China off to NEVerland as Sales Boom Continues

By Glenn Dyer | More Articles by Glenn Dyer

China’s sales of new-energy vehicles (NEVs) are headed for an all-time high of more than 3.2 million in 2021 after another solid month of sales in November.

Sales of NEVs (which are pure electric and hybrid vehicles), jumped 18% last month and were up 121% from November 2020.

China’s Passenger Car Association said sales totalled 378,000 units, up from the 321,000 sold in October (when sales were affected by Covid related lockdowns in some areas of the country).

That saw sales for the first 11 months of 2021 reach 2.81 million units, putting automakers in the world’s second-biggest economy within reach of a predicted 3 million units this year.

BYD Co., the Chinese carmaker backed by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, reported a strong showing, with its total November sales about equal to that of Tesla Inc., Nio Inc., Li Auto Inc. and Xpeng Inc. combined.

The Association said that with the shortage of computer chips ending, deliveries of vehicles in December could take the final figure for the year to around 3.3 million.

Analysts say that 2022 will see a sharp slowdown in sales growth because of the higher comparative base of this year instead of Covid lockdown hit 2020.

US EV maker, Tesla’s overall China deliveries eased 2.8% from October to 52,859 units. Of those, 21,127 were exported, while the remainder went into the domestic market.

That’s a marked difference from previous months when most of the company’s production from its Shanghai factor was exported.

Overall, passenger vehicle sales fell 12.5% year-on-year to 1.85 million units in November. That figure includes sedans, sports-utility vehicles and multipurpose vehicles and minivans.

The Association noted the upward pressure for EV battery makers as the price of battery ingredients like lithium, cobalt and nickel continues to climb and said the auto industry as a whole in China had lost around 92.3 billion yuan ($US20 billion) in profits in the first nine months due to chip and other constraints.

That’s a situation similar to the experiences in the US and European car sectors.

About Glenn Dyer

Glenn Dyer has been a finance journalist and TV producer for more than 40 years. He has worked at Maxwell Newton Publications, Queensland Newspapers, AAP, The Australian Financial Review, The Nine Network and Crikey.

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