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New-energy vehicles buck downward trend in Chinese auto market

Passenger car sales fell 6.9 percent last month, while purchases of NEVs jumped by 85 percent, according to recent industry figures. Further growth expected despite subsidy cuts.

China’s auto sales continued to slump in March, although sales of new-energy vehicles (NEVs) rose by over 85 percent, according to an industry report released on Friday.

Last month, Chinese passenger car sales totaled 2.02 million units, down 6.9 percent from a year earlier, but moderating from the 13.7 percent decrease recorded in the first quarter, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) announced. 

China’s auto sales have been on a downward trend since 2018, as weakened demand and macro-economic factors have weighed on the market.

Despite slack performance in the overall market, sales and production of NEVs remain a bright spot for the industry.

China's electric vehicle market will continue to boom in the second quarter of 2019, despite subsidy cuts, Fitch Ratings predicted recently.

The rapid growth was supported by more attractive product offerings and wider commercial application of NEVs, analysts said.

In March, NEV car sales jumped 85.4 percent year on year. In the first quarter, they grew 109.7 percent, according to CAAM.

Last month, Chinese authorities announced the scaling back of subsidies for the NEV industry, with a three-month transition period, as part of efforts to push development in the sector.

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