BEIJING/SHANGHAI: China’s auto sales could experience negative to low growth over the next three years, an official with the country’s top industry association said, after sales fell for a 14th consecutive month in August.
The number of new energy vehicles (NEVs) sold contracted for the second month in a row, data from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) showed.
Total auto sales fell 6.9 per cent from the same month a year earlier to 1.96 million, CAAM said on Wednesday. This followed declines of 4.3 per cent in July and 9.6% in June.
“The sales in the second half of the year should become better, but we are not sure to what extent the sales would be,” Shi Jianhua, senior official at CAAM said.
“Perhaps the next three years will be at a low or small negative growth. We’re all looking forward to sales picking up, but it’s normal if we don’t get that,” he said, adding the key reason for the poor outlook was low consumer confidence amid an economic slowdown and trade tensions with the United States.
As recently as three years ago automakers had enjoyed double digit annual growth in the world’s largest auto market, before the brakes came on with the first annual contraction since the 1990s last year.
Sales of new energy vehicles fell 15.8 per cent in August, CAAM said, following a 4.7 per cent fall in July — their first decline since January 2017. NEV sales jumped almost 62 per cent last year even as the broader auto market contracted.
NEVs include plug-in hybrids, battery-only electric vehicles and those powered by hydrogen fuel cells.
China has been a keen supporter of NEVs and has brought in sales quota requirements for automakers.
“Due to the impact of subsidies cut on new energy vehicles, sales for new energy vehicles continued to drop,” Chen Shihua, assistant secretary general at CAAM, said.