Bad News For GM: As China's Own "Cash For Clunkers" Program Ends, Car Sales Come Far Below Expectations; BYD Sales Plunge

Tyler Durden's picture

Two months ago we reported that the recently bailed out Unionized Carmaker, for whom China (where they apparently do not care about falling steering wheels) has become a market more important than even the US, had seen some jarring demand weakness, following a 10% drop in January sales. We now learn that GM was not only the beneficiary of last year's Cash For Clunkers program in the US, but has been the recipient of recent incentives offered in the domestic Chinese market. Alas those are now over, and as Bloomberg reports "China’s passenger-car sales grew in March at a pace that was below forecasts after incentives ended and fuel prices rose, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said." That's putting it mildly: for an economy in which a growth rate of 10% is considered stagnating, what happened in March was equivalent to a drubbing: "Dispatches of cars including multipurpose vehicles and sport-utility vehicles to dealerships rose 6.52 percent from a year earlier to 1.3 million units, the association said in a statement today. That pace was about one-tenth of the 63 percent sales increase reported in March of last year." Which brings us to the question of the day: how does one spell "short GM" in Mandarin? Yet the irony of the day award goes to Charlie Munger, who may or may not have been completely "open" with his purchase of BYD shares: BYD sales plunge in March by 41% (Y/Y). Suck it in, Charlie.

More from Bloomberg:

“The overall vehicle sales growth in March was below our expectations,” Zhu Yiping, the association’s statistics head, said at a briefing in Beijing today. March has historically been a peak period for car sales in China following the week-long Chinese New Year holiday that was celebrated this year from Feb. 2 through Feb. 8, according to the association.

General Motors Co. (GM), China’s biggest overseas automaker, posted slower sales growth in the nation for the second month in March as the government reinstated a 10 percent sales tax and phased out subsidies for vehicle trade-ins in rural areas. Last year, overall auto sales surged 32 percent to a record 18.1 million, helping the nation stay the world’s largest vehicle market for the second year.

“Car sales growth may continue to slow for a few more months as customers brought forward purchases to the end of last year,” said Harry Chen, an analyst with Guotai Junan Securities Co. in Shenzhen. “The pace may pick up again in the second half as potential demand is still there.”

A huge miss:

Sales growth in China this year may fall short of the association’s previous estimate for an increase of 10 percent to 15 percent, said Dong Yang, vice chairman of the association.

“I am concerned about whether our growth rate is too low,” Dong said. “Some automakers’ profitability may be undermined this year and some may even face difficulties in their operations.”

Total vehicle sales gained 5.4 percent in March to 1.8 million units, the auto group said. Vehicle sales for the first quarter increased 8.1 percent to 5 million units.

The worst news for GM: Chinese consumers seem to finally realize what is quality and... what isn't.

GM sold 233,014 vehicles in China last month, the Detroit- based company said April 2. Deliveries barely rose from March 2010’s 230,048 and followed a 6 percent increase in February.

Ford Motor Co. (F) boosted sales in China 20 percent to 53,440 units in March. Deliveries of Ford-brand vehicles by Changan Ford Mazda Automobile, the Dearborn, Michigan-based company’s Chinese passenger car unit, totaled 42,157 vehicles in March, the carmaker said April 7.

But the biggest loser? Charlie Munger (despite his "deep" frontrunning acumen.)

BYD Co., the automaker backed by Warren Buffett, reported a 41 percent plunge in March sales.

Suck it in, Charlie.... Suck it in.

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Rodent Freikorps's picture

GM should die.

They are the typical zombie company the unions seem to create.

cossack55's picture

Right on, Bro. Drive a Charlie Munger stake thru its corrupt heart.

Rodent Freikorps's picture

If they need .gov money to survive, they are, by definition, corrupt.

Hugh G Rection's picture

My new Lincoln drives great. Fuck you GM

topcallingtroll's picture

I will never buy a uaw government motors car.
They shit upon minority unsecured bondholders and
said "stakeholders" too many times.

Mentaliusanything's picture

So now how many (people) are on .Gov handouts. 44 million get a sub for food, some free medical, some a sub for a car, appliance or a hooker.(well hookers should be a health sub)

In the end ask yourself do you really want to be reliant on the hand that fees you??? think about it is it not better to be reliant on yourself.

you will always be around, the government well maybe not ya sugar daddy fulltime.

Grifter's picture

GM just announced $100M investment in Rochester NY plant on Lexington Ave, watching the story on WHEC NBC 10 right now.

kengland's picture

I love my 2001 ext cab silverado. Best truck out there. 

homersimpson's picture

Buffett/Munger. Two dudes who are finally exposed as front runners and bailout recipients.

Looks like they're naked now that tide is slowly seeping away..

cossack55's picture

Not necessarily a mental image I would wish to conjure up.

long juan silver's picture

The master investor is into BYDDF near $10 while it's now close enough to $2 that it could spit there.

The great investor and businessman that we can all sigh about and fawn upon.

Fucking scumbag thief. Hands all over the great TARP payola bailout scandal.

Would Bernak have payed off GS's massive AIG false flag/con if Warren hadn't just then gone neck deep into GS? Without Warren stepping into a puddle of CDS poo with GS, AIG wouldn't have gotten a nickel, the arrogant, insular insurance bastards risking $125 billion to shave 7 basis points.

This fucking country's government needs removal to a gulag.

falak pema's picture

the biggest winner in China is Renault/Nissan they have the right products range for that market. It's cheap, clean and low on gas. Perfect in the rising oil scenario. China will stay away from glitzy cars as the economy slows down. Inflation eats status symbol appetites. That is if the local car makers/govt. lets them push hard...

cossack55's picture

What do "glitzy" cars have to do with GM?

Hedgetard55's picture

GM green today - but gave back most of it after hours. Below 30 tomorrow? Barry be on the phone to Ben tonight.

Rodent Freikorps's picture

Pork bellies, bitches.

Bacon is a comfort food.

Missed the trade, Mr. junker?

I told you that on saturday night.


TideFighter's picture

I saw a small group of BYD's. I was about as impressed as when I first saw the Chevy Vega, Ford Pinto, AMC Pacer, and [I actually owned this one) a Gremlin Levi Edition. These cars may work for the Chinese, but would never be accepted here. Fit and finish are very, very poor. I'm sure Munger knew that... 

topcallingtroll's picture

Wow the tone is changing.
This is all starting to sound


NotAllowed's picture

Not Allowed!! Commence QE infinity!!

Jason T's picture

They don't need cars in China, they have high speed rail.  something we in American refurse to build because ....

pagan's picture

Exactly, they need rail and they are building it. Still there seem to a lot of mega stoopid chinese going for gas guzzlers, watching too much Yankee TV I suppose.

cossack55's picture

Screw speed. In a hurry, fly. Give me an old fashioned diesel-electric doing 50 MPH and a club car and sleeper. 

Caviar Emptor's picture

GM is only the poster boy for moribund companies that have been brought back from the dead since 2008, including AIG, the large broker/dealers, BAC and the overlevered banks etc.....

And what do yo get when you try to resurrect corpses? Rot! 

The greatest harm done to the US economy is that the rotting corpses prevent new entrants, new competition, new ideas, new people. Instead of reinvigorating capitalism the supply-side Fed has been in the business keeping it dying. 

gwar5's picture

It's a beautiful thing....


CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (Reuters) - Big banks like Bank of America Corp and Citigroup Inc should be reclassified as government-sponsored entities and have their activities restricted, a senior Fed official said on Tuesday.

The 2008 bank bailouts at the height of the financial crisis and other implicit guarantees effectively make the largest U.S. banks government-guaranteed enterprises, like mortgage finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, said Kansas City Fed President Thomas Hoenig.

"That's what they are," Hoenig said at the National Association of Attorneys General 2011 conference.


Trying to Understand's picture

Why don't we acknowledge that when obama did the 'cash for clunkers' program it was presented, and accepted as "his idea".  Now China has done the same program.  I ran a search for "cash for clunkers".  It is a United Nation's World Bank program.

Will we ever acknowledge and discuss the fact that the UN is undermining our National Sovereignty.  We have no trouble throughly hashing over all the "symptoms" of our National Delemia/s - but we never seem to get to the Source of all our National Delemia/s...  Until we do, the Delemia/s will never go away, much less stop coming.

Ident 7777 economy's picture

  I ran a search for "cash for clunkers". It is a United Nation's World Bank program.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Any hints on how I should google that? Cuz, I'm not finding much ...

Johnk's picture

Berkshire's basis in BYD is something like $230 million, a rounding error at BRK.  Munger probably has that much in the seat cushions at his house.

Why not just put up a permanent link at the top of ZH announcing "ZH Hates Those Evil Bastards Buffett & Munger (and Cooperman!) So Much!!!!!"?  

That way all the people who want to have a thoughtful discussion of the issues can post insightful things like "Warren is a fat greasy pig!!" all day long in one place, instead of in every comment section of every ZH article.  You could even start a John Gutfreund fan club or something! 



Cole Younger's picture

GM should have been broken up and sold off.

virgilcaine's picture

Who needs a steering wheel anyway at 55 mph? 100 Million spent to creat a grand total of 30 jobs In Rochester. Truly Guvment ROI.

RobotTrader's picture

One of the most popular cars being purchased in L.A. right now is the new Chevy Camaro.

400 HP from the factory.  Some guys I know put aftermarket chips and cool air intakes and they get 502 HP on the dyno.

Trump will be driving one as the pace car for the Indy 500 this year.

drink or die's picture

What a great idea with LA's notoriously horrible traffic and high gas prices.

Chumbadumba's picture

SHUT THE FUCK UP and make with the cheesecake pics!


savagegoose's picture

but they would want mark to bullship prices for it, only fools that go for that sort of trade are the gov

disabledvet's picture

How much production is being lost due to Japan?  Clearly "demand might be off slightly" in that area.  Shall we throw in China as well?  OK.  I'm no fan of GM--but when you wipe out two divisions, shove all the debt into the worthless GMAC and stick that "good news" to the taxpayer it was hard not to like the IPO.  I think it goes without saying the USA can "soak up a lot of production" if said producers so desire but in the meantime "aren't the Japanese mfger's in a little trouble here?"  I must say i find it amazing how low the price a loaded 4 door sedan is in the USA compared to a bare bones pick-up truck with a diesel engine.  And of course "the price of fuel means the custromer is lining up at the dealer to grab those diesel pickups and SUV's."

Rodent Freikorps's picture

What, exactly, does government run that you like?


TruthInSunshine's picture

I won't defend GM having owned some real shitboxes made by GM in former years, but given saving GMs or Chryslers versus JP Morgans or Goldman Sachs, I'd save GMs or Chryslers any day of the week and twice on Sunday.


cowpieflapjack's picture

Aren't they all the same thing?