Car sales slip again in world's top market

PUBLISHED : Friday, 09 December, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 09 December, 2011, 12:00am

Mainland passenger car sales fell last month for the second time this year, according to preliminary figures.

Wholesale shipments of passenger cars from manufacturers to dealers declined 0.3 per cent from a year ago to 1.34 million units, unofficial data from the China Passenger Car Association (CPCA) shows.

That marked the second contraction this year following a 0.1 per cent dip in May. Between January and November, sales of passenger cars are up 5.2 per cent to 13.1 million units, according to the CPCA.

Official figures will be released in the next few days by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, but the CPCA data has historically proven accurate, with an average margin of error of 0.28 per cent over the past 12 months.

Sales growth has slowed dramatically in the world's biggest market this year following two years of double-digit expansion, impacted by the January expiry of a number of government rebates, subsidies and other stimulus measures.

However, a look at passenger car sales by segment paints an uneven picture of the market.

Sales of sedans contracted 0.3 per cent last month from a year earlier, and sales of cheap and functional mianbaoche, or microvans, fell 12.7 per cent, according to CPCA data.

But sales of SUVs continue racing ahead, rising 18.2 per cent last month, while MPV or minivan sales rose 6.2 per cent. Looking ahead, this month's sales should see overall volumes pick up as dealers look to meet full-year sales targets.

'After a year of [consumers] saving up their money, December marks a peak season for individual car buyers,' CPCA secretary general Rao Da wrote on his blog. 'Dealers are looking to meet year-end sales targets in order to get their bonuses, so it is also peak time for bargaining.

'These factors should help boost this month's wholesale volumes.'



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