New vehicle sales in China fell by 3% to 1.66m units in August, from 1.72m units in the same month of last year, according to data released by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM). This marks the fifth successive monthly sales decline and reflects weakening domestic sentiment, with the country’s financial and equity markets correcting sharply in August.
The worsening sales data also reflects deteriorating economic indicators, with particularly weak industrial output and exports.
Sales of passenger vehicles fell by 3.4 percent to 1.4m units, driven lower by a 16% drop in sedan sales to 762,000 units despite a 46% rise in SUV sales to 453,000 units. Cumulative eight-month sales amounted to 15.02m units, largely unchanged from last year.
Vehicle production fell by 8.4% to 1.57m units, from 1.71m a year earlier, marking the fourth monthly decline.
Chinese brands continued to recover market share thanks to their strong exposure to the fast-growing SUV segment. They reported a 2.5% rise in combined sales in August, for a market share of 39.4%
General Motors and its local partners reported a 4.8% sales drop to 248,815 units in August, while sales year-to-date were just 2.3% higher at 2.2m units.
Toyota’s equivalent sales increased by 20% to 94,200 units in August and by 13% to 699,500 units year-to-date.
Ford’s sales were 3% lower at 79,608 units in August and 1% lower at just over 700,000 units year-to-date.
Honda’s sales rose by just under 51% to 78.277 units in August, compared with weak year earlier sales, while year-to-date sales were 35% higher at 612,276 units.
Mercedes-Benz’s sales were up by 53% to 32,763 units in August.