China vehicle sales power ahead with 25 million units tipped for 2020

Head of industry body says efficient new power trains and autonomous driving are key areas of research as world's biggest automotive market shrugs off Covid-19 pandemic

China vehicle sales power ahead with 25 million units tipped for 2020
A staffer wears a face mask to prevent the spread of Covid-19 as he stands next to a Chinese-made Geely Icon at the Beijing International Automotive Exhibition in September. File photo by Reuters.

(ATF) China's vehicle sales are likely to hit 25 million units this year, an industry body said on Friday, as the world's biggest automotive market continued to diversify into new energy-powered models.

Fu Bingfeng, executive vice-chairman of the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM), told its annual conference in Beijing that at least 20 million passenger vehicles and 5 million commercial vehicles, were expected to be sold in the country during 2020.

Earlier, Fu told a management work committee meeting that local Chinese local brands now occupy a total of about 50% market share. "Many outstanding national brands are welcomed and loved by consumers," he said. 

The Chinese automotive market has been an unusual bright spot as the coronavirus pandemic has hit sales worldwide, but Beijing's strict control of the spread of the virus has helped sustain the economy and led to a standout performance in vehicle sales.

When talking about the association's measures in terms of quality improvement and brand communication, Fu Bingfeng said CAAM was working on corporate brand building with manufacturers.

"For example, we actively promote the improvement of standards, industry self-discipline and product brands," said Fu. "At the same time, we organise some very meaningful social responsibility activities to improve corporate social responsibility, and also shape many excellent corporate brand images."

Autonomous driving

Fu said a priority was the development of new power trains that would promote efficiency. Autonomous driving was also an area of great interest, not only focusing on safety, but also how to make it economically viable.

“At present, we are actively organising industry integration, formulating vehicle standards and vehicle-road collaboration standards," he said. "Only when these standards are unified, can infrastructure construction, vehicle research and development and technological innovation be organically combined."

Bai Hua, an official at China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, said China expects to sell more than 1.3 million new energy vehicles (NEVs) this year, up from 1.2 million units last year. NEVs include battery-powered electric, plug-in petrol-electric hybrid and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles.

According to CAAM's statistical analysis the 10 largest manufacturers sold 17.635 million vehicles between January 1 and October 31, accounting for 89.5% of total vehicle sales. The top 10 sellers are SAIC, FAW, Dongfeng, GAC, Changan, BAIC, Geely, Great Wall, Brilliance and Chery.

Changan, FAW and Brilliance were manufacturers with the fastest-growing sales, the association said.

CAAM expects nationwide sales to hit 30 million units by 2025, Fu said.

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