Manufacturing News

Car sales forecast to accelerate in second half

China's passenger vehicle sales probably will accelerate in the second half of the year, driven by a rebounding economy plus strong demand from first-time buyers, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers predicts.

Wholesale deliveries may rise 11 percent to 16.1 million units this year, said Shi Jianhua, the association's deputy secretary general.

In the first six months, sales rose 7 percent to 7.6 million units. Second-half sales will rise 15 percent year-on-year to 8.5 million units.

"There are indications that China's economy will be better in the second half and that will help spur car demand," Shi said at a forum in Beijing Thursday. "People who were born in the 1980s are becoming the main source of car buyers. There's a structural demand for cars that will rise steadily for a long time."

The state-backed group is forecasting faster sales despite the slowest economic growth in three years and as limits on car registrations in some cities led to a glut of inventory. The government isn't offering details on any steps to help the industry with a large-scale stimulus plan.

"I didn't expect such numbers," said Han Weiqi, an analyst with CSC International Holdings Ltd. "The association seems too optimistic to me. To reach such a sales expansion pace in the second half, some stimulus policies have to be in place or with economic growth soaring through the roof."

The auto association maintained its forecast for total vehicle sales, which includes trucks and buses, to rise 5 to 8 percent this year. The group cut its full-year estimate for commercial vehicle sales to 3.9 million units, down from the previous prediction of 4.1 million units made in January.

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