China vehicle sales fall for fourth month on chip shortages

Cars for export wait to be loaded onto cargo vessels at a port in Lianyungang, Jiangsu province, China October 14, 2019. REUTERS/Stringer

BEIJING, Sept 10 (Reuters) - China's vehicle sales slid 17.8% in August from a year earlier, falling for a fourth consecutive month, as the world's biggest car market was hard hit by a global shortage of semiconductors.

Overall sales in China stood at 1.8 million vehicles in August, data from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) showed.

China's vehicle sales jumped 13.7% in the first eight months of 2021 from the same period a year ago, as the market recovered from pandemic lows.

CAAM now expects 2021 growth to be slower than a previously forecast 6.5%, said Chen Shihua, a senior official at CAAM.

A prolonged global chip shortage has unsettled major automakers including Ford Motor (F.N), Honda Motor (7267.T), General Motors (GM.N) and Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE), forcing many to idle or curtail production.

The shortage was unlikely to be resolved soon as the pandemic rages on in many parts of the world, Chen said.

One bright spot in the data was the strong sales of new energy vehicles, which more than doubled in August to 321,000 vehicles. These include battery-powered electric vehicles, plug-in petrol-electric hybrids and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles.

The government's promotion of greener vehicles to cut pollution has prompted electric car makers such as Nio Inc (NIO.N), Xpeng Inc (9868.HK) and BYD Co Ltd (002594.SZ) to expand manufacturing capacity in China.

Reporting by Yilei Sun and Brenda Goh; Editing by Clarence Fernandez, Muralikumar Anantharaman and Ana Nicolaci da Costa

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