Chinese Auto Sales Crash For The 14th Time In 15 Months, Falling 9.9%

Chinese auto sales continue to plunge deeper into recession, with the country's China Passenger Car Association releasing preliminary data for August that in no way indicates that the trend could be slowing. 

Instead, it has been a "historically prolonged slump" for the world's largest car market, according to Bloomberg

The CPCA reported on Monday that sales of sedans, SUVs, minivans and multipurpose vehicles in August fell 9.9% to 1.59 million units. 

It has been the industry's largest downturn in three decades and automakers are still facing headwinds as trade tensions with the U.S. continue. China has tried to roll out several stimulus measures to help the industry, including loosening car purchase restrictions, but they have done little to encourage consumption thus far. 

Preliminary data from MarkLines on Japanese automakers selling in China shows Nissan and Honda posting 2.0% and 5.9% gains, respectively, while Toyota sales fell 3.8% and Mazda sales suffered the largest blow, down 20.7%. We will revisit this data toward the middle of the month, when it is updated to include additional manufacturers from around the globe. 

Top Chinese SUV maker Great Wall Motor Co. saw its first half profit lower by an astounding 59% and SAIC Motor Corp., China's biggest automaker, also cut its sales forecast recently and predicted its first annual sales decline in at least 14 years. Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd. saw sales fall 19% in August. 

Finalized data from July shows that Japanese sales led the charge, posting an 11.2% gain, while Chinese brands, American brands and French brands all fell by double digits. 

For July, three of the top 4 best selling models in China were manufactured by VW, who made up 5 of the 10 best selling models in the country. Toyota, Haval, Honda and Nissan also edged their way into the top 10 list of models sold. 

Exports from China in July also fell significantly:

Overall vehicle exports in July totaled 81,000 units, reflecting a 15.5% m/m decrease and a 14% y/y decline. Passenger car exports totaled 60,000 units, reflecting a 12.5% m/m decrease and a 12.9% y/y decline. Commercial vehicle exports totaled 21,000 units, reflecting a 23.1% m/m decrease and a 17% y/y decline.

And while China continues its struggles, other large markets, like India, are also tumbling. India posted a 41% sales drop for automobiles in August, the largest such drop on record. U.S. automakers eeked out a slight rebound in sales, but were helped along by the Labor Day weekend partially falling in August. 

We will update this post as more data from August becomes available.