China's Car Sales In September, Official Edition: Up 19.3 Percent

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

We knew that something was wrong with this month’s whisper number for Chinese car sales. If China’s largest carmaker, SAIC, improves by 23 percent , if Dongfeng is up 22.3 percent, then the total number will be somewhere in that neighborhood, and not “up by nearly 40 per cent over September 2009,” as it was rumored yesterday (no wonder we couldn’t find the official Xinhua release, it either had been withdrawn or it was never there.)

Now for the official number: Wholesale deliveries of passenger cars rose 19.3 percent to 1.21 million, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers told Bloomberg in an e- mailed statement today. Total vehicle purchases in China, including trucks and buses, are up 17 percent to 1.56 million units, CAAM data say. When looking at these (for China) benign numbers, one has to keep in mind that in September 2009, sales of passenger vehicles had skyrocketed by 84 percentl all vehicles had been up 78 percent. Double digit growth on top of that is absolutely phenomenal.

For the first nine months, sales of domestically-made automobiles in China totaled 13.13m units, up 35.97 percent. Output was 13.08m units, up 36.1 percent, the CAAM says. To reach the 17m target for the year, the market must be up by around 25 percent, which now appears as entirely doable.

China’s top 10 reported sales of 11.3 million units for the first nine months, that’s 86 percent of the market. The remaining 14 percent are divided amongst 50 – 110 automakers, nobody knows for sure how many there are. Some companies are licensed carmakers, but don’t make cars, which is one of the reasons for the ongoing confusion.

Here are the nine month sales of the Top 10 in China. These numbers include the joint ventures held by the individual companies, for instance, SAIC includes GM and Volkswagen.

MakerSales (million)SAIC2.6500Dongfeng1.9000FAW1.8500Changan1.7200BAIC1.1000Geely0.5325Chery0.4753BYD0.3862Brilliance0.3758JAC0.3500Source: CAAM

China is a market no big company can be without. Volkswagen just announced that in the first none months, 1.47m VWs were sold in China, a plus of 39 percent, a bit ahead of the market, Automobilwoche [sub] reports. GM’s sales in China for the first nine months of the year totaled 1,775,764 units, an increase of 37.4 percent from the first three quarters of 2009 . However, the big number (wisely not broken out in the release) is Wuling vans, and they are suddenly not doing so well. On a brand basis, Volkswagen rules China.

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  • OldandSlow OldandSlow on Oct 12, 2010

    I'm not a China expert, but my guess is that typical Mercedes owner in China wouldn't be concerned at all when the world oil price reaches $150 a barrel - if it weren't for shortages. The first problem is refining capacity. The second problem is refining motor fuels profitably. What happens in China is that the state sets the street price of these fuels, especially diesel. When the costs of the raw material exceeds the mandated price of the refined fuel, as will be the case oil breaks a certain price barrier - then refineries essentially don't have an incentive to increase capacity.

  • Islander800 Islander800 on Oct 12, 2010

    Some analysis of the "miracle" that is the unending double-digit Chinese GDP reports that a significant number of new auto sales are ending up being literally warehoused....central planning's idea of keeping the engine running, along with massive public-sector infrastructure projects. So maybe it's all unsustainable (now that would be novel!) and projections of 40 million, let alone 75 million annual sales are just so much dreaming.

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  • Fahrvergnugen "If you’re itching for an ultra-exclusive EV – and who isn’t – "Me...
  • Dukeisduke Tim, once all this foam is everywhere, how do you get rid of it? Does it take a while to break down? I think of the scene in the 1963 James Garner / Doris Day film "The Thrill Of It All", where boxes of soap end up in the swimming pool, creating mountains of foam. The Thrill of It All (1963) - IMDb
  • MrIcky I have a foam cannon, it makes washing the car much faster which helps me do it more often. Foam cannon>pressure wash>suds bucket and mitt for tough spots but touch as little as possible>pressure wash those spots>spray on some detailer solution as I dry to keep the water beading up. 15 minutes-ish?