Vehicle shipments jump 14% in February

Vehicle shipments jump 14% in February

Wholesale shipments of new vehicles expanded 14 percent to 1.98 million last month after slumping 35 percent in January, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said Friday.

The market rebound was mainly caused by the timing of the week-long Chinese New Year holiday, which was observed from January 21 to January 27. Last year, the holiday stretched from January 31 to February 6.

February shipments of light vehicles including sedans, crossovers, SUVs, multi-purpose vehicles and minibuses rose 11 percent to 1.65 million. 

Shipments of new commercial vehicles such as buses and trucks surged 29 percent to about 324,000. 

In the first two months, sales of new vehicles fell 15 percent to below 3.63 million, with light-vehicle shipments off 15 percent to some 3.12 million and  commercial-vehicle demand declining 15 percent to roughly 504,000.

Electrified vehicles

In February, EV demand spiked 56 percent to 525,000.

During the month, shipments of all-electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids rallied 44 percent and 98 percent to 376,000 and 149,000, respectively. 

Overall, electrified vehicle shipments advanced 21 percent to approach 933,000 so far this year through February. Shipments of EVs jumped 8.4 percent to around 662,000 in January and February while sales of plug-in hybrids surged 69 percent to approximately 270,000.

On December 31, Beijing ended a subsidy program it introduced in 2010 for EVs and plug-in hybrids. 

On the same day, the 50 percent cut in sales taxes the government enacted on June 1 for gasoline vehicles with engine sizes of up to 2.0 liters and priced at 300,000 ($43,352) or below also expired.

Given weak cumulative sales in the first two months, it will be hard for the new-vehicle market to grow in the first quarter without fresh policy incentives, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers warned.

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