Manufacturing News

Retail sales of passenger vehicles jump 20% in November

Retail passenger vehicle sales in China surged 20 percent to 2.42 million vehicles in November, led by demand for SUVs, according to data released Thursday by the China Passenger Car Association.

China posted a 26th consecutive annual auto sales record with a month to spare, fueled by a cut in the purchase tax on vehicles with small engines. The last time the Chinese car market shrank was in 1990.

Consumers bought 21.1 million passenger vehicles in the first 11 months, more than the 20.6 million for all of last year, according to the association.

The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, which releases a separate set of sales data based on wholesale deliveries, is scheduled to deliver November numbers on Monday.

Geely Automobile Holdings posted the fastest sales growth among major local automakers with its deliveries almost doubling to 102,422 vehicles in November. Meanwhile, Great Wall Motor Co. recorded a sales increase of 43 percent, while Guangzhou Automobile Group Co.'s deliveries rose more than 30 percent.

Ford Motor Co. sold more than 1 million vehicles in China in the first 11 months. The Dearborn, Mich., automaker now counts China as its biggest foreign market and sees the full-size luxury sedan market there growing 60 percent by 2025.

"Ford is gaining more momentum in China each month and we are on pace for a record year in China," Peter Fleet, Ford's Asia Pacific sales vice president, said in a statement. "We are seeing increasing demand across our lineup, particularly our full family of SUVs."

The health of China's auto market has taken on added importance in the wake of the election of Donald Trump. The U.S. president-elect campaigned on a promise to toughen America's trade stance with Mexico and Japan, and has been critical of China's currency policies and military buildup.

Buyers of small-engine cars in China rushed to qualify for the tax cut, which expires on Dec. 31.

"As long as the government doesn't say anything about carrying the tax cut beyond this year consumers would assume it will run out this month and act on that assumption," said Huang Xiaowei, an analyst with WAYS Consulting Co., of Shenzhen. "The government is weighing whether to extend the policy."

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