China auto sales sink in Septem­ber as econ­omy cools

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution - - BUSINESS -

BEI­JING — China’s auto sales plunged 12 per­cent in Septem­ber, adding to eco­nomic chal­lenges for the coun­try’s lead­ers amid a wors­en­ing tar­iff fight with Wash­ing­ton.

Sales in the big­gest global mar­ket fell to 2 mil­lion sedans, SUVs and mini­vans, an in­dus­try group, the China As­so­ci­a­tion of Au­to­mo­bile Man­u­fac­tur­ers, re­ported Fri­day.

De­mand has weak­ened as eco­nomic growth cooled af­ter Bei­jing tight­ened lend­ing con­trols to rein in a debt boom.

With the lat­est con­trac­tion, sales growth for the first three quar­ters of the year fell to just 0.6 per­cent, down from 2017’s al­ready ane­mic full-year rate of 1.4 per­cent.

The slow­down is a set­back for global au­tomak­ers that look to China to drive rev­enue and are spend­ing heav­ily to de­velop mod­els for lo­cal tastes.

Sales of SUVs, nor­mally the in­dus­try’s bright­est spot, shrank 10.1 per­cent to 872,800, ac­cord­ing to CAAM.

Sales of elec­tric and gaso­line-elec­tric hy­brid autos that Bei­jing is spend­ing heav­ily to pro­mote grew strongly.

Septem­ber pur­chases of electrics rose 66.2 per­cent over a year ear­lier to 541,000. Hy­brid sales gained 146.9 per­cent to 181,000.

Au­tomak­ers are rolling out dozens of electrics, but gaso­line-pow­ered mod­els sup­ply their prof­its.

■ Gen­eral Mo­tors Co. said sales in the three months end­ing in Septem­ber de­clined 14.9 per­cent from a year ago to 835,934. For the first nine months of the year, sales de­clined 2.5 per­cent to 2.7 mil­lion.

■ Volk­swa­gen AG sales in China and Hong Kong fell 5.7 per­cent to 383,500. Year-to-date sales rose 5 per­cent to 3 mil­lion.

■ Nis­san Mo­tor Co. sales shrank 0.8 per­cent to 141,195. For the first nine months, sales rose 7.4 per­cent to 1.1 mil­lion.

■ BMW AG sales, in­clud­ing MINI ve­hi­cles, gained 13.2 per­cent to 59,616. Year-to-date sales were up 5.3 per­cent at 459,629.

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