Ever since the China Automotive Technology & Research Center, a government agency that “assists the government in such activities as auto standard and technical regulation formulating, product certification testing, quality system certification, industry planning and policy research, information service and common technology research” started issuing monthly car sales numbers, we had our issues with them.
Month after month, they came out with data early, received headlines all over the world, and when the official CAAM numbers came out, they were totally different. There were attempts to explain that CATRC reports registrations, whereas CAAM reports deliveries to dealers. But the numbers were too far apart. In August, we yelped “Come on, guys. China is the world’s largest auto market. Why do we have to endure this rigmarole every month?” When we reported the September numbers, the CATRC was conspicuously absent. Now, we know why.
China’s biggest car site, Sohu, reports (in Chinese) that we were spared September numbers from CATRC, that there will be no October numbers, and that there will be no CATRC numbers thereafter. Sohu has it from “informed sources” that China’s Public Security Bureau (i.e. the police, the Department of Motorvehicles, and sundry other functions rolled into one) has turned off the stream of data to CATRC. Apparently, we were not the only ones who were unhappy with the data. China’s auto manufacturers association CAAM has voiced their dissatisfaction with the data, says Sohu, which eventually prompted “the relevant departments to intervene.”