New light-vehicle sales in China dropped for the 16th straight month in October with demand for electrified vehicles falling four consecutive months as the market continues to struggle under weaker economic growth.
The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said car and light-truck deliveries slipped 5.8 percent to below 1.93 million last month.
Sales of commercial vehicles, including buses and trucks, recovered for the second consecutive month, rising 7 percent to some 357,000.
Overall, new-vehicle sales totaled 2.28 million in October, a decrease of four percent from a year earlier.
The latest decline in volume followed declines of 5.2 percent in September and 6.9 percent in August.
September and October, known as "Golden September, Silver October" by China's auto industry, are regarded as the high season for sales, with customers traditionally returning to make purchases after the summer.
The decline in volume during the high season has dealt a blow to industry executives' hopes for a turnaround in the second half of the year.
As recently as three years ago, automakers had enjoyed double-digit annual growth in China. But the prolonged slide has prompted domestic carmakers from Geely to Great Wall to lower sales and profit outlooks.
Through October, new-vehicle sales in China fell 9.7 percent to around 20.65 million. During the first ten months, new light-vehicle deliveries slumped 11 percent to roughly 17.17 million while new commercial-vehicle sales dipped 2.5 percent to 3.48 million.
Demand for electrified vehicles slid for the fourth consecutive month after the Chinese government slashed subsidies for EVs and plug-in hybrids on June 25.
In October, aggregate sales of battery-electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids plunged 46 percent to roughly 75,000. The tally includes 59,000 EVs and 16,000 plug-in hybrids.
In the first ten months, total sales of electrified vehicles in China still increased 10 percent to approximately 947,000. The total includes 750,000 EVs, 196,000 plug-in hybrids and 1,327 fuel cell vehicles.
Fewer new energy vehicles could be sold in China this year than in 2018, a CAAM official said Monday as consumers hold back on purchases following the government decision to cut subsidies.
"There is a gap between sales to date and where they were last year, so according to the development trend, we may see negative growth for new energy vehicles this year," said Chen Shihua, assistant secretary general at the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.
China has been a major supporter of NEVs and has implemented sales quotas for automakers. But facing fiscal pressures, it cut subsidies for NEVs this year as part of an overall plan to reduce incentives, making vehicles costlier.
Before subsidies were trimmed, the market for NEVs -- plug-in hybrids, battery-only electric vehicles and those powered by hydrogen fuel cells -- had been a bright spot, jumping 62 percent last year.
Reuters contributed to this report.