Sales climb in October but may fall short of growth forecast
China's vehicle sales rose 2 percent year on year in October — the fifth straight month of growth — although the auto industry will struggle to meet forecasts of 5 percent annual growth.
Sales totaled 2.70 million vehicles last month, the association reported, and for the first 10 months, industry sales rose 4.1 percent to 22.9 million vehicles.
Association officials said Friday they were caught off guard by how slow October vehicle sales were.
“We didn’t expect October sales to be this low,” said Chen Shihua, an association official. Chen ascribed slow growth to an “insufficient” offering of discounts and other incentives.
Another official, Shi Jianhua, said: “We would be lucky if overall vehicle sales grew 4 percent this year,” compared with the association’s 5 percent annual growth forecast for 2017. Last year, sales rose nearly 14 percent.
In October, sales of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids jumped 107 percent to 91,000. For the first 10 months, EV and plug-in hybrid sales rose 45 percent to 490,000 vehicles.
The association expects automakers to sell 700,000 EVs and plug-in hybrids this year.
China has set sales quotas for EVs and plug-in hybrids, which automakers must start to meet in 2019, a move that has prompted a flurry of joint ventures and launches of such vehicles.