BEIJING, September 11 (TiPost)— China’s auto market had a robust growth in the past month amid new round of the price war in electric vehicle (EV) sector.
Output of China-made passenger vehicles reached 2.257 million units in August, representing a 5.3% year-over-year (YoY) increase, and retail sales of vehicles rose 2.2% YoY to 1.938 million, the first positive YoY growth since May, the China Passenger Car Association (CPCA) estimated. Output and sales jumped 7% and 8.5% from the previous month, respectively.
CPCA data showed the new energy vehicle (NEV), the sector including battery electric vehicle (BEV) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV), maintained its role of the driver in August. 789,000 NEVs were produced that month with a 20.1% YoY increase and a 3.4% month-over-month (MoM) increase, and retail sales surged 34.5% YoY to 716,000 units, up 11.8% MoM. The growth on either monthly or yearly basis gained steam compared with the previous month. Sales of NEV dropped 3.1% MoM in July with a 30.7% YoY growth, according to CPCA. The penetration rate of NEV remained more than 30% and further increased to 37.3% in August, gaining 9 percentage points YoY and 1.2% points MoM.
Retail sales hit the highest ever sales in August, 2% more than the previous peak o the month in 2017, CPCA noted. The auto industry body believed the performance benefited from the government stimulus to boost consumption, the heated automakers’ promotion, launches around the auto show in Chengdu, capital of southwestern China’s province Sichuan.It expected a strong vehicle demand in September as a eight-day holiday, which combines Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival on September 29 and the seven-day National Day, will see a number of drivers in road trips.
CPCA data also showed Tesla won much more market shares in August, highlighting the price war’s working. As the initiator of the price competition, Tesla sold 84,159 vehicles made in China in August, increasing 9.35% YoY and 30.92% MoM. The U.S. EV giant had 13.2% of China’s EV market share that month, doubling from 7.5% in July.
However, retail sales of NEVs, including battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), dropped 3.1% MoM to 737,000 units in July, according to CPCA’s recent report. The sales of NEVs increased 30.7% YoY that month, compared with the yearly growth of 41.2% in the first seven months of the year. The past month is the second July in the record that NEV sales record a monthly decline. NEV sales in July last year fell consecutively due to Chinese government’s incentives such as subsidies to spur trade-ins of gasoline vehicles for electric ones. As the penetration rate of NEVs in China topped 30% and reached 36.1% in July, it became more difficult for the sector to maintain the high growth rate and it will be more likely to keep steady growth until market share of the fossil fuel vehicle is gradually eroded to achieve a new balance.
Tesla announced in August that it has reduced the starting prices for certain Model Y long-range and performance versions by RMB14,000 (US$1,935), or down 4.5% and 3.8%, in China. Following the cuts that day, two versions now cost as low as RMB299,900 and RMB349,900, respectively. Tesla said it also would offer insurance subsidies of RMB8,000 from August 14 to September 30 for purchases of the entry-level, rear-wheel-drive versions of the Model 3 vehicles in inventory.
Besides Tesla, at least 10 Chinese automakers announced price cuts for their EVs in August. Hangzhou-headquartered Leapmotor announced price cut between RMB10,000 and RMB20,000 on August,1. Changan Ford announced the same day a promotional package including one-time price cut of RMB40,000 when it completely took over Ford Mustang Mach-E operations in China. The next day, Chery rolled out a campaign in summer to cut its new energy vehicle (NEV) models by up to RMB10,000.
SAIC Motor said on August 3 that it started to provide the maximum discount of RMB26,000 for four models under the MG margque including MG5 Scorpio, the third-generation MG6 PRO, and MG ONE. A day after SAIC’s move, Great Wall Motor’s NEV brand Haval Xiaolong launched an event at e-commerce platforms this month, which provides buyers a cash discount range between RMB2,000 and RMB8,000, along with cash vouchers worth up to RMB12,000 for certain buyers from August 5 to 26.Zeekr that month slashed price by RMB30,000 to RMB37,000.