China’s new vehicle market continued to recover in August 2020, with sales rising by 11.6% to 2.186m units from 1.959m units a year ago, based on passenger car and commercial vehicle wholesale data released by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM).

The Chinese economy had recovered strongly from the 6.8% year on year contraction in the first quarter of 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with GDP expanding by 3.2% in the second quarter driven by huge government stimulus including sharply higher fiscal spending, interest rate cuts and lower reserve requirements for banks.

Sales had also been boosted by local government measures to encourage vehicle purchases including the lifting of restrictions on new vehicle licence plates in major cities.

The market last month was driven higher mainly by a 42% jump in commercial vehicle deliveries to 431,000 units from weak year earlier volumes while passenger vehicle sales rose by just 6% to 1.755m units.

The overall vehicle market in the first eight months of 2020 was still 9.7% lower at 14.6m units from 16.2m units in the same period of last year, with passenger vehicle sales down by 15.4% at 11.3m units while commercial vehicle sales rose by 17.3% to 3.3m units. 

The new energy vehicle segment enjoyed its second consecutive month of growth since the government slashed subsidies a year ago with sales in August rising by almost 26% year on year to 109,000 units after growing by 19% in July. Sales in the first eight months of the year were still down by over 26% at 596,000 units.

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A local media report said a micro electric vehicle made by General Motors’ Chinese joint venture was the most popular EV in China last month, with 15,000 cars sold, followed by 11,800 of Tesla’s Model 3 sedans. The GM-SAIC model, the Hongguang MINI EV, is a two-door model launched by the joint venture and another partner, SGMW, only in July.