Chinese auto sales fell for the 14th time in 15 months, extending what’s already been a historically prolonged slump in the world’s largest car market.
Sales of sedans, sport utility vehicles, minivans and multipurpose vehicles in August fell 9.9% from a year earlier to 1.59 million units, the China Passenger Car Association said Monday.
Automakers reeling from the industry’s longest downturn in three decades continue to face headwinds as economic growth slows and trade tensions with the U.S. persist. To help stimulate demand, China has rolled out a series of supportive measures to encourage consumption — the latest coming last month when the government issued guidelines to loosen car-purchase restrictions.
But the slide continues, battering carmakers’ earnings. Top Chinese SUV maker Great Wall Motor Co. reported that first-half profit tumbled 59%, and the country’s biggest automaker — SAIC Motor Corp. — recently predicted its first annual sales decline in at least 14 years. Billionaire Li Shufu’s Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd. recorded a sales drop of 19% in August.
Separately, Indian car sales tumbled 41% — the most on record — in August amid a prolonged slump. In the U.S., which was experiencing its own downturn, automakers posted a much-needed rebound last month — though deliveries were helped by the inclusion of the Labor Day weekend in August.