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China Car Sales Continued to Decline For a Third Month in June

Sales of passenger vehicles totalled 1.78 million in June, down 6.9% from last year, but exports were up 28% and sales of plug-in hybrids rose by 67%


Cars wait in traffic in Shanghai in this file Reuters photo.

 

Car sales in China fell by 6.9% in June from a year earlier, as the domestic market’s decline continued for a third straight month.

Sales of passenger vehicle totalled 1.78 million in June, while the size of the decline rose from a 2.2% drop in May and a 5.8% fall in April, China Passenger Car Association data showed on Monday.

A cut-throat price war since 2023 helped to lift China vehicle sales earlier in the year but is having less effect in recent months despite fresh government subsidies for trading in cars, which were announced in April.

 

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For the first half overall, China’s car sales were up 2.9% at 9.93 million vehicles.

 

Sale of plug-in hybrids up 67%

June sales of so-called new energy vehicles including pure electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids accounted for a record 48.1% of domestic car sales.

Chinese electric vehicle giant BYD and relative newcomers such as Nio, Zeekr and Leapmotor all logged record monthly sales.

Overall growth in electric vehicle sales cooled to 9.9% from 27.4% in May while sales of plug-in hybrids jumped 67.2%, up from a 61.1% increase the previous month.

June car exports were up 28% year-on-year, against a 23% gain in May, according to separate data from the association.

The trend for exports could weaken, however, after the European Commission last week confirmed provisional import tariffs of up to 37.6% on Chinese-manufactured electric vehicles.

US electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla exported 11,746 Chinese-made vehicles in June, its lowest since October 2022.

Underscoring weakness in consumer demand, a vehicle inventory alert index compiled by the China Automobile Dealers Association rose by 8.3 percentage points year on year to an alarming 62.3% in June.

 

  • Reuters with additional editing by Jim Pollard

 

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Jim Pollard

Jim Pollard is an Australian journalist based in Thailand since 1999. He worked for News Ltd papers in Sydney, Perth, London and Melbourne before travelling through SE Asia in the late 90s. He was a senior editor at The Nation for 17+ years.

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