China's new vehicle market continued to recover in October 2020, with sales rising by 12.5% to 2.57m units from 2.29m units in the same month of last year, based on passenger car and commercial vehicle wholesale data released by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM).

The economy has rebounded strongly from the COVID-19 pandemic earlier in the year, helped by huge government stimulus including sharply higher fiscal spending, interest rate cuts and lower reserve requirements for banks. GDP expanded by 4.9% in the third quarter after shrinking by 3.2% in the second quarter, resulting in 0.7% growth in the first nine months of the year.

Sales of commercial vehicles surged by 30% year on year to around 480,000 units, driven by government investment in infrastructure and by stricter emission regulations forcing operators to upgrade their vehicles, while sales of passenger vehicles rose by 9% to 2.09m units.

Sales of new energy vehicles (NEVs), mainly comprising electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, jumped by 105% to 160,000 units – the third consecutive monthly rise.

The vehicle market has also been boosted in recent months by local government measures to encourage vehicle purchases, including the lifting of restrictions on the issue of new vehicle licence plates in major cities. Sales in the first 10 months of 2020 were down by just 4.8% at 19.7m units from 20.7m units in the same period of last year, after posting sharp declines earlier in the year.

FAW Group reported 3.01m vehicle sales in the first 10 months of 2020, up 7.8%, while SAIC Motor global sales were down by 15.1% at 4.21m units year to date.

Great Wall Motors, best known for its SUVs, reported 135,559 global sales in October, including 10,804 sold overseas.