The Chinese car market was in reverse for the second consecutive year in 2019, as the cooling economy and the nation’s trade disputes with the US hit consumers.
Sales slumped 8.2 per cent to 25.8m vehicles last year, after a 2.8 per cent fall to 28.1m in 2018, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.
The slowing of the Chinese market has hit manufacturers hard.
Today, Ford said its China auto sales slumped more than a quarter in 2019 for its third year of decline.
The latest fall, however, was slower than the 37 per cent weathered in 2018, and the car maker said it saw its market share stabilize in the high-to-premium segment.
It remained cautious about 2020, echoing bearish comments on China’s market from General Motors.
“We expect the market downturn to continue in 2020, and anticipate ongoing headwinds in our China business,” Matt Tsien, president of GM China, said last week as the US manufacturer reported a 15 per cent drop in 2019 China sales.
Electric cars also struggled last year, after Beijing slashed government subsidies last June by more than half.
This prompted a number of manufacturers to wind down production.
Sales of new energy cars fell four per cent year-on-year to 1.2m in 2019 – far below the government’s target of 1.6m.
Analysts at London Capital Group said the faltering market would continue hitting manufacturers hard.
“Under the weight of falling vehicle sales, a slowdown in China and the trade war, its hard to see where earnings growth materialises for automakers in the New Year,” they said.