Volkswagen Is China’s Top Selling Automaker In January 2024

Volkswagen outpaces second-place BYD by over 18,000 sales in China over the first month of 2024. 

Now amid all the stories of foreign automakers suffering to make it in China last year, it should perhaps come as a surprise then that Volkswagen has just become the top-selling marque in the world’s largest auto market last month. 

Data released by the China Passenger Car Association (CPCA) shows for the German giant to have shifted 209,476 units over there in the first 31 days of 2024, which was apparently sufficient to fend off BYD, which had consistently held that top spot for the prior eleven consecutive months. Rather more impressively too is that Volkswagen is apparently the only automaker to have exceeded a 10% market share of new car sales for the month in January (10.29%), with even BYD’s 191,122 sales only seeing it able to secure 9.34% of that aforementioned pie. 

BYD’s complete dominance in China’s EV field is however expectedly unchallenged, with it to still to be in leading the BEV and PHEV markets over there with significant shares last month. The Chinese auto giant’s nearly 100,000 full EV sales saw it command about a 26% market share in the local BEV market over there in January, with it accounting for an even more dominant 34% share in the PHEV category for the month too.

Interestingly though, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) has reported for overall PHEV and BEV sales in China over January has actually fell by a whopping 38.8% from December. The first drop of such magnitude since August 2023, this sharp decline could nevertheless be attributed more to the frantic sales push made by automakers that artificially drove sales up towards the end of last year, rather than an overall softening demand for these types of vehicles over there. 

Looking further into the more international aspect of these sales statistics meanwhile, CAAM data shows for China to have exported 443,000 vehicles in January 2024, with nearly one in seven electrified vehicles sold during the month being shipped out of the country. In terms of specific brands, Chery is to be the top exporter in China over the last month, with it shipping out nearly 90,000 cars, while SAIC (of which MG is a part of) and Changan round of this podium with around 60,000 and 55,000 exports respectively. 

Changan does however manage to snag the top-spot on a sales leader board in China in January 2024, as its CS75 Plus was the country’s best-selling model last month, with 40,496 units of these SUVs finding new homes. Volkswagen’s Lavida on the other hand narrowly eked out BYD’s Song Plus for second place with 32,419 units sold against 32,267, while the Nissan Sylphy surprisingly snuck in at fourth place with 30,384 units shifted. 

Getting back briefly on the topic of Volkswagen now, this surprising sales result in January for it could mainly be attributed to the popularity of its ID.3 hatchback. Over 10,000 units of the hatchback have consistently been sold per month since July, after the German automaker cut the starting price of the model by some 16% to start from just 119,900 yuan (RM 80,000), in order to better compete with BYD’s Dolphin and Atto 3. If only VW could perform this same price cutting measure somewhere outside of China too, huh…

Joshua Chin

Automotive journalist. Professional work on and Personal writing found at Instagram: @driveeveryday

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