By on June 8, 2010

Approximately 1 million passenger cars (including MPVs, SUVs, and Minivans) changed hands in China in May, up 23.2 percent from a year earlier, the lowest rate during the past 13 months. That according to the China Passenger Car Association, as reported in China Daily. This is not yet the total vehicle count, which should be reported by the CAAM a few days later. The passenger car number usually is within a few points of the CAAM number. Is that good or bad?

As the picture on the left shows, the red-hot sales growth in China is slowing down. As we said before, it has to. We are comparing with near pornographic sales growth in the previous year. Anything more would be blowing up circuit breakers. Also, we note that again, TTAC’s patent-pending China sales forecast model has been vindicated. Despite GM’s attempts to throw us a curve ball. We calculated GM’s growth at 25 percent, and TTAC’s Growth-O-Meter (“GM minus a few”) is once more right on the money: It had said “China in the low 20s.”

Rao Da, secretary-general of the China Passenger Car Association, predicts that June will most likely be a repeat of May.  He was quick to blame “the week-long production stoppage in Honda’s parts plant that ate into sales figures.” Come on …

Hu Maoyuan, chairman of China’s biggest automaker SAIC Group, cut his prediction for whole-year sales to 15.5 million units, with sales growth of 12.6 percent.  Other analysts still stick with 20 to 25 percent growth this year, which would translate into 16 to 17m units for the year.

China’s automakers will boost their production capacity by 5 million units in total this year, bringing domestic auto production for the whole year close to 20 million units. That would be a 75 to 85 percent capacity utilization, quite healthy for China. Can’t say that for the folks in the video.

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15 Comments on “China’s Sales Growth Slows. TTAC Sales Oracle Right Again...”

  • avatar

    This would be funny if it wasn’t real, flesh-and-blood human beings involved. That makes it just sad. But hey, look on the bright side. This is a vision of driving in the ultimate non-nanny-state. There seem to be no cops on duty, no red light cameras, and heck, no traffic lights at all. Every left turn and intersection crossing is a negotiation of nerve between free, autonomous motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians. Ayn Rand would be proud of it all, and you Objectivists who haunt the car blogs should be, too.

    • 0 avatar


      One must visit/live there for a while to believe just *how many* signs, lights, indicators, directed ramps, arrows, pavement marks, and pedestrian+bike throughways there actually are. That there is often total disregard for them is what’s astounding.

      The nouveau-rich “with their fancy autos” believe the newly paved roadways are solely for them, with carts, basket bikes, and trailers painfully silly anachronisms of yester-decades depravity; the bikers and peds feel the same way as yet-uninitiated students, migrants, or (ghasp!) folks who just like to walk/ride.

      I literally could not believe what *both* groups do until I’d witnessed it myriad times – this video is nothing: openly riding in opposing lanes; blowing through reds and stops with abandon at easily 20-pt intersections; and, literally not stopping for peds/bikes of any kind (by that I’m including jingcha – police – who occasionally don’t stop and for whom aren’t stopped).

      You’re right: no nanny state. One might still get into trouble for political outcries in Tienanmen, but Americans tend to think that the PRC is a “police everywhere” system: couldn’t be further from the truth.

  • avatar

    Natural selection at its finest. Russian drivers are not much better.


  • avatar


    Is alcohol/impairment much of a factor?

    • 0 avatar

      Used to be, but they are clamping down on that hard. They even cite you for not wearing seat belts. And they listen to Ray LaHood. Today, I talked to my assistant, and suddenly, the call was interrupted. She’d be gabbing on the cell phone, and there were cops. She threw the phone under the seat. When I rang her back, it rang below the seat and she had to fish it out. In the middle of Beijing traffic.

      Otherwise, what ivyinvestor said. Including the remark about the alleged police state.

  • avatar

    Having lived in Shenzhen for a year, this video recalls my outright terror for the driving in that country. There is a repeating theme of these accidents…not yielding to oncoming traffic when a) making a left turn or b) approaching an intersection with no traffic signal. I rode in taxis that barreled into 10 lane intersections like this without letting off the throttle, and it scared the piss out of me.

    This is a consequence of not only no police presence on the roads, but also of a billion new drivers. It’s hard for a western driver to come to such a place, see the driving, and not conclude that these people are absolutely insane.

    • 0 avatar

      I know nothing about driving in China, but I wonder what the reason is for Chinese drivers being “OK” with taking such risks with their lives. It only makes sense to wait until it’s clear to make your turn, if not for your health, then to protect the purchase you just made with years of your savings.

    • 0 avatar

      This happens in many countries when you have the first generation of widespread car ownership and driving. Very few of today’s Chinese drivers grew up riding in Mom and Dad’s car like we did, absorbing years of observational knowledge on how to drive safely before we were old enough to take the wheel ourselves.

  • avatar

    Here’s a good one.

    I noticed that my driver never uses the turn signal when changing lanes or direction. I told him to. Being a good listener, he tried to remember while the boss was in the car. Soon, he forgot again.

    I then mentioned it to said assistant, and received the following reply: “We never use turn signals. The guy behind you would know what you will be doing and cut you off. You need to surprise them.”

    • 0 avatar

      Oh, yes. Turn signals are a sign of weakness. Just like driving in Miami …

    • 0 avatar

      There are many places in the US where turn signals are widely viewed as providing aid and comfort to the enemy. Seriously, I think it’s laziness.

      Residential streets with islands in the middle of intersections should be treated like a traffic circle (roundabout, rotary, …) – follow it around to turn left. But people cut in front of the island because … they can’t be bothered to rotate the steering wheel? They’ll block traffic, heck I have seen people come to a stop and give up priority rather than steer around.

      We’re talking about cars. With power steering. Un-measurably small expenditures of personal energy.

  • avatar

    Since China only recently became a car – owning nation, it is an entire country learning how to drive. Imagine 1.5 billion sixteen – year olds!

  • avatar

    it’s not just the cars; the person on the bike at 2:00 is a complete idiot

  • avatar

    The licensing laws in China are very lax, where driver testing can be ‘hurried along’ by providing ‘appropriate funds’ to the tester. People who drive just a few days can get a full license. Chinese licenses are not recognised in some countries as being equivalent quality to their own for very good reasons.

    I have seen fully licensed Chinese drivers be confused by intersection give way rules. They would drive out into the intersection (and into the path of oncoming cars) and then decide where they wanted to go. Scary.

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