(Bloomberg) -- China’s top electric-vehicle makers posted better-than-expected July sales as the government attempts to boost auto demand to help revive a flagging economic recovery. 

Way out front was BYD Co., China’s top-selling automaker, which delivered 262,161 new-energy vehicles last month, up 61% from a year earlier. Xpeng Inc., which last week signed a deal to produce EVs with Volkswagen AG, reported July sales of 11,008 units, up 28% from the month before. Li Auto Inc. shipped 34,134 cars last month, while Nio Inc.’s deliveries jumped to 20,462. 

Sales by Li, Nio and Xpeng beat expectations by 1,000 to 2,000 units, CMB International analysts including Ji Shi wrote in a note. 

Nio’s sales almost doubled from the previous month. They’re on the rise after an Abu Dhabi investment entity agreed in June to take a 7% stake in the Shanghai-based manufacturer for about $740 million. The uptick in sales suggests a turn in fortunes for Nio, which posted a bigger than expected loss of 4.74 billion yuan ($660 million) in the quarter through March and then saw sales slip to under 13,000 EVs for April and May combined. 

China has made pledges recently to stoke auto demand as part of a broader push to boost the economy, including a 10-step plan to increase car purchases, particularly NEVs. In June, the Ministry of Commerce launched a six-month campaign to lift car purchases and drive EV adoption in rural areas.

The July sales bump comes after many of China’s top automakers fell behind their annual sales targets in the first half, suggesting a price war that engulfed the world’s biggest car market might continue. Of 10 major manufacturers studied by Bloomberg, none had reached 50% of their annual sales goals at the mid-point of the year.

©2023 Bloomberg L.P.