Car Sales: China Humiliates USA 6.1 to 4.8

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

China’s passenger-vehicle sales skyrocketed a frightening 48 percent in June, the most stratospheric ascent since February 2006. According to Bloomberg, this “helped the nation extend its lead over the U.S. as the world’s largest auto market this year.” The car-nage in Bloomberg’s own words:

In the first half, China’s vehicle sales surpassed the tally in the U.S. by about 27 percent as the government cut retail taxes and handed out subsidies in rural areas to revive consumption and economic growth. U.S. auto sales have plunged on the recession and job concerns, threatening to end the country’s at least 63-year reign as the world’s largest auto market.

China’s first-half vehicle sales rose 18 percent to 6.1 million. Sales of passenger vehicle climbed 26 percent to 4.53 million, while commercial-vehicle sales fell 0.5 percent to 1.57 million, the association said. U.S. vehicle sales dropped 35 percent to 4.8 million.

Note: China doesn’t have a “light vehicle” count. Minibuses and pick-ups count as “commercial vehicles.”

The 48 percent jump was caused by Chinese registering 872,900 cars, sport-utility vehicles and other passenger vehicles in June, data of the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) show. Overall vehicle sales, which include buses and trucks, rose 36 percent to 1.14 million in June. Never in recorded history had China bought as many cars.

According to Reuters, CAAM “said total vehicle sales for 2009 would exceed 11 million units, compared with a forecast of 10.2 million units made earlier this year.”

With China already way ahead of the USA, with Chinese registrations rising at Baruthian speeds, while US sales are in the terminal phase of their trajectory, only divine intervention could help the USA retain its 63 year old title as Emperor of Cartago when 2009 closes. The gods haven’t been smiling on stateside sales. China on the other hand has just started.

According to Credit Suisse research, car ownership in China is just 2.9 percent of the population—one of the lowest rates in the world. They expect ownership to surge fivefold in the next decade to reach 148 cars per 1,000 residents by 2020. That would be 222m cars, and still far away from the 800 cars per thousand in the USA.

Bertel Schmitt
Bertel Schmitt

Bertel Schmitt comes back to journalism after taking a 35 year break in advertising and marketing. He ran and owned advertising agencies in Duesseldorf, Germany, and New York City. Volkswagen A.G. was Bertel's most important corporate account. Schmitt's advertising and marketing career touched many corners of the industry with a special focus on automotive products and services. Since 2004, he lives in Japan and China with his wife <a href=""> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href=""> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.

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  • Mpresley Mpresley on Jul 10, 2009
    agenthex :The country’s far and away largest fundamental problem is one of greed and corruption of those in power. That could be a good description of another country--one we hold dear. However, another problem is the rule of law. Without stable contract law, business in China will suffer.
  • U mad scientist U mad scientist on Jul 10, 2009
    That could be a good description of another country–one we hold dear. However, another problem is the rule of law. Without stable contract law, business in China will suffer. There really is no comparison between the level of corruption in the US and China. It permeates to such an extent through the power structure that officials not taken to graft are the exception. Without solving that fundamental problem, "law" is not exactly enforced in the way we've taken for granted.
  • JK I grew up with Dodge trucks in the US, and now live in Turin, Italy, the home of Fiat. I don't think Italians view this as an Italian company either. There are constant news articles and protests about how stalantis is moving operations out of Italy. Jeep is strangely popular here though. I think last time I looked at stelantis's numbers, Jeep was the only thing saving them from big big problems.
  • Bd2 Oh yeah, funny how Trumpers (much less the Orange Con, himself) are perfectly willing to throw away the Constitution...
  • Bd2 Geeze, Anal sure likes to spread his drivelA huge problem was Fisher and his wife - who overspent when they were flush with cash and repeatedly did things ad hoc and didn't listen to their employees (who had more experience when it came to auto manufacturing, engineering, etc).
  • Tassos My Colleague Mike B bought one of these (the 300 SEL, same champagne color) new around June 1990. I thought he paid $50k originally but recently he told me it was $62k. At that time my Accord 1990 Coupe LX cost new, all included, $15k. So today the same car means $150k for the S class and $35k-40k for the Accord. So those %0 or 62k , these were NOT worthless, Idiot Joe Biden devalued dollars, so he paid AN ARM AND A LEG. And he babied the car, he really loved it, despite its very weak I6 engine with a mere 177 HP and 188 LBFT, and kept it forever. By the time he asked me to drive it (to take him to the dealer because his worthless POS Buick Rainier "SUV" needed expensive repairs (yes, it was a cheap Buick but he had to shell out thousands), the car needed a lot of suspension work, it drove like an awful clunker. He ended up donating it after 30 years or so. THIS POS is no different, and much older. Its CHEAPSKATE owner should ALSO donate it to charity instead of trying to make a few measly bucks off its CARCASS. Pathetic!
  • RHD The re-paint looks like it was done with a four-inch paintbrush. As far as VWs go, it's a rebadged Seat... which is still kind of a VW, made in Mexico from a Complete Knock-Down kit. 28 years in Mexico being driven like a flogged mule while wearing that ridiculous rear spoiler is a tough life, but it has actually survived... It's unique (to us), weird, funky (very funky), and certainly not worth over five grand plus the headaches of trying to get it across the border and registered at the local DMV.