China’s overall vehicle sales for April plunged almost 48% from a year earlier as COVID-19 lockdowns hit factories and showrooms, but sales of electric vehicles surged and Chinese brands took share from global rivals, reports Nikkei Asia. The monthly sales volume was the lowest for the month in a decade, underscoring the economic toll of the tough restrictions China put in place in April in Shanghai and other cities to control the spread of COVID.
The tally released on Wednesday by the China Association of Automobile Manufactuers (CAAM) includes sales to dealers of passenger cars and commercial vehicles. Retail sales of passenger cars alone dropped almost 36% in April, data released Tuesday by a separate trade group showed.
Overall, vehicle sales in the first four months of 2022 were down 12% from the same period a year earlier in the world’s biggest car market, the CAAM said. The bright spot remained sales of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids, a fast-growing segment China has supported as “new energy vehicles,” and where made-in-China brands now dominate. Sales of EVs and plug-in hybrids were up 45% in April and more than doubled over the first four months of the year from 2021 levels.