China’s car sales slump 4.2 per cent in November as reluctant consumers stay away from big ticket purchases

South China Morning Post 發布於 2019年12月09日16:12 • Daniel Ren
  • China’s car market, the world’s largest, is heading for a second consecutive annual drop
  • For the first 11 months of the year, car sales have slumped 10.2 per cent to 19.27 million units
Cars stand ready for delivery at BYD’s electric car factory in Xian, Shaanxi province. Sales of new-energy vehicles fell 42 per cent to 78,000 units last month. Photo: EPA-EFE

China's car market remains mired in a downward spiral as sales dropped for a fourth consecutive month in November amid a slowing economy.

A total of 1.97 million sedans, SUVs, minivans and multipurpose vehicles were sold in November, 4.2 per cent lower year on year, the China Passenger Car Association (CPCA) said on Monday. But the monthly sales were 5.1 per cent higher than in October.

"The market failed to live up to expectations of a strong rebound in November," said Cui Dongshu, secretary general of the CPCA. "Consumer demand remained weak as people are reluctant to spend on big-ticket items due to worries about a bleak economic outlook."

The country's once-buoyant car market, which reported an annual sales decline for the first time since 1992 last year, is set for a second straight yearly drop.

Employees work in the BYD's electric car factory in Xian, Shaanxi province. Photo: EPA-EFE

For the first 11 months of this year, car sales have slumped 10.2 per cent to 19.27 million units.

China's car market, the world's largest, began losing momentum in June 2018 after more than two decades of strong growth. The market has seen year-on-year declines in 17 of the past 18 months.

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It was only in June that sales rose 4.9 per cent year on year to 1.8 million units as dealers offered huge discounts that month to clear inventory.

China's economic output expanded 6 per cent in the third quarter ending September, the slowest pace since records began in 1992, amid a bruising trade war with the US.

The move by Beijing to slash subsidies on new-energy vehicle by up to 60 per cent in June has also caused sales of pure electric cars and plug-in hybrids to plummet.

Sales of NEVs fell 42 per cent to 78,000 units last month, according to the CPCA.

Japanese brands were the top gainers last month, with sales jumping 9 per cent on year. Dongfeng Nissan reported sales of 126,573 units, up 13.9 per cent from a year earlier. Dongfeng Honda sold 81,334 units, a jump of 17.9 per cent on year.

Toyota and Honda have been successful in luring more mainland drivers because of their designs and fuel efficiency.

Late last month, Dongfeng Honda said it would launch at least five new models next year as it bets on a turnaround in the mainland market.

Germany's Volkswagen and its Chinese partners said they will spend more than US$4.4 billion next year to increase production of electric cars and SUVs.

Tesla, the bestselling US electric carmaker, meanwhile is expected to start mass production of is Model 3 cars at its new Shanghai plant soon.

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