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Sales begin to recover as lockdowns ease, incentives expand

Sales begin to recover as lockdowns ease, incentives expand

The pandemic-triggered contraction in the Chinese new-vehicle market slowed significantly in May, with wholesale volume dropping 13 percent to 1.86 million, following a 48 percent slump in April.

The market recovery was led by sales of new light vehicles, which slid 1.4 percent to 1.62 million last month, after slipping 43 percent in April, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said in a statement Friday.

Government efforts to combat coronavirus outbreaks this year, with many parts of the country including Shanghai under stringent lockdown, has upended auto production and sales.

Automakers and government officials are trying various incentives to revive the market.The sales tax on vehicles priced at no more than 300,000 yuan ($45,000) and with 2.0-liter or smaller engines has been cut in half to 5 percent of the sticker price beginning June 1. The temporary tax cut could spur an increase of 2 million extra car and light-vehicle sales this year, according to the China Passenger Car Association.


In May, minibus deliveries plunged 48 percent to some 20,000 while multi-purpose vehicle sales fell 21 percent to around 64,000.

SUV and crossover volume dipped 1.4 percent to about 738,000.

But sedan sales gained 2.8 percent to some 801,000.

In May, shipments of new commercial vehicles such as trucks and buses shrank 51 percent to roughly 239,000 after tumbling 61 percent the previous month.

In the first five months, the new-vehicle market contracted 12 percent from a year earlier to 9.55 million, with light-vehicle sales slipping 3.6 percent to 8.13 million while commercial-vehicle shipments fell 42 percent to 1.42 million.

In contrast to the extended downturn in the overall new-vehicle market, the electrified-vehicle segment continued to expand at a breathtaking pace.

May shipments of full electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids industrywide jumped 101 percent to approximately 447,000. EV sales surged 94 percent to around 347,000 last month while plug-in hybrid deliveries soared 160 percent to roughly 100,000.

Electrified vehicle sales industrywide have now rallied 110 percent to exceed 2 million this year. In the first five months, EV deliveries doubled from a year earlier to some 1.59 million while plug-in hybrid sales shot up 170 percent to around 416,000.

Some of China’s most congested cities, including Shanghai and Shenzhen, have hiked quotas for car ownership while local governments have begun subsidizing consumers who trade in an old gasoline-powered vehicle for an electric car.

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