New vehicle sales in China increased by 9.6% to 2.3m in May, compared with flat sales of just under 2.1m units a year earlier, according to data released by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM).

Sales last month were driven mainly by strong demand for new-energy vehicles, sales of which increased by close to 122% to 102,000 units from around 46,000 units a year earlier. Most new energy vehicles sold in the country are battery-electric vehicles, with hybrid-electric vehicles making up the remainder.

In the first five months of the year, sales of new-energy vehicles rose 143% to 328,000 units, compared with 135,000 units a year earlier.

The Chinese government has mandated that, next year, at least 10% of vehicle sales by the major producers will have to be new-energy vehicles. The quotas will be increased gradually to reach 20% by 2025.

The overall vehicle market continued to be driven higher by strong economic growth with the government now forecasting full-year GDP growth of 6.6%.

Sales in the first five months of 2018 increased 5.7% to 11.8m units compared with 11.2m in 2017.

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