Although China reported vehicle sales up in April, they are still down for the year due to slower economic growth and tighter credit.
On Wednesday, May 9th, China Association of Automobile Manufacturers declared that in April vehicle sales were up 5% to 1.62 million units, and sales for January-April reached 6.4 million units, down 1.3%. The best sector was the passenger car sales, up 12.5% to 1.28 million, also because last year auto production was disrupted due to Japan earthquake and tsunami in March. Auto sales growth in the country was down from 35% in 2010, to only 2% in the first quarter of 2012, due to the imposed traffic curbs, rough credit policies and slow economic growth.
“Some customers may have preferred to buy cars before May Day holiday, and I expect output and sales will edge lower in the next few months,” said Zhang Xin, an analyst at Guotai Jun’an Securities, based in Beijing.
Foreign and luxury brands vehicle sales saw positive digits in China, with GM up 11.7% in April to a record 227,217 units, and Ford up 24% to 54,881 units. Automakers are continuously rolling out luxury vehicles for the newly rich urban Chinese, but also economy models for the price-sensitive customers.