Slump in Chinese new car sales drags on for eighth consecutive month

11 March 2019 - 11:04 By Reuters
Geely is one of the auto makers reporting a drop in car sales in China.
Geely is one of the auto makers reporting a drop in car sales in China.
Image: Geely

New car sales in China fell 13.8% in February from the same month a year earlier, the country's biggest auto industry association said on Monday. This marks the eighth consecutive month of decline in the world's largest auto market.

The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) said sales fell to 1.48-million vehicles, following declines of 16% in January and 13% in December. New-energy vehicle sales, in contrast, rose 53.6% year-on-year in February, it said.

The figures come as China plans billions of dollars in tax cuts and infrastructure spending to support an economy growing at its slowest pace in almost 30 years due to softer domestic demand and a trade war with the US.

The Chinese government is now trying to persuade consumers to spend and has pledged subsidies to boost rural sales of some vehicles, as well as sales of new-energy vehicles.

The sales picture from Chinese automakers has so far been mixed, with Great Wall Motors reporting 18% growth for February, while Geely reported a 24% decline.

Industry executives also said China's car sales in January and February tend to be affected by the Lunar New Year holiday, when consumers often hold off on car-buying decisions. The date of the holiday changes annually but typically occurs in either month. This year it took place in the first week of February.