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September 12, 2019

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China auto sales extend slide to 6.9% in August

China’s auto sales fell 6.9 percent in August from a year earlier to 1.96 million vehicles, the 14th consecutive monthly decline, according to data released by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers yesterday.

That followed declines of 4.3 percent in July and 9.6 percent in June for the world’s largest auto market.

The CAAM said that the downward trend is due to macro-economic factors and weak consumer demand.

Overall auto sales declined 11 percent to 16.1 million vehicles in the first eight months compared with the same period last year.

“The sales in the second half of the year should become better but we are not sure to what extent the sales would be,” Shi Jianhua, senior official of CAAM said.

“Perhaps the next three years will be at a low or small negative growth,” he said.

Based on sales and production figure for the year-to-date, downward pressure on the auto industry is substantial.

The association said the Ministry of Commerce is conducting research and gathering opinions from auto companies and discussing policies and measures which will be released at a proper time.

As recently as three years ago, automakers had enjoyed double-digit annual growth in the world’s largest auto market, before the brakes came on with the first annual contraction since the 1990s last year. In July, the association predicted China’s auto sales will drop 5 percent to 26.68 million vehicles this year.

It expects sales of new energy vehicles to increase at a slower pace to 1.5 million, down from a previous forecast of 1.6 million.

Sales of NEVs fell for a second month in a row due to declining government subsidies, the association said.

In August, green car sales lost 15.8 percent to 85,000 units, following a 4.7 percent fall in July — the first decline since January 2017.

Last month, electric vehicles declined 6 percent year-on-year to 69,000 units.

Sales of plug-in hybrids dropped 41.3 percent to 16,000 vehicles.

“Due to the impact of subsidies cut on new energy vehicles, sales for new energy vehicles continued to drop,” Chen Shihua, assistant secretary general at CAAM, said. NEV sales jumped almost 62 percent last year even as the broader auto market contracted.


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