China has proven its dominance yet again in the European sales charts, with buyers flocking to a slew of new models being designed and built in the Far East. Throughout August, the likes of BYD and MG have proved to be sales hits, in many cases beating established equivalent offerings from within the EU. The latest data represents 95 percent of new car sales in the European Union, EFTA countries, and the UK and comes amidst close scrutiny of China “flooding” Europe with affordable cars.
MG is one of the biggest winners in the list, with the popular MG4 making Europe’s top 40 best-selling list. The MG ZS crossover is close behind, in 44th place. Total European sales for the brand in August 2023 were almost triple what they were in the same month last year, with 14,411 units being shifted vs. 5,338 previously. MG managed to shift more units last month than Volvo, Suzuki, and Mini.
BYD, bolstered by its growing European footprint, sold 2,685 cars last month. The model-by-model sales report by Auto News Europe shows a marked improvement from the 186 it delivered in August 2022. The largest new-energy vehicle producer in the world saw sales of its Atto 3 (2,559) take the lion’s share of the pie. The Atto 3 even managed to outsell cars like the Mercedes E-Class and the BMW 5-Series and 4-Series.
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Polestar saw similar results, with all its vehicles now originating in China. The Volvo spinoff saw sales skyrocket by 250 percent in August, while Lotus, Ora, BYD, Great Wall, Nio, Xpeng, and MG reported similar successes. Each company had triple-digit increases in sales compared to last year.
The figures tally with previous reports concerning China’s new-found dominance in Europe, with a metaphorical flood of EVs coming for the continent. Customs Data reports that data shows Chinese new energy vehicle shipments (which include both hybrids and EVs) to the European Union increased by 112 percent in the first seven months of 2023 and a staggering 361 percent from 2021.
Such is the demand that China’s car makers are looking for new ships to transport vehicles. Meanwhile, the European Commission has not taken the emergence of a new EV superpower lightly. The bloc announced that it was looking into the increase in demand for Chinese EVs, with possible tariffs mooted. However, a verdict isn’t expected to be delivered for another 13 months.
EU leaders are looking to level the playing field, with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen saying: “Global markets are now flooded with cheaper electric cars. And their price is kept artificially low by huge state subsidies.”
France, on the other hand, has moved full steam ahead with their new legislation. Fresh standards reclassifying which EVs are eligible for subsidies will come into play in December. The changes factor in how green the energy used in vehicle manufacturers was, and it’s expected to exclude most Chinese EVs due to the prevalence of coal-generated power in the auto industry.
It’s not just Chinese manufacturers that have been making waves, though. Non-Chinese and non-China-dependent brands such as Jeep, Lexus, Cupra, and Renault were all able to record increases in sales volumes. Tesla, which imports most of its European-delivered Model 3 and Model Ys from China, sold 30,679 cars in August 2023 – although some Model Ys that were made in Germany would have contributed to that.
VW was up by 12 percent, but, along with BMW, Kia, and Toyota, their percentage gains were below the market’s overall increase of 22 percent from July.