New car sales boom in first 6 months of year
China's vehicle market saw an almost double-digit sales rise from January to June, paving the way for solid growth for the whole year, said the country's leading industry association.
Automobile makers in China produced 13.25 million vehicles in the first half and delivered 13.24 million units, up 9.3 percent and 9.8 percent year-on-year, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.
Xu Haidong, vice-chief engineer of the CAAM, said favorable factors, including a lower base and financial stimuli, drove the market in the second quarter following a sales drop in the first quarter.
In terms of passenger vehicles, sales edged up 2.1 percent in June to 2.27 million units. Deliveries in the first half totaled 11.27 million units, up 8.8 percent from the same period of 2022.
The premium vehicle market saw robust demand. Statistics from the CAAM show that sales of China-made premium vehicles from both domestic and international brands totaled 2.03 million units in the first half, up 19.7 percent year-on-year.
German premium automaker BMW delivered 392,580 vehicles, including MINI, in the first half of the year in China, its largest market, up 3.7 percent year-on-year.
General Motors' premium brand Cadillac sold more than 55,000 vehicles from April to June in China, up 51 percent from the same period of 2022.
Chinese brands have seen their popularity grow. They seized a combined 53.1 percent of the country's vehicle market in the first half, up almost 6 percentage points from the same period of 2022.
They were partially driven by sales of new energy vehicles from local marques, according to the CAAM.
BYD, China's largest NEV maker, saw its sales of passenger vehicles soar to 251,685 units in June, up 88.2 percent year-on-year. Its sales in the first half totaled 1.25 million units, which is equal to two-thirds of its total deliveries in 2022.
Zeekr, an electric vehicle marque of Geely Holding Group, delivered more than 10,620 vehicles in China in June, up 146.9 percent year-on-year and up 22.4 percent month-on-month.
Li Auto, the Nasdaq-listed startup, sold 32,725 vehicles in June, up 150 percent year-on-year. It was also the first time monthly deliveries exceeded 30,000 units since its establishment in 2015.
The company has seen its vehicles gain popularity in the Chinese market, with 139,117 units sold from January to June, up 130.3 percent year-on-year.
Great Wall Motors, known for its SUVs and pickups, said its sales of NEVs in June reached 26,643 units, more than double the figure in the same month of 2022.
Its NEV deliveries from January to June totaled 93,069 units, up 46.4 percent year-on-year.
They helped drive total NEV sales in China to a record high in June, with 806,000 units sold in the month.
International carmakers saw their NEV deliveries grow as well. BMW sold 44,864 EVs from January to June, up 283 percent year-on-year.
"Strong sales development in general and especially for our fully-electric vehicles shows that we have the right products on the market at the right time," said Pieter Nota, member of the board of management of BMW responsible for customer, brands and sales.
GM saw its sales of NEVs hit a record high in the second quarter, hitting 115,000 units.
Statistics from the CAAM show that 3.75 million NEVs were sold in the country in the first half, up 44.1 percent year-on-year and accounting for 28.3 percent of all new vehicle sales.
CAAM estimates that total NEV sales could hit 9 million units this year, up from 6.89 million units in 2022.
Looking ahead, BMW is revving up efforts to enrich its portfolio of electric offerings in China. It said its iX1 SUV and i5 sedan will soon be produced at its joint venture BMW Brilliance in Shenyang, Liaoning province.
GM said it is on track to launch more than 20 new and refreshed models in China this year, over one-third of which will be NEVs.
New products built based on the global Ultium platform and SAICGM-Wuling's GSEV platform will roll off the assembly line in the second half to differentiate the carmaker's EV offerings in China, it added.
Volkswagen Group China Chairman and CEO Ralf Brandstaetter said the carmaker will accelerate its pace to roll out EVs while making the most of its position in the gasoline vehicle market.
Its ID. series are among the most popular EVs from international carmakers in the Chinese market, according to the China Passenger Car Association.
Brandstaetter said its new joint venture, Volkswagen Anhui, will start production in late 2023. Three new electric Audi vehicles will be locally built in 2025 and 2026.
"By 2030, we want to expand the range of fully EVs for the group to at least 30 models," said Brandstaetter.
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