China's auto sales sink 5.4% in November

BEIJING — China’s auto sales sank 5.4% in November from a year ago, putting the industry’s biggest global market on track to shrink for a second year, an industry group reported Tuesday.

Drivers bought just over 2 million SUVs, sedans and minivans, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.

Demand has been dented by consumer jitters over cooling Chinese economic growth and a trade war with Washington.

Sales for the 11 months through November were off 10.5% from a year earlier at just over 1.9 million.

The slump is squeezing automakers that are under pressure to invest in electric vehicle development to meet government sales quotas.

Total vehicle sales, including trucks and buses, were off 3.6% at 2.5 million.

Sales growth has been in negative territory every month since June 2018.

Purchases of electric and gasoline-electric hybrid SUVs and sedans tumbled 43.7% to 95,000.

Demand for electrics has plummeted since government subsidies ended in mid-2019.

After spending billions of dollars to promote the technology, regulators are shifting the burden to automakers by requiring them to earn credits for electrics sales or buy them from competitors that exceed their targets.

For the 11 months through November, electrics sales were up 1.3% at just over 1 million units. Earlier in the year, sales grew by double digits as drivers rushed to buy before subsidies ended.

November’s auto sales were a small improvement over October’s 5.8% contraction.

Sales of SUVs, previously the industry’s strongest segment, were off 7.1% for the 11 months through November. CAAM gave no monthly figure.

Sales by Chinese brands fell 11.4% to 806,000. They lost 2.7 percentage points of market share from a year earlier to 39.2%.



Auto sales data:

The Associated Press