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Chinese consumers choose popular electric cars from China, the United States, and Germany

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Stephan Wollenstein, CEO of Volkswagen China, will present the new ID.6 Crozz electric car at the Shanghai International Automobile Industry Exhibition on April 19, 2021.

Hector Retamal | AFP | Getty Images

BEIJING – When it comes to their favorite electric car brand, it’s the first choice of Chinese consumers, backed by Warren Buffett, according to a survey by Bernstein.

Elon Musk’s Tesla ranks second, and third on the list is the German Volkswagen, Bernstein said. The company cited the latest results from a regular survey of Chinese consumers in the third quarter of recent years. This year’s survey, released on Thursday, had around 1,600 respondents.

Most of the respondents lived in China’s larger cities, with an average age of 32 and a monthly income of about 19,000 yuan (2,969), according to the research company.

Almost half of those surveyed said they would consider buying an electric vehicle for their next car purchase.

The intention to buy an electric car from a Chinese start-up like Nio or Xpeng doubled this year to around 9.5% of respondents, compared to around 5% in recent years.

Read more about electric vehicles from CNBC Pro

Chinese startups ranked first in the “Upper Mass & Premium” segment of the electric car market, which covers cars costing at least 150,000 yuan ($ 23,437). The next favorite in this segment was Tesla, followed by German premium brands like BMW and Audi, according to the survey.

But for cars of all categories, German premium brands ranked first, followed by Japanese brands Toyota, Honda and Nissan, and Chinese brands like BYD and Geely, the report said. Start-ups with electric cars took sixth place in this category.

China is the largest auto market in the world and many European auto companies are making the country the starting point for their foray into electric vehicles.

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