Ford's China vehicle sales drop 26% in third straight year of decline

Global automakers cautious about China's market at start of new decade

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Sales sank 37 per cent in 2018, after a 6 per cent decline in 2017.

CAAM data also revealed that sales of new energy vehicles in China slipped for the first time since the government began to vigorously promote clean energy vehicles about a decade ago, due to macroeconomic pressure and a significant cut in subsidies.

After a three-month transition period that ended on June 25 past year, local governments stopped subsidizing purchases of NEVs other than new energy buses and fuel cell vehicles, resulting in sharper declines of NEVs sales in the latter half of 2019.

The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) last month forecast annual auto sales in 2020 would dip 2% after an estimated 8% slump in 2019.

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"The easing of trade tensions between China and the United States has also helped restore consumer confidence", said Kang, who expects vehicle sales in China to grow 0.05% this year.

It was another down year for vehicle sales in China as a trade war with Washington and an economic slowdown fueled consumer anxiety and demand for electric vehicles weakened, an industry group reported Monday.

Sales have now dropped for 18 months in a row.

The company plans to keep its product revitalization plans on track with 30 new vehicles coming during the next three years.

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Over 28 million vehicles were sold in 2018, down 3 percent from the prior year, while 2019 sales are likely to have declined 8 percent from the prior year, CAAM said.

NEV sales shrank 4% in 2019 to 1.21 million units. Global automakers have been cautious with their predictions after cutting production, shutting factories and firing staff previous year.

"We expect the market downturn to continue in 2020, and anticipate ongoing headwinds in our China business", Matt Tsien, president of GM China, said last week as the USA automaker reported a 15% drop in 2019 China sales.

Ford's business in China started declining in late 2017, and the company has been trying to recover since then.

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The bright spots have been Japan's Toyota Motor Corp and Honda Motor Co Ltd as well as USA electric vehicle maker Tesla Inc, which started delivering China-made Model 3 sedans from its $2 billion Shanghai plant this month. While that was an improvement from 2018's 36.9 percent decline, the total number of vehicles sold was less than half of the 1.27 million figure reached in its peak year of 2016.

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