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back to index backCHINAtalk June,  2005

April Chinese auto sales and production scored moderate gains; Japanese prospered

April Chinese auto sales and production scored moderate gains from year-ago levels, and acccording to a Kyodo news agency account, the Japanese makers appeared to prosper.

The figures, originating with the China Association of Automobile Manufac-turers and China's National Bureau of Statistics, were distressingly vague, and presented—as they often are—in a manner designed to emphasize a purported recovery in the market.

Distorted Comparisons

As more than one report pointed out, however, year-on-year comparisons starting in April are somewhat distorted because the year-ago period is one in which new credit controls cut the legs out from under consumers' ability to buy.

Still, any recovery is better than none, and both overall vehicle sales, up 7.9% to 536,700, and passenger car sales, up 6.6% to 337,000, were in the plus column for a change, CAAM said.

Year-Ago Levels

The April recovery helped get sales for the first four months just about back to year-ago levels. All vehicle sales gained 1.6% to 1.8 million units, while passenger car sales fell 0.6% to 1.14 million. If sales continued at that level, China would record a 3 million car year. That is not quite so hefty a gain from last year's 2.33 million as it might appear.

CAAM said it has changed the way it categorizes vehicles this year, and is now counting sport utilities and minivans as passenger cars. The Japanese makers apparently did well despite a month of anti-Japanese demonstrations generated by disputes over ‘history,' the control of potentially energy-rich territory in the East China Sea, Taiwan and other issues.

The Kyodo news agency said Guangzhou Honda's sales for the month were up about 20% from year ago levels, to 20,000 units, putting it just about on target for the year. The newly launched Nissan Teana and Toyota Crown, for which there are no year-ago comparisons, also sold well, the report said.

Production Up

Nissan moved about 9,500 vehicles for the month, and Toyota's sales came to 10,000—far behind GM's 28,000, Volkswagen's two ventures in Shanghai and Changchun at 25,000 each, and Beijing Hyundai, which moved about 21,600. The National Bureau of Statistics said passenger car production climbed into positive territory at 263,700, up 6.8% from the 2004 month, recording a first gain in 13 months. Production for the first four months came to 845,200, up 0.8%, NBS said.

Source: Japan Automotive Digest - GAI

For a free sample copy of the Japan Automotive Digest, click here.

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