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Automotive sales industry in China - Statistics & Facts

The total volume of automobile industry sales in China reached 26.2 million units in 2021, around 21.5 million units out of which were passenger cars. The passenger vehicle segment includes sedans, sport-utility vehicles (SUVs), and multi-purpose vehicles (MPVs). SUV sales reached over 10 million in 2021, overtaking sedans being the most popular passenger car type in China for the consecutive two years. Although mainstream ventures maintain the largest percentage of market share, China's own design brands increased their market share to 41.2 percent in that year. The leading automobile manufacturer in China was SAIC Motor Corporation, with around 2.76 million units sold in 2021. Changan Automobile and Dongfeng Motor Corporation came in second and third place, with about 1.76 million and 1.33 million units sold that year. After domestic auto manufacturers, German and Japanese passenger cars are the most popular car brands among Chinese consumers, each with about one-fifth of the market share.
In terms of the international car trade, the growth rate of car imports to China had reached its peak in 2010 at 93 percent after the global financial crisis of the previous year. Figures showed a continuous slowdown until reaching zero growth in 2021. Not only does China have the world’s biggest new car market, but it also has a growing used car market with the trade value of used cars exceeding 1.1 trillion yuan as of 2021.

COVID-19 lockdown hit auto sales

As China continues to battle coronavirus outbreaks with draconian lockdowns, the country’s automobile industry has been hit by the measures. In April 2022, sales of passenger cars plunged by 48 percent from the previous month and by 43.4 percent year-over-year to about 965,000 units. During the same period, commercial vehicle sales dropped by 42 percent compared to the previous month and by 60.5 percent year-over-year to approximately 216,000 units. Such a large drop resulted in the lowest monthly auto sales ever recorded, as production fell, and consumers were kept out of stores.

The booming electric vehicle market

China is known as the largest electric vehicle (EV) market in the world, with EV sales surging to 3.5 million in 2021 and its market share soaring to 13.3 percent. Battery electric vehicles dominated the mainstream markets, with about 10.9 percent market share for the year. The popularity of BEVs compared to gasoline vehicles is due to the fact that they not only do not spew CO2 while driving but also produce less noise and save energy at the same time. Among passenger EV companies in China, BYD Auto, the SAIC-GM-Wuling joint venture, and Tesla led in sales in 2021.

EV sales have not been spared by the recent tough new lockdown measures in China. In April 2022, passenger EV and commercial EV sales fell 39 percent and 17 percent from the previous month to 280,000 and 19,000 units, respectively. However, their sales still increased compared to the same period in 2021, with year-over-year growth rates of 45 percent and 46 percent for passenger EVs and commercial EVs, respectively.

Interesting statistics

In the following 5 chapters, you will quickly find the 27 most important statistics relating to "Automotive sales industry in China".

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