BEIJING — China's vehicle sales including trucks and buses accelerated in September as the industry's biggest global market recovered from the coronavirus pandemic, an industry group reported Tuesday.
Sales rose 17.4% over a year earlier to 2.6 million vehicles, up from August's 11.6% growth, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.
It said SUV sales set a new monthly record and purchases of other passenger vehicles also rose but gave no details.
In the first nine months of the year, sales declined 6.9% from a year earlier to 17.1 million, CAAM said. That was an improvement over the 9.7% contraction for the first eight months.
Auto sales already were suffering before China closed factories and dealerships in February to fight the coronavirus. Consumers are uneasy about slowing economic growth and a trade war with Washington.
Last year's sales fell 9.6% in the second straight annual decline.
That hurts global automakers that are looking to China to propel sales growth.
It also squeezes cash flow at a time when global and Chinese brands are spending billions of dollars to develop electric vehicles under pressure to meet government sales quotas.