(Yicai Global) March 11 -- Chinese car sales declined last month as the country celebrated Lunar New Year. The nation's vehicle sales have shown a downward trend since last year.
China sold 1.2 million vehicles, down almost 17 percent annually, latest data from the China Passenger Car Association shows. The nation produced 1.1 million cars during the same period, down over 21 percent annually.
Sales of domestic independent brands slumped by 28 percent, those of mainstream joint venture brands were down 14 percent, and luxury car sales dropped almost 3 percent. During the two last months, 3.3 million vehicles were sold wholesale, almost 17 percent less than last year.
The Spring Festival between Feb. 4 to Feb. 10 gravely affected Chinese car sales, reducing them to almost zero over the week, said Cui Dongshu, the car alliance's secretary.
The growth of output and sales will be steady this month, Cui predicted. Tens of car companies, including Great Wall, Changan Automobile, and Volkswagen, have started offering incentives and discounts for consumers in rural China to buy new vehicles. The two cities of Guangzhou and Shenzhen have postponed the launch of stage VI emission standards by three months to July, which may, however, push forward the need for upgrades.
New energy vehicles took up an increasing portion of the sales. China sold 50,800 NEVs last month, up 74 percent annually. The wholesale volume over the last two months reached 143,000 vehicles, more than doubling from last year.
Only two car firms logged sales gains last month. Great Wall Motors' deals rose 16 percent and Guangqi Honda Automobile's 6 percent. Other top 10 sellers, including Geely Auto, Dongfeng Nissan Passenger Vehicle, and SAIC Volkswagen Automotive, made less in revenues than last year.
Editor: Emmi Laine