China’s auto sales jumped 10% last month in what it seems as a turning point from the grim outlook envisioned by analysts and industry experts for the world’s largest car market.
The surging demand was fueled by growth in the sport utility vehicle and minivan segments, with customers expressing their continued interest in models that are both more practical and more spacious than traditional sedan versions. According to a statement on the official website of the China Passenger Car Association, retail deliveries of passenger vehicles grew last month to 2.07 million units, with SUV demand jumping 62 percent and minivan growth at 22 percent. Meanwhile, demand for the conventional sedan segment remained unchanged. So far, auto sales in China, the world’s largest auto market, are expected to slow their growth to 7 percent in 2015, on par with the figures from last year and half the increase seen in 2013, forecasts the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. With the economy slowing down as well, total auto deliveries are expected to reach around 25.1 million vehicles, up from 23.5 million units in 2014.
Local authorities in China have started to mount an offensive against pollution and traffic gridlocks, imposing registration limits. “Nanjing, Suzhou and Wuhan were cited as examples in our conversations where similar restrictions had been rumored,” comments Max Warburton, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein Ltd. Last year, the most recent decision to cap vehicle sales in the city came from Shenzhen, which could fuel the same drive coming from several smaller cities.