How Tesla Performed Against The Competition In China In 2021

Tesla, Inc. TSLA is the market leader among battery electric vehicle manufacturers, and opinions are divided over the likelihood the automaker will defend its pole position in the near- to medium-term.

China is a key electric vehicle market given the rapidly increasing adoption of what the nation calls new energy vehicles, which include both BEVs and plug-in hybrids.

Legacy automakers are making a beeline for China's growing market. Against this backdrop, Benzinga looked at how Tesla's sales in China in 2021 compared to the rest of the auto industry.

Related Link: Nio Vs. XPeng Vs. Li Auto: How 2022 Is Shaping Up For Chinese EV Stocks

Tesla's China Tally: Tesla's deliveries out of its Giga Shanghai factory totaled 484,130 vehicles in 2021, CnEVPost reported, citing data provided by the company. From this total, 321,000 vehicles were sold in China and the remaining cars were exported.

The Model Y SUV accounted for roughly 62% of the total domestic sales. Tesla began delivering Model Y vehicles in January 2021.

It has to be noted that Tesla sells only pureplay BEVs.

In comparison, Warren Buffett-backed BYD Company Limited BYDDF sold 593,745 NEVs in 2021, according to filings with the Hong Kong stock exchange. This includes 320,810 BEVs and 272,935 PHEVs.

Among the U.S. auto giants, sales of the General Motors Corporation GM-SAIC-Wuling joint venture-manufactured Wuling Hongguang Mini EV came in at 400,000 units.

Ford Motor Company F is late to the China EV party. In late December, the company delivered its locally produced Mustang Mach-E BEV to its first customer. The company is using a direct-to-consumer store model to push its BEVs and it now has about 25 stores dedicated to sales of Ford EVs in China.

Ford, however, sells plug-in hybrids in China.

See Also: Tesla's China EV Sales Surge In December, Outperforming Nio, XPeng, Others

German auto giant Volkswagen AG VWAGY's tally shows 70,625 EV sales in China in 2021, comprising its ID-series vehicles. This was below the company's target of 80,000-10,000 units.

Japanese automaker Toyota Motor Corporation TM sold 475,900 PHEVs in China in 2021, Nikkei reported, citing the company.

Fellow Japanese automaker Honda Motor Co. Ltd. HMC has begun to accelerate its EV push in China. Earlier this month, Honda said Dongfeng Honda Automobile Co., Ltd., its Chinese joint venture, will build a dedicated EV plant in the Wuhan Economic Zone that will come online in 2024. It will have an annual production capacity of 120,000 units.

With legacy automakers in their early stages of their EV expansion into China, Tesla's threat is mainly from nimble EV startups in China. The competitive dynamics, however, will likely to change in the near- to medium-term as legacy automakers shift their focus to China.

Tesla Vs. Legacy Automakers: Tesla's 2021 numbers speak of a strong showing vis-à-vis EV peers and the EV tally of legacy automakers. But how does Tesla as an automaker compare to the rest in the industry?

Official numbers for Ford Motor Company's F Greater China sales in 2021 aren't yet available. In October, the company released statistics for the first three quarters of the year, showing sales of 457,000 units.

With China's NEV thrust and consumer preference for these environment-friendly vehicles, it doesn't look improbable that Tesla to rise up the ranks to become the best-selling vehicle brand in the country.

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