Car sales drop in China for the first time in 20 years

Chinese shoppers bought fewer cars last year as trade tensions and a weaker economy contributed to the first...

Posted: Jan 9, 2019 6:53 PM
Updated: Jan 9, 2019 6:53 PM

Chinese shoppers bought fewer cars last year as trade tensions and a weaker economy contributed to the first annual sales decline in two decades.

The China Passenger Car Association said Wednesday that vehicle sales fell 5.8% in 2018 to 22.4 million vehicles. It's the first annual decline in nearly 20 years, according to state broadcaster CCTV.

Automotive industry

Business and industry sectors

Business, economy and trade

Asia

China

Continents and regions

East Asia

Automotive economic indicators

Companies

General Motors

Company activities and management

Sales and selling

Sales figures

Economy and economic indicators

International trade

Trade and development

North America

The Americas

United States

Economic conditions

Economic growth

Automakers and manufacturing

China is the world's biggest car market, and many global automakers have come to depend on blockbuster sales fueled by Chinese consumers who purchased vehicles as they joined the middle class.

But the market became much tougher last year because of a sharp slowdown in China's economy. Growth in 2018 is set to be the weakest since 1990, and 2019 looks even worse.

The world's second largest economy is feeling the effects of government attempts to rein in risky lending after a rapid rise in debt levels. Trade tensions with the United States have only made matters worse.

General Motors (GM) said Monday it delivered 3.6 million vehicles in China last year, almost 10% fewer than in 2017. GM plans to launch more than 20 new and refreshed models this year in China.

Volkswagen (VLKAF), the world's biggest automaker, is yet to report annual data. But its sales in China dropped 7.3% in November compared to the previous year.

"As in previous months, the tariff dispute with the USA had a marked impact on the overall market [in Asia]," it said last month. "The resulting reluctance of Chinese consumers to purchase vehicles led to a fall in deliveries."

The pain may continue. Chinese carmaker Geely (GELYF) expects sales to be roughly flat at 1.5 million vehicles this year, after 20% growth in 2018.

Other companies that rely on China's enormous market to boost their global sales have also come under pressure.

Apple (AAPL) said last week that weaker economic growth in China had harmed iPhone sales. CEO Tim Cook said the company had been blindsided by "the magnitude of the economic deceleration" there.

Article Comments

Terre Haute
Broken Clouds
72° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 72°
Robinson
Overcast
71° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 71°
Indianapolis
Overcast
70° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 70°
Rockville
Broken Clouds
72° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 72°
Casey
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 73°
Brazil
Broken Clouds
72° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 72°
Marshall
Broken Clouds
72° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 72°
Increasing Clouds and Hot With Showers and Storms
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

Latest Video

Image

Eva Kor remembered at Indy service

Image

Sunday 8/18 AM Wx

Image

South Soccer

Image

South Braves Golf

Image

Valley Kick-off

Image

Stormcrest Festival

Image

Terre Haute Swim-a-thon

Image

Nationwide Clear the Shelter events held Saturday

Image

Sullivan County Human Society Celebrates 10 Years

Image

New Afrikan People's Assembly

WTHI Events