BAIC misses out on number one brand

The BAIC EC has zoomed up the charts to become the world's best-selling electric car during the first three months of 2018.

In figures released overnight by JATO Dynamics, the BAIC EC notched up 25,630 sales (up 260 per cent) during the first quarter of this year, taking the provisional sales crown from the Nissan Leaf, which thanks to a new generation model was up 47 per cent to 22,124.

Both vehicles handily outsold the third-placed model, the Tesla Model S, which slipped 6 per cent to 11,450.

The BAIC EC is available as the EC180 with 30kW/140Nm electric motor, and an NEDC range of 156km, or as the EC200 with a 36kW/140Nm motor, and a range of 162km.

With China's government heavily pushing electric and plug-in hybrid cars through consumer incentives and industry quotas, it's not surprising to see four China-only models in the global top 10.

Despite that, Tesla was still the top global pure EV brand with 27,529 cars sold (up 35 per cent), followed by BAIC (26,409), and Nissan (22,666). Three other Chinese marques (JAC, Chery and Zotye) made it into the top 10.

Stepping down the electrification ladder, the Toyota Prius Prime (12,100) was the world's number one plug-in hybrid, ahead of the BYD Song (11,788) and BYD Qin (10,096). The Mitsubishi Outlander (8511) and BMW X5 (5,850) rounded out the top five places.

Into the hybrid realm, Toyota and Lexus accounted for 52 per cent of all models sold worldwide, with Suzuki (20 per cent) coming second, and Honda (10 per cent) third.

As far as individual models go, the Toyota C-HR (52,301) pipped its compatriot Prius (46,652), with the Suzuki Spacia (42,680) third. The Prius C/Aqua (39,252) and Vitz/Yaris (37,080) rounded out the top five.

Only the Suzuki Wagon R (30,865) in sixth and Nissan Serena (26,219) broke up Toyota's hegemony over the top 10.

JATO's numbers include 53 key global markets, including Europe, North America, China, Australia, and India.