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China auto sales down 3.1% year on year in May

Mary From Gasgoo| June 11 , 2021 14:04 BJT

Beijing (Gasgoo)- Vehicle sales in China declined 3.1% in May from a year ago to 2.128 million units, the first fall since April of last year, and decreased 5.5% month on month, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM). But compared with the same month of 2019, auto sales in May went up 11.1%.

China auto sales, China automotive news

In the first five months of this year, auto sales of the world’s biggest auto market jumped 36.6% versus the same period of last year to 10.875 million vehicles.

Monthly vehicle production also saw both year-on-year and month-on-month decrease in May. The country produced 2.04 million vehicles last month, down 6.8% from a year ago but up 10.3% compared with the same month of 2019.

Both the passenger vehicle market and the commercial vehicle market sold less vehicles in May than the same month of last year. Monthly sales of passenger vehicles saw a slight decrease of 1.7% year on year while those of the commercial vehicles were down 7.4%.

China auto sales, China automotive news

Apart from seasonal factors, chip shortage has slowed down many automakers’ production and caused a tight vehicle inventory, only about 478,000 passenger vehicles by the end of May. Chen Shihua, an official at the association, said that market demands were strong, but the shortage in the supply sent sales down. And the chip shortage is expected to have a lasting effect on the sales of this month.

China sold a total of 482,000 commercial vehicles last month, down 7.4% from a year ago. Sales decline in the commercial market was caused by the expected implementation of China-6 emission legislation for heavy-duty trucks on July 1 this year.

Besides, increasing material price also exerted certain effect on automakers’ operation. 

China’s new energy vehicle (NEV) market continued to have a very strong momentum with sales at a high level for several consecutive months. Sales of the emerging segment, including battery electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and fuel cell electric vehicles, hit another monthly record high in May with 217,000 NEVs sold. Sales of the segment surged 151.7% compared with the same period of last year, but the growth from the previous month was only 0.5%.

China auto sales, China automotive news

For the first five months of this year, NEV sales skyrocketed 224% year on year to 967,000 vehicles, 915,000 of which were passenger vehicles. Cumulative sales of fuel cell electric vehicles plunged 44.1% from a year ago to 207 vehicles.

Another highlight of China’s monthly auto sales is that monthly market shares of Chinese passenger vehicle brand increased 7.1 percentage points to 41.3%. Last month, passenger vehicle sales of Chinese brands jumped 18.6% year on year to 679,000 vehicles. Chen Shihua said Chinese local brands are launching more and more competitive models which have outstanding performance in connectivity and other smart features.

Thanks to the recovery of foreign markets, the export of China-made vehicles in May more than tripled to 151,000 vehicles compared with the same period of last year. The year-on-year growth rate of the exported NEVs was up to 1630% with 18,000 shipped. Many automakers such as BYD, XPeng and AIWAYS have shipped electric vehicles to overseas markets.

The association expects higher growth rate for the whole year’s sales. Shi Jianhua, deputy general secretary of the CAAM, said annual vehicle sales may be up by 6.5%, higher than the 4% forecast at the beginning of this year. The overall annual sales are expected to reach 27 million units while the sales of NEVs may be increased to 2 million vehicles. But the official also warned that chip shortage, surging material price could dent the annual sales.

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