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Nation eyes record year for vehicle sales

By LI FUSHENG | China Daily | Updated: 2023-12-12 08:29
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New energy vehicles roll off the assembly line of a carmaker in Jinhua, Zhejiang province. [HU XIAOFEI/FOR CHINA DAILY]

China's vehicle market is expected to hit a record this year, following a double-digit growth rate in the first 11 months, said the country's leading trade association on Monday.

"Sales are very likely to beat our previous estimate (of a 3 percent year-on-year growth) and set a record," said Chen Shihua, deputy secretary-general of the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.

China's vehicle sales peaked in 2017 at 28.88 million units. They fell to 25.31 million units in 2020 but have since started to rebound. Last year, 26.86 million units were delivered.

Sales in 2022 have already been eclipsed by deliveries in the first 11 months of this year, which totaled 26.94 million units, up 10.8 percent year-on-year.

In November, production hit a record 3.09 million units, up 29.4 percent year-on-year, and sales reached 2.97 million units, up 27.4 percent.

The CAAM said the sector's performance last month exceeded its expectations, explaining that the surge was primarily due to car buyers' rush to place orders, partly because of government stimuli and discounts from carmakers, along with a lower comparative base in the same month last year.

New energy vehicles saw even higher growth. For the first time, their production and sales each surpassed 1 million units in November, said the CAAM.

In the first 11 months, such deliveries totaled 8.3 million units, up 36.7 percent year-on-year. As serious choices among car buyers, they accounted for over 30 percent of total vehicle sales in the country over the same period.

Many automakers have experienced rapid growth. Nio sold 15,959 electric vehicles in November, representing a year-on-year increase of around 16 percent.

The New York-listed startup saw its cumulative deliveries from January to November reach over 142,000 units, up 33 percent from the same period last year.

Established automakers are also making headway in the sector. BYD sold 301,378 vehicles last month, bringing its sales so far this year to over 2.67 million units.

BMW Group said earlier this month that its cumulative NEV sales in China to date had reached over 300,000 units.

Great Wall Motor, China's largest SUV and pickup maker, saw its NEV sales in November soar 143 percent year-on-year to hit 31,248 units — the eighth consecutive month the Hebei province-based automaker had seen its NEV sales grow.

In the first 11 months, GWM's total NEV sales hit 232,145 units, up 92 percent from the same period last year.

NEVs are driving China's overall vehicle exports. From January to November, 4.41 million made-in-China vehicles were shipped overseas, of which around 25 percent were EVs and plug-in hybrids.

Zu Sijie, chief engineer at SAIC Motor, said China's rapid rise to prominence in the electric and smart vehicle sector has positioned the country to become the world's leading automotive exporter.

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