The Chinese passenger car market did something highly unusual in February: It declined. If the data of the usually not highly reliable China Passenger Car Association is to be believed, that is. They e-mailed to Automotive News [sub] that February 2011 passenger car sales were a minuscule 0.4 percent below February 2010 levels.
As mentioned before, a decline in February would not surprise us. The reasons are not the oft-cited raise of the sales tax or the raise of gasoline prices. It’s something much simpler: China had been closed for most of February in observance of the Chinese New Year. Seasonally, China gets a spurt of sales before the holidays, and in January, total sales rose 13.81 percent to 1.894 million units.
Anyway, the China Passenger Car Association does not issue the official number. That one comes from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM), and they will report by this week’s end. Their number includes all vehicles. It could even be lower, because the holiday season is not a good season for commercial vehicles. GM China has just been hit by this phenomenon, their sales of Wuling vans dropped 8.3 percent in February.
Honda’s China sales in February were down 6.5 percent, Reuters says.
China’s largest carmaker SAIC reports sales of 283,382 units for February, up 14.3 percent from a year earlier.