Hongqi, a car brand under FAW Group, sells more than 200,000 vehicles in 2020. [Photo by Zhang Dandan/China Daily]
The world's largest auto market showed mixed results last year due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Preliminary data from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers show that 25.27 million new vehicles were sold in 2020, a slip of 1.9 percent compared with 2019. The 2020 numbers, while down from 2019, were better than the association's forecast at the beginning of last year.
Passenger vehicles declined 6.1 percent and commercial vehicle increased 18 percent year-on-year.
Most passenger car brands struggled in 2020 because factories shut down at the beginning of the year, leading to supply chain breaks and shortages of auto parts.
Geely, which delivered 1.32 million Geely and Lynk & Co-branded vehicles in 2020, reported a 3 percent slip in sales.
General Motors' sales in China fell 6.2 percent last year, down to 2.9 million vehicles. It was the United States automaker's third straight decline in annual sales in China.
BYD sold 426,972 units in 2020, declining 7.46 percent year-on-year.
With economic stimulus and policy support softening the blow of the coronavirus, plants quickly restarted production in April. Some carmakers became winners in China's post-COVID recovery and even reported positive growth in 2020.
Chinese brand Changan reported sales of 2 million units in 2020, increasing 14 percent from 2019.
Hongqi, a car brand under FAW Group, registered a record in 2020.Its sales exceeded 200,000 units as of December 25.
Yale Zhang, managing director of Shanghai-based consulting firm Automotive Foresight, said launching competitive new models was the main reason for the two carmakers' positive growth.
Japanese automakers also showed strong performances last year. Toyota sold 1.8 million vehicles, climbing 10.9 percent year-on-year. Honda notched its second consecutive annual sales record with more than 1.62 million vehicles sold in China last year. Its sales climbed 4.7 percent year-on-year.
Zhang said Japanese cars have advantages in quality, price and fuel-efficiency. Customers were more likely to choose a cost-effective car in the poor economic climate.
British luxury carmaker Bentley enjoyed its best sales year in the company's 101-year history, thanks to robust demand in China. It sold 2,880 in the year, up 48 percent year-on-year. The added sales came mostly due to the popularity of the new Flying Spur and the new Bentayga SUV.
The CAAM predicts that China's auto industry is likely to see a slow growth for the first time in four years in 2021. The outlook anticipates 26.3 million vehicles will be sold this year, with passenger vehicles accounting for 21.7 million and commercial vehicles contributing 4.6 million.