2020 Chinese market: New vehicle sales down 1.8%, commercial vehicle sales top 5 million units
Sales forecast for 2021 is 26 million units, with 1.8 million NEVs
New vehicle sales in the Chinese market for the full year of 2020 decreased by 1.8% year-over-year (y/y) to 25,311,000 units (on a factory shipment basis, including exports), falling below the previous year's level for the third consecutive year. In February 2020, many manufacturers were forced to shut down their plants due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but demand gradually recovered after the restart of production operations. Ultimately, the decline in sales volume was kept low due in part to the government's economic consumption stimulus measures. Sales of passenger cars decreased 5.9% y/y to 21,178,000 units due to a decline in sales of all vehicle types except SUVs. Conversely, all types of commercial vehicles except medium- and large-sized buses performed well, reaching a record high of 5,133,000 units, up 18.7% from the previous year. According to an announcement by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) in January 2021, the number of vehicles sold in 2021 is expected to be around 26 million units.
By automotive manufacturing group, some of the top five groups changed places in the rankings, in the order of SAIC, FAW, Dongfeng, GAC, and Changan. FAW's sales increased by 7.1% year-on-year to 3,708,000 units due to strong sales of both passenger cars and commercial vehicles. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, several manufacturers that performed poorly in recent years have decided to withdraw from the market.
In the passenger car market, sales among Japanese automakers was strong, increasing 0.6% y/y to 4,761,000 units, with a market share of 23.6%, close to that of the German OEMs. U.S. automakers, whose market share had been shrinking since 2018, saw an upward shift in sales volumes with the launch of the Tesla Model 3. Korean automakers continue to face a difficult situation with regards to the number of vehicles sold.
By vehicle type, SUVs, which have been increasing in market share every year, outperformed sedans and hatchbacks with a 0.9% y/y increase to 9,470,000 units. Sales of MPVs, which were 2.5 million units in 2016, have declined every year, falling 23.8% y/y to 1,054,000 units in 2020.
Sales of NEVs had declined in the previous year, but in 2020 increased significantly, up 10.9% y/y to 1,367,000 units. In 2020, various policies related to NEVs were announced. The best-selling NEV passenger car in China is the Tesla Model 3 at 137,000 units. The second best-selling model was SAIC-GM-Wuling’s Wuling Hongguang MINI with 128,000 units.
The Impact of COVID-19 on the Automotive Industry (Nov. 2020)
Revisions to China NEV (New Energy Vehicle) Credit Policy (Sep. 2020)
China Market H1 2020: Sales of New Vehicles Fall to 10.23 Million Units (Aug. 2020)
COVID-19 Plant-impact update - China (Apr. 2020)
Jan-Feb 2020 New Vehicle Sales in China Fall 42%, SAIC Group Down by Half (Apr. 2020)