Sales of China made vehicles surged by 48% to 2.44m units in January 2024 from weak year earlier sales of 1.65m, according to passenger car and commercial vehicle wholesale data collected by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM).

The association released the data ahead of the all important annual Lunar New Year holidays when most major business in the country shut down for at least a week.

Last year the holidays fell in January, which held back year earlier buying activity.

Nevertheless, the Chinese market has strengthened significantly despite the release of weak economic data in recent months.

Sales of passenger vehicles, including exports, rose 44% to 2.12m units last month from 1.47m a year earlier while commercial vehicle sales soared 80% to 324,000 from 180,000.

Sales of new energy vehicle (NEVs), comprising mainly battery electric and hybrid vehicles, jumped by 79% to 729,000 units – including a 22% rise in exports to 101,000 units.

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By GlobalData

Overall vehicle production in the country surged 51% to 2.41m units in January, while overall exports increased 47% to 443,000 units.

Manufacturer performance

SAIC Motor said its global sales increased 3% year on year to 244,916 units in January with NEV sales doubling to 64,338 units while exports declined 16% to 64,175 units. SAIC Volkswagen sales increased 32% to 90,000 vehicles last month and SAIC-GM-Wuling sales were up 17% at 35,000 units while SAIC-GM reported a 35% plunge to 36,000 units.

BYD global sales increased 34% to 201,493 vehicles last month, including 36,174 exports. Sales of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) increased 48% to 105,304 units, while sales of plug in hybrids were up 21% at 95,715 units.

GAC Group sales fell 10% to 131,970 units in January, despite a 72% surge in NEV volume to 18,766 units while Great Wall Motor reported a 69% rise to 104,030 units.

Geely Auto made the biggest gains among the major automakers with sales surging 110% to a record monthly high of 213,487 units driven by a 590% jump in NEV sales to 65,826 units.

Tesla shipments from its Shanghai plant rose by 8% to 71,450 units in January with production for China up 48% at just under 40,000 units.