Global sales of Chinese vehicles fell 20% to 1.58m units in February 2024 from 1.97m a year earlier, according to passenger car and commercial vehicle wholesale data from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM).

Deliveries were held back by the Lunar New Year holidays which resulted in far fewer working days in February compared with last year. Overall volume year to date (YTD) was still 11% higher at 4.032m, up from 3.63m, with domestic sales rising 7% to 3.21m while exports increased 30% to 822,000 units.

Sales of passenger vehicles, including exports, rose 11% to 3.457m units YTD from 3.121m while commercial vehicle sales increased 14% to 575,000 from 504,000. Sales of new energy vehicle (NEVs) increased 29% to 1.21m.

Overall vehicle production increased 8% to 3.92m in the first two months of the year.

China’s rollercoaster market

Globaldata – in its latest forecasts – says it expects sales to pick up later this year, as the government is committed to supporting the auto industry. Sales are forecast to expand by 2.2% to 25.8 million units this year after a 5.7% increase last year. That will be, however, still lower than 26.9 million units in 2018.

Manufacturer performance

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SAIC Motor said global sales fell by 31% year-on-year to 207,846 units in February, resulting in a 16% drop in year-to-date sales to 452,762 units – including a 24% fall in overseas sales to 121,432 units. Overall NEV sales were up 63% to 125,317 units.

SAIC Volkswagen YTD sales increased 9% to 158,056 units and SAIC-GM-Wuling volume was up 8% at 110,000 units though SAIC-GM reported a 60% plunge to 49,500 and SAIC Motor saw sales fall by 27% to 83,522 units.

FAW Group reported an 18% sales increase to 448,000 units YTD while BYD sales were down 6% to 322,767 units including 59,465 exports. BYD’s overall BEV sales fell 1% to 160,212 units while plug in hybrid volume was down 10% at 162,555.

GAC Group sales fell 25% to 230,371 units YTD while Great Wall Motor reported a 35% rise to 175,057 units and Geely Auto, including its overseas subsidiaries and joint ventures, sold a record 397,687 units including 130,126 NEVs.

Shipments from the Tesla Shanghai plant fell 6% to 131,000 units YTD while retail sales in China were up 15% to 70,022 units.

See also: The Chinese market remains strong in 2024