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China auto sales slide off the pace for first time in 14 months
Cars for export wait to be loaded onto cargo vessels at a port in Lianyungang, China. Photo: Reuters

Sales in the world’s biggest car market still added up to 2.13 million vehicles in May with the global chip shortage and rising raw materials costs being blamed for the 3% dip


China’s retail auto market saw its first downturn since April last year but observers say the sector is still in rude health with new energy vehicles to lead the charge this year.

Vehicle sales in China fell 3% in May from the same month a year earlier, snapping a streak of 13 consecutive months of gains since April 2020, industry data showed on Friday.

Overall sales in the world’s biggest car market totalled 2.13 million vehicles in May, data from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) showed.

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China sold 10.88 million vehicles between January and May, up 36% from the same period a year earlier.

A global chip shortage and surging raw material prices are having an increasing impact on automakers in the country, said Chen Shihua, senior official at CAAM.

But Chen said CAAM remains positive about the sector’s outlook. The industry body earlier expected China’s overall vehicle sales to grow 6.5% this year.


Sales of new energy vehicles (NEVs), including battery-powered electric vehicles, plug-in petrol-electric hybrids and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles, maintained their strong momentum, jumping 160%, with 217,000 units sold in the month.

NEV makers, such as Nio Inc, Xpeng Inc and BYD, are expanding manufacturing capacity in China, encouraged by the government’s promotion of greener vehicles to cut pollution.

Tesla Inc sold 33,463 China-made electric cars in May while automakers including Honda, Geely, General Motors’ China joint venture, reported lower sales in May.


  • Reporting by Reuters


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Sean OMeara

Sean O'Meara is an Editor at Asia Financial. He has been a newspaper man for more than 30 years, working at local, regional and national titles in the UK as a writer, sub-editor, page designer and print editor. A football, cricket and rugby fan, he has a particular interest in sports finance.

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