Monday, 27 January, 2020

Auto Industry Cautious About China's Sluggish Market At Start Of The Decade

Global automakers cautious about China's market at start of new decade A woman walks past cars in BeijingMore
Irene Mckinney | 14 January, 2020, 00:42

China's auto sales continued to decline a year ago as demand retreated in the world's biggest auto market, data from an industry association showed Monday.

Global automakers are cautious about their prospective sales in China's vehicle market this year, the world's biggest, as pressures such as slowing economic growth and trade frictions look set to continue.

Ford Motor Co.'s China sales fell for the third year in a row in 2019, dropping to less than half of what it sold at its zenith in 2016, and the company said the situation for the broader market is likely to get worse in 2020.

Alan Kang, senior analyst at LMC Automotive, predicted modest sales growth of 0.05% this year.

This fall, however, was slower than the 37% drop in sales Ford weathered in 2018 and the company said it saw its market share in the high-to-premium segment stabilise previous year.

The company plans to keep its product revitalization plans on track with 30 new vehicles coming during the next three years.

Severe storm sweeps south-east USA , killing at least seven
Texas Governor, Greg Abbott, claimed helicopters, medical and rescue teams had been placed on standby in case they are needed. But there could be brief spin-up tornadoes in this time frame, which develop with little to no advance warning, she said.

But it remained cautious about 2020, echoing bearish comments about sales in China from General Motors Co. Top executives such as Geely's founder, Li Shufu, to the president of Ford Motor Co's partner Chongqing Changan Automobile Co Ltd, Zhu Huarong, have said they expect fiercer competition to weed out weaker players.

"The easing of trade tensions between China and the United States has also helped restore consumer confidence", said Kang, who expects China auto sales to grow 0.05% this year. The group gave no sales total in December, but based on other data, it would be around 2.2 million vehicles.

Ford has been trying to revive sales in China after its business began slumping in late 2017.

In 2018, automobile sales in China declined 2.8%, marking the first contraction since the 1990s.

"The pressure from the external environment and downward trend of the industry volume will continue in 2020, and we will put more efforts into strengthening our product lineup with more customer-centric products and customer experiences to mitigate the external pressure and improve dealers' profitability", he said in a statement.

Toyota Motor Corp sold around 1.62 million Toyota and premium Lexus cars in China last year, a 9% sales jump compared with a year earlier.

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