Auto industry cautious as China starts 2020 with 2% sales decline forecast

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Sales in the industry's biggest global market declined 9.6 percent from 2018 levels to 21.4 million sedans, SUVs and minivans, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.

"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. Sales sank 37 percent in 2018, after a 6 percent decline in 2017.

The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) expects a 2 per cent fall in vehicle sales.

In 2020, the subsidy policy for the NEVs sector will remain largely stable, Xinhua learned from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, adding there will be no big subsidy retreats.

Global carmakers have been cautious with their predictions after cutting production, shutting factories and firing staff previous year.

Ford plans to rev up sales by launching more than 30 new models in China over the next three years. That would still make China the technology's biggest market by far, accounting for at least half of global purchases. More than half of that total was accounted for by sales of lower-cost Chinese SUVs, which sank 4.2% to 4.9 million.

"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 automaker reported a 15% drop in sales in 2019.

The company sold a total of 567,854 vehicles in 2019.

Their China-made electric vehicles became very competitive in the Chinese market as a result of the local government's subsidies for electric vehicles.

Among models that were launched in the fourth quarter, the new Ford Escape performed better than any other model in terms of received orders, while the Lincoln Corsair is the first localized Lincoln vehicle in China.

While Ford's pricing power in China has improved, those gains have been offset by continued sales declines, which were worse than the company expected in the third quarter, the executives said.

"The pressure from the external environment and downward trend of the industry volume will continue in 2020, and we will put more efforts into strengthening our product lineup with more customer-centric products and customer experiences to mitigate the external pressure and improve dealers' profitability", he said in a statement.

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