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Electric cars vastly outpaced sales of fossil-fuel vehicles in China in September as the Chinese auto market continues to come off coronavirus lows. But Tesla (TSLA) sales there fell from the prior month. Most electric-car stocks fell.
Sales of new energy vehicles (NEVs) vaulted 67.7% to 138,000, rising for a third straight month and accelerating from a 26% gain in August. The NEV segment comprises all-electric vehicles, hybrid vehicles and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles.
Overall, China auto sales rose 12.8% 2.57 million vehicles in September, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said. It was the sixth consecutive month of growth and an uptick from an 11.6% gain in August. Sales of commercial vehicles and trucks soared nearly 40% last month, while passenger cars climbed 8%.
September and October tend to be a seasonally strong period in the world’s biggest car market. The Beijing auto show, promotional events and favorable policies from local governments spurred China auto sales in September, according to Reuters.
However, sales fell 6.9% for the first nine months of 2020 to 17.12 million vehicles, CAAM said. First quarter sales collapsed due to the coronavirus pandemic and related factory closures.
Tesla sold 11,329 Model 3s in China last month, a 4% drop from August, according to the China Passenger Car Association. Other reports said Tesla ranked third in NEV wholesales last month, behind the General Motors (GM)-SAIC-Wuling joint venture and BYD (BYDFF).
On Monday, GM said its China auto sales grew 12% in the third quarter. It marked the first quarterly growth for General Motors in that country in two years, led by strong Cadillac sales.
On Tuesday, Tesla cut Model S prices by around 4% in the U.S. and China. This month, the electric-car leader also cut the starting price of its made-in-China Model 3 by about 8% to 249,900 yuan ($36,805). Tesla started deliveries from its new Shanghai factory at the start of this year.
Tesla, Other Electric-Car Stocks
Among other electric-car stocks, Nio (NIO) eased 1.6%, Xpeng Motors (XPEV) slid 1.6%, Li Auto(LI) dipped 1.3% and Warren Buffett-backed BYD edged up 0.6%. Embattled Nikola (NKLA) fell 0.6% early Tuesday as investors still await an update on the proposed GM-Nikola manufacturing partnership, after the companies missed a closing deadline.
For September, Chinese electric-car maker Nio and Xpeng Motors more than doubled sales year over year. Upstart peer Li Auto grew September sales month over month, after kicking off production of its first model in November 2019.