Last week, we reported some totally discombobulated June sales numbers from China. People’s Daily had reported that “China’s auto sales slumped by 17.4 percent in June from May, to less than 10 million vehicles.” Hooooo-kay. If you say so.
Now, state-run news agency Xinhua reports numbers that make a bit more sense. Still not the official CAAM data, but close enough.
Based on statistics of the not always quite reliable China Automotive Technology & Research Center (CATRC), June sales advanced by 14 percent compared to the red-hot June of 2009. Compared to May, sales dropped 5.25 percent in June, but this is within normal seasonality. (China doesn’t have a SAAR, they had a SARS, and that was enough.) For the first half of the year, China’s automobile sales grew 30.45 percent to 7.18 million units sold from January through June.
Based on this, China should easily close out the year with somewhere between 15 and 16m units sold. Observers expect a subdued 3rd quarter, especially when compared with the insane growth numbers of the same quarter in the prior year. In the 4th quarter, everybody expects a run on the showrooms. “People will wait until the last minute to buy a car before incentive measures like tax cuts and subsidies expire,” said Zhao Hang, director of the CATRC.
Nevertheless, the CATRC data are not the official numbers. The official CAAM data should be released sometime this week, putting an end to the usual Chinese beginning-of-the-month confusion.
If the CATRC numbers are halfway correct, then GM’s performance in China has improved remarkably. Usually, GM was only a few points better than the overall market. Now, they outsell the market by a wide margin. GM China’s sales in June rose 23.2 percent. For the first half of the year, sales at GM China are up 48.5 percent. If this continues, then TTAC needs a new China oracle.