SHANGHAI – Coronavirus infections, which raged across China after Beijing abruptly ditched a zero-COVID policy in early December, have eased.
Nearly all pandemic controls are gone, and face masks are only mandatory on public transport.
While life in China is normalizing, automakers face a host of challenges as the market remains a world apart from what they faced in the pre-COVID era.
The marketplace is transitioning to electrified vehicles from gasoline products at a speed few could imagine three years ago.
In 2019, the annual volume of full electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids stood at 1.2 million, accounting for 4.7 percent of overall new-vehicle sales.
Roughly 6.9 million or 26 percent of the vehicles sold in China last year were EVs and plug-in hybrids, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.
The trend is accelerating at a breathtaking pace. In December, some 814,000 or 32 percent of new vehicles sold in China were EVs and plug-in hybrids.
The rapid penetration of electrified vehicles is being driven mainly by Chinese brands.
In December, 51 percent of traditional Chinese light-vehicle makers’ shipments were EVs and plug-in hybrids, according to a tally by the China Automobile Dealers Association.
By contrast, the rate was 27 percent for luxury marques and 5 percent for global mass-market brands.