China’s auto sales contracted for the third consecutive month in September, the Wall Street Journal reports, as the world’s largest auto market skids towards its first annual decline in decades.
Year-on-year sales dropped 11.6% to 2.39 million vehicles last month, according to the state-backed China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.
Passenger cars fared particularly poorly, with sales 12% down y/y to 2.06 million, adding to a Q3 decline of 7.6%. Economic headaches such as trade tensions with the US and a gloomier macro outlook are weighing on consumers’ car-buying behaviour, say analysts.
“We underestimated the impact” of the slowdown, said the association’s assistant secretary-general Xu Haidong, who believes that previous estimates for 3% growth in 2018 are out of reach.
The drop off is considerably larger than in the past two months. Auto sales lost 3.8% in August and 4% in July, eroding gains made from a strong first half.