• Electric car makers Nio, Xpeng and BYD have expanded capacity in China
• Covid, floods and semiconductor crisis blamed for overall sales plunge
New energy vehicles saw their sales double in China last month – despite overall auto purchases falling in July for a third consecutive month.
Sales of battery-powered electric vehicles, plug-in petrol-electric hybrids and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles rose to 271,000, while Covid-19 outbreaks and the global semiconductors shortage were blamed for pulling down traditionally-fuelled vehicle sales.
The government’s promotion of greener vehicles to cut pollution has prompted electric car makers such as Nio Inc, Xpeng Inc and BYD Co Ltd to expand manufacturing capacity in China.
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But the world’s biggest auto market saw overall sales drop 11.9% from the same month a year earlier to 1.86 million vehicles, according to data from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM).
For the first seven months of the year, China’s vehicle sales jumped 19% as the market recovered from pandemic lows. CAAM said that rebound is set to peter out with sales for the rest of 2021 expected to be below relatively high year-ago levels, although the market is still expected to log growth overall on an annual basis.
Chen Shihua, a senior CAAM executive, cautioned that the global chip shortage, which has led to automakers curtailing production, was unlikely to resolve itself soon as the pandemic rages on in many parts of the world.
- Reuters and Sean O’Meara
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