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China’s Auto Market Shows Signs of Bottoming Out After 2-Year Decline

By Han Wei / Jan 10, 2020 05:28 AM / Business & Tech

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China’s auto market shows signs of bottoming out after a second consecutive yearly sales drop in 2019, data released Thursday showed.

Sales of passenger vehicles including sedans, sport utility vehicles, minivans and multipurpose vehicles declined 7.4% from 2018 to 20.7 million, according to the China Passenger Car Association (CPCA), a trade organization. The world’s largest auto market booked its first annual declined in decades last year with a 5.8% drop.

Passenger car sales slipped 3.4% year-on-year in December alone, the 18th monthly drop in the past 19 months. But the pace of declines has slowed for four consecutive months.

Cui Dongshu, CPCA’s secretary general, said the group expects the market to reach a bottom soon. Cui said sales are likely to continue sliding this month with a drop of about 15% from a year earlier. But for the full year 2020, the association expects a 1% rebound for the overall auto market, Cui said.

Automakers’ performance varied amid the slowdown. General Motors Co. said earlier this week that its China sales plunged 15% last year and warned of persisting pressures in 2020. Leading domestic manufacturer SAIC Motor Corp. reported an11.5% sales slump.

Meanwhile, German and Japanese brands weathered the market better and expanded their market shares 2%, according to the CPCA. Toyota Motor Co. and Honda Motor Co. both posted 9% China sales increases in 2019.

Contact reporter Han Wei (weihan@caixin.com)

Related: GM Warns China Auto Sales Will Remain Weak This Year


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