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Picture: REUTERS
Picture: REUTERS

Beijing — China’s passenger car sales in May fell for a second straight month from a year earlier, industry data showed on Tuesday, as a slowdown in demand is becoming entrenched in amid a sputtering economic recovery.

Car exports, increasingly an important source of growth for local vehicle makers due to slowing domestic demand, retreated from April’s record high, amid anti-subsidy probe by the EU on Chinese-made electric vehicles (EVs).

Passenger vehicle exports fell 9% from the previous month to 378,000 units in May, while overall sales were down 2.2%, following a 5.8% decline in April, according to data from the China Passenger Car Association (CPCA).

Sales totalled 1.72-million vehicles in May and were up 5.3% at 8.15-million units in the first five months from a year ago.

New-energy vehicles, including pure electric and plug-in hybrids, made up 46.7% of total car sales, a fresh monthly high. EV sales accelerated 27.4% in May from 12.1% in April, while plug-in hybrid sales rose 61.1% versus a 64.2% jump in the prior month.

Hyper-competition and the EU tariff threat, which China labels as protectionism, have done little so far to impede local EV makers’ moves to ramp up production and explore overseas markets.

Nio, the eighth-biggest EV maker in China by sales, has won regulatory approval to build a third factory in China, which would boost its total approved production capacity to 1-million cars, Reuters reported. The EV upstart opened its first showroom in Amsterdam in May.

Sales of EV and plug-in hybrid sales have been helped by the government’s subsidies for new-energy vehicle trade-in schemes worth 11.2-billion yuan ($1.55bn) this year and contrasts with a continued decline in demand for cars fuelled by petrol or diesel.

Reuters

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