(Yicai Global) Jan. 11 -- China’s auto sales contracted for a third year in a row in 2020, though the pace of decline slowed as the country’s economy and export markets recovered more than expected from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Sales of sedans, sport utility vehicles and multi-purpose vehicles fell 6.8 percent to 19.3 million in the year ended Dec. 31, according to data released by the China Passenger Car Association today.
After sales had slumped 7.3 percent in 2019 and 6 percent in 2018, automakers had to close assembly lines at the start of 2020 because of the coronavirus outbreak. But production resumed in April and central and local governments rolled out policies to support the industry.
Sales of new energy vehicles jumped 9.8 percent to 1.1 million last year, boosted by a strong turnaround in the second half, the CPCA data showed.
Sales are expected to rise sharply this month, as the economy has been regaining strength and consumer confidence and purchasing power have recovered, CPCA Secretary General Cui Dongshu said.
But he cautioned that there are still potential adverse factors affecting vehicle deliveries such as a resurgence of coronavirus in some provinces and extreme weather conditions.
Last month, auto sales rose 6.6 percent to 2.3 million from a year earlier, maintaining growth of about 7 percent for a sixth straight month, according to the data. Luxury car sales soared 26 percent, with trade-in offers boosting demand. Chinese brands had a 39.5 percent share of retail sales last month, a 4 percent annual gain.
NEV sales jumped 58 percent to 206,000 in December. The top three sellers were SAIC-GM-Wuling Automobile, BYD Auto and Tesla. New-energy vehicle startups such as Nio, Li Auto, WM Motor, Xiaopeng Motors Technology and Hozon New Energy Automobile also performed well. Luxury carmakers BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi began mass production of their all-electric vehicles in December.