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Increase in sales steers China's auto market in the right direction

Zoom  Zoom Issue Date:2018-05-14   Browse:1604
 Demand for vehicles grows across the board in world's biggest market

China sold 2.32 million cars in April, up 11.5 percent on the same month last year, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.

The association said the figure was as much to do with the unusually low sales of 2.08 million cars in April 2017, than of a surge.

The April sales brought total sales in the first four months to 9.5 million cars, up 4.8 percent on the same period last year.

CAAM added that the rate of growth is picking up speed compared with the first quarter of this year, which was 2.8 percent year-on-year, and shows the market is in good form.

In the first four months, passenger car sales, which accounted for the bulk of total car sales, reached 8 million, up 4.5 percent year-on-year.

In April, their sales were 1.91 million units, surging 11.2 percent year-on-year.

The growth was mainly the result of SUV sales, which grew 12.9 percent year-on-year to 3.47 million units.

Despite a slower growth rate compared with previous years, it was the only segment that saw a double-digit growth.

In the same period, sedan sales totaled 3.79 million units, up 3.1 percent year-on-year, and still remains the largest segment by size.

Sales of multi-purpose vehicles fell 12 percent, and that of minivans saw a 36.9 percent slump in the same period. Cars with smaller engines were popular choices, with statistics from the association showing that sales for those with engines no larger than 1.6 liters totaled 5.43 million units from January to April, accounting for 67.4 percent of passenger car sales in the period.

Cars bearing Chinese marques accounted for 44.5 percent of total passenger car sales, half a percentage point lower than the same period last year.

They were followed by German brands, which had a 20.8 percent market share, 1 percentage point higher than the same period in 2017.

Japanese brands saw their market share stay the same, while the market share of American carmakers dipped in the period.

New energy cars, which consist of electric cars, plug-in hybrids and fuel-cell cars, saw solid growth.

A total of 82,000 units were sold in April, surging 138 percent year-on-year. Sales in the first four months reached 225,000 units, a 149 percent growth year-on-year.

The association said it is confident in new energy cars and expects sales this year to exceed 1 million units. China sold 777,000 such cars last year.

The country overtook the United States as the world's largest new energy car market in 2015.

Charging networks for such vehicles have also been growing rapidly, with a total of 262,058 public charging poles built by the end of April, according to the China Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Promotion Alliance.

The number of private charging poles in the country totaled around 412,283 as of last month.

Commercial vehicles, including buses and trucks, also recorded a decent sales performance.

In April, 404,000 vehicles were sold, a 13 percent rise on the same month last year. That brought sales in the first four months to 1.49 million units, up 6.6 percent year-on-year.

Of these, bus sales were 137,000 units, up 4.6 percent from the same period last year and truck sales stood at 1.35 million units, a 6.8 percent growth year-on-year.
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