New energy vehicle (NEV) sales fell 38.8% month on month in January, the first such drop since August 2023, despite a renewed discounting push led by Tesla, Reuters reported, citing China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) data.

Vehicle sales, including exports, reached 2.44m units, up 47.9% year on year but down 22.7% from December, the report said.

New energy vehicle (NEV) sales, accounting for 29.9% of total volume, nonetheless grew 78.8% on year in January, the data reportedly showed.

However, Reuters noted, last January, passenger vehicle sales in China plunged 37.9% on year and slumped 40.4% month on month, the worst performances for January since the 2000s, according to the China Passenger Car Association (CPCA), as subsidies and tax cuts ended.

Sales then were also hit due to shortened business days as the week long Chinese New Year fell in January last year.

China exported 443,000 vehicles in January 2024, accounting for 18.2% of the total sales, while nearly one out of seven NEVs sold during the month was also exported, Reuters said.

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The report said the slow start to 2024 for China’s auto market highlighted reduced consumer demand amid a protracted housing downturn and a market meltdown.

Tesla slashed prices on some Model 3 and Y cars in China in January and offered cash discounts for some Model Ys from 1 February, reversing five price hikes since late October, Reuters said.