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China auto sales dip 1.9% year on year in 2020

For the year of 2020, China auto outputs and sales reached 25.225 million and 25.311 million units respectively, dropping 2% and 1.9% from the previous year, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM).

The sales downturn entirely resulted from the decrease in annual passenger vehicle (PV) sales. Last year, China sold 20.178 million PVs, a year-over-year decline of 6%. Nevertheless, commercial vehicle (CV) sales still showed an upward movement of 18.7%.

The CAAM said auto sales were badly bruised by the coronavirus pandemic in the first quarter, while started rebounding from April onwards. As of Dec. 2020, China auto market was gaining year-on-year sales growth for nine consecutive months.

Last month, auto outputs and sales in China amounted to 2.84 million and 2.831 million units, growing 5.7% and 6.4% over a year ago respectively. 

In 2020, PV sales stood at 20.178 million units, falling 6% over the previous year, versus the 3.6% decrease in 2019’s sales. PVs accounted for 79.7% of the total auto sales, 3.5 percentage points less than that of the prior-year period.

The annual SUV sales ticked up 0.7% to 9.461 million units, for the first time topping car sales. The full-year sales of cars, MPVs and minibuses dwindled 9.9%, 23.8% and 2.9% compared to the prior-year period respectively.

With 2.375 million units sold, the PV unit posted a 7.2% year-on-year growth in December 2020, versus the 11.6% growth in Nov. sales.

The CAAM's data show that the sales of locally-produced luxury vehicles jumped 24.6% from a year earlier to 284,000 units last month. The luxury car market was consecutively posting rapid sales growth from April.

The annual CV sales represented remarkable growth last year, buoyed by the scrapping of the vehicles under the China Ⅲ emission standards, the greater efforts on managing overloading and the investment in infrastructures. CV sales reached 5.133 million units in 2020, leaping 18.7% from a year ago and for the first time exceeding 5 million units on an annual basis.

As for the future prospect, the association said China auto sales are expected to grow 4% year on year to over 26 million units in 2021.