New vehicle sales in China surged 32% to 2,383,000 units in August 2022 from 1,799,000 units a year ago, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM).

The market continued to rebound strongly last month following strict lockdowns imposed on major cities across the country in the first half of the year under the government’s zero covid policy.

Supply chain bottlenecks continued to ease despite electricity shortages in some regions in August, including in Sichuan and Chongqing, with strong pent up demand continuing to lift sales.

Vehicle purchase tax was halved in June, to 5% from 10%, until the end of the year on fuel efficient passenger vehicles costing up to CNY300,000 (US$45,000) and with engines no larger than two litres. This has given sales an additional boost, along with other economic stimulus measures introduced by the central government in recent months.

Total sales in the first eight months of 2022 were up 2% to 16,860,000 units from 16,555,000 a year earlier, with volume plunging 24% in the three months to the end of May due to Covid lockdowns.

Passenger vehicle sales increased 12% to 14,655,000 units year to date, driven mainly by surging new energy vehicle (NEV) sales while commercial vehicle sales plunged 36% to 2,206,000 units.

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Sales of NEVs, mainly electric and hybrid models, surged 107% to 666,000 units in August with sales of BEVs rising 93% to 522,000 units. YTD NEV sales rose 114% to 3,860,000 units, including 3,040,000 BEVs.

Manufacturer performance

The country’s largest automaker, Shanghai based SAIC Motor, saw global group sales rise 13% year on year to 512,081 units in August, pushing the YTD tally up 5% to 3,253,132 units. Exports rebounded 66% to 100,840 vehicles last month and 57% to 579,851 YTD.

SAIC-Volkswagen sales YTD increased 15% to 832,003 units while, in contrast, SAIC-GM sales were down 5% at 741,884 units reflecting the automaker’s struggle with the global semiconductor shortage. SAIC-GM-Wuling deliveries were just slightly higher at 912,191 YTD while SAIC Motor’s own passenger vehicle sales rose 29% to 536,316 units and the wholly-owned SAIC-Maxus subsidiary reported an 8% drop to 130,383 units.

GAC Group sales surged 78% to 217,800 vehicles in August and 19% to 1,329,390 units YTD with GAC Toyota’s YTD tally up 25% to 668,800 units while GAC Honda sales were almost 6% higher at 503,923 units.

BYD global NEV sales jumped 188% to 173,977 vehicle in August while YTD sales surged 274% to 974,300 units.

Last March, the company switched its entire product line to NEVs.