China's automobile production and sales posted negligible growth in the first seven months of 2015.
Auto production rose 0.8 percent year on year to 13.6 million vehicles in the first seven months, while sales increased 0.39 percent to 13.3 million, according to a China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) press release.
The first seven months' growth of output and sales decelerated drastically from that for the January-June period, which stood at 2.64 and 1.43 percent respectively.
CAAM attributed the slower growth mainly to the fall in commercial vehicle output and sales, which in the first seven months dropped 14.6 percent and 13.9 percent.
In July alone, auto output and sales declined by 11.8 percent and 7.12 percent year on year to reach 1.52 million and 1.5 million vehicles, respectively, marking the third consecutive month of year on year decline.
The economic slowdown, competition and purchase quota policies in first-tier cities were cited as reasons for the contraction.
New energy vehicles -- pure electric and hybrid electric cars -- outperformed their peers in the first seven months, registering 250- and 260-percent growth year on year in output and sales to reach 95,530 and 89,549 vehicles, respectively.
Amid worsening air quality, the government has rolled out measures including tax redemptions, price subsidies and free number plates to promote new energy vehicles.
However, supporting infrastructure for new energy cars is still lacking, with high prices and a dearth of charging stations affecting growth.
The central government last year specified that 30 percent of all government vehicles should be green. Local governments, including Beijing, Changchun, Hangzhou and Guangzhou, have issued policies that aim to encourage new energy vehicle purchases. These policies include requests to electricity and property management departments to install charging facilities. The measures stimulated the market, with some 75,000 green cars sold last year, a record high.
The "Made in China 2025" plan for Chinese manufacturing released by China's cabinet in May stipulated that by 2020, there should be more than 1 million pure electric cars and plug-in cars produced domestically.