GM, Toyota, and Ford reported subdued August sales numbers for China today. This rains on the parade of the China Automotive Technology and Research Center. It said yesterday that August sales in China rose 55.7 percent. Did we say “don’t take it as gospel?”
- General Motors Co. said its sales in the country rose 19 percent in August from a year earlier to 181,625 vehicles. During the first eight months of this year, GM sold 1.57 million vehicles in China,.
- Toyota and its Chinese joint ventures sold 77,200 vehicles in China last month, up 16 percent from a year earlier. Toyota’s overall sales in the January-August period rose 22 percent to 503,800 vehicles.
- August sales by Ford and its joint ventures in China totaled 44,047 vehicles, up 24 percent. They sold 368,103 vehicles during the year’s first eight months, up 42 percent.
The Wall Street Journal notes that “it wasn’t immediately clear why the average growth figure from CATARC was so much higher than those of the three big foreign companies. Officials at CATARC couldn’t be reached for comment.”
According to our patent-pending TTAC China sales forecast model, the GM number points to a sales increase of below 20 percent. Car dealers in Beijing, contacted by TTAC, didn’t report having been mobbed by customers. Actually, August is a slow month in China.
Something is fishy with the CATARC numbers, and it wouldn’t be the first time. They usually grab the headlines first by being out with a number more than a week before the official CAAM numbers are released. The CATARC number is generally unreliable. Wait and see. August 2009 was an extremely strong month with nearly 100 percent growth. Any growth on top of that is a miracle. 56 percent growth looks like a Chinese chimera. Ever since the CATARC numbers had been published, the month starts with a week of confusion. Very un-Chinese.