Sales of new energy passenger vehicles in China jumped by 675% to 97,000 units in February 2021 from depressed year earlier sales, according to retail data released by the China Passenger Car Association.

Sales last year were hit by widespread lockdown as China began implementing measures to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. A stronger rebound would have taken place had it not been for the Lunar New Year holidays, which fell in February this year.

Wholesale volume was up by 640% at 100,000 units last month as dealers continued to restock after a strong inventory drawdown in previous months.

Battery-powered passenger vehicles deliveries rose by 737% year-on-year to 84,000 units, while plug-in hybrid sales increased by 624% to 16,000 units.

SAIC GM-Wuling led the NEV segment last month with 20,819 passenger vehicle sales, helped by the popularity of its low-cost Hongguan mini-EV, followed by Tesla with 18,318 units and BYD with 10,245 units.

Other key players in the NEV segment were Nio, Li Auto, Weltmeister (WM Motor), Xpeng, Hozon and Leap Motor, according to the report.

The CPCA reported overall passenger vehicle retail sales rose by 372% year-on-year to 1.18m units in February 2021 while volume in the first two months of 2021 was almost 70% higher at 3.34m units after declining by 41% in the same period of last year.