Tuesday, February 10, 2009

China's auto sales overtake US auto sales in Jan.

This isn't exactly breaking news - with a population of 1.3 billion people, it is inevitable that the Chinese car market will exceed the US market in total volume. However, the steep decline in auto volumes in the US and the slower drop in the Chinese market meant that the change atop the leader board happened sooner than many thought it would.

China's monthly auto sales overtake US for 1st time in January, helped by shrinking US market
China's monthly vehicle sales surpassed those in the United States for the first time in January, moving this country closer to becoming the world's biggest auto market, data released Tuesday showed.

With its growing middle class and vast potential as a consumer market, China is vital for General Motors, Volkswagen and Toyota as they count on demand here to offset weakness in the U.S. and elsewhere.

But China's ascent in the global auto market has been hastened by the plunge in U.S. auto sales, which tumbled 37 percent in January to a 26-year low of 656,976 units.

Chinese vehicle sales also have cooled, but hardly as dramatically. In January, 735,000 vehicles were sold, down 14.4 percent from a monthly record 860,000 last January, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said.

Mike DiGiovanni, General Motors Corp.'s executive director of global market and industry analysis, said last week he expected Chinese auto sales could hit 10.7 million units in 2009, more than his estimate of 9.8 million unit sales in the U.S. this year. Autodata forecasts 2009 U.S. sales at 9.57 million."

My only caveat to this data is that the source is the China Assoc of Auto Manufacturers. I sometimes take issue with data issued by domestically so I think there is a fair chance that this number was massaged a bit as well.


I'm working through what we know of Sec. Geithner's plan and should have an update later today.

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