China's new vehicle market rebounded strongly in February 2021, by 365% year-on-year to 1.455m units after plunging by over 79% to 310,000 units a year earlier, based on passenger car and commercial vehicle wholesale data released by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM).

February last year was the first full month after the Chinese government took decisive action to control the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic which first emerged in the city of Wuhan in November 2019. A stronger rebound would have taken place had it not been for the Lunar New Year holidays which fell in February this year.

In the first two months of 2021 the vehicle market was up by over 76% at 3.958m units with passenger vehicle sales rising 74% to 3,201,000 units and commercial vehicle sales up by over 86% at 757,000 units.

Sales of new-energy vehicle sales, comprising mainly battery-powered and plug-in hybrid vehicles, jumped by 585% to 110,000 units in February and by 384% to 289,000 units in the first two months of the year.

The strong rebound came as the Chinese government forecast economic growth to reach 6% this year which was seen as a conservative prediction with some forecasters anticipating full-year growth closer to 8%.

New stimulus measures have been put in place to encourage vehicle purchases in rural areas while municipal governments are encouraged to reduce restrictions on vehicle sales where possible.

Manufacturer performance

FAW Group sales rose by over 379% to 231,881 units in February, comprising its joint ventures with Volkswagen, Toyota and Mazda and domestic brands including Hongqi, bringing the year-to-date total to 652,339 units. FAW-Volkswagen deliveries jumped by over 444% to 120,666 units last month, while FAW Toyota volume surged 656% to 50,208 units.

SAIC Motor said its sales, including its domestic joint ventures and its main overseas operations, jumped by almost 800% to 247,476 units in February and by 45% to 649,557 units in the first two months of the year. SAIC-GM sales were up by over 55% at 206,696 units year-to-date and SAIC-GM-Wuling sales rose 76% to 158,631 units while SAIC-Volkswagen deliveries rose by just 11% to 136,600 units.

Geely Auto reported its global sales, including Geely and Lynk & Co brand vehicles, rose by 76% to 233,547 units in January, which includes a more than twofold increase in exports to 17,353 units.

Great Wall Motor said its sales increased by almost 153% to 228062 units year-to-date with its Haval brand posting a 136% rise to 155,541 units.

GAC Group deliveries rose by almost 65% to 322,461 units in the first two months of the year, with GAC-Toyota sales up by almost 80% at 131,300 units and GAC Honda sales rising by close to 70% to 118,689 units.

Local EV startup Nio Inc said it delivered 12,000 vehicles in the first two months of the year, after reporting full-year sales of 43,728 units in 2020.