Shanghai, May 26 (BNA): Chinese auto retail sales data for May added to the picture of a grinding economic recovery from aggressive anti-epidemic measures, as manufacturers sold more cars than last month but less than a year before.
The China Passenger Car Association, which released the data late Wednesday, called for more government support.
Retail sales in the first three weeks of May, 780,000 vehicles, were up 34% compared to the same period in April. But with measures to control the COVID-19 outbreak leading to lower incomes, sales volumes were 16% lower than 12 months earlier, the industry association said.
Movement and social activity were severely restricted in cities across China last month. The rules vary from place to place but have been relaxed where they have been stricter, such as in Shanghai.
Auto sales in the first quarter rose 0.2% from a year earlier. In 2021, sales increased by 3.8%.
The picture of the grinding and partial economic recovery seen in auto sales is also emerging in other real-time indicators.
Nomura Global Economics said road freight transport and express delivery from distribution centers last week were stronger than the previous month, but were still sharply down from a year ago.
The Passenger Car Association said stimulus measures from local governments would only provide short-term support to the market.
He urged the authorities to adopt a stronger policy to get the industry back on the right track for a sustainable recovery.
Policymakers in China have held talks with automakers about extending costly subsidies for electric vehicles that were due to expire in 2022, aiming to maintain key market growth as the broader economy slows.
Sales of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles were the fastest-growing segment of the China market, an area where global brands, such as General Motors and Volkswagen, have lagged behind domestic firms by a large margin.
China’s electric car maker Xpeng is speeding up deliveries after resuming double-shift production in mid-May at its plant in the southern city of Zhaoqing, the company’s chairman, He Xiaoping, told analysts this week. He said supplies of factory parts have recovered thanks to the containment of the coronavirus outbreak in the region.
Tesla also managed to add a second shift at its Shanghai plant on Thursday, heading toward making 2,600 vehicles a day, according to a person familiar with the matter.