Beijing’s efforts to ease a record slump in the domestic auto market have come to nothing.
Sales fell 6.6% in September, the China Passenger Car Association said Saturday, confirming the deeply entrenched downturn has not abated.
It’s hard to spin this story. Economic deceleration and efforts to curb pollution have undercut the market to dramatic effect. Despite a raft of measures introduced to jump start (pardon the pun) things, sales of sedans, minivans and SUVs have fallen for 15 of the last 16 months. Deep discounts prompted one month of respite over the summer, but that’s about it.
On Thursday, GM said July to September sales in China plunged nearly 18%, thanks in part to the trade war and ongoing signs of economic weakness.
China is the planet’s largest car market. Sales for GM in the country have fallen for five consecutive quarters.
Domestic manufacturer BYD saw its sales decline 15% last month, on a YoY basis, while Geely Auto said sales for September fell 9% from last year. “Through September, Geely’s sales slumped 16% to 958,110 while BYD’s volume decreased 4.5 percent to 335,795”, Automotive news writes.
2018 marked the first annual drop in car sales in China since at least the 1990s. 2019 will be the second.
America’s loss in terms of Chinese market share is Germany and Japan’s gain. “As GM and Ford’s China sales extend declines, US car companies’ share of total China passenger vehicles sales fell to 9.5% in the first eight months of this year from 10.7% in the year-ago period”, Reuters wrote this week. “Over the same period, German car makers’ share has risen to 23.8% from 21.6% and Japanese auto makers’ to 21.7% from 18.3%”.