Sales continue to recover in world's largest car market -
Great Wall Motors, the country's largest pickup and SUV maker, displays its VV5 model at the 2019 Shanghai auto show. The automaker sold 117,812 vehicles in September, up 20 percent year-on-year.[Photo by Li Fusheng/China Daily]

China's auto market hit a new high for the year in September in terms of both production and sales, and the trend is expected to continue into the fourth quarter, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.

The industry association's latest statistics show sales rose 12.8 percent in September in terms of year-on-year comparison, with 2.57 million vehicles sold in the month-China's fifth straight month of double-digit sales growth in recovering from the impact of COVID-19 on the country.

Sales of passenger vehicles rose 8 percent year-on-year in September to 2.09 million vehicles.

The association said the strong increase in sales comes as a result of the Beijing auto show, held in late September, promotional events and local policies.

Sales for the first nine months this year are still down 6.9 percent at a total of 17.12 million vehicles, because of how the market was hit by the pandemic in the beginning of the year. However, the decline continues to narrow, according to the CAAM.

Xu Haidong, vice-chief engineer of the CAAM, said the market performance exceeded expectations. The association forecast that the fourth quarter will continue to show positive growth and expects a 7-percent decline on the whole year.

New energy vehicle sales surged 67.7 percent to 138,000 units for the third consecutive month in September. The sales in first nine months stand at 734,000 units.

With more preferential policies targeting Chinese-branded new energy vehicles priced below 100,000 yuan ($14,886.93) in rural areas, new energy vehicles sales show signs of growth.

Xu said the sales of new energy vehicles are likely to exceed 1 million units for the whole year.