By on February 14, 2011

The China Passenger Car Association reports that sales of passenger cars rose 12.6 percent to 965,238 units in January, says the Associated Press. However, as explained in my small lecture on the use and abuse of auto industry statistics, this is not the number we are waiting for. We are waiting for the sales of all motorvehicles in China with 4 wheels and over, also known as “automobile sales.”

The Associated Press is one of the main perpetrators of numerical mis-information when it comes to Chinese auto sales, and a repeat offender. It insists on publishing the number of passenger cars only, as in “Chinese bought 13.7 million passenger vehicles last year” in the current article. The number to watch is the one for all types. That number was 18.06 million last year in China. If we would do the same to the U.S. as what AP does to China, sales would suddenly drop by half, because no trucks and SUVs would be counted.

The number for all motor vehicles in China with 4 wheels and over is being published by the CAAM, and they haven’t released it yet.

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