China's auto sales surge 75% in March, 12th straight monthly gain

Sales of EVs, hybrids, fuel-cell cars were up 239%

BEIJING — Auto sales in China surged in March for their 12th consecutive month of gains, as the world's biggest car market leads the sector's recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sales reached 2.53 million vehicles in March, up 74.9% year-on-year, data from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) showed.

Sales of new energy vehicles (NEVs), including battery-powered electric vehicles, plug-in petrol-electric hybrids and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles, increased 239% in March to 226,000 units.

NEV makers, such as homegrown Nio Inc and Xpeng Inc, as well as foreign groups, such as Tesla, are expanding manufacturing capacity in China as it promotes greener vehicles to cut air pollution.

Another Chinese auto industry body, China Passenger Car Association, said on Friday Tesla sold 35,478 China-made cars in March.

Chen Shihua, a senior executive at CAAM, said the industry body expects the chip supply shortage to have bigger negative impact on China's auto production in the second quarter than in the first.

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