BYD chairman summarizes three trends in China's EV market this year

Peng Chen, DIGITIMES Asia, Taipei 0

BYD Chairman and President Wang Chuanfu. Credit: AFP

China-based EV makers are expected to remain the front-runners in 2024. Wang Chuanfu, BYD's chairman and president, said China's EV penetration rate will continue to grow this year, with the monthly proportion could surpass 50%. He also said Chinese EV companies will accelerate exports to expand overseas.

BYD sold more than three million EVs in 2023, up 60% year-on-year. The carmaker delivered 526,409 battery EVs in the fourth quarter of last year, beating Tesla for the first time. The US EV company sold 484,507 units in the period.

According to China-based Shanghai Securities News, Wang said at a conference in Guangdong on February 18 that the EV development will only keep expediting and would not give businesses a chance to take a break.

He Xiaopeng, chairman and CEO of emerging EV company Xpeng, has a similar view. In a recent internal letter to his staff, He said 2024 would be the first year the Chinese automotive market entered the "bloody competition," meaning the elimination will officially start.

Wang mentioned three trends to watch in the Chinese automotive industry this year. First, the automotive electrification will grow further. He said China reached 35% in EV penetration rate last year. At the end of 2023, the monthly figure even exceeded 40%. Therefore, Wang said China's monthly EV penetration rate will likely surpass 50% in 2024.

The BYD chairman also said Chinese EV companies will continue to gain traction in the premium market. According to Wang, the market share of domestic car brands in Chinese EV segment rose from 38% in 2020 to 56% last year. Electrification and smart vehicle technology have created new opportunities in the high-end market.

In January, BYD's first roll-on/roll-off (RoRo)ship set off from Guangdong, carrying several thousands of EVs to Europe. Wang said China's EV exports will accelerate in 2024. In addition, BYD aims to put seven RoRo ships into operation in the next two years to mitigate the logistics bottleneck.

Xpeng has entered the tenth year of its inception. China-based The Paper reported that He said in the internal letter that the company aims to at least double its sales in the new year and plans to launch 30 new or facelift vehicle models within three years.

He also said that in 2024, Xpeng will launch its first EV based on the vehicle platforms of CNY300,000 (US$42,000)-class and CNY150,000-class, respectively, to complete its portfolio.

According to He, Xpeng will invest 40% more in R&D this year compared to 2023. The EV company expected to inject CNY3.5 billion in the R&D of AI-based smart driving technology.