China's vehicle sales rise for fourth month with Covid-19 crisis easing
Vehicle sales advanced for a fourth straight month in China, with an easing in the coronavirus pandemic allowing buyers to gradually return to showrooms.
Sales of passenger cars such as sedans and SUVs, as well as commercial vehicles, increased 14.9% in July from a year earlier to 2.08 million units, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said in a statement, citing preliminary figures. From January to July, vehicle sales declined by 12.7% to 12.3 million units. CAAM didn’t break out numbers for passenger cars or other vehicle types.
Shoppers in the world’s largest car market are slowly resuming buying as the government eases restrictions, raising expectations that the auto slump currently in its third year may be nearing an end. Yet challenges remain: ride-hailing apps are reducing the need for personal ownership, and trade tensions with the US threaten China’s economic recovery.
The government added stimulus measures such as tax rebates to attract car buyers, while automakers that temporarily suspended operations amid the outbreak now offer generous discounts.
Global carmakers, including Tesla Inc., General Motors Co. and Volkswagen AG, have spent billions of dollars to expand in China and remain undeterred in their efforts to tap the market’s long-term growth potential.
Chinese car associations are set to report the final tally for July later this month, including figures specifically for passenger cars. While demand for sedans and SUVs has shown signs of rebound, commercial vehicles such as vans have thus far benefited more from China’s economic recovery.