Chinese auto sales lose steam

China's commercial and passenger vehicle sales lost steam in January and February compared to 2011. Could this be a sign of a slowing economy?
Written by Channtal Fleischfresser, Contributor

China's automobile production shows no signs of losing steam. Production was up 28 percent last month compared to the previous year. But recent numbers for overall auto sales show the consumer market is perhaps not as sturdy as some believed.

During January and February 2012, 2,9543 million automobiles were sold in China, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM). That represents a 5.96% decrease compared to the same period in 2011.

Furthermore, the number of passenger car sales in China were down 4.37 percent year-on-year, while commercial vehicle sales were down 11.91 percent. Keep in mind that while last year, the Chinese New Year celebration took place in February while this year, it happened in January. Reporting the two months together helps account for New Year-related discrepancies.

Corroborating the exact numbers provided by CAAM appears difficult, as other media outlets have reported slightly different percentages, but according to The Truth About Cars, weak commercial vehicle sales are seen as a leading indicator for the Chinese economy.

Nevertheless, analysts' predictions for the Chinese auto market remain strong. J.D. Power analyst Geoff Broderick suggests that Chinese auto sales could reach 35 million by 2018 (nearly double the current market).

Photo: Geely

via [The Truth About Cars]

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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