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China's vehicle sales are likely to hit 25 million units this year, an industry body said on Friday, as the world's biggest vehicle market continued to lead the global auto industry recovery from lows hit during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fu Bingfeng, executive vice chairman of the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM), told an annual conference of the association in Beijing that CAAM expects Chinese sales this year of over 20 million passenger vehicles and 5 million commercial vehicles, which include trucks and buses. China sold 25.77 million vehicles last year.

Bai Hua, an official at China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, said China expects to sell over 1.3 million new energy vehicles (NEV) this year, up from 1.2 million units last year. NEVs include battery-powered electric, plug-in petrol-electric hybrid and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles.

CAAM also expects Chinese sales to modestly grow next year and hit 30 million units in 2025, Fu said.

Auto sales in China rose 12.6% in November from the same month a year earlier to 2.77 million vehicles, the eighth straight monthly rise, CAAM data showed.

Sales of new energy vehicles (NEVs) surged 105% to 200,000 units, their fifth consecutive month of gain. NEVs include battery-powered electric, plug-in petrol-electric hybrids and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles.

NEV makers such as homegrown Nio Inc and Xpeng Inc as well as foreign firms such as U.S. leader Tesla Inc are expanding manufacturing capacity in China where the government has aggressively promoted greener vehicles to reduce air pollution.

As the global auto industry is hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic, China has become a ray of hope for automakers including Volkswagen AG and General Motors Co . Global automakers including Toyota Motor Corp and Honda Motor Co Ltd have forecast higher profit on surging China sales.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.