Tesla Model 3 and Model Y are making serious waves in China’s most notable EV sector

It is almost strange to see an automotive market open to vehicles of all segments being dominated by premium competitors. Yet this is precisely what seems to be happening in China, with the country’s recent EV sales rankings showing the Tesla Model 3 and the Tesla Model Y becoming two of the country’s best-selling electric cars. 

Data aggregated by EVSalesBlog, a website that has been tracking electric vehicles’ sales figures across the globe for years, reveal that the Tesla Model 3 and Model Y are now making some serious waves in China’s electric vehicle sector. The Model 3 actually beat conventional best-sellers in the premium sedan segment, EV or otherwise, with the vehicle outselling the Audi A4, BMW 3-Series, and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class last month. 

The Model Y may be new on the block and its numbers may not be on the level of its sedan sibling yet, but the all-electric crossover is already showing a lot of potential. During its first months of production, the Model Y already outsold some of its local competitors from formidable brands like NIO and Xpeng, companies that also compete in the premium EV segment. 

Granted, the Tesla Model 3 and Tesla Model Y are being outsold by the Wuling HongGuang Mini EV, GM’s uber-affordable electric car that’s priced at around $4,400. The Mini EV has led China’s electric car leaderboards for months, and it has outsold the Model 3 to a notable degree. However, a closer look at the Mini EV shows that the vehicle is actually not competing against the Model 3 and Model Y, regardless of what Tesla critics would suggest. This is because GM’s tiny electric car is competing in a far more modest market. 

The Mini EV’s affordable price means that it’s a bare-bones vehicle fitted with a battery pack that ranges from 9.2 kWh to 13.8 kWh. It also has a curb weight that’s just above 1,400 lbs, as well as zero airbags. Together with its $4,400 price, the Mini EV’s small size and modest features make it more of a competitor against China’s healthy lineup of 2-3-wheeled vehicles, some of which are sold at the same price range as GM’s modest electric car. 

GM’s Wuling HongGuang Mini EV. (Credit: SAIC-GM-Wuling)

Considering that the Mini EV is more of an inner-city vehicle that’s just a small step up from 2-3-wheeled alternatives, the country’s greater electric vehicle market seems ripe for domination. In this light, Tesla appears to be planting the right seeds with the Model 3 and Model Y, considering that the vehicles already outsell their local competition. What’s particularly exciting is that Tesla has a tendency to lower its vehicles’ prices over time, which suggests that the Model 3 and Model Y may be even more affordable in the future. 

China’s EV leaderboards this year may see the $4,400 Wuling HongGuang Mini EV at the top for a while. But when it comes to the segment of serious vehicles that are truly capable of replacing the best internal combustion cars in every metric, the Tesla Model 3 and Tesla Model Y seem poised to take the country’s top spots. 

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