Biz / Auto

Chinese car sales mark fifth month of gains

Hu Yumo
Car sales rose 11.6 percent to 2.19 million units in August, although sales for the year-to-date are down nearly 10 percent.
Hu Yumo

Chinese auto sales rose 11.6 percent year on year to 2.19 million vehicles in August, the fifth consecutive month of growth, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) released on Thursday.

In the first eight months, however, the country's overall car sales were down 9.7 percent to 14.55 million units, which was attributed to macro-economic headwinds amid the COVID-19 pandemic, data from the association shows. During the first seven months, sales were down 12.7 percent.

August's gains follow a 16.7 percent increase in July and a 11.6 percent increase in June. These results indicate that the country's auto market is recovering quickly under favorable government policies and growing consumer sentiment.

CAAM expects car sales to further improve in the coming months, led by increasing consumer demand and the launch of new models as the Beijing auto show approaches. The association also notes that as the Mid-Autumn Festival and the National Day holidays draw near, consumers' willingness is also climbing. 

In June, the association predicted that China's auto market would see a 10 percent drop for the entire year. The association added that the slide could deepen to around 20 percent if a second wave of infections occurs. Last year, overall sales fell 8.2 percent to 25.77 million vehicles.

Among total sales in August, passenger car sales reached 1.75 million units, up 6 percent from the same month last year. Commercial vehicle sales totaled 431,000 units last month, a jump of 41.6 percent year on year.

Sales of green cars jumped 25.8 percent year on year to 109,000 units. In July, the new-energy vehicle sector ended 12 straight months of decline with a 19.3 percent jump to 98,000 units.

Specifically, electric vehicles rose 25.6 percent year on year to 88,000 units. Sales of plug-in hybrids added 26.1 percent to 21,000 units. The association expects sales of new-energy vehicles to reach 1.1 million units this year, down around 11 percent from last year.

China’s biggest automaker SAIC Motor reported that its retail sales rose 3.6 percent in August to 504,000 vehicles from the same period last year. China's largest privately owned carmaker Geely said it sold 113,443 cars last month, up 12 percent compared with a year earlier.

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