(Yicai Global) Jan. 15 -- The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers expects car sales in the world's largest auto market to stay flat this year, after they declined for the first time since 1990 last year.
Car sales this year will tally around 28.1 million units, the same as 2018, the CAAM said online on Jan. 14. That will be made up of around 23.7 million passenger cars and 4.4 million commercial cars, which it forecasts will grow by around 1 percent.
Sales in China fell by 2.8 percent to 28.1 million units in 2017, marking the first decline in the country's auto market in well over a decade, the CAAM's data showed. The slowdown in economic growth, trade tensions with the United States, general market fluctuations and the future implementation of new vehicle emissions standards were all factors in the decline, said Assistant Secretary General Xu Haidong.
Several major Chinese cities were supposed to bring in stricter vehicle emissions standards, known as China 6, last year, but delayed the plans as local carmakers were struggling to keep up with their foreign counterparts, who have more advanced engine technologies.
The nationwide rollout of the new standards is set to take place over two phases. China 6a standards for licensing and registration are due to be fully implemented from July 1, 2020. The second stage, China 6b, is set to be in place three years later and is even stricter than European rules. China 6b will require carmakers to cut carbon dioxide and hydrocarbon emissions by as much as half.
Cui Dongshu, secretary-general of the China Passenger Car Association, said the main reason for the dip last year was an automotive depression in second- and third-tier cities and in central and western China, where he believes consumer confidence is low.
Editor: James Boynton