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China 2019 Electric Vehicle Market Share Grows To 4.7% Despite Tighter Incentives

2019 electric vehicle market share in the world’s largest auto market, China, increased from 4.5% to 4.7%, even after a significant trimming of incentives from July.

2019 electric vehicle market share in the world’s largest auto market, China, increased from 4.5% to 4.7%, even after a significant trimming of incentives from July. The EV market share increase comes amidst an 8.4% fall in sales of combustion vehicles (26.82 million in 2018 to 24.56 million in 2019), with EV sales remaining relatively unscathed (1.26 million trimmed to 1.21 million). Whilst government officials expect fossil vehicles sales to fall again in 2020, EV sales will remain relatively healthy, helped by a stable incentive environment and substantial numbers of Tesla’s locally made vehicles.

Shanghai. Image Courtesy of sdweathers from Pixabay

The official auto market figures were released by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) on Monday, and include both passenger vehicles and commercial vehicles. China’s overall auto market decline in 2019 accelerated from a smaller decline in 2018, after almost 3 decades of rapid growth. Shi Jianhua, a senior representative at CAAM, told reporters:

“We have moved away from the high-speed development stage. We have to accept the reality of low-speed development. … We had high-speed growth for a consecutive 28 years, which was really not bad, so I hope everyone can calmly look at the market.” Shi Jianhua, CAAM as reported by Reuters.

Remaining calm may be easier for some than others. Of the big international automakers, Ford appears to have been hit hardest, with China sales down 26.1% in 2019. Meanwhile, premium EV makers in China, such as Tesla, Nio, and others, have plenty of future growth to look forward to. Let’s see the recent drop in sales of fossil vehicles and the relative rise of EVs plotted in a bar chart:

China’s New Energy Vehicle (NEV) policy is primarily guided by the MIIT, whose senior official, Miao Wei, confirmed on Saturday that NEV subsidies would “remain relatively steady” during 2020.

Since China represents around a third of the global auto market, the falling sales of fossil vehicle bodes well for progress on pollution, the climate emergency, and fossil fuel conflicts.

The other two largest global auto markets, Europe and the US, likewise saw flat or declining fossil sales in 2019, following the initial trend we saw in 2018. Overall, fossil vehicle sales continued their global decline in 2019 (article coming soon).


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Max is an anthropologist, social theorist and international political economist, trying to ask questions and encourage critical thinking about social and environmental justice, sustainability and the human condition. He has lived and worked in Europe and Asia, and is currently based in Barcelona. Find Max's book on social theory, follow Max on twitter @Dr_Maximilian and at MaximilianHolland.com, or contact him via LinkedIn.

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