April marks rebound in Chinese auto market
China’s auto sales rose 4.4 percent year on year to 2.07 million vehicles in April, according to data released by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) on Monday.
April's growth indicates a recovery in the market after the government released a series of policies to rev up auto consumption. It's also a reversal compared with a 43 percent drop in March and a 79 drop in February.
In total, 5.76 million vehicles were sold in the first four months of this year, a decline of 31.1 percent year on year. The overall decline from January to April was attributed to macro-economic factors and weak consumer confidence amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
CAAM said that with a series of government policies and continuous efforts against COVID-19, the overall market is gradually recovered. The association also noted that production and business operations of car manufacturers largely resumed in April and output reached a level comparable with the same period last year.
"Auto companies are suggested to pay attention to changes in the overseas epidemic situation and make appropriate preparations in advance to reduce risks," the association said.
The association predicted that Chinese auto sales were likely to fall more than 10 percent in the first half of this year and 5 percent for the whole year, marking a third consecutive year of contraction. Last year, overall sales fell 8.2 percent to 25.77 million vehicles.
CAAM said earlier that China's auto market is expected to recover significantly in the second quarter, but it would be difficult to achieve the same levels as the same period last year.
In April, sales of passenger cars accounted for about 74 percent of total vehicle sales. China sold 1.53 million passenger cars in the first four months, down 4.6 percent year on year.
Commercial vehicles took up the remaining 26 percent of total vehicle sales, with 534,000 units sold last month.
Also in April, sales of new-energy vehicles declined by 26.5 percent to 72,000 vehicles. Last month, electric vehicles declined 28.6 percent year on year to 51,000 units. Sales of plug-in hybrids dropped 20.7 percent to 20,000 vehicles.
The country has issued policies to promote sales of automobiles and related products to further stabilize the economy. In Shanghai, car buyers are expected to enjoy discounts and participate in a series of activities as the city government released policies to stimulate demand for automobiles and boost the economy.
China’s biggest automaker SAIC Motor Group has reported that its retail sales rose 0.5 percent in April to 432,500 vehicles from the same period of last year. China's largest privately owned carmaker Geely said it sold 105,500 cars in April, up 2 percent compared with a year earlier.