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Factory deliveries of passenger vehicles to dealers in China rose 8% to 2.1 million units last month, and deliveries from dealers to consumers grew 7% to 1.9 million.

It was the sixth consecutive month of year-on-year gains in wholesales and the third month of expanding retail deliveries.

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Good Vibes

Analysts are optimistic that China’s rebound indicates similar good news for markets in the U.S. and Europe—at least when they get their coronavirus pandemics under control.

But even China’s year-to-date volumes remain well below last year because of market disruptions caused by the health crisis. Analysts doubt that the Chinese market will match last year’s total of 25.8 million vehicles until 2022.

Wholesales through September totaled 13.4 million units, down 12%, according to the China Assn. of Automobile Manufacturers.

Bullish Dealers

The upturn in wholesales shows that dealers are bullish about consumer demand. September normally is a strong retail sales month, so stronger orders for more cars last month show that dealers also are optimistic about consumer demand in October.

Electrified vehicles showed exceptional growth in September, continuing a spurt that began in July. Wholesales zoomed more than two-thirds to 138,000 units last month. CAAM says the total comprised 138,000 all-electric models and about 26,000 plug-in hybrids.

Wholesales of EVs and plug-ins through the first nine months of 2020 totaled 734,000 units, down 18% compared with the same period last year. Results consisted of about 579,000 EVs and 154,000 hybrids.

Outlook

China has put together enough months of strong growth in car sales to prove its market is on the mend.

There are fundamental differences between the world’s largest car market and all others. But carmakers everywhere are encouraged by what they’re seeing in China.

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