicles sold in China in the first two months of the year.
Tesla’s Model 3 takes second place
However, the startups are still lagging behind the larger automakers in the Chinese electric vehicle market.
First place went to the Hongguang Mini, an affordable miniature electric car developed by General Motors’ joint venture with Wuling Motors and the state-owned SAIC Motor.
Tesla’s Model 3 sedan, which was the best-selling electric car in China last year, took second place in February and the first two months of the year, according to the association.
In third place for January and February combined was BYD’s luxury Han sedan, the data showed. The vehicle, which is available as both an all-electric and a hybrid model, has grown in popularity since its launch last summer.
Due to the reliance on self-reporting, some in the Chinese auto industry have expressed doubts about the accuracy of the association’s figures.