Oh May! China's Car Sales Up 55 Percent

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
oh may china s car sales up 55 percent

From early indications, we assumed that May car sales would be great in China. Yet, we admit being kept speechless by the news that China’s car sales rocketed up 55 percent in May. That’s the most since the beginning of this year, data from China Passenger Car Association shows. And it’s the biggest growth China has seen in a long time.

According to Gasgoo, sales of passenger cars, multipurpose vehicles, sport utility vehicles and minivans (that’s as close to the “Light Vehicle” count they can get in China—pickups aren’t counted) rose to 812,178 units in May, up 54.7 percent from a year earlier. Vehicle sales in the first five months climbed 29.6 percent to 3.65 million units.

China clearly escapes the carpocalypse at thundering speed. Even in its darkest period, 2008, Chinese auto makers edged out a 6.7 percent rise, after a 22 percent rise the year before. China is solidly back in double digits growth territory, and from all accounts, 2009 should become its best year ever.

China’s sales usually are highest during the spring festival (which was in January this year), then trend down until July, then up again. Seasonally adjusted, the numbers are even more mind-blowing.

“While auto inventories in the U.S. and Western Europe are the among the highest they have ever been, Chinese inventories last month fell to their lowest in history,” Barron’s says. “In many regions of China, new-car buyers face long waiting periods.”

Barron’s explains the boom this way: “China’s latest car boom follows Beijing’s massive fiscal-stimulus plan, which included a support package for the domestic auto industry, cutting purchase taxes for cars with small engines (with displacement below 1.6 liters) and providing subsidies to rural purchasers. The government has vowed to boost nationwide vehicle sales 10 percent annually for three more years and is trying to cut the number of car makers to ease competition.”

We say that the stimulus package is frugal compared to what other governments dump into their car industries. China’s rocket has just begun to lift off and is on a long trajectory. China being the world’s largest car market in 2009—and possibly for years to come—is practically a given.

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  • Bertel Schmitt Bertel Schmitt on Jun 08, 2009

    bluecon: Dead cat bounce? 5 months of exponentially increasing sales are no dead cat bounce. Especially when compared to the first half of 2008, when sales were still great. Wait until they get to the bad months of 2008.

  • YZS YZS on Jun 08, 2009

    bluecon Considering they have sent astronauts into orbit and are a serious global competitor in the satellite launch business, I'd bet on that rocket getting off the launch pad and hitting the intended orbit.

  • FreedMike Race car drivers are all alpha-types. Aggression is part of the deal. I think you see more of that stuff in NASCAR because crashes - the end result of said aggression - are far more survivable than they would be in F1 or IndyCar.
  • Analoggrotto Only allow Tesla drivers to race, we are the epitome of class and brilliance.
  • Wjtinfwb When my kids turned 16 and got their Operators, we spent $400 to send both (twins) to 2 driving schools. One held by the local Sherriff was pretty basic but a good starter on car control and dealing with police officers as they ran the school. Then they went to a full day class in N Atlanta on a racetrack, with the cars supplied by BMW. They learned evasive maneuvers, high speed braking, skid control on a wet skid pad and generally built a lot of confidence behind the wheel. Feeling better about their skills, we looked for cars. My son was adamant he wanted a manual, Halleluiah! Looking at used Civics and Golf's and concerned about reliability and safety, I got discouraged. Then noticed an AutoTrader adv. for a new leftover '16 Ford Focus ST six-speed. 25k MSRP advertised for $17,500. $2500 above my self-imposed limit. I went to look, a brand new car, 16 miles on it, black with just the sunroof. 3 year warranty and ABS, Airbags. One drive and the torquey turbo 2.0 convinced me and I bought it on the spot. 7 years and 66k miles later it still serves my son well with zero issues. My daughter was set on a Subaru, I easily found a year old Crosstrek with all the safety gear and only 3k miles. 21k but gave my wife and I lots of peace of mind. She still wheels the Subaru, loves it and it too has provided 7 years and 58k miles of low cost motoring. Buy what fits your budget but keep in mind total cost over the long haul and the peace of mind a reliable and safe car provides. Your kids are worth it.
  • Irvingklaws Here's something cheaper, non-german, and more intriguing...
  • Wjtinfwb Happy you're loving your Z4. Variety is the spice of life and an off-beat car like the Z4 intrigues me as well. More than anything, your article and pictures have me lusting for the dashboards of a decade ago. Big, round analog gauges. Knobs and buttons to dial up the A/C, Heat or Volume. Not a television screen in sight. Need to back up? Use the mirrors or look over your shoulder. If your Z4 had the six-speed manual, it would be about perfect. Today's electronified BMW's leave me ice cold, as do the new Mercedes and Audi's with their video game interiors. Even a lowly GTI cannot escape the glowing LED dashboard. I'm not a total luddite, Bluetooth streaming for the radio would be nice and I'd agree the cooled seats would be a bonus on a warm day with the top down. But the Atari dashboard is just a bridge too far for me.