Vehicle sales in China continue to rebound from COVID-19 pandemic-impacted lows According to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM), Chinese vehicle sales of 2.112 million in July were an increase of 16.4% compared to July, 2019. For the period of January through July, sales were down 12.7% compared to the same period in 2019.

Electric vehicle sales are playing a big role in the recovery from pandemic-impacted sales drops. Overall, July sales of passenger vehicles increased 8.5% year-over-year. While still a small piece of the overall market, Chinese EV passenger vehicle maker, NIO (NYSE:NIO) said its second quarter deliveries soared 191%, to 10,331 units.

NIO ES8 smart electric SUV

NIO ES8. Image source: NIO, Inc.

NIO reported that 78% of its deliveries were of the ES6 mid-size SUV, while the balance were of the larger ES8 SUV. NIO's sales of $493.4 million represented an increase of 146.5% compared to the year-ago quarter, and were 177.6% higher than the pandemic-affected first quarter, 2020. According to CAAM, July data supported that "SUVs and crossover passenger cars are better than the overall level."

Overall sales growth in China was mostly driven by commercial and electric vehicles. Commercial vehicle sales showed a 59.4% increase in July. Commercial trucks specifically grew sales at 71.1% compared to July, 2019. 

July sales of "new energy vehicles" were 98,000, up 19.3% versus the prior year. This mostly consisted of pure EV's, which grew 24.2%, to 78,000 units. The balance was made up mainly of plug-in hybrid vehicles, CAAM said.