China auto sales expected to plateau in 2015 image

China’s vehicle deliveries are predicted to remain on par with the 2014 level and drop by half compared to the 2013 figures as the economy slows in the world’s largest auto market.

According to the state-backed China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, which released a statement in Beijing today, the growth level for 2014 stood at 6.9 percent last year – for a total of new car registrations of 23.5 million units – compared to the 145 surge accounted in 2013. 2015’s forecast puts the sales growing by another 7% to a tally of 25.1 million vehicles – which is by no means a small achievement, considering it can grow by the equivalent of total yearly sales in smaller developed markets, such as France or South Korea. Even as the economic pace cooled to the lowest level since 1990, foreign automakers – including Ford, General Motors and Volkswagen AG – still reported record Chinese sales in 2014.

Lin Huaibin, a Shanghai-based analyst at forecaster IHS Automotive, comments that even as the slowdown begins to creep in, adding a net increase of 1.5 to 2 million units “s sizable and there’s still room for automakers to play.” According to the Chinese industry body, excluding the sales of buses and commercial trucks, deliveries of passenger cars are previewed at an 8 percent expansion and the registrations of sport-utility vehicles are expected to jump 25 percent to around 5.1 million autos. Meanwhile, Chinese dealers have started to complain that foreign carmakers impose unrealistic sales targets to be met before qualifying for year-end bonuses and demand compensation.

Via Bloomberg