Foreign car producers lift sales in China
Multinational carmakers defied slowing economic growth in China last year, lifting their lead over Chinese rivals in the world’s largest automotive market.
Sales of passenger cars, SUVs and minivans increased 9.9 per cent year-on-year to 19.7m units in 2014, the Chinese Association of Automobile Manufacturers said yesterday. That was significantly below the 16 per cent annual growth recorded in 2013, when 10 times more cars were sold in China than in India.
Overall vehicle sales, including buses and trucks, increased 6.9 per cent to 23.5m units. CAAM projected the market would grow 7 per cent this year, to more than 25m vehicles.
Chinese carmakers have blamed a broader slowdown in the world’s
second-largest economy for their own poor sales last year. In October, the government reported its slowest quarterly economic growth figure — of 7.3 per cent — in more than five years.
Sales of Chinese passenger sedans fell more than 17 per cent last year, leaving domestic brands with a market share of just 22 per cent in the segment, compared with a 27 per cent share for German brands.
Dong Yang, CAAM secretary-general, said Chinese drivers did not appreciate the improvements made by domestic brands this year. “They improved their products and reduced their prices,” Mr Dong said. “But Chinese people care too much about [the cache of foreign] brands.”
Dealers on the mainland for some of the world’s most best-known car companies, such as BMW, have also cited slowing economic growth in their successful negotiations for bigger rebates and more modest sales targets.
Volkswagen reported at the weekend that its sales in China rose 12.4 per cent to 3.67m units. Yesterday, Jaguar Land Rover said it had recorded a 28 per cent annual surge in China compared with a 9 per cent rise in total sales.