China In April 2010: Finally, The Official Word

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
china in april 2010 finally the official word

Never has there been so much confusion over the closely watched Chinese car sales than this month. A relatively unknown China Automotive Technology and Research Center (CATRC), anointed by a report in Xinhua, had 40 percent growth for April. Then, all kinds of numbers came out. Chinese numerology was in an April disarray. Even TTAC’s in-house sales oracle, GM China became confused. First, GM reported a gain of 50 percent. A week later, the number was revised to 41.1 percent. (Which would indicate a Chinese market growth in the mid 30s.) We recommended caution. The last word on Chinese auto sales has the China Association of Auto Manufactures (CAAM). And the CAAM has spoken.

Today, the usually precise Nikkei [sub] reports from Beijing that China’s new car sales totaled 1.55m vehicles in April, up 34.4 percent year on the year. That according to the CAAM. Gasgoo confirms this number. Our in-house sales oracle also agrees – after GM revised the numbers.

The relative slowdown doesn’t come unexpected, because it’s relative. We are comparing to a higher and higher base as Chinese car sales went through the roof last year. Combined sales in the first four months are 6.17m units, up a whopping 60.51 percent.

Still, the frenzy is definitely cooling off. Dealers are complaining about rising inventories and slowing sales.

The homegrown brands, which rode the wave of small cars, have reason to worry. Their market share decreased 3 percent in April, while joint ventures with foreign makers enjoy strong demand as China is slowly moving back to bigger cars. Everything is getting back to the (Chinese) normal.

The CAAM maintains a 15 million unit target for the year. They say China’s auto market growth is returning to steady from high speed growth. Most likely, they are right and a bit conservative, as usual.

Join the conversation
  • Stingray Stingray on May 12, 2010

    I'm thinking, everytime more, that this is the country to be for one who has an automotive career. Are visas hard to get?

    • See 3 previous
    • Greg Locock Greg Locock on May 12, 2010

      I agree, that or India. No visas aren't very hard to get. You'll almost certainly be working for a JV or a Chinese owned firm and they will know how to get the wheel's greased. If you want to roll your own start here You'll probably start with both an interpreter and a full time driver. You'll need the interpreter professionally, in Shangers at least I found that socially a big grin, consciousness that they are taking the mickey, and a lot of sign language will pretty much do. Conversational Chinese isn't that hard to pick up.

  • MrIcky I'm not bashing iphone, I'm pretty cell phone agnostic but the iphone 15 has had a really rocky start, particularly the titanium back plate model (the aluminum is much better apparently). The titanium back plate model has a number of reports about getting extraordinarily hot with wireless charging and has caused issues beyond just in a BMW. It's also been fracturing under fairly low bending pressure. Apparently the aluminum case model is sturdy enough just like the i14, but the high zoot titanium model has a super thin titanium plate for the rear and sides and it isn't close to as rigid because it's so thin. They think the thinness and titaniums properties are part of the heat issues. Maybe hired some Ford materials engineers? Haaay-yooooo
  • RealTalk Keep up the good fight. I’d wager that none of the corporate bootlicker commenters here have ever worked in automotive manufacturing. As such, their understanding of the conflict is tainted and their opinions are wildly out of touch.
  • EBFlex Absolutely useless truck. Ford trying to make this pile of garbage seem more appealing because they can't sell them.Funny that they announce this a day or two after they cancel dealer stock orders due to quality issues. This company is a ship without a rudder
  • RealTalk Time for the Regressive automotive enthusiasts to move the goal posts again.
  • Dukeisduke Meanwhile, the Automotive Alliance for Innovation, that represents the Big 3, blasted NHTSA's CAFE proposal, stating it "exceeds maximum feasibility", and will cost the automakers $14b in fines between 2027 and 2032.NHTSA's reaction: Lol, just build more EVs, you silly gooses.What happens if consumers revolt, won't buy EVs, and hold on to their old cars instead?