By on September 10, 2012

“China’s auto sales growth falls to 3.7 percent” if you read the Associated Press and Bloomberg. If you rather put your trust in Reuters, then  “vehicle sales in China rose 8.3 percent in August from a year earlier.” Reuters is correct, AP and Bloomberg just received a new degree in spin doctoring.

First, the facts:  Auto sales in China were 1,495,200 in August, up 8.3 percent, says the China Association of Automobile Manufacturer CAAM.   January-August, sales stand at 12.5 million units, an increase of 4.1 percent. The market share of own-brand cars continues to shrink. Their market share dropped 0.8 percent in August to 23.5 percent.

Now why the opposing views of the wire services?

Industry-savvy Reuters took all motor vehicles, numbers-agnostic AP took passenger vehicles only. A big mistake in China, nearly as big as if you would use “cars” only in the U.S., while ignoring “trucks.”  However, CAAM shows passenger vehicle sales to be up 8.8 percent. Where did AP NSFW up? It picked the passenger car production numbers.  Associated Press is a serial offender when it comes to making hash out of sales statistics. Why can’t they send someone to Beijing who knows how to count?

According to the Wall Street Journal, “China’s passenger car sales totaled 1.22 million units in August, up 11% from a year earlier.” Why is their number different? The AP number is for passenger vehicle production as compared to July 2012, the WSJ number is for passenger vehicle sales as compared to August 2011.

Gentlemen: The headline number is total motor vehicles, year-on-year. Please make a note of it.

PS: While the wire services are having comprehension difficulties, our patent-pending China sales oracle is in the groove. GM China’s  August sales rose 11.2 percent in August (yoy,) much closer to the truth than Associated Press.

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One Comment on “China In August 2012: Car Sales Anywhere You Like It...”


  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    Well, I’ve already had to take with a grain of salt anything the mainstream press – and wire services – have to say about science/engineering. It looks like I now have to add a few more grains of salt to account for their grasp of math/statistics. With the presidential election now in full swing, I’m getting way too much salt in my diet.

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