China August auto sales sink by 7.7pc

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Chinese auto sales sank by 7.7 percent in August from a year earlier extending a painful slump in the industry’s biggest global market, an industry group reported today.

Sales of sedans, SUVs and minivans declined to 1.6 million, according to the Chinese Association of Automobile Manufacturers. Total vehicle sales, including trucks and buses, shrank 6.9 percent to 1.9 million.

Chinese consumer demand has been hurt by unease about an economic slowdown and a trade war with Washington.

The industry has recorded monthly sales declines since June 2018, squeezing automakers that are spending heavily to meet government targets to develop electric cars.

Sales of electric and hybrid vehicles fell 15.8 percent from a year ago to 85,000.

The market segment has struggled as the government phases out subsidies that helped to make China the biggest market for electrics. Beijing is using sales quotas to shift the financial burden of promoting electrics to automakers. That raises the cost to buyers.

Sales by Chinese brands fell 10.2 percent in August from a year earlier to 614,000. They lost 1.1 percentage points of market share to 37.2 percent.

Auto sales for the eight months through August were off 12.3 percent from a year earlier at 13.3 million.

Minivan sales declined by 22.9 percent through August. SUV sales were off 10 percent and sedans down 12.6 percent.-AP