China In April 2011: Down!

china in april 2011 down

Our patent pending GM China sales oracle saw it coming: GM China was down in April, therefore, the whole Chinese market had to be down in April. And so it was – by a hair: April new vehicle sales in China were down 0.25 percent, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers announced at a press conference on Tuesday afternoon. This is the first decline in 27 months.

1.55 million units changed hand is April. 1.14 million units were passenger vehicles. That part of the industry is up 2.79 percent. Only 409,700 commercial vehicles were sold in April, down 7.84 percent.

This trend had also been indicated by our GM China sales oracle: While GM China’s passenger vehicle sales were up, its commercial sales were way down. With half of its volume commercial, GM China has a much higher exposure to the slow selling “breadvans”. This is reflected in the fact that GM China was down 4.6 percent in April, while the total market was down only 0.25 percent.

A lot of people are concerned about the Chinese economy, some even genuinely. They are looking in all the wrong places. They should look at commercial vehicle sales. These are usually regarded as a leading indicator of economic vitality. When truck sales go up, it’s because economic growth goes up. Then, car sales follow as a lagging indicator. The reverse is also true. Trucks are bought when they are needed, and avoided when they are not needed. Commercial sales have been weak for several months now in China. A loss of nearly 8 percent in the commercial department is a cause for concern.

At the press conference, the usual suspects were fingered as responsible for the decline: The cancelled incentives – and of course the supply chain interruptions from Japan. “We still can’t get detailed reports from Japan about the parts disruption, so we need more time to estimate the earthquake’s impact on China’s auto industry, but we did get reports from all Japan car makers about their production suspension in China,” said Secretary General Dong Yang. From what I am hearing, impact of the Japanese parts paralysis on Chinese production had been relatively minor.

In the January-April period, overall auto sales grew 5.95 percent from a year earlier to 6.53 million units, while passenger vehicles sales rose 7.55 percent to 4.99 million units.

4 months into the year, Dong Yang opined that annual growth could be less than the 10 to15 percent previously envisaged.

Join the conversation
  • Cmoibenlepro Cmoibenlepro on May 10, 2011

    The lottery system in Beijing do not help slowing sales. When people are not even allowed to purchase cars in the capital, you can't expect people to buy more cars.

    • Charly Charly on May 10, 2011

      They can still purchase them, just not drive them. And it is not the only capitol in which buying the right to drive is a big problem

  • Alluster Alluster on May 10, 2011

    China sales are down for both GM and Toyota in April. GM is down to 203,367 from 213,115 in April 2010 . Toyota is down 23% to 48700 from 63,000 in April 2010. For the first four months, GM is up 8% (888,950), Toyota is up 6% (256,700) and total auto sales in china are up 6%.

  • Kurkosdr Someone should tell the Alfa Romeo people that they are a badge owned by a French company now.The main reason PSA bought FiatChrysler is that PSA has the technology to enter the luxury market but customers don't want a French luxury car for psychological/mindshare reasons. FiatChrysler has the opposite problem: they have lots of still-respected brands but not always the technology to make good cars. Not to say that if FCA has a good platform, it won't be used in a PSA car.In other words, if those Alfa Romeo buds think that they will remain a silo with their own bespoke platforms and exclusive sheet metal, they are in for a shock. This is just the start.
  • Arthur Dailey For the Hornet less expensive interior materials/finishings, decontent just a little, build it in North America and sell it for less and everyone should be happy with both the Dodge and the Alfa.
  • Bunkie I so wanted to love this car back in the day. At the time I owned a GT6+ and I was looking for something more modern. But, as they say, this car had *issues*. The first of which was the very high price premium for the V8. It was a several thousand dollar premium over the TR-7. The second was the absolutely awful fuel economy. That put me off the car and I bought a new RX-7 which, despite the thirsty rotary, still got better mileage and didn’t require premium fuel. I guess I wasn’t the only one who had this reaction because, two years later, I test-drove a leftover that had a $2,000 price cut. I don’t remember being impressed, the RX-7 had spoiled me with how easy it was to own. The TR-8 didn’t feel quick to me and it felt heavy. The first-gen RX was more in line with the idea of a light car that punched above its weight. I parted ways with both the GT6+ and the RX7 and, to this day, I miss them both.
  • Fred Where you going to build it? Even in Texas near Cat Springs they wanted to put up a country club for sport cars. People complained, mostly rich people who had weekend hobby farms. They said the noise would scare their cows. So they ended up in Dickinson, where they were more eager for development of any kind.
  • MaintenanceCosts I like the styling of this car inside and out, but not any of the powertrains. Give it the 4xe powertrain - or, better yet, a version of that powertrain with the 6-cylinder Hurricane - and I'd be very interested.