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China auto sales down 4.3 percent in July, NEV sales fall for first time

BEIJING – China’s auto sales have now fallen 13 consecutive months since July 2018.  

Sales this past July reached 1.81 million units, down 12.1 percent month-on-month and 4.3 percent year-on-year, according to data released by China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) on August 12.  

Passenger vehicle sales in July reached 1.53 million units, a drop of 11.6 percent from June and 3.9 percent from the same month of the previous year. Commercial vehicle sales in July came to 281,000 units, a decline of 14.6 percent from the previous month and 6.4 percent from July last year. 

The top 10 automakers by sales in July sold 1.64 million units, accounting for 90.8 percent of total auto sales in the month. 

July 2019% Change (MOM)% Change (YOY)YTD  2019% Change (cumulative)
Total1,808,000-12.10-4.3014,132,000-11.40
Passenger vehicle1,528,000-11.60-3.9011,654,000-12.80
   Car738,000-14.50-9.505,700,000-12.40
   MPV86,000-12.20-19.60756,000-23.50
   SUV672,000-9.006.404,973,000-11.10
   Microvan32,00014.40-10.30226,000-16.50
Commercial vehicle281,000-14.60-6.402,477,000-4.40
   Bus38,000-10.3014.00249,000-3.90
      Large7,90019.7079.0041,0005.13
      Medium8,60036.5086.7036,0002.86
      Light21,600-27.00-11.50173,000-6.99
   Truck242,000-15.30-8.902,228,000-4.40
     Heavy-duty76,000-26.901.50732,000-1.90
     Medium9,600-4.95-9.2082,000-26.50
     Light114,900-12.49-11.501,072,000-3.00
     Micro42,100-0.47-17.50342,000-7.10

Passenger car sales in July were 738,000 units, down 9.5 percent year-on-year.  

SUV sales reached 672,000 units in the month, an increase of 6.4 percent on a yearly basis.  

Sales of MPVs and microvans came to 86,000 and 32,000 units in July, respectively, down 19.6 and 10.3 percent from the same month in 2018.  

Chinese brand passenger vehicle sales reached 553,000 units in July, a slip of 13.3 percent on a yearly basis and taking up 36.2 percent of total passenger vehicle sales in the month, down 3.9 percentage points from the same period of last year.   

In the commercial vehicle segment in July, bus sales reached 38,000 units, up 14 percent year-on-year, while truck sales reached 242,000 units, down 8.9 percent from the same month a year ago. 

July 2019% Change (MOM)% Change (YOY)YTD 2019% Change (cumulative)
Total80,000-47.5-4.7699,00040.9 
New Energy PV67,000-51.4-9.4631,00047.4
   BEV48,000-58.3-4.2488,00057.8
   PHEV19,000-15.2-20.6143,00020.3
New Energy CV13,000-11.329.667,000-0.5
   BEV13,000-6.931.763,000-0.8
   PHEV0.0-40.3-18.23,000-21.8 

The performance of the new energy vehicle market in July was not as good as that in June, as NEV subsidies were reduced. Sales of NEVs in July were 80,000 units, a year-on-year decrease of 4.7 percent, the first time that the NEV market experienced a sales drop since 2016. Of the total, battery electric vehicle sales were 61,000 units, up 1.6 percent on a yearly basis, while plug-in hybrid electric vehicle sales were 19,000 units, down 20.6 percent from last year.   

In the first seven months of the year, sales of automobiles were down 11.4 percent year-on-year to 14.13 million units. Sales of passenger vehicles reached 11.65 million units, down 12.8 percent, while that of commercial vehicles were 2.48 million units, down 4.4 percent.   

The top 10 automakers by sales through to July were SAIC, Dongfeng, FAW, BAIC, GAC, Chang’an, Geely, Great Wall, Brilliance and Chery. Their combined sales in the period reached 12.64 million units, taking up 89.4 percent of total automobile sales in the first seven months of the year.   

Chinese brand passenger vehicle sales decreased 20.8 percent to 4.55 million units from January to July, taking up 39.1 percent of total passenger vehicle sales in the period. The top 10 Chinese brand passenger vehicle manufacturers by sales in the period were SAIC, Geely, Great Wall, Chang’an, Chery, Dongfeng, BYD, BAIC, GAC and Zotye. Their combined sales were 4.13 million units, accounting for 90.77 percent of total Chinese brand passenger vehicle sales in the first seven months of 2019.  

The top 10 Chinese brand commercial vehicle manufacturers by sales during January-July were Dongfeng, BAIC, SAIC, Chang’an, FAW, CNHTC, JAC, Shaanxi Auto, Great Wall and Chengdu Dayun with combined sales of 2.04 million units, taking up 82.26 percent of total commercial vehicle sales in the period.  

NEV sales totaled 699,000 units through to July, up 40.9 percent, with battery electric vehicle sales reaching 551,000 units and plug-in hybrid electric vehicle sales 146,000 units, an increase of 47.8 and 18.9 percent respectively.  

Data provided by China Automotive Power Battery Industrial Innovation Alliance showed that China’s total power battery production reached 49.2 GWh in the first seven months of 2019, including 31.7 GWh of tertiary batteries and 15.3 GWh of lithium-iron phosphate batteries, taking up 64.5 and 31.1 percent of total power battery production in the period.  

Power battery makers supplied 34.7 GWh of batteries to automakers from January to July, up 84 percent on a yearly basis. Supply of tertiary batteries came to 23.4 GWh, taking up 67.5 percent of total battery supply and up 110.6 percent year-on-year, while that of lithium-iron phosphate batteries was 10.4 GWh, taking up 29.9 percent of total battery supply and up 44.4 percent from the previous year. 

The top 10 power battery suppliers in terms of OEM installation during January-July were CATL, BYD, Guoxuan Ti-Tech, Lishen, EVE Energy, CATL-SAIC, Farasis Energy, CALB, BAK Power and CENAT.

Based on the market performance in the first seven months of the year, CAAM has revised its outlook for the year. The association predicted that auto sales in 2019 would be about 26.68 million units, down 5 percent from 2018. Of the total, passenger vehicle sales would be around 22.44 million units, down 5.4 percent, commercial vehicle sales 4.24 million units, down 3 percent and NEV sales 1.5 million units, up 19.4 percent.

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