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Record sales in China inflated by creative accounting – many cars bought by manufacturers

886,000 electric and hybrid cars were sold in China in the first 11 months of the year. Who were the actual buyers?

Photo: Jakob Carlsen, Arriva Pressefoto

Electric car sales have skyrocketed in recent years.

But until recently, it was not known who was buying these electric and hybrid cars.

A research project led by website Sina.com has now revealed that a large share of the cars manufacturers claim to have sold were then sold further to manufacturers' subsidiaries, reports Automotive News.

The study covers the sale of electric and hybrid cars in China in the first 11 months of 2018. Altogether in the period, 886,000 of these types of vehicles were sold.

However, just 685,000 of these cars ended up sold to non-industry consumers. The remaining 201,000 cars were sold to the manufacturers' own subsidiaries.

These are typically companies offering ride-sharing services with the manufacturers' own brands.

The technique of "boasting" about record sales while sending a large share of sold vehicles onwards to their own car sharing companies is employed by a wide range of companies, for example BAIC Motor Corp, Geely and BMW.

In 2018, electric and hybrid car sales in China exceeded 1 million cars with sales of 1.26 million units, a 62 percent increase relative to 2017.

English Edit: Lena Rutkowski

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