ArrowArtboardCreated with Sketch.Title ChevronTitle ChevronEye IconIcon FacebookIcon LinkedinIcon Mail ContactPath LayerIcon MailMenu BurgerPositive ArrowIcon PrintIcon SearchSite TitleTitle ChevronIcon Twitter
Business trends

China auto sales skid for 10th month despite tax breaks

Trade war takes toll on buyer sentiment

Zheijiang Geely saw its new-car sales tumble nearly 20% in April. (Photo by Takashi Kawakami)

GUANGZHOU -- Chinese continued to hold off on new-auto purchases in April even after car companies cut prices, as uncertainty clouds the economic outlook amid a trade war with the U.S.

Sales fell 14.6% from a year earlier to slightly more than 1.98 million vehicles in figures released Monday by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. This extended the downtrend into its 10th straight month and marked a slide into double-digit declines following a roughly 5% drop in March.

Hopes of improvement had been high for April. The government cut the value-added tax for manufacturers to 13% from 16%, and many automakers lowered prices between 2% and 3% to pass along the benefits to customers. But this failed to drive up sales.

Sales of passenger vehicles, which account for about 80% of the market, fell 17.7%.

Geely Automobile Holdings suffered a reversal as its global sales tumbled 19.3%. Most of the company's sales are made in China.

"The economy isn't doing well, and right now the market seems saturated," a salesperson at a dealership in Guangzhou said.

American and European players had a particularly tough month. General Motors saw joint venture SAIC General Motors suffer a 26.7% drop. At Volkswagen, FAW-Volkswagen emerged little changed with a 0.3% fall, but SAIC Volkswagen booked a 10.5% decline.

Japanese automakers logged mixed results. Toyota Motor reported 19.9% growth, while Honda Motor's sales jumped 24.1%. But sales at Nissan Motor fell 2.9%.

The Chinese market will likely recover in the second half as tax cuts and other measures start to take full effect, a senior executive at a Japanese-owned automaker predicts. But many others say that the downturn is likely to continue with the prolonged Sino-American trade war.

Sponsored Content

About Sponsored Content This content was commissioned by Nikkei's Global Business Bureau.

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this monthThis is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia;
the most dynamic market in the world.

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia

Get trusted insights from experts within Asia itself.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Get Unlimited access

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this month

This is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia; the most
dynamic market in the world
.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Try 3 months for $9

Offer ends October 31st

Your trial period has expired

You need a subscription to...

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers and subscribe

Your full access to the Nikkei Asian Review has expired

You need a subscription to:

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers
NAR on print phone, device, and tablet media