Chinese new vehicle sales drop in November 2018
The new vehicle market in China fell 13.9% year on year (y/y) during November, although on a year-to-date (YTD) basis, sales have declined slightly by 1.65% y/y. The detailed data from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM), which include locally produced commercial vehicles (CVs) and passenger vehicles (PVs) sold in China on a wholesale basis, show overall sales of 2.54 million units in November. Total vehicle sales in the first 11 months of the year have reached 25.42 million units, according to the CAAM detailed data. The market continues to be led by large state-owned conglomerates that have joint ventures (JVs) with international automakers in China.
Outlook and implications
The Chinese auto market in November improved its sales figure by 7.05% from October, despite continuing its downward year-on-year trend. The market has weakened in the past few months due to the trade war between the United States and China.
China's new energy vehicle (NEV) sector, despite being small in terms of total volume, has maintained strong growth in 2018. Sales of NEVs, which include pure battery electric vehicles (BEVs), plug-in hybrid EVs (PHEVs), and fuel-cell vehicles (FCVs), rose 37.6% y/y in November, with YTD sales reaching 1.03 million units, up 68.0% y/y. As part of its efforts to improve the environment, the Chinese government has been encouraging the use of electric cars. It has given generous subsidies to both electric car manufacturers and consumers. However, among other factors, potential government policy changes have caused uncertainty in this sector. With unprecedented investment coming in, China is mulling stringent rules to curb "redundant development" in the automotive industry.
China's total annual NEV production is expected to reach 2.66 million units by 2020 and 7.02 million units by 2025, according to IHS Markit's light-vehicle alternative propulsion data. We forecast overall sales of light vehicles in China to decrease 0.9% to 27.67 million units in 2018.
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