For two months in a row, American customers have purchased more vehicles than the Chinese ones due to affordable fuel prices and an equities rout in China that affected its retail investors.
Sales of light vehicles in the U.S. reached 1.58 million units in August, which is more than the 1.42 million cars sold in China, according to data from Autodata Corp. and the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM). Back in July, the U.S. outsold China by about 240,000 registrations.
New buyers in China stayed away from car purchases after a stock market downturn took place in the summer, while affordable fuel and available credit helped American buyers invest in pickups and sport utility cars. The new data also shows a switch from the financial crisis in 2009 when the government helped China surpass the U.S. in order to become the world’s biggest market for new car sales.
Lian Hoon Lim, managing director at consulting firm AlixPartners said in an interview conducted in Shanghai that “The U.S. consumer is feeling more confident so they are willing to splash out on new cars. They are playing catch-up at the same time as the market here is saying ‘Oh, I’ve already grown so much, it’s time to slow down.’”
For 2015, the CAAM estimates that sales will grow at the slowest pace in the four last years as consumers either canceled or postponed new registrations. However, China will still keep the crown over the U.S. for passenger car sales, as the Association predicts that China will have 20.9 units sold compared to General Motors Co.’s prognosis of 17.3 million units to be sold in the U.S.