According to recent data, car sales in China continue to drop with January marking the seventh straight month of decreased demand within the world’s largest car market.
Sales are now down 15.8% year to year, with only 2.37 million vehicles finding new owners last month, as per the Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM). This comes after a 13% drop in December and another 14% one in November, reports Reuters.
“Car Sales in January continued to decline, and there was no sign of improvement. We estimate that February wholesales will also drop sharply,” stated CAAM assistant secretary general, Xu Haidong, who went on to add that “the reason for the sales drop is still the slowing overall economy, and consumption decline in small and medium-sized cities.”
Last year, China’s economy was the weakest it’s been in the past 28 years thanks to higher trade tariffs and a government crackdown on debt. The fallout of what was nearly a trade war with the United States also contributed to the decline of the automotive market.
In order to turn things around, Beijing officials are now trying to get consumers to spend, and have pledged to provide subsidies to increase rural sales of certain models, as well as the purchase of “new energy vehicles.”
“Q1 sales were good last year, so this year the industry expects to have negative growth in the first quarter,” stated AutoForesight head of consultancy, Yale Zhang, who also predicts that these numbers will gradually pick up in the next three quarters.
As for which automakers are suffering most right now, among them are the likes of GM and the VW Group. The former has seen their sales drop by 10% last year, compared to 2017, while sales of VW-branded vehicles went down 3% last month. Meanwhile, Ford saw its sales go down by more than a third in 2018, as reported by CNN.
Another problem right now is the fact that beginning-of-year car sales can also be affected by the Lunar New Year holiday, with consumers generally avoiding having to reach into their pockets until the end of the festival.
Still, the one bright spot has continued to be the increase of new energy vehicle sales, which totaled 95,700 units in January – an increase of 140% compared to the same month last year.