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China’s NEV Sales Balloon in First Quarter on Strong Demand from Individual Consumers

By Liu Yukun and Ding Yi / Apr 12, 2021 04:40 PM / Economy

New energy vehicle sales in China saw robust year-on-year growth in the first quarter of 2021, as individual consumers’ appetite for green cars increased.

In the first three months of the year, sales of new energy vehicles, including battery-powered electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles, totaled 515,000 units, about 2.8 times higher than the same period of last year, according to data from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM).

Xu Haidong, vice chief engineer of CAAM, attributed the growth to increased demand from Chinese consumers as well as carmakers’ efforts to upgrade their products to meet consumers’ needs. This strikes a contrast to sales over a year ago which went primarily to ride-hailing and car rental companies in China.

In 2021, about 63% of respondents in China said that they were interested in electric cars when considering their next car purchase, compared with 20% in 2017, according to a McKinsey survey.

Despite the sales growth momentum, the future of China’s new energy vehicle market remains uncertain as an ongoing global semiconductor shortage has disrupted production for some automakers. Last month, Chinese electric vehicle startup Nio lowered its first-quarter outlook due to a chip shortage which halted production at one of its Chinese plants for five days in March.

Contact reporter Ding Yi (yiding@caixin.com)

Related: Nio and Xpeng Both Set Quarterly Records But Still Lag Behind Tesla


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