China’s March numbers are in and they are – ok. The first quarter is down a little, March is up a little. People who were hoping for a return of unbridled growth are just as disappointed as those who had wished the pox of a monster crash on China.
Total auto sales were up 1.02 percent to 1,838,600 units, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) reported today. Sales of passenger vehicles were up 4.54 percent to 1.4 million. Sales of commercial vehicles, down 8.80 percent to 438,600 units, still give cause for concern: Sales of commercial vehicles indicate the direction of commerce in general.
The first quarter is still negative. 4.79 million vehicles were sold January through March, 3.4 percent less than in Q1 2011. Sales of 3.77 million passenger cars in Q1 are 1.3 percent below the first quarter of the prior year.
Our patent pending sales oracle, GM China, is still overshooting the market. This reflects a general trend: Smaller cars in China are having trouble selling, whereas bigger bore cars, the mainstay of joint ventures, still enjoy brisk sales. The CAAM again reported a drop in the sub 1.6 liter segment, and a further reduction of the market share of indigenous brands.