By on February 15, 2011

More Chinese sales numbers for January are coming in as China slowly begins to return from the Chinese New Year holidays. We are keeping a wary eye on the January numbers. They are seen as an indicator for the whole year. Most of the world’s auto industry relies on China for growth and volume. A marked slowdown could have serious consequences.

  • Chery reports an increase of 17.52 percent over last January with 86,299 units sold. However, these are global numbers. 10,505 units were exported, up 100 percent from the previous January.
  • Geely’s sales rose only 4 percent compared to January of 2010. 45,634 units were sold. That number is down 18.7 percent from the record level achieved in December. Geely is very strong in the sub 1.6 liter segment, profited a lot from the lowered taxes for this segment and got it on the nose when the subsidies were withdrawn.
  • Nissan’s sales jumped 32.6 percent on the year to 113,000 units in China last month.
  • Major Chinese players such as GM and Volkswagen already had reported strong growth in January. Luxury sales were especially hot.
  • Yesterday, the China Passenger Car Association reported that sales of passenger cars rose 12.6 percent to 965,238 units in January. However, this is only part of the count. The final official number will be announced by the CAAM. We await these data for Friday.

Looking over the data, it appears that there was a pull-forward effect in the sub 1.6 liter segment, where Chinese homegrown brands are strong. The bigger bore segments, domain of the joint ventures with foreign makers, appear unaffected.

GM CEO Daniel Akerson is in Beijing today. He is banking on China’s health. He announced that GM will add over 20 new and upgraded models in China in the next two years. “China is clearly a crown jewel in the GM universe,” Akerson told the assembled press while Reuters was taking notes. “China is a unique market sitting in what I think is the highest growth area in the world for the next 10, 20, 30 years.”

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