China’s auto sales surged 29.7 percent in July from a year earlier to 2.42 million units, extending a recovery that began in June with the help of eased COVID curbs and government incentives.
But sales for the first seven months were still 2 percent lower than the corresponding 2021 period, data from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) showed on Thursday.
Sales of new energy vehicles, which include pure electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles, increased 120 percent in July from the previous year.
CAAM tracks broader auto sales including passenger vehicles, buses and trucks, while the China Passenger Car Association, which reported July sales this week, focuses on retail sales of cars.
July sales were 3.3 percent lower than June, as heat waves nationwide slowed the pace of factory production and reduced customer visits to showrooms.
China has tried to revive auto demand with incentives such as lower purchase tax for small-engine vehicles and subsidies to spur trade-ins of gasoline vehicles for electric ones.
The industry was hit hard by efforts to combat COVID-19 earlier in the year, with months of stringent lockdowns in the major manufacturing hubs of Shanghai and Changchun.
Higher oil costs and battery prices are pushing consumers to economic plug-in hybrids, sales of which nearly tripled in the first seven months of the year, while sales of purely electric vehicles doubled.
Demand for commercial vehicles stayed weak, with sales falling 21.5 percent in July, indicating China has yet to fully resume its activities in logistics and building infrastructure.