Shock! Horror! Chinese Auto Sales Slow to 11%
China’s closely-watched auto sales stats are in. During the first month after the start of the worldwide auto industry meltdown, the first month after China awoke from the self-inflicted paralysis (a.k.a. the Olympics), sales are growing, but slowing. Compared to last year, China’s vehicle output and sales both grew 11 percent from January through October. October sales accounted for 715,700 units, up 3.37 percent year-on-year. Other countries would party after having received these numbers. In China, they come as a shock. According to China Associations of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) [via Gasgoo], China produced 8.02 million motor vehicles– and sold 7.94 million from January to October. Oops.
China’s top ten automakers are still SAIC Motor Corp, FAW, Dongfeng, Changan, Beijing Auto, Guangzhou Auto, Chery, Brilliance Auto, Hafei and Auhui Jianghuai. The Big Ten still comprise 84 percent of the Chinese market. In the previous year, China’s auto sales grew by 22 percent, a growth rate that was pretty much taken for granted. In 2008, car sales deteriorated slowly since the beginning of the year, reflecting measures by the Chinese government to dampen an overheating economy. Recently, and especially last weekend, China took the foot off the economic brake and pressed down hard on the accelerator. Given some turbo lag, the measures may come a wee bit too late. With just two more months to go, and with only eight million units in the bag, the goal of 10 million cars made and sold in China will remain… elusive.