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Chip shortage hits year-round car sales

By LI FUSHENG | China Daily | Updated: 2021-11-15 09:21
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Aerial photo taken on Aug 12, 2021 shows new energy vehicles at a logistics park in Liuzhou, South China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region. [Photo/Xinhua]

Vehicle sales in China this year may exceed the volume of 2020, but they are likely to fall short of previous estimates because of power and chip shortages, said the country's leading industry organization.

A total of 2.33 million vehicles were sold in October, according to data from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers shown on Wednesday.

That was a 9.4 percent fall compared with the same month last year, but the decline, however, narrowed 10.2 percentage points from September, according to the CAAM.

The association said sales in October were up 1.5 percent from the same month in 2019, while deliveries in August and September were lower than the pre-COVID level.

"This shows chip supplies started to get better in October than in previous months," said Chen Shihua, deputy secretary-general of the association.

"But chip shortages will not disappear in the short term, and we will probably see steep falls in November and December as sales in these two months last year were pretty high."

In the first 10 months this year, 20.97 million vehicles were sold, up 6.4 percent year-on-year and up 1.4 percent from the same period in 2019.

The association said sales in the year are likely to see growth from 2020 but will not reach the previously estimated level.

Earlier this year, the association estimated that carmakers would deliver 26 million vehicles in 2021, up 4 percent from 2020.

Despite the overall situation, the new energy vehicle sector is seeing fast growth.

Their sales rocketed 134.9 percent year-on-year in October to about 383,000 units, accounting for 16.4 percent of total vehicle deliveries in the month.

Sales of electric cars and plug-in hybrids totaled 2.54 million from January to October, up 180 percent year-on-year.

Currently, volume brands are seizing the lion's share of China's new energy vehicle market, which tells of their growing acceptance among ordinary customers.

There were six carmakers that saw their sales exceed 10,000 units in October, and Tesla was the only premium brand, according to statistics from the China Passenger Car Association.

China's leading new energy vehicle manufacturer BYD remained the most popular brand among buyers, with its car wholesales reaching 80,373 units last month.

Tesla China sold 54,391 vehicles in October, and its exports reached 40,666 units. And the third-most popular brand was Wuling, known for its two-seat mini vehicles, selling over 42,000 units.

Startups are selling well too. New York-traded Xpeng sold over 10,000 units in October.

Nio, which is listed in New York as well, delivered over 24,000 units from July to September. Its chairman William Li expects a similar volume in the last quarter this year.

"So far this year, you can rarely see carmakers launch newly developed gasoline models. Almost all of the new launches are electric or plug-in hybrids ones," Chen said.

At this year's Guangzhou auto show, which is expected to kick off on Friday, there will be 241 new energy models, 100 more than at the event last year, according to its organizers.

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