China's auto sales surge by 11.6% in June, driven by rising demand
Updated 20:31, 10-Jul-2020

China's auto sales surged by 11.6 percent year on year in June to 2.3 million units, driven by rising demand for trucks and other vehicles, improved consumption market and stimulative policy, data from the country's auto industry body showed Friday.

In June, the country produced 2.33 million autos, an increase of 22.5 percent year on year, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM). Auto sales and productions both hit a record high.

During the January-June period, the decline of China's auto sales and productions continued to narrow, with 102.6 million units being sold and 101.1 million being produced, down 16.9 percent and 16.8 percent, respectively.

Sales of commercial vehicles, which account for around a quarter of the overall market, climbed by 63.1 percent. Truck sales stood out thanks to the rapid recovery of work and resumption amid COVID-19, especially the resumption of major infrastructure projects.

"The sales of trucks were driven by investment, and they were strong in past months, which was a precursor to the recovery of economic activity," said Yale Zhang, head of Shanghai-based consultancy AutoForesight.

Overall, auto sales growth also was helped by supportive local government, said CAAM official Chen Shihua.

June's jump in overall sales follows a rise of 14.5 percent in May and 4.4 percent in April, before which sales had languished in a nearly two-year slump. Sales of commercial vehicles jumped by 48 percent in May and 32 percent in April.

Automakers such as Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd, Great Wall Motor, Tesla Inc and Ford Motor Co reported sales growth in China in June.

However, sales of new energy vehicles (NEVs) fell for the 12th straight month, to 104,000 units. NEVs include battery-powered electric, plug-in petrol-electric hybrid and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles.

Despite recent signs of improvement, China's auto sales are expected to fall by 10-20 percent for the year as a whole due to their earlier collapse, from over 25 million units sold in 2019, CAAM said last month.

(With input from Reuters)