New vehicle sales in China surged 27% to 2.97m units in November 2023 from weak year earlier sales of 2.33m units, according to passenger car and commercial vehicle wholesale data released by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM).

Passenger vehicle buyers, attracted by a large number of new model launches in recent months, rushed in to the market take advantage of aggressive promotional campaigns and deep discounting by vehicle manufacturers and dealers.

The country’s economic recovery from the Covid pandemic has been sluggish, despite significant economic stimulus by the government in the last year, with GDP expanding by just 5.2% in the first nine months of 2023 after growth slowed to 3% in the whole of 2022.

Manufacturing and exports remain weak, while with the property sector is struggling to recover from some largescale bankruptcies.

Sales in the first 11 months of the year expanded 11% to 26.98m units, from 24.3m in the same period last year, with passenger vehicle sales rising by over 9% to 23.3m units while commercial vehicle sales were 23% higher at 3.68m units.

Chinese brands have significantly increased their combined share of the country’s passenger vehicle market in the last few years, to an estimated 58% year to date (YTD), thanks in large part to the growing penetration of electric and plug in hybrid vehicles referred to locally as new energy vehicles (NEVs).

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By GlobalData

NEV sales surged 30% year on year to 1,026,000 units in November, the first time monthly volume has exceeded 1m units – accounting for 34.5% of total vehicle sales.

YTD sales were up 37% at 8,304,000 units, or 31% of total vehicle sales, including a 24% rise in battery electric vehicle (BEV) sales to 5,860,000 units and an 85% rise in PHEV sales to 2,439,000 units. Sales of fuel cell electric vehicles jumped 76% to 1,000 units last month.

Vehicle production rose by 8% to 27.11m units YTD while exports surged 58% to 4.41m units including an 83% rise in NEV exports to 1,091,000 units.

Manufacturer results

The country’s largest vehicle manufacturing group, Shanghai based SAIC Motor, reported an 8% fall in global sales to 4,383,899 YTD with sales in November rising 4.5% to 515,114 units. Overseas sales increased 21% to 1,066,915 units.

At the beginning of the year the group set itself a target of increasing global sales by 13% to 6m vehicles in 2023, including 1.5m NEVs.

SAIC-GM-Wuling YTD sales fell 15% to 1,201,400 units, followed by SAIC-Volkswagen with an 11% decline to 1,072,354 units and Shanghai-GM with a 17% drop to 896,259 units. SAIC Motor’s own passenger vehicle sales rose by almost 13% to 849,132 units, while SAIC Maxus’ sales increased by over 6% to 202,027 units.

BYD global sales surged 65% to 2,672,800 units YTD including an elevenfold increase in overseas sales to 206,670 units. Deliveries of battery electric vehicle (BEV) soared 73% to 1,384,100 units, while PHEV sales increased by 56% to 1,288,700 units. Earlier this year, the company said it aimed to sell over 3m vehicles in 2023.

GAC Group sales were up 1% at 2,245,800 units in the first 11 months of the year, despite GAC Toyota sales falling by over 8% at 852,600 units and GAC Honda sales plunging by 18% at 683,400 units. The group’s electric vehicle subsidiary, GAC Aion, reported an 80% surge by 80% to 434,100 units.

Geely Auto reported a 19% rise in global sales to 1,536,100 units while Great Wall Motors global sales were 13% higher at 1,118,200 units.

Tesla shipments from its Shanghai factory fell 18% year on year to 82,400 units in November, reflecting sharply lower exports. The YTD total was up 30% to 853,400 units including 528,000 local sales and 325,000 exports. The company launched the facelifted Model 3 and Model Y in October.