Biz / Auto

Auto sales continue decline

Hu Yumo
Weak consumer demand and macro-economic factors are blamed for 16.4 percent drop in the number of vehicles sold in China last month.
Hu Yumo

China’s auto sales continued their long downward trend in May due to weak demand and macro-economic factors.

Car manufacturers sold a total of 1.91 million vehicles in China last month, down 16.4 percent year on year, according to data from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers on Wednesday.That marked the 11th consecutive month of decline after falls of 14.6 percent in April and 5.2 percent in March reported by Reuters.

From January to May, the country sold a total of 10.27 million vehicles, down 13 percent compared with the same period last year, association data showed.

The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said that based on situation in May, the downward trend was due to weak consumer demand and some automakers slowing production to reduce the burden in the retail market. 

Xu Haidong, CAAM’s assistant secretary general, said one key reason for the drop was provinces implementing “China VI” vehicle emission standards earlier than the central government’s 2020 deadline, stoking uncertainty among manufacturers, Reuters reported.

The association noted that with the increase of models meeting the new emission standards and a series of policy measures which will reduce tax and other fees in the second half of this year, the passenger car market will get a boost. Production and sales of new-energy vehicles will maintain a relatively fast growth thanks to the policies.

The association also cited sluggish passenger car sales as well as a decline in commercial vehicles in May. 

Sales of passenger vehicles reached 1.56 million in May, down 17.4 percent compared with the same month last year. Sales of commercial vehicles totaled 351,000 vehicles last month, down 11.8 percent year on year.

Despite a weak performance in the overall auto market, sales of new-energy vehicles are booming.

From January to May, new-energy vehicle sales surged 41.5 percent year on year to 464,000 as production jumped 46 percent year on year to 480,000 vehicles.

Earlier this year, the association forecast 2019 sales flat at 28 million while industry insiders tend to predict overall sales for China's auto market will decline this year. 

China’s auto sales fell in 2018 for the first time in more than two decades, dropping 2.8 percent to 28.1 million, hit by macro-economic factors, the Sino-US trade war and weak consumer confidence.

Annual sales rose 3 percent to 28.88 million in 2017 and in 2016 surged 13.7 percent to 28.03 million.

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