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.

  • Lou_BC VW has had a stellar reputation with their electronics and now they go full EV. What's not to like? ;)
  • MaintenanceCosts "roughly the same external footprint as a two-row VW Atlas Cross Sport but with - per a VW rep - more interior capacity than the three-row Atlas."And this is why I'm kind of intrigued by this little van, even though for me it's in spite of, not because of, the retro styling and Type 2 nostalgia.
  • Ajla From what I can see in the NHTSA data nontire part failures make up about .5% of reported crashes and aren't listed as a cause in the fatal accident reports. While we've all seen hoopties rolling around I'm guessing they don't go far or fast enough for many negative outcomes to occur from their operation.While I wouldn't want to be in that .5% I'd also want to avoid a "Bear Patrol" situation. When it comes to road safety nontire part failures are more like animal attacks while aggressive or impaired driving are heart disease and cancer.
  • Art Vandelay On the right spec truck, that is a screaming bargain for the price. And you can buy it safe knowing that as it is a Ford you'll never have your vehicle's good name sullied by seeing EBFlex and Tassos puffing each other's peters in one...a nice bonus to the horsepower!
  • Art Vandelay Too small for Tassos and EBFlex to puff each other's peters in.