China car sales jump 16pc in first four months
Mainland sales of passenger cars fell in April compared with March but rose on a year-on-year basis.
Figures from the China Automobile Manufacturers Association (CAAM) showed sales jumped 13 per cent year on year to 1.44 million units in April. On a month-on-month basis, sales dropped 9 per cent, which prompted analysts to warn of a further slowdown in coming months.
The decline in sales of domestic brands was marked. Mainland companies sold 570,120 cars in April, a market share of 39.62 per cent.
Cui Dongshu, an analyst at the China Passenger Car Association (CPCA), said on his blog that while the market for medium-priced and luxury cars would grow this year, the outlook for imported high-end vehicles and cheap sedans was dim.
Uncertainty over subsidy policies for buyers and carmakers and more stringent controls on car components are expected to dent sales in the coming months, according to Cui.
Passenger car sales rose 16.15 per cent year on year in the first four months, double CAAM's forecast of 8 per cent growth for the whole year.
General Motors, China's largest foreign carmaker, remained one of the best selling brands, with its sales climbing 15 per cent to 261,870 units last month. Ford enjoyed a 37 per cent jump in sales.
Their growth came largely at the expense of Japanese firms, whose share in the world's largest auto market plunged to around 16 per cent last month. All four major Japanese carmakers reported sales drops in April despite rolling out new models.
Toyota sales fell 6.5 per cent to 76,400 units - its ninth drop in 10 months - while Nissan deliveries fell 8.5 per cent. Honda's eased 2.4 per cent year on year. Mazda suffered the most, with sales falling 15 per cent.
Nissan's retail sales - sales to end-users rather than dealers - rose 18.8 per cent, giving it some cause for cheer.
Despite the decrease in passenger car sales, the mainland's commercial vehicle market seems to be returning to stable growth, as both deliveries to dealers and retail sales of buses and trucks experienced double-digit growth last month. While deliveries to dealers jumped 4.18 per cent, retail sales rose 2.44 per cent in the first four months.