Published on January 17th, 2022 | by Subhash Nair


SAIC Motor Is Still China’s Largest Carmaker, With 5.81 Million Cars Sold In 2021

When it comes to moving a big number of cars, few auto conglomerates can challenge SAIC in China.

SAIC Motor has long held the position of no.1 carmaker in China. In fact, they’ve been holding the number 1 position in car sales for 16 years. In 2021, their total volume of vehicles sold was 5.81 million, representing an increase in sales of 5.5% versus their 2020 numbers.

Of course, this number doesn’t tell the full story. SAIC sells a number of cars in partnership with other foreign brands. However, SAIC also reported that sales of self-branded vehicles made up more than half their sales in 2021 (52.3%), which is a first for the brand.

IM L7 hero photo

SAIC also saw unprecedented growth in exports in 2021 – 78.9% year-on-year. 2021 was the year the company exported nearly 600,000 vehicles and assembled nearly 100,000 vehicles at overseas plants.

MG 6 by SAIC

Besides sales, the company has also been making major strides in terms of research & development.

BHPetrol_Euro5 Diesel_2021

This includes the introduction of the IM brand in partnership with Alibaba. The brand already has working models in beta testing that will roll out to showrooms in April.

Here’s the press release with more information.


SAIC Motor, China’s largest A-share listed automaker saw a strong increase in car sales in 2021.

Statistics show that the carmaker sold over 5.46 million vehicles and delivered more than 5.81 million vehicles in 2021, a year-on-year increase of 5.5 percent, ranking first in China for 16 years in a row. Sales of self-branded vehicles, new energy vehicles (NEVs), and vehicle exports reported double-digit growth. 

Additionally, the carmaker has also made remarkable achievements in the development of intelligent connected vehicles (ICVs).

According to official data, it sold nearly 2.86 million self-branded vehicles in 2021. Its two brands ROEWE and MG sold about 800,000 vehicles in total last year, self-branded vehicles accounting for 52.3 percent of SAIC Motor’s total sales, exceeding 50 percent for the first time.

Sales of NEVs reached 733,000, increasing 128.9 percent year-on-year, ranking first in China and second in the world. The company’s brands MG and Maxus sold more than 50,000 NEVs in developed markets such as Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

697,000 vehicles were sold in overseas market, a year-on-year increase of 78.9 percent, including 598,000 exported vehicles and 99,000 vehicles produced at overseas production bases. SAIC Motor has ranked first among domestic car companies for six consecutive years in overseas sales. 

SAIC Motor’s services and products are currently available in more than 70 countries and regions. The company has developed six large-scale regional markets in Europe, Australia and New Zealand, Americas, the Middle East, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, and South Asia. Overseas sales of MG-branded vehicles hit 360,000 last year, ranking among the top 10 brands in 17 countries.

The carmaker has also made a number of breakthroughs over the past year.

IM, an electric car startup by SAIC Motor, Alibaba and ZJ INNOPARK, saw its first L7 Beta version roll off the assembly line in late 2021. SAIC Motor founded the R brand to expand the medium-and high-level intelligent electric vehicle market. The first L4 Robotaxi vehicles powered by SAIC Mobility were officially put into operation in Shanghai and Suzhou last year. 

SAIC Motor established YouDaoZhiTu, an intelligent driving technology company focusing on L4 autonomous driving systems for commercial vehicles in ports, factories and logistics companies. L4 means the car can drive by itself without a human driver under most circumstances.

Industrialization of core components for autonomous driving was achieved last year by SAIC Motor. It has also promoted the development and production of domestic automotive chips.

SAIC Motor has made great efforts to transform itself into a user-orientated high-tech company.

The rapid development of revolutionary technologies such as new energy, big data, cloud computing, artificial intelligence (AI) and internet of things (IoT) has brought an epoch-making change to the automobile industry. In order to seize the historic opportunity, SAIC Motor plans to invest 300 billion yuan ($47.1 billion) to support technological innovation in areas such as intelligent electric vehicles by 2025, aiming to advance its self-dependent innovation and transformation into a high-tech enterprise.

Official statistics show that in 2021, SAIC Motor invested more than 60 billion yuan in innovation and was granted nearly 3,000 patents for inventions. 

Efforts have also been made to upgrade new energy technologies, and new-generation power batteries have been put into production recently. SAIC Motor will strive to make breakthroughs in power batteries with longer range. Solid lithium batteries with high safety and high energy density for commercial use will be launched by the company by 2025.

To develop Software Defined Vehicles, SAIC Motor will focus on user experience innovation and promote changes in its product design and business model. SAIC Motor is the first in the Chinese auto industry to have a complete set of five centers, namely software development, big data, AI, cloud computing, and cyber security. 

It also established technical capabilities for intelligent vehicles. In the future, SAIC Motor will strengthen its independent control of SOA software platform and centralized electronic architecture by developing all core software in the domain. 

SAIC will seek to incubate 20 “little giants”, or leading small and medium technology innovation enterprises, in the coming years. The company has fostered 20 “little giants” such as SHPT, IM, R Auto, and Z-One. SHPT launched its fuel cell reactor last year, which can provide more power for vehicles while reducing hydrogen consumption. SAIC Motor will spin off its wholly controlled SHPT to help SHPT go public.

Additionally, the carmaker has actively promoted industrial investment. In recent years, it has increased industrial investment to empower technological innovation. Focusing on NEVs and ICVs, SAIC Motor has expanded direct investment in innovation, and invested in a number of industry leaders such as battery giant CATL, AI chip startup Horizon Robotics, and autonomous driving startup Momenta. 

Eight companies invested by SAIC Motor went public last year, covering key technologies such as chips, NEVs, cyber security, and IoT. The accumulated investment by SAIC Motor in the primary market amounts to 42 billion yuan, ranking among the best domestic automobile groups and industrial groups.

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