China’s automobile production and sales recorded negative growth in 2018, the first time it experienced such a slowdown in 28 years.

While the passenger car sector was the main area of decline, commercial vehicles and new energy vehicles maintained positive growth, said Miao Wei, Minister of Industry and Information Technology, The Paper reported.

Last year, China produced 27.81 million cars, down 4.2% from a year earlier. Car sales reached 28.08 million, down 2.8%.

Miao believes that there are both internal and external factors. External factors such as purchase restrictions, multiple fines and parking difficulty have contributed to a decline in automobile production and sales.

Internally, car makers are not moving fast enough to adjust their structure and change their development methods, said Miao. They need more time to gradually improve.

Miao also pledged to put forward new policies to boost the development of the industry, in particular to promote car sales in rural areas and also to accelerate the use of new energy vehicles.