New vehicle sales in the world’s biggest auto market were just slightly higher at 2.51m units in June 2023 after rebounding 24% year on year to 2.5m, according to passenger car and commercial vehicle wholesale data from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM).
The market last month came up against strong year earlier sales, when deliveries to dealers rebounded after Covid lockdowns were lifted in major cities. Economic activity accelerated to 6.3% in the second quarter of 2023, up from 4.5% in the first quarter, which was widely seen as a very moderate rebound from last year’s results.
There was still significant consumer uncertainty with the property sector struggling to recover following a number of major corporate insolvencies over the last two years while youth unemployment remained very high.
First half GDP growth was 5.5% and the full year forecast at around that levels as the moderate Covid rebound fades in the second half.
H1 sales rose 9% to 13.1m units from 12.1m a year earlier, with both passenger and commercial vehicle sales rising 9% to 11.3 and 1.9m units respectively.
Sales of new energy vehicles (NEVs) surged 35% to 806,000 units in June and by 45% to 3,745,000 units year to date. Deliveries of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) increased 32% to 2,719,000 units while hybrid sales surged 91% to 1,026,000.
Vehicle exports increased 76% to 2.1m YTD while production increased 9% to 13,248,000 units.
The country’s largest vehicle manufacturing group, SAIC Motor, reported a 7.3% fall in global sales to 2,071,641 in the first half with June sales dropping 16% to 405,725 units. Exports surged 40% to 533,424 units.
At the beginning of the year, the group set a target to increase sales 13% to 6m vehicles in 2023, including 1.5m NEVs.
SAIC-Volkswagen H1 volume dropped 12% to 503,289 units while Shanghai-GM sales were 11% lower at 450,958 units. SAIC-GM-Wuling was the group’s worst-performing joint venture with sales plunging 16% to 520,100 units while SAIC Motor passenger vehicle sales were 12% higher at 410,799 units and SAIC Maxus sales were up 18% to 106,008.
BYD sales worldwide surged 94% to 1,248,161 units YTD including 74,286 exports.
Deliveries of plug in hybrids doubled to 631,351 units while BEV sales jumped 91% to 616,810 units. The company aims to sell 3m vehicles in 2023.
GAC Group H1 sales rose 1.1% to 1,163,022 units with GAC Honda volume falling 19% to 289,928 units while GAC Toyota sales were down 9.5% to 452,800. Group EV subsidiary GAC Aion said sales doubled to 209,336 units.
Dongfeng Motor six month sales fell 23% to 945,484 units with passenger vehicle volume of 769,689 units. Geely reported a 13% rise to 694,045 units, including a 38% surge in exports to 121,185 units, while Great Wall global sales were flat at 519,226 units and Tesla 62% higher at 476,539.