2020 China new car sales down amid pandemic

New vehicle sales in China declined last year as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

A Chinese industry group says 25.3 million new vehicles were sold in the world's largest auto market in 2020. That's down 1.9 percent from a year earlier and represents a decline for a third straight year.

Sales of passenger cars fell 6 percent year-on-year to about 20.2 million units, while sales of trucks and other commercial vehicles rose 18.7 percent to more than 5.1 million units.

Nearly 1.4 million units of so-called new energy vehicles, such as electric cars, were sold. That's up 10.9 percent, marking a record.

China's new car sales nosedived at one point due to the spread of the coronavirus. But they have been on a recovery track since April due to subsidies by local governments and a rise in infrastructure investment.

The industry group expects the sales to grow 4 percent to more than 26 million units in 2021.

However, many automakers are cutting production due to a global shortage of semiconductor chips.

The group says that since last month, China has also been facing a scarcity of chips, and that a survey shows that makers may be significantly affected in the first quarter of the year.