China’s prognosticated car bubble does not appear to experience its prognosticated burst. One by one, Chinese sales numbers for January are coming in, and none of them are bad.
According to The Nikkei [sub] Ford’s sales in China rose 20 percent in January to a record 53,340 units, driven mostly by demand for the Ford Focus.
Compared to GM China ( up 22.3 percent to 268,071 units in January) and Volkswagen (up 29.4 percent to 187,700 units in January), Ford is relatively small in China, but impressive growth is impressive growth.
Speaking small but impressive:
Daimler sold a total of 15,330 Mercedes-Benz cars in January in China, up 89 percent. Sales of the (imported) S-Class more than doubled in January from a year earlier to 2,640 units. Sales of the R-Class SUV (likewise imported – from Alabama and Mexico) more than tripled to 1,070 units, Dow Jones writes (via NASDAQ.)
BMW is no slouch either: BMW sold 21,641 units in China in January, up 70.4 percent from January 2010 sales, Gasgoo reports.
The official total will arrive after China reopens after the Chinese New Year holidays.
The end of the world prophets may have better luck next month, aided by the vagaries of the Chinese lunar calendar: Last year, the new year festivities started in the last week of January, and by mid February, things went slowly back to normal. This year, the holidays started on February 2nd, and China will for all intents and purposes remain closed for all of February. China doesn’t have fancy SAAR numbers that are adjusted for selling days. The extra selling week helped January, but will wreak havoc with February numbers.
However, the pre-holiday sales are taken as an omen for the rest of the year, and the omen appears to be in a gregarious mood.